Tag: "WCBS-AM"

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

| February 24, 2021

Entercom Q4 Revenue Down 25.7%; Full Year 2020 Declines 33.6%. The third major radio company to present 2020 fourth quarter and full year financial data is Entercom (Beasley and Cumulus have already posted their financial results and iHeartMedia is scheduled to do the same tomorrow). The company reveals 2020 Q4 net revenue was $319.5 million, down 25.7% from the same period in 2019, and 2020 full-year net revenue was $1.06 billion, a decline of 33.6% from 2019. Entercom notes that since the depths of the pandemic revenue dip in the second quarter of 2020, business is trending up. Its 2020 Q4 revenue was up 19% from Q3. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “I am pleased to report that Entercom continued to drive strong sequential operating improvement with revenues up 19% and EBITDA more than doubling vs. the third quarter. Digital, podcasting, sports betting and network radio all posted strong double-digit growth over prior year and we are continuing to drive innovation across these businesses to enhance future growth potential. While the pandemic continues to hobble a large number of our advertisers, particularly locally, we are optimistic about a strong recovery in our local ad sales later this year driven by vaccinations, fiscal stimulus and pent-up consumer demand in heavily impacted categories.” Entercom breaks down its revenue by segments and some of the noteworthy data in this report includes that spot (local and national) revenue was down 27.7% from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020; year-over-year spot revenue was down 42.9%. On the positive side, digital revenue (including podcasting) rose 20.5% from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020 and was up 26% year-over-year. Looking at radio revenue by format, while Entercom’s music formats took the biggest hit in 2020 – revenue was down 44% — sports talk revenue declined by 39.3% and news/talk was off by 21.7% during the year.

Round One of Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round. In New York, Entercom’s all-news stations both saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares increase – WINS added four-tenths to finish with a 4.0 share and the #8 rank and WCBS-AM added two-tenths for a 2.9 share and the #12 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles tacked on three-tenths for a 5.0 share and remains ranked #3. In Chicago, Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM added half a share to re-claim the #1 rank with a 7.3 share. Across town, Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM added four-tenths for a 4.1 share and the #7 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here

Talk Programmer Bob Shomper to Retire in April. Longtime news/talk programmer Bob Shomper announces he’ll retire from the radio business on April 2. Shomper is currently program director at NRG Media’s KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska. During his career he’s served at some of America’s great news/talk stations, including: WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; KTAR-FM, Phoenix; WLS-AM, Chicago; WGN-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Fort Worth/Dallas; and more. Shomper tells TALKERS magazine that his decision to retire is entirely his own and he’s grateful to be doing so on his own terms.

Robbie Stevens Posts Powerful Commentary to TalkersRadio About Honoring Truth in Media Discussions About Politics.  Noted record producer Robbie Stevens, one of TalkersRadio’s roster of “out-of-the-box” talk talents has posted a powerful new commentary yesterday (2/23) titled, “My Mistake(s),” that takes a candid look at a problem radio talk show hosts wrestle with all the time – staying true to core principles, maintaining a healthy sense of skepticism, and being honest about mistakes when making them. Stevens, who was the first talent signed for TalkersRadio – a service of TALKERS magazine – when it launched in the fall of 2013, has agreed to perform as a commentator on the platform for a “limited engagement” that will run through June of 2021. The Bronx-based New York City native is well-known in the music industry for his years of innovative studio work with a wide variety of high-profile artists, most recently on behalf of the estate and fans of the late John Lennon, for which he has achieved critical acclaim for his “raw” remix of the legendary artist’s Imagine album. He also most recently executive produced 13 Billboard #1 Dance Chart singles in a row, for Yoko Ono’s innovative ensemble Ono. He also recently produced (with Yoko Ono) the “John Lennon Anthology,” a four-CD set of unreleased material that was Rolling Stone magazine’s boxed set of the year. During his colorful career, he’s played on, mixed, or produced records by Herbie Hancock, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and other high-profile musicians going back decades. During this time, Stevens has developed an alternative career as a talk radio host and commentator heard occasionally via on-air and online outlets provided by heritage NYC stations WOR and WNYM (in addition to TalkersRadio). Commenting on Stevens’ latest posting, TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations (and former WOR PD) David Bernstein says, “Robbie is raw, fresh, and as real as the urban streets that gave rise to his gritty philosophy and we always get strong response to his work on our exciting platform. This new installment of his show is a grand slam home run because it strikes at the very core of our deepest personal conflicts in arriving at and sticking with our truths as talk radio hosts operating in a swirling ocean of changing information.” To listen to Robbie Stevens’ new series of commentaries on TalkersRadio, please click here. TalkersRadio is an “experimental” talk radio platform launched in 2013 to provide the industry with a “workout space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts.” Since its launch it has been a temporary home to a number of spoken-word talents – both high-profile and obscure – who’ve used it to work and showcase concepts that have gone on to achieve terrestrial radio exposure and even national syndication. In addition to Stevens, current TalkersRadio hosts include Claire CarterMeg McDonald, and UK sensation, Graham Mack. At the time of his passing, Alan Colmes was working on a series concept called “Healed Planet” heard on TalkersRadio which offered a glimpse into the late FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel star’s metaphysical interests. Files of that fledgling show remain archived on TalkersRadio as a tribute to Colmes. For more information about TalkersRadio, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Cool Operations Manager Opportunity. Locally owned southern-based radio group seeking a full-time Operations Manager with strong technical and digital skills. The ideal candidate MUST have experience operating OP-X and managing satellite operations for syndicated programs. Applicant must have at least 5 years of experience. Proven experience in managing social media branding, digital marketing, and video production. Proficient in digital automation systems, digital audio editing and production is a must. EEO. Send resumes to dalton@starnesmediagroup.com

TALKERS News Notes. A new channel from Newsmax TV officially launches on VIZIO SmartCast, the award-winning Smart TV platform available to millions of viewers. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “Launching on VIZIO SmartCast allows our viewers to simply plug in their new televisions and play Newsmax TV. Newsmax is experiencing exponential growth and provides a much-needed perspective on the issues that many VIZIO viewers care about.”…..A new partnership between iHeartMedia and independent UK podcast company Novel will result in the debut of 11 original podcast series over the next three years. The relationship begins with the release of two podcast series, “The Assault on America” and “Deliver Us From Ervil.” “The Assault on America” tells the inside story of the insurrection at the Capitol by working with open-source investigative journalists Bellingcat. “Deliver Us From Ervil” is an investigative true-crime series in which a groundbreaking team of journalists enters a lawless town on the border of Mexico run by a secretive religious sect living in exile and outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. government since 1924…..Content creation company Mean Ole Lion Media adds three new lifestyle-based podcasts to its portfolio. The podcasts are: “Conversations with Dr. Ian Smith,” all about people and discovering their back-story; “Business First with Sonia Alleyne,” that shines a light on brilliant and successful business people in a variety of industries; and “The History of Being Black” with host Eunice Elliott.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Capitol Riot Public Testimony, Biden Cabinet Nominees, Biden Migrant Policy, Trump Tax Returns, Rochester Protests, Russian Sanctions, China’s Hong Kong Loyalty Oath, and Tiger Woods Car Crash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/23). The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the testimony before the U.S. Senate about the January 6 Capitol insurrection; the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland, embattled White House budget office nominee Neera Tanden, and Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland; the Biden administration’s continued use of Trump policy turning away migrants at the Mexican border; the SCOTUS’ ruling Donald Trump must turn his tax data over to New York AG Cyrus Vance Jr.; the protests in Rochester, New York over the decision not to prosecute police in the death of Daniel Prude; the Biden Administration’s sanctions on Russia for the SolarWinds hack and the Navalny poisoning; China’s instituting loyalty oaths for Hong Kong politicians; and Tiger Woods is hurt in one-car accident in California were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

