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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

| October 21, 2020

NYPost: Carton to Sign WFAN Deal ‘Within 24 Hours.’ The latest in the Craig Carton watch comes from the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand who reports that the former WFAN, New York morning co-host will indeed sign a deal to join the Entercom’s sports talker as afternoon drive personality and his partner will most likely be current PM drive co-host Evan Roberts. Current afternoon co-host Joe Benigno will retire, as has been predicted. Carton was released from prison after a serving one year of a three-year sentence for fraud. He also owes close to $5 million in compensation to his victims.

WABC, New York Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. All day today (10/21), Red Apple Media’s “TALKRADIO 77WABC” is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing “the numerous contributions the Hispanic community has made in New York City’s businesses, governmental, political communities, and culture.” Today, WABC hosts will talk with Hispanic leaders, political figures, celebrities, and more to highlight the rich heritage of the Hispanic and Latino cultures and their contributions to our country. Guests will include: Senator Marco Rubio, Tino Martinez of the Yankees, Tony Orlando, Tito Puente, Jr., and more. Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis says, “The Hispanic culture in New York City is among the most vibrant and fastest growing. As an immigrant myself, I understand what it means to take pride in your culture, your heritage, your ethnicity, and the path by which we all became ‘New Yorkers.’ 77WABC Radio, Gristedes, D’Agostino’s, and Red Apple Group are proud of the contributions made by our Hispanic brothers and sisters, whether it is the thousands of Hispanic-owned businesses or the millions of New Yorkers of Hispanic heritage who work, live, play, and pray here in the greatest city on earth. It is only right and appropriate that we take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments and tremendous impact that our fellow Hispanic New Yorkers have had throughout our City’s storied history.”

TALKERS News Notes. Based on data from its ongoing “Share of Ear” study, Edison Research says that for the first time since it began tracking audio consumption in 2014, podcasting’s share of all audio listening is now 6% of consumption, marks an all-time high for the on-demand audio medium. This finding was revealed at the Podcast Movement Virtual conference Tuesday (10/20) in a keynote address by Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. The latest findings show that the share of time Americans age 13+ spend with podcasts as a percentage of all their audio listening has tripled from just 2% in 2014…..Starnes Media Group announces that independent Baltimore news/talk outlet WCBM-AM adds the “The Todd Starnes Radio Show” and the short-form feature “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” to its program lineup. The daily talk show is airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm…..As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago news anchor Jennifer Keiper is joining the CBS News Radio staff as a national anchor, effective November 9. She’ll be heard on the network’s hourly newscasts…..The Virtual News Center adds D&Z Media, LLC’s classic hits/full service KQPR-FM, Albert Lea, Minnesota “Power 96” to its roster of affiliate radio stations. Virtual News Center’s Marina Brett is providing daily anchored newscasts for the station…..iHeartMedia Cleveland announces it enters into a multiyear, multi-team broadcast agreement with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, AHL’s Cleveland Monsters and NBA G League’s Canton Charge for its stations to serve as official flagships for radio play-by-play broadcasts. News/talk WTAM and rock WMMS will serve as flagships for Cavs basketball; WARF-AM “FOX Sports 1350 AM The Gambler” is the new home for Monsters hockey; and 99.7 FM Canton’s New Country is home to Charge basketball…..Duke University and Hall of Fame basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski begins hosting the 16th season of his SiriusXM talk program “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” tomorrow (10/22) at 6:00 pm ET. Krzyzewski is scheduled to be joined by Frank Vogel, head coach of the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, and Jon Cooper, who coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup Championship last month.