| January 27, 2021

WCBS-AM, New York News Pro Rich Lamb to Retire. After 50 years as a radio news pro, Rich Lamb announces that he’s retiring from Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM on February 26. Lamb is currently city hall reporter for WCBS 880. WCBS news director Tim Scheld says, “Rich is a one of a kind reporter and human being. He will be missed not just for his broadcast journalism and eloquent story telling but Rich is a selfless friend, colleague and mentor whose influence and friendships can be seen across the New York City landscape in business, journalism and politics. Rich may be leaving, but he has left each one of us at WCBS 880 with something to help us carry on his legacy.” Lamb says in an internal memo to fellow staffers, “My career began in 1970 in the Detroit market. After working at 3 stations there, in 1974 I landed at WXLO, New York, known then as 99X, a rock station. In the course of doing street work, the legendary WCBS political reporter Steve Flanders, after whom the plaza in front of City Hall is still named, urged me to try out for the reporter’s position being vacated by the renowned Jerry Nachman. I assured Steve there was ‘no way’ that would happen. But, in December of 1977, news and program director Lou Adler hired me. His first assistant Rob Sunde called to say the station had a budget issue, and that my start date would be February 26, 1978. Thus, I have requested that my last day will be February 26, 2021, 43 years to the day after my first assignment covering the ‘Polar Bear Plunge’ in Coney Island.”

Sandra Golden Leaving Atlanta’s ‘The Fan’ Next Month. According to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, morning drive personality Sandra Golden announces she’s leaving Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM/W229AG “93.7/680 The Fan” after the February 19 program. Station owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “It was Sandy’s decision. She recently got married. Her folks are older and she wanted to focus on family. As she put it, she has done tremendous things in sports radio and sports journalism. She has been fantastic.” Golden is married to former “Regular Guys” personality Larry Wachs, who worked for two rock stations in the market but now works in the mortgage industry, according to Ho’s report. Golden says she’s leaving the station on “great terms” but says, “The show with me, Steak [Shapiro] and Brian [Finneran] was the best one I’ve ever been a part of.” But says that the COVID-related departures of Shapiro and [midday personality] John Kincade in the fall caused her to assess her situation. “I didn’t like Steak and John leaving. They were legends at the station, two of the best voices in the market. It shook me. I had to do a reset.” John Michaels and Brian Finneran will continue to host the morning show as a duo.

‘America’s Healthcare Advocate’ Expands to Two Hours. The Radio America-syndicated health advice program, “America’s Health Advocate” adds an hour and now airs from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET on Saturdays. Radio America says, “‘America’s Healthcare Advocate’ is a weekly program that helps listeners understand the complexities of America’s healthcare industry, navigate the system, and make informed choices.” Guests include prominent experts and industry leaders in medicine, insurance, health and wellness. “America’s Healthcare Advocate” – hosted by nationally recognized healthcare policy expert and Benefits By Design president Cary Hall – currently airs on more than 100 stations across the U.S.

iHeartMedia Names Yesenia Bello SVP of Diversity and Inclusion. This is a lateral move into a newly created position at iHeartMedia for Yesenia Bello, who’s been serving as senior vice president of multicultural sales since October of 2019. In this new role as SVP of diversity and inclusion, Bello will work closely with chief human resources officer and chief diversity officer Michele Laven “and iHeartMedia’s executive leadership and Human Resources divisions to drive comprehensive long-term and measurable diversity and Inclusion strategies across iHeartMedia, as well as develop and implement specific Diversity and Inclusion goals and solutions for employee, community, client and agency engagement that drive inclusive behaviors and business practices.” Bello states, “I’m excited to move into this critical new role at iHeart at such an important time for our company and our country. I’ve seen iHeart’s commitment to diversity and inclusion up close since joining the company in 2019, and I’m looking forward to working closely with our entire company on new, exciting initiatives to continue to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion at iHeart.” Prior to joining iHeartMedia, Bello served at Telemundo Network, Hulu’s Latino division and Google, where she focused on Multicultural strategy and sales for YouTube advertisers.

Application Deadline Extended for MIW’s Mildred Carter Mentoring Program. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces the application window for the 2021 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is being extended through Friday, February 5. The MIW’s annual mentoring initiative connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting. This year’s program is being sponsored by vCreative. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2021 program. Mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply can be found here. Entercom VP, national partnerships Lindsay Adams – who also serves as chair of the mentoring program and was a 2009 mentee – says, “The MIW’s Mildred Carter Mentoring Program has been instrumental in providing guidance, leadership, and bridging connections within the industry.  From personal experience, I can attest it’s an invaluable experience that helps shape and curate career paths and potential.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Issues/New Strain Concerns, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Biden-Putin Phone Call, Conway Family Social Media Mess, and Runup to Super Bowl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26). The problems plaguing the efficient rollout of vaccines across the U.S. and concerns about their effectiveness against new virus strains; the process of the second impeachment of Donald Trump; the investigation into the attack on the Capitol building; President Joe Biden’s first phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin; the chaotic social media messages from the Conway family and allegations Kellyanne Conway may have posted a semi-nude picture of daughter Claudia; and the runup to Super Bowl LV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

| October 27, 2020

Round One of October PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s October 2020 survey period covered September 10 – October 7. You can see all the 6+ weekly AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York, while Entercom’s all-news stations gain no ground – WINS loses eight-tenths to finish with a 3.2 share and the #11 rank and WCBS-AM remains flat at a 2.7 share and the #14 rank – iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR adds a half share to wrap the survey with a 2.8 share and rises to the #13 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles tacks on one-tenth for a 4.5 share and jumps to the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds a half share for a 6.9 share finish but remains in the #2 spot while Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM loses one-tenth for a 3.0 share finish and stays at the #11 slot. You can see all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways for these 12 markets here.

Ishmael Johnson Named Market President for Townsquare Media Killeen-Temple, Texas. Adding market president and chief revenue officer duties for Townsquare Media’s Killeen-Temple, Texas market is Ishmael Johnson, who also handles the same duties for the company’s Lufkin, Texas station group. Townsquare’s Killeen-Temple cluster includes news/talk KTEM as well as country KUSJ-FM, hip hop KOOC-FM, classic rock KLTD-FM, and urban contemporary KSSM-FM. Townsquare Media SVP Todd Lawley says, “Ish made an immediate impact on the Lufkin market when he was hired over three years ago and he and his team have set the standard for performance utilizing our ‘Local First’ strategy. I’m proud that we were able to promote Ish from within the company and continue our successful initiative of growing the careers of our highly talented employees. He will excel as the leader of our fantastic team in Killeen-Temple by employing many of the same strategies and creative solutions that made his team so successful in Lufkin.”

Entercom Ups Emily Ward to GSM for Atlanta Station Group. Sales and management pro Emily Ward moves from Entercom’s Chattanooga operations to the company’s Atlanta cluster where she’s been named general sales manager for sports talk WZGC-FM “92.9 The Game,” news/talk WAOK-AM, hot AC WSTR “Star 94,” and urban contemporary WVEE “V-103.”  Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “In just a few years with the company, Emily has displayed a proven ability to lead sales initiatives and achieve substantial results. Her commitment to excellence puts her on a path to excel in her young career and we’re fortunate to welcome her and her talents to our Atlanta market.” Ward joined Entercom in April 2018 as an account executive in Chattanooga. She was elevated to the market’s local sales manager role in July 2019 and assumed the additional role of digital sales manager in September 2019.

TALKERS News Notes. Orlando SVP and market manager Claudia Menegus will serve as interim market manager for Entercom’s South Florida station group in addition to her duties in Orlando after Keriann Worley resigned from her position. Entercom is searching for a new market manager for its South Florida cluster. Worley issued the following public statement: “I have made the very difficult decision to leave my position as the senior vice president/market manager of Miami. Over the past three years I have been fortunate to lead the most talented team in the industry. It is now time for me to focus on my other goals and interests. There is no doubt this team will continue to innovate and accomplish amazing things. We achieved a lot together and it was an exciting ride.”…..At its Intelligence Reimagined virtual event, Nielsen Holdings announces that when its Global Consumer Business becomes a standalone company, it will be known as NielsenIQ. Nielsen Global Consumer Business CEO David Rawlinson says, “Unveiling our new brand is one of many actions we are taking as part of our blueprint for modernizing our client experience, while continuing to be the global leader in delivering complete consumer intelligence. We are creating a bolder, more forward-thinking company that will allow us to share our unparalleled expertise, which is rooted in our pursuit of the most comprehensive data sets and commitment to measuring every transaction equally. Our new name and brand represent our continued dedication to these ideals, while bringing to light the intelligence behind our technology, platforms, and predictive capabilities.”…..NuVoodoo Media Services appoints Roger Malinowski to the newly created position of vice president, business development. In this role, Malinowski will support the growth and development of NuVoodoo’s advanced research and marketing services across multiple sectors. He will also lead business development strategies for NuVoodoo’s newly launched Digital Division, which last month unveiled its first research/marketing/digital combo product, the Conference Cloud, a virtual event service…..WhyHunger and Entercom’s New York stations are partnering for Live Hungerthon Day on November 24. The annual radiothon will air across sports talk WFAN, the company’s two all-news outlets WINS and WCBS-AM as well as its music radio outlets and will feature interviews, auctions, exclusive Hungerthon merchandise and more.Entercom New York has supported WhyHunger’s Live Hungerthon Day since 1985.

The Presidential Race/Early and Mail-In Voting, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed to Supreme Court, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/National Mask Mandate, the Economy/Financial Markets Activity, New California Wildfires, and Hurricane Zeta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The November 3 presidential election and the ongoing early voting and mail-in voting; Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for fall and winter cases, combined with the argument for a national mask mandate; the state of the U.S. economy and the world’s financial markets activity; new wildfires break out in Southern California; and the projected path of Hurricane Zeta were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. San Antonio CHR KXXM “96.1 Now” adds “The Jubal Show” to its programming lineup for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart…..Harper Horizon and country radio and television personality Cody Alan have partnered to publish a book chronicling Alan’s music industry adventures and life-altering self-discoveries that will be available October 19, 2021. Alan hosts Premiere Networks’ “CMT After MidNite” and in the upcoming book, Alan provides expert guidance on how to become a world-class listener, gleaned from encounters with family, friends, colleagues, and music icons such as Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Keith Urban. He says, “It might seem strange for a guy who talks for a living to write a book about shutting up and listening. But I’ve discovered that in a world of noise, with so many voices talking, we could learn a lot by stopping to listen. Not just listening to others, but also to ourselves. I thought it would be fun to share stories from my personal journey, country music adventures and experienced insights on what I’ve learned about life, career and love from listening.”

Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

| August 4, 2020

Beasley Reports Q2 Net Revenue Down 53.7%. The second major radio group to report its second quarter 2020 financial numbers (Urban One reported last week) is Beasley Broadcast Group and the company says that net revenue was $30.4 million – a decrease of 53.7% from the same period in 2019. It reports an operating loss of $17.6 million, compared to Q2 2019’s operating income of $10.7 million, and a net loss of $18.2 million, compared to Q2 2019’s net income of $4.3 million. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “While Beasley had a strong start to the year, a sharp decline in commercial advertising occurred in the second quarter with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beasley’s financial results for the three-month period ended June 30, 2020 reflect the economic pressures we experienced across our business as local and national advertisers adapted their media plans to meet the unique challenges of the pandemic. While we saw sequential month-over-month improvement in our commercial advertising revenue performance from April to May, and from May to June, our total net revenues for the second quarter decreased nearly 54%, which is in line with reported overall industry levels. To address the reduction in traditional advertising revenue that has occurred as a result of the pandemic, during the second quarter, we quickly implemented several changes across the company, including reducing operating expenses and corporate overhead and realigning our company-wide cost structure to preserve cash. As a result, Beasley’s second quarter total operating expenses declined by 12.7%, and year-to-date, we have taken approximately $26 million out of our cost structure. In addition to these actions, as part of our response, we have taken proactive steps to accelerate our digital transformation initiatives and revenue diversification strategies, and to become a leaner and more efficient organization, with the goal of growing our market leadership position across our stations, our digital operations, and our esports interests.  We believe these steps will allow us to emerge from the pandemic as a stronger company. In addition, during the second quarter, Beasley entered into an agreement to amend the financial covenants and other provisions under our credit agreement to support our liquidity and capital structure as we manage the business through the pandemic.”