The Presidential Election/Early-Mail In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Google Anti-Trust Suit, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Stimulus Deal, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Rush Limbaugh Cancer Update, and World Series Begins Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20). The November 3 presidential election and the issues of early and mail-in voting; the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and the world and projections for a fall/winter second wave; the Department of Justice files a landmark Anti-Trust suit against Google; the case of the Hunter Biden laptop and allegations of Joe Biden’s influence in the Ukraine; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; conservative media figures decry “censorship” of their content by Twitter and Facebook; talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh’s update on his Stage 4 lung cancer; and the Dodgers and Rays begin the 2020 World Series 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. A number of personnel moves take place at Cox Media Group’s Houston and San Antonio operations. Director of operations for Houston Johnny Chiang adds corporate country format leader to his responsibilities. CMG says in this expanded role, he will partner with all six of CMG’s award-winning country stations. Christi Brooks rises to director of branding/programming for KCYY, San Antonio. She was most recently assistant director of branding/programming and midday personality at the company’s country KKBQ, Houston. Finally, KKBQ afternoon drive personality Caitlin “CJ” Johnson is promoted to the station’s assistant director of branding/programming role. CMG Radio VP of audience and content Tim Clarke adds, “Johnny, Christi, and CJ are all outstanding leaders in CMG Country, and I am thrilled to see them rise in our organization. In each of their new roles, they will make our award-winning country brands even better.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX-FM, Chicago launches a companion podcast and Sunday music feature, both called “The History of Alternative,” sponsored by Wintrust Community Banks. The new podcast and weekend feature are based on the station’s special of the same name that aired daily from September 8 through October 7, encompassing 2,986 songs played over 22 days. The weekly show will air Sundays from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon and be hosted by Brian Phillips. Additionally, James VanOsdol and Jon Manley will dig even deeper into the alternative vaults as they host “The History of Alternative” podcast where each episode will focus on a specific topic, special guest or concept.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

| September 1, 2020

Salem Radio Network to Syndicate Charlie Kirk Show. Beginning October 5, Salem Radio Network is syndicating a new, three-hour talk show hosted by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk. He’s been hosting an eponymous podcast that SRN says has “quickly become one of the top ten podcasts according to the Apple News charts.” The radio program will air live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart. Kirk founded Turning Point USA in his parents’ garage in the suburbs of Chicago when he was 18 years old. SRN says that today, that organization has a presence on over 2,000 campuses, directly engages over 250,000 students every year, and boasts a staff of over 450 full-time and part-time employees scattered across the country, all “playing offense with a sense of urgency to win America’s culture war.” Kirk is also the author of the bestseller The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas that Will Win the Future (Broadside Books, 2020). Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce says, “Rarely do we find somebody as knowledgeable and talented as Charlie Kirk as a potential talk radio host. He wants to change the world and I think he’s the type of talent who can actually do that. It will be a great opportunity to watch him succeed.”

Sports Talker Nate Lucas Off Air After Using ‘Sexist Slur.’ According to a report in the Springfield News-Leader, KTXR-FM, Springfield, Missouri “ESPN Jock 98.7” host Nate Lucas is off of his 9:00 am to 11:00 am show after using a “sexist slur” to describe vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. The News-Leader’s Harrison Keegan says that Lucas was also “hypercritical” of members of the Missouri State University football program after they announced a campus march to raise awareness of racial injustice. That caused fellow station host Art Hains (who is also play-by-play broadcaster for Missouri State athletics) to take leave of his program because of Lucas’ comments. Hains said he “did not want to be associated with the ‘regrettable’ comments Lucas made about Missouri State student-athletes and staff.” Tom Ladd, operations manager for the Zimmer Midwest Communications station, asked listeners to give management “time to deal with the situation.”

Round One of August PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s August 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 August 2020 survey period covered July 16 – August 12. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. With the return of live sports, Entercom’s WFAN, New York adds six-tenths to climb to a 2.3 share and the #17 rank. The company’s all-news WINS tacks on a half share to finish the survey with a 4.3 share and remains ranked #7. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI dips eight-tenths for a 3.9 share and slides to the #5 rank. Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago halts its recent slide with a three-tenths increase to finish the August survey with a 3.6 share and the #9 rank. Across town, Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM remains ranked #1 on the strength of a three-tenths increase to wrap the survey with a 7.3 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

Ramsey Network Launches Dr. John Delony Podcast. A new podcast from Ramsey Solutions is joining the Ramsey Network. “The Dr. John Delony Show” is a caller-driven show that provides real talk about life, relationships, and mental health challenges from host and Ramsey Personality Dr. John Delony, a leading voice on relationships and emotional wellness. Ramsey Solutions says, “Through humor, grace and grit, Delony gives people the tools they need to cut through the chaos of anxiety, depression, and disconnection.” The show will be published three times a week and will be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, the Ramsey Network app, YouTube and on smart speakers.

Entercom and GM Partner for RADIO.COM Native App in Seven Million Vehicles. This deal between Entercom and General Motors will put RADIO.COM as a native, in-dash application into nearly seven million compatible Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac vehicles. The app allows drivers with compatible vehicles to seamlessly access RADIO.COM through embedded technology beginning on September 15. Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “We’re pleased to launch this app with GM to expand the reach of RADIO.COM’s connected car offering into millions of vehicles across the country and enhance the consumer in-vehicle experience. Drivers now have another way to connect with their favorite station and talent, regardless of the market they live in, and enjoy our robust portfolio of leading local news and sports radio content, as well as our suite of leading music stations, podcasts, and on-demand audio content whenever they want, wherever they are going.”

Entercom to Implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan. In a memo to all employees, Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field announces that the company’s Diversity, Equit and Inclusion Task Force has produced a four-prong action plan for the company that seeks to “build a more diverse organization, strengthen our culture of inclusion and respect and foster a more just, equitable and inclusive nation.” The plan calls for a partnership with the National Urban League to “deepen our understanding of economic and social justice issues within our communities and provide support for NUL programs through public service messages”; a partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities Morehouse, Clark, and Spelman “through various actions to provide career opportunities and counseling, while creating a pipeline of diverse talent for key hiring needs within our organization”; a fellowship program “to create up to 10 fellowship roles for recent college graduates emphasizing diverse candidates to fill key openings across the organization”; and unconscious bias training “for our leadership team and online training for our entire team as part of our ongoing investments in skill building and training.”

Danno Wolkoff Named COO at Sun Broadcast Group. Media executive Danno Wolkoff is named chief operating officer at Gen Media Partners’ general market network division Sun Broadcast Group. Wolkoff takes over for Julio Aponte, who recently exited the company. Wolkoff joined SBG after it acquired Wolkoff’s Envision Networks in January of this year. Also, SBG announces it has created two additional New York-based ad sales positions with the hiring of Jackie Cardillo and Angela Codella, both of whom will report directly to Wolkoff.

Presidential Race, Protest Violence/BLM Movement, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, New Stimulus Deal, and NFL Investigating Washington Football Team Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). The November presidential election; the violent protests in Portland and Los Angeles and President Trump’s planned trip to Kenosha in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the COVID-19 outbreaks at numerous college campuses; a new stimulus deal being worked on in Congress; and the NFL takes over the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the Washington Football Team were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In Los Angeles, Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC-AM is adding network newscasts from Total Traffic and Weather Network. TTWN has provided local news and traffic reports to the station since 2018. Under the expanded partnership, TTWN will provide KABC-AM with unbranded network newscasts delivered by TTWN’s 24/7 News division. KABC-AM had been using the Westwood One News service that ceased operations on August 30. KABC VP and market manager Drew Hayes says, “We are excited and happy to continue and expand our relationship with TTWN. They have proven to be not only a top-shelf national news and traffic services provider, but also a responsive and creative partner.”…..Hubbard Radio unveils a new podcast app built specifically for Minnesotans called, PodMN. The mobile app was soft launched in December and showcases podcasts that feature voices, topics and stories that are rooted in Minnesota. It is also aimed at making locally produced audio more discoverable and more profitable for its creators. Users will find hundreds of podcasts from independent local content creators like PodMN’s own senior editor Beth K. Gibbs who also produces and co-hosts the podcast, “Totes Recall.”…..Cox Media Group Tulsa is partnering with the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance to provide four weeks of hands-on, curiosity-driven activities during the month of STEMtember “to help grow a love of science, technology, engineering and math in Green Country students and families.” Each week will offer free virtual experiences for students and teachers, and some weeks will include a physical component. CMG Tulsa vice president Cathy Gunther says, “We are proud to partner with the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance to help offer hands-on resources for students to use, especially now when so many are engaged in distance learning.”…..Rush Street Interactive and VSiN announce a multi-year agreement that includes the launch of “Rush Hour.” VSiN will broadcast “Rush Hour” live from the in-casino sportsbook in Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Illinois weekdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET…..Actor Zack Robidas (“Succession,” “Friends from College,” “30 Rock”) hosts “The Pod Spotter,” a podcast that celebrates under-the-radar and next-big-thing podcasts. Created and produced by Price Brothers, “The Pod Spotter” will be published every Monday. Robidas says, “With over a million podcasts in existence today, and more being developed every day, it’s sort of the Wild West out there when it comes to pod fans finding appropriate content. When I was approached to host the show, I was shocked to find that no such resource exists. And so, we wanted to do a show that not only entertained but had great utility as well.”…..C13Originals expands its partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham, and HISTORY with a new podcast documentary series, “It Was Said,” that focuses on some of the most important, impactful and relevant speeches in history. Drawing on a selection of speeches from powerful figures in history like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, JFK, RFK, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Lewis, Edward R. Murrow, and Barbara Jordan, Meacham offers expert insight and analysis into their origins, the orator, the context of the times they were given, why they are still relevant today, and the importance of never forgetting them. “It Was Said” launches tomorrow (9/2).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio legend Scott Shannon and Entercom agree to a contract extension to continue his hosting the “Scott Shannon in the Morning with Patty Steele” program on classic hits WCBS-FM, New York as well as his nationally syndicated weekend countdown show “America’s Greatest Hits.” Entercom SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “When New Yorkers think of morning radio, they hear Scott Shannon in their minds. Generations of listeners have woken up with Scott as the first voice they hear each day. As relevant and compelling as ever, it is fitting that he holds court on WCBS-FM 101.1, right in the middle of that radio dial that he has influenced like no other talent in history.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Bon Jovi has been added to the lineup for the 10th anniversary of its iHeartRadio Music Festival that will feature live performances recorded on stages in Los Angeles and Nashville in front of a virtual audience that will include a Capital One Fan Wall of iHeartRadio station winners. Taking place on September 18 and 19, the concert event is being hosted by Ryan Seacrest and this year’s virtual two-day mega-concert will feature already announced performances from: BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown with special guest Khalid, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett, Usher and more. The CW Network will broadcast the two-night televised iHeartRadio Music Festival on September 27 and 28.