Round One of July PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Also, today TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. Both of Entercom’s New York all-news outlets lose ground. WINS dips four-tenths to a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market and WCBS-AM is off six-tenths and finishes ranked #14. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI gains three-tenths to finish the July 2020 survey with a 4.7 share and the #2 rank. Entercom’s Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds one-tenth for a 7.0 share and finishes at #1 for the sixth straight survey. Across town, Nexstar’s WGN-AM drops eight-tenths to a 3.3 share and ranks #9 in the market. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds two-tenths for a 10.6 share and takes the #1 rank for the 13th straight survey. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Former KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Dies at 74. Bay Area sports talk radio legend Ralph Barbieri died on Monday (8/3) at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The San Jose Mercury News reports his passing at his home in Novato, California. Barbieri – dubbed “The Razor” for his raspy voice – worked with Tom Tolbert in afternoons as “The Razor and Mr. T” for 15 of the 28 years he served with KNBR, San Francisco. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005 and kept it to himself until 2011. He was let go by Cumulus Media in 2012 and sued the company complaining that he was fired because of his age and his health condition. The suit was later settled confidentially.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Mask Debate, Stimulus Package, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, BLM/Portland Protests, Microsoft-TikTok Deal, Manhattan DA’s Trump Investigation, Isaias/Apple Fire, and Pro Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states, projections for future cases, and the ongoing debate over wearing masks in public; the status of the GOP-crafted stimulus bill; the November presidential election and today’s primary races in five states; the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing clashes in Portland; the battle over the app TikTok and the potential sale to Microsoft; the Manhattan DA’s investigation into the Trump Organization; Tropical Storm Isaias makes landfall and Southern California’s Apple Fire; and U.S. pro sports leagues navigate positive COVID-19 tests from players and coaches were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that ESPN’s NYC O&O WEPN-FM’s new program schedule will include the first three hours of the ESPN Radio morning drive show “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin” starring Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. The local show hosted by Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty, and Dave Rothenberg moves to the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, followed by the local Bart Scott and Alan Hahn show from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. WEPN will air the second hour of Mike Greenberg’s network show, “Greeny,” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and the first hour of the network’s Max Kellerman show from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The Michael Kay show remains from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Chris Carlin continues hosting the evening show…..FOX Sports Radio is launching a new iHeartRadio original daily podcast called, “Straight Fire with Jason McIntyre” on the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast features FSR weekend host and FS1 contributor Jason McIntyre “providing bold opinions on the biggest stories in sports, including the day’s major sports betting topics.” McIntyre says, “I’m beyond thrilled to have this podcast opportunity. I can’t wait to bring my unique enthusiasm and passion to the platform at a time when America’s appetite for sports is at an all-time high.”…..Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM, Jacksonville “ESPN 690” – via rightsholder Learfield IMG College – solidifies its place as the official Jacksonville station for Florida State University sports play-by-play. The new deal means “ESPN 690” will broadcast live all football and men’s basketball games for the upcoming 2020-21 athletics season…..Entercom’s Cadence13 unveils an exclusive podcast partnership with veteran NBA star JJ Redick and his new podcast company ThreeFourTwo Productions that will launch his new show, “The Old Man & the Three,” from the NBA bubble in Orlando. The weekly show is being co-hosted by writer and producer Tommy Alter…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces that his program is now a weekly show and is being aired on new affiliate WFYL, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania…..iHeartMedia is working with FlynnPictureCo., Psychopia Pictures, and UpperRoom Productions to produce the original, 10-part sci-fi podcast “There Be Monsters” that will be available on the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast stars John Boyega and Darren Criss. Boyega plays Jack Locke, the mysterious hero with a vendetta who infiltrates a Silicon Valley body-hacking startup run by an enigmatic CEO Max Fuller, played by Criss, whose highly secretive creations promise to enhance human biology in incredible ways – but every drug has a side effect…..SiriusXM announces it is airing comprehensive play-by-play and talk coverage of the 2020 PGA Championship, taking place August 6-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. It will be golf’s first major championship played in 2020 due to schedule adjustments made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic and SiriusXM will bring listeners inside the ropes with a team of broadcasters calling the action both from remote studio locations and on site at TPC Harding Park.

Entercom Partners with Vewd to Expand Smart TV Footprint. The digital platform RADIO.COM is expanding in the smart TV sphere as Entercom enters into a relationship with smart TV OTT software provider Vewd. Entercom says that as part of the partnership, “tens of millions of smart televisions, including Sony, Philips and Hisense, will have access to RADIO.COM, the exclusive digital home for all Entercom content across its leading portfolio of over 230 stations, along with hundreds of affiliate stations, thousands of top podcasts, live and on-demand video, and premium content across local and national news, entertainment, music and sports in markets all across the U.S.” Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “Connected televisions and smart home devices are the fastest growing segment of RADIO.COM’s rapidly growing audience, with significant demand from both consumers and advertisers. By partnering with Vewd, who powers tens of millions of leading-brand smart televisions, users now have our robust library right at their fingertips.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Los Angeles, Entercom’s six-station cluster has begun the fundraising campaign called “RADIO.COM’s Feed Our Families,” in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The month-long, text-to-donate fundraiser benefits local students and families in need. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Schools are a primary source of meals not only for many students but for their family members as well. We’re delighted to partner with Los Angeles Unified School District to amplify our stations’ collective voice so no child or family member in Southern California goes hungry during these unstable times. We look forward to actively promoting the organization’s selfless efforts over the next month and using our platforms to serve our communities.”…..Atlantic Gateway Communications’ Christian contemporary WGTS-FM, Washington, DC held its popular Summer Concert Series at Tysons Corner Center virtually this year since rule wouldn’t allow listeners to congregate in the outdoor plaza venue. The WGTS team shot part of the concert in advance at the plaza at the mall. Part of the concert came from Matthew West’s “Story House” and the rest of the concert was hosted from the WGTS video studio. WGTS music director and webmaster Rob Conway says, “This was something we’ve never done before, so it made us a little nervous.  Thankfully all of the technical details came together and it turned into a great listener experience.”…..Premiere Networks announces today that “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” is joining American Forces Network (AFN) and will air from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

| July 8, 2020

ESPN Radio Reveals New Lineup; Mike Golic and Trey Wingo Exit. Previous news reports about the re-tooling of the daily lineup on ESPN Radio that predicted longtime morning personality Mike Golic was headed for the exit turned out to be accurate. The company announced its new lineup consisting of existing ESPN staffers – effective August 17 – and current morning hosts Golic and Trey Wingo are not part of it. Instead, the new morning show will be a trio co-hosted by Keyshawn Johnson, NBA and college basketball analyst Jay Williams, and “SportsCenter” anchor Zubin Mehenti. “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” remains in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot. Mike Greenberg, who was Mike Golic’s longtime partner before they parted and Trey Wingo joined the morning show, returns to radio to host the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET daypart. Max Kellerman launches his national radio show airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In PM drive, two-time WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike and Mike Golic Jr. will host the “Chiney and Golic Jr.” program from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. espnW and ESPN Radio host Sarah Spain reunites with former co-host Jason Fitz for the “Spain and Fitz” show from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET, followed by “Freddie and Fitzsimmons,” hosted by Freddie Coleman and Ian Fitzsimmons, airing from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. ESPN EVP and executive editor, production Norby Williamson says, “Our new lineup will provide sports fans informative and engaging content throughout the week from hosts who all have radio experience. They know how to connect with fans and keep them invested in the programming.  Our listeners will hear diverse perspectives on key topics from some of the most talented, knowledgeable and contemporary voices in the industry.”

Frank Morano Joins WABC, New York. New York market talk radio pro Frank Morano is joining Red Apple Media’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC as “part of its ever-growing commitment to quality live and local talk.” Morano will host the weekly “Frank Morano Program” Sunday evenings from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm (beginning 7/12) and will anchor “Morano in the Morning” daily from 1:00 am to 5:00 am, effective in August. Red Apple says Morano’s show “will feature newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire.” In addition, Morano presently is hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on WLIR-FM, Long Island, the station Red Apple is operating under an LMA and on which it is simulcasting much of WABC’s programming. Morano spent the last 10 years with Salem Media Group’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” serving as producer for “The Joe Piscopo Show,” “The John Gambling Show,” and “The Curtis Sliwa Show,” as well as hosting a weekly program. At WABC, Morano will continue to serve as a producer and on-air contributor to “The Cats Roundtable,” hosted by Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis. WABC SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi says, “Frank has already contributed a great deal towards furthering civic discourse in New York. To have him back on WABC is a major coup for us and we know he’ll be an essential building block in making radio fun again. We are incredibly honored that he is joining our team and look forward to working with him.”

Round One of June PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Also, today TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. Entercom’s New York all-news stations move in different directions with WINS dropping seven-tenths for a 4.2 share and the #7 rank in the market while WCBS-AM rises three-tenths to finish with a 3.4 share and the #9 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles sheds two-tenths for a 4.4 share and the #4 rank. Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago maintains the #1 rank after dipping only one-tenth for a 6.9 share. But Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM loses seven-tenths to sink to #7 and Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM is off one-tenth with a 2.0 share and the #19 rank. In Houston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KTRH gains three-tenths for a 6.3 share and the #4 rank. Although Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta loses seven-tenths, it finishes the June survey with a 10.4 share and remains ranked #1 for the 12th straight month. You can see all of Mike Kinosian’s “Ratings Takeaways” here.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio personality Charlamagne Tha God, a.k.a. Lenard McKelvey, will launch a weekly talk show on Comedy Central according to a report by WJLA-TV, Washington. Charlamagne Tha God co-hosts the WWPR-FM, New York-based, Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Breakfast Club” morning show with DJ Envy and Angela Yee. Comedy Central indicates it hopes to have the show on the air before the November election…..Conservative media figure Ben Shapiro is officially leaving his editor-in-chief role at the Daily Wire – the alternative news outlet he co-founded in 2015. TheBlaze reports that co-CEO Jeremy Boreing says John Bickley will officially assume the editor-in-chief duties that he’s been performing for the past two years and Shapiro becomes editor emeritus. Shapiro remains part owner and will continue to be featured on the Daily Wire…..The RAB says that given the recent Facebook boycott and “continuous concerns regarding brand safety, transparency and trusted environments for advertising, RAB thought it important to provide you the tools to reinforce to the advertising community and listeners that broadcast radio is not only a safe place for brand messages, but it is trusted by consumers and influential when it comes to their decision-making.” RAB and Yamanair Creative have created an audio campaign for stations to air to reinforce that “radio always has and will continue to fulfill the responsibility of the trust we have earned with our listening audiences and advertising partners.” The Trust and Truth spots can be customized with station branding and may be downloaded for free here…..Pictured at left is GCN-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs donating blood. She says blood banks such as Vitalant and American Red Cross are testing blood donations for COVID -19 antibodies (for free) so people can in turn donate plasma to those in the ICU fighting COVID. She adds, “Despite the craziness this year we are still on course for National Blood Donation Week (this year 9/1/20 – 9/7/20) with National Blood Donation Day 9/4/20.”

Longtime Delaware Radio News Pro Allan Loudell Dies. Delaware Online reports that longtime Delaware radio newsman Allan R. Loudell has died at 64. The Colorado native joined WILM, Wilmington in 1988 after working in the Memphis market. He transitioned to WDEL in 2005 and served there until March of this year when station owner Forever Media cut staff in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The story does not report a cause of death but notes that Loudell took a medical leave in the spring of 2019.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Trump Pushes to Open Schools in Fall/Bans Foreign Students, Gun Violence Uptick/Police Reform, Mary Trump Book, Presidential Race, U.S.-China Relations, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/7). The rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; President Trump voices his push for U.S. schools to re-open in the fall and announces foreign students must leave the U.S. if their college moves to online-only classes; the surge of gun violence in several American cities amidst the calls for police reform; the family tell-all book written by President Trump’s niece, Mary Trump; the November presidential election; the tense relations between the U.S. and China; and U.S. pro sports leagues prepare for seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Philadelphia non-commercial triple A WXPN is transitioning its cancelled 2020 XPoNential Music Festival to a virtual event taking place July 25 through 27 in which the weekend will feature archived full-length sets and two-song sets presented online from some of XPoNential Music Festival’s most memorable past performers on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, new and exclusive live, full-length performances from seven of the artists who were scheduled to perform will be presented both online and on-air at the University of Pennsylvania-owned station. WXPN general manager Roger LaMay says, “XPNFest Weekend will be the next best thing to being outdoors on the Delaware Riverfront with thousands of other music lovers enjoying our unique, annual XPoNential Music Festival. To have almost a quarter of the artists who were to have appeared live at the 2020 festival still want to give WXPN members and listeners new and exclusive full-length, live performances on Sunday, July 27 says a great deal about their affection for the WXPN community.”…..Multi-platinum, award-winning artist Megan Thee Stallion is guest hosting Premiere Networks’  “American Top 40” this weekend (7-11/12). In addition to counting down the Top 40 songs, she will tease new music and talk about the making of her latest single “Girls In The Hood.” The 2020 BET Award winner will also share her advice for having a “Hot Girl Summer” while in quarantine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

| May 20, 2020

Hubbard Radio Promotes Phil Mackey to Brand & Digital Content Director. At Hubbard Radio headquarters in the Twin Cities, it’s announced that sports talk KSTP “SKOR North” brand/distribution director Phil Mackey’s role is expanded to brand and digital content development director for Hubbard Radio. He’ll report to SVP programming Greg Strassell and in this role will be dedicated to assisting Hubbard Radio managers with strategies for creation of new multi-channel content built around the core brands. Mackey will retain his brand/distribution director duties at ‘SKOR North.’ Hubbard says that under Mackey’s leadership over the past 18 months, ‘SKOR North’ grew podcast downloads, monthly app users, YouTube subscribers, and social media followers by double- and triple-digit percentage increases. Hubbard Minnesota VP/region manager Dan Seeman says, “As difficult as the COVID-19 crisis has been, we’ve learned a lot. With radio listening habits disrupted we’ve realized firsthand how important digital platforms are to brand messaging and engagement. The work that Phil has done creating digital brand extensions for ‘SKOR North’ can be utilized by all of the brands in our company. Let’s take the model and support all of Hubbard.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. There are 11 all-news outlets (however, several reach into adjacent markets) on our panel. Entercom operates eight of those, iHeartMedia, Hubbard Radio, and Sinclair Broadcast Group own the others. The format experienced intense weekly, 6+ AQH share increases from February to March, but lost some of its steam from the March to April surveys with 35% regressing and just 47% improving. Entercom’s WINS-AM, New York led the gainers adding a full share to finish with a 5.7 share. Year-over-year, the format fared well as 82% of stations saw AQH share increases, with Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco leading that pack by adding 3.6 shares. Three Entercom all-news stations ranked #1 in the April survey: WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (8.4); KCBS-AM, San Francisco (9.9); and WWJ-AM, Detroit (6.4). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

The Re-Opening Begins, Statistics & Projections, Trump vs WHO, Hydroxychloroquine Controversy, Michael Flynn Case, Inspector General Fired/Pompeo Investigation, Pressure on China, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). Numerous states begin re-opening their economies; the number of confirmed U.S. COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases; President Trump threatens the U.S. will leave the World Health Organization permanently; the controversy over Trump’s statement he’s taking hydroxychloroquine; the DOJ’s dropping the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s accusing Barack Obama of sparking the Russia inquiry; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick and the reported investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia and using staff to perform domestic chores for him; the 100 nations pushing China to open the investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; and U.S. sports leagues lay out their plans to play games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In case you missed it, there’s a great piece by Larry Stone in the Seattle Times on market sports talk radio legend Dave Grosby, who’s fighting a battle against Parkinson’s disease. As you may recall, “Groz” had to leave his daily show on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” alongside Bob Stelton and Tom Wassell last summer, although he’s still contributing to the station’s shows and digital presence…..Minor changes take place at Entercom’s WFAN, New York according to Neil Best and Newsday. He reports that Mike Francesa’s show will air on WFAN for a full hour from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, instead of ending at 6:00 pm. Also, Jerry Recco and Al Dukes are getting a full hour from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. Entercom New York SVP of programming Mark Chernoff says in a statement, “By extending the programming time of our trusted hosts, we aim to provide fans with more of the compelling sports and entertainment content they want as they navigate the changes and await the return of live events.” Tweaks to the schedule leave the evenings and overnights as follows: John Jastremski from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Steve Somers from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am, and Amy Lawrence from 3:00 am to 5:00 am…..Chicago Public Media announces that it has hired Andi McDaniel to serve as president and CEO, taking over for Goli Sheikholeslami, who left in 2019 for the CEO post at New York Public Radio. McDaniel, who has been serving as chief content officer at American University’s WAMU, Washington, will start her new position in September after a maternity leave.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an award-winning political scientist; an internationally renowned media psychiatrist; a modern era marketing expert; an expert on investing in gold; an expert on global trade; and the former Attorney general of Nebraska. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programming pro Troy Hanson is promoted to vice president/corporate programming-rock formats for Cumulus Media. This promotion adds oversight of the classic rock format for Cumulus to Hanson’s purview. Hanson was previously vice president, operations for Cumulus Chicago; program director, 101.1 WKQX-FM; and vice president, programming, rock formats (active/alternative formats). He will continue in his roles as VP, operations, Cumulus Chicago, and PD for WKQX. Hanson says, “Very appreciative of the continued confidence [EVP, content & audience] Brian Philips and [VP & market manager] Marv Nyren are showing with this new appointment. We have an amazing group of creative and talented programmers and personalities in rock to draw inspiration from daily. A tip of the cap to Brian and Marv, along with Mary Berner, Dave Milner, and Bob Walker for their stellar leadership.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

| May 6, 2020

Chris Oliviero Returns to Entercom as SVP/Market Manager for New York. It’s been almost two years since Chris Oliviero left his EVP of programming role with Entercom. On June 1, he returns to the company’s New York offices as senior vice president and market manager for the station group that includes all-news WINS-AM and WCBS-AM, sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, and alternative WNYL “ALT 92.3,” classic hits WCBS-FM, and country WNSH-FM. He assumes the role previously held by Susan Larkin, who was promoted to company chief operating officer. Larkin says, “Chris is an exceptional leader with proven success developing talent, growing many of our leading brands, and building a thriving culture. We’re thrilled to welcome him back to take the helm of his hometown where his energy, passion and drive will help further raise the bar of excellence in the top media market in the country.” Oliviero originally transitioned to Entercom as the company acquired the CBS RADIO properties.  He worked for CBS for 22 years and was a senior manager for CBS for years. He comments, “Radio in New York is an incredibly special place, so to have the chance to return to a collection of the most iconic and influential brands on the dial is humbling. Our stations are in many ways the soundtrack of the city. I am confident that along with all my Entercom New York colleagues we will add to this legacy. I can’t wait to reconnect with so many old friends and of course meet new ones as well.”

Sandhill Media to Launch New Talk Station in Idaho Falls; Neal Larson and Julie Mason Recruited for Mornings. There’s no exact launch date set for the new format but Sandhill Media Group says it will move its CHR format off KAOX-FM, Idaho Falls and install the new “Newstalk 107.9 FM” format with market morning duo Neal Larson and Julie Mason as hosts of the AM drive show. Larson and Mason left their positions with Rich Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk KID last month.  The station plans to air Westwood One’s Mark Levin program as well as other national programs.  Neal Larson is also serving as program director for the station.  He says, “We’re thrilled at the opportunity to not just continue doing what we love to do, but also join the great and talented team at Sandhill and build something from the ground up. It is a unique opportunity at a truly unique time in our community, state, and country. We can’t wait to unveil to the whole region what we’re putting together.”  Mason adds, “While being part of a brand-new station is an incredible opportunity, what we really love is what happens after – building a community of informed and loyal listeners on one side, and also watching that audience create huge value for our advertisers on the other.”  Station OM Will Kezele, says, “We have a fantastic core of music stations here at Sandhill, but the one piece we’ve been missing is a news/talk station. This is our moment to fill that void and create something that will be a valuable part of east Idaho for many years to come.” Sandhill will move the CHR format to KAOX-HD2/K286BU at 105.1 FM.

Kim Guthrie to Leave Cox Media Group President and CEO Post. This change comes as a surprise to industry watchers and one has to wonder what caused Cox Media Group president and CEO Kim Guthrie to decide to “move on from the organization after a 22-plus year career with the company.” In a press release, CMG says executive chairman Steve Pruett will serve as interim CEO until a permanent CEO is named. He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, we would like to thank Kim for her decades of service to Cox Media Group and her leadership during the company’s transition to new ownership. She has been instrumental in positioning CMG for future success as an industry-leading media company.” Guthrie, who will work with Pruett on an orderly transition, comments, “We have built a strong foundation for future growth, including an exceptional senior management team, a successful carveout from Cox Enterprises, and deep, long-term relationships with our communities, customers and partners. I have full confidence in this great team at CMG and I look forward to watching CMG’s future achievements.”

Saga Communications Reports Q1 Financials; Net Revenue Dips 6.5%. The first broadcasting company to report its first quarter 2020 financial data is Saga Communications, Inc and its report comes with a huge caveat – this report doesn’t reflect the hit the company has taken from April 1 to now.  Saga states net income increased to $1.7 million from $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 20.3%.  However, net revenue was $26.1 million for the quarter, a decrease of 6.5% from Q1 2019 in which net revenue was $27.8 million. Free cash flow was $1.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 compared to $2.6 million for the same period last year.   Saga reports having $47 million in cash on hand as of May 4, 2020. It says in its report, “The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to spread, and state and local ‘shelter-in-place’ orders in the states where we operate have impacted and restricted various aspects of our business. Our operations are functioning, subject to regulated restrictions and safety constraints we have enacted in order to protect our employees and customers. As a result of the current challenging economic conditions, our reported results for the three months ended March 31, 2020 are not reflective of current market conditions. The company’s advertising revenue has declined significantly as a result of the pandemic and these unfavorable trends have continued into May and June. While we cannot reasonably estimate the length or severity of this pandemic, an extended economic slowdown in the U.S. could materially impact our consolidated financial position, consolidated results of operations, and consolidated cash flows in fiscal 2020 or beyond.”

PPM Analysis: Extra. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the “Extra” edition of his monthly study of Nielsen Audio’s 6+ ratings data from the March 2020 PPM survey. He says this “Extra” coverage of each PPM sweep in the foreseeable future will uniquely detail month-to-month shifts among news/talk; all-news; public radio news/talk; and sports talk stations. Among this month’s data is: A ranking of the strongest spoken-word markets among the 48 PPM markets – #1 is Washington, DC, followed by Boston at #2 and San Francisco at #3; a ranking of the markets that most improved over the February 2020 PPM survey – Portland saw a 4.0 share gain from month to month, with Seattle close behind with a 3.8 share improvement; a ranking of the stations that achieved the highest increase from February to March – Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago is the winner here; as well as a look at the stations losing the most ground, month to month (hint: sports talk).  See the entire report here.

Entercom All-News Stations Honored with Awards. Two of Entercom’s all-news stations were recently honored for programming quality.  KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco garnered 10 2019 Associated Press Television and Radio Association Awards – eight first place awards and two second-place awards. KCBS won first place for Outstanding News Operation, Best Evening Newscast, and Best Spot News Coverage, among others. Meanwhile, the company’s WINS, New York took home three 2020 Excellence in Broadcasting Awards first-place honors from the New York State Broadcasters Association.  “1010 WINS” won for Outstanding Spot News, Outstanding Newscast, and Outstanding Use of Digital Platforms.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Rush to Re-Open, Scrutiny of China’s COVID-19 Response, Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll plus the projections of future cases; the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ as states begin to re-open their economies; the accusations that China tried to hide the coronavirus outbreak; the presidential race and Tara Reade’s allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and activity among the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Nobody covers the New York City sports radio scene more colorfully than the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, and in today’s column he speculates about the possible return of former WFAN-AM/FM morning personality Craig Carton now that radio executive Chris Oliviero is returning to Entercom as SVP and market manager of its New York stations. Of course, Carton is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence after being convicted of fraud in a concert tickets Ponzi-scheme. Marchand notes that Oliviero and WFAN program director Mark Chernoff put together the team of Boomer Esiason and Carton back in 2007…..ABC News’ “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir interviewed President Trump in Phoenix on Tuesday as the president was in the city visiting a plant that makes face masks. Muir is featured on ABC Audio’s “Start Here” podcast with host Brad Mielke speaking about his interview with the president…..Entercom launches a daily “I’m Listening” capsule. The 60-second public service announcements, an extension of the company’s annual, yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health awareness initiative, features the voices and thoughts of artists, celebrities, media hosts, and mental health specialists. The daily capsules will feature singer and songwriter Halsey; former American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps; singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist Lizzo; singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Allessia Cara; rock band Blink-182; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and former Nirvana member Krist Novoselic, and more to help listeners navigate the complexities of this global health pandemic…..Three new iHeartRadio Original Podcasts launch today. “Fierce,” co-produced by Tribeca Studios, is hosted by Jo Piazza and explores the stories of extraordinary women who never made it into history books; “Flashback: History’s Unintended Consequences” in conjunction with OZY Media, is hosted by OZY’s Sean Braswell who explores disastrous turning points, dangerous ideas, crazy coincidences, unsung heroes, and forgotten villains in history; and “The Trend Reporter,” hosted by four-time Emmy award-winning TV personality and journalist Mara Schiavocampo, is a weekly show that will help listeners figure out which wellness, beauty, style, and fitness trends are actually worth trying…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Podcast Network welcomes two shows to its platform: “The Stacking Benjamins Show,” with host Joe Saul-Sehy and co-host Josh Bannerman teaching listeners about personal finance through headlines, guest experts, and plenty of humor. The hour-long, magazine-style show drops each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and the spin-off program “Money with Friends” with Joe Saul-Sehy and Bobbi Rebell who are joined each season with a rotating cast of thought leaders providing fresh perspectives and unique insights to the personal finance news and issues discussed on the podcast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Jacksonville, iHeartMedia launches a regional Mexican format branded “El Patrón 97.3” on translator W247CF (fed by WKSL-HD2). The translator had been fed by sports talk WFXJ-AM. Jacksonville iHeartLatino GSM Jorge Lopez says, “I am grateful to be part of a company that sees Hispanic growth in Jacksonville, by adding another radio station and Hispanic brand to our market. With this launch, we confirm our commitment to the community and our solid growth in the communications industry in North Florida, covering 100% of the Hispanic market with our ‘Rumba’ brand and now with ‘El Patrón.’”…..SiriusXM launches the “Mandatory Metallica” channel through the month of May featuring the band’s biggest songs, rarities, and concert recordings from throughout its history. The channel is embarking on a 30-date “virtual Metallica tour,” which will air a daily concert from the band on tour around the globe, including the band’s exclusive SiriusXM concert from 2013 at the Apollo Theater in New York City and their 2016 concert at New York City’s Webster Hall.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

| April 16, 2020

Round One of March PPM Data Released.  The first of four rounds of data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The March survey covered February 27 through March 25. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets.  The Covid-19 crisis began hitting the U.S. halfway through this survey – around March 13 – and the big gainers were the all-news stations.  In New York, Entercom’s all-news stations WCBS-AM and WINS-AM were both up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) from the February survey – +0.5 and +1.1, respectively.  iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles rose 0.4 shares for a 4.2 share and the #5 rank in the market.  Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago increased six-tenths for a 4.5 share and the #5 rank, while Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago spikes 1.9 shares – the biggest February to March jump in this group of 12 markets – to finish March with a 7.7 share and the #1 rank in Chicago.  Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco is up 1.2 shares for a 9.9 share and the #1 rank.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on another 1.5 shares to finish March with a 12.9 share and its ninth straight #1 finish.  Entercom’s KYW-AM, Philadelphia added 1.9 shares for a 6.6 share and a leap from #8 to #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

KGO, San Francisco Brings John Rothmann Back for Evenings. Back in 2011, talk show host John Rothmann was let go from Cumulus Media’s news/talk KGO, San Francisco along with a number of other local air talent.  Now, nine years later Rothmann is back on the air holding down the 6:00 pm to 9:00 program (5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Saturdays).  Rothmann is featured in a story in The Jewish News of Northern California and he tells the paper that being on the air during this pandemic comes at a time that people want to connect. “There is a huge hunger for KGO as a community forum, and I’m helping fill that role, and people are responding.  My board is loaded from the time I come in until the time I head home.”  He adds, “People crave contact with others, and because we no longer have the physical contact, talk radio is the most intimate, immediate medium, and KGO is the only live, local talk show.”

WABC Launches New Weekend Show. Dubbed, “The Right vs The Left,” the Sunday afternoon show on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” “pits a WABC air personality on the right vs. well-known political commentators and activists on the left to offer listeners opposing sides of a range of current issues.”  This Sunday (4/19), WABC morning co-host Sid Rosenberg takes on left-leaning actor Michael Rapaport at 4:00 pm and WABC midday co-host Curtis Sliwa spars with “The Aggressive Progressive” Christopher Hahn at 5:00 pm.  WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi says, “At WABC, our goal is to present both sides of the story so that our listeners can get to the truth of every issue.  This special program does that in an entertaining joust between two strong, knowledgeable, opinionated-yet-open-minded personalities.  The result is engaging talk radio that pulls in the audience and keeps them there.”  The station says the program debuted last weekend with morning show co-host Bernard McGuirk going against Hahn and overwhelming response from listeners spurred it to set up the second and third matches, with the possibility of more right vs. left battles in the coming weeks.

President Trump Wanted to Host Daily Talk Radio Show; But Didn’t Want to Affect Rush Limbaugh’s Program. According to a piece in The New York Times, President Trump was eager to launch a daily, two-hour talk radio show in which he would take calls from Americans – without a call screener – to talk about the coronavirus pandemic.  However, he balked because he didn’t want to compete with conservative media icon and supporter Rush Limbaugh.  He would have wanted to do the program in afternoon, the time when Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks show airs live.

Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, WHO Funding, Trump vs Governors, Health Care System, China Under Scrutiny, and the November Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15). The official tally of U.S. coronavirus cases and deaths and projections of future cases; the controversy over President Trump’s order to suspend funding to the World Health Organization for its deference to China; the question of the president’s power versus that of the states’ governors; the state of health care and the health of medical personnel in the cities where hospitals are being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients; questions about China’s truthfulness about its handling of the outbreak in Wuhan; and how the November elections will be handled in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KTRS, St. Louis Longtime Morning Host and PD McGraw Milhaven Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The morning host and program director of independently owned and operated KTRS, AM 550 in St. Louis, McGraw Milhaven, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison and Milhaven, a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred, discuss what it’s like broadcasting from home during Covid-19 and President Trump’s handling of the crisis as well as the state of political news/talk radio in a timely conversation of interest to industry pros and listeners alike.  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 on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A special, four-week tribute series hosted by Ryan Seacrest and streamed LIVE on iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia stations debuts this Friday.  It’s called, “iHeartRadio’s First Responder Fridays with FirstNet, Built with AT&T,” and is designed to honor first responders and medical professionals on the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Seacrest is asking listeners on air on iHeartRadio stations across the country, online and through social media to share stories of how their lives have been positively impacted by police, fire, EMS and hospital workers by using #iHeartFirstResponders on social media and calling 1-833-3FRIDAY.  In honor and support of these first responders and medical professionals, AT&T is committing $5.5 million to provide much needed support in the form of nourishing meals through World Central Kitchen, Feeding America, Salvation Army, and Team Rubicon…..RCN Boston and iHeartMedia are partnering to honor local community heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.  The partnership was developed to show appreciation during these uncertain times to the people who are working tirelessly to keep the community safe and comfortable. These heroes include medical professionals, first responders, delivery service workers, cleaning staff, cooks, teachers, stock clerks and others.  RCN and iHeartMedia Boston are asking for nominations of individuals or organizations who are going above and beyond during these unprecedented times. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, April 24.  Ten heroes will be selected to receive a $250 gift card to continue their amazing work for which they are being recognized…..On-air pro Bryan “B-Dub” Washington announces via Facebook that he’s leaving his afternoon personality and APD/MD roles at iHeartMedia’s country KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull.”  He writes, “The last two years have been absolutely amazing.  I’ve had some of the coolest experiences of my entire life here, and it’s so hard to say goodbye, but the time has come.  I’ll have more to tell you, soon.  It was by choice, and when I am able to, I’ll explain why.”…..The company’s cost-saving policy forces midday air personality Jodee Woods out of Midwest Communications’ country KVOX-FM, Fargo…..Condolences to the family and friends of All Pro Broadcasting owner Willie D. Davis, who passed away yesterday (4/15) at age 85 after a long illness.  In addition to his career as a broadcaster and businessman, Davis was a Pro Football Hall of Famer who was a key defensive player on the 1960s-era Green Bay Packers.  He won five NFL championships (including two Super Bowls) as a member of the team before retiring from the game in 1969.  All Pro Broadcasting owns hot AC KHTI and adult contemporary KATY-FM in the Riverside-San Bernardino market.  Davis also formed Milwaukee Radio Alliance LLC with Bill Lynett in 1996.  It owns adult contemporary WLDB-FM, alternative WLUM-FM, and oldies WZTI-AM.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

| April 7, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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