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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

| July 15, 2020

WBAL-AM, Baltimore Moves C4 to Morning Show; Yurpizy Morgan Moves to Middays. The new morning program on Hearst Television’s news/talk WBAL-AM, Baltimore is “Mornings with C4 and Bryan Nehman,” airing from 5:30 am to 10:00 am. Nehman has been hosting mornings on WBAL since 2012. Clarence M. Mitchell IV, a.k.a C4, had been hosting the 9:00 am to 1:00 pm program. Yurpizy Morgan – previously hosting the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program since being promoted from weekends in January of 2019 – is now on air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The station expects to name a new, permanent host for the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart soon. Station president and general manager Cary Pahigian comments, “C4 and Bryan are among Maryland’s most informed, outspoken, and connected broadcasters. Their frequent on-air collaborations always receive high marks from listeners. This new partnership, along with WBAL’s award-winning news coverage, further solidifies WBAL as Baltimore’s first choice for news and talk.”

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 June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. June was a mixed bag for the all-news format as 50% of stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go down while 44% were up. Leaders on the positive side were Entercom’s KNX, Los Angeles (+1.0, 3.9 share) and iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (+0.7, 6.6 share). Comparing June 2019 to June 2020, 69% of all-news stations were up, led by Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+2.7, 8.9 share); KYW, Philadelphia (+2.3, 6.1 share); and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (+2.1, 6.9 share). Two all-news outlets – WBBM, Chicago and KCBS-AM, San Francisco – ranked #1 in their respective markets in June. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Talkers 2020 Convention Officially Cancelled.  The 23rd annual installment of the talk media industry’s largest, longest running and most important national convention set for October 16 in New York City has been officially cancelled.  It was originally scheduled for June 5 and then postponed until October 16 in hope that the disruption of public events imposed by COVID-19 would be alleviated by the Fall.  In a statement issued this morning (7/15), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We regret that this decision had to be made. We waited as long as possible before coming to it. However, an event of this nature is completely impractical under the circumstances. Especially with all the hugging, kissing and ‘elbow rubbing’ that takes place at this iconic conference. Hopefully, next year will be better and we’ll pick up with Talkers 2021.” In the meantime, look for information to be posted shortly announcing details of an online, on-demand version of the conference’s key panel discussions, keynote addresses, and award presentations that will run in TALKERS for a week in late Summer or early fall. Those who have registered for Talkers 2020 will be receiving refunds and sponsors will be contacted shortly about plans going forward.

Gow Media Re-Brands SB Nation as SportsMap Radio Network. Effective July 27, SB Nation Radio becomes SportsMap Radio. Owner Gow Media says it is making the change to operate the network it has owned for more than 10 years under its own brand. Gow Media acquired the assets of Sporting News Radio and rebranded the network through partnerships to become Yahoo Sports Radio. That lasted five years. Then a deal was struck with SB Nation some four years ago. Gow Media CEO David Gow says, “We have benefitted from brand partnerships with great companies such as Yahoo and SB Nation but have ultimately concluded that we no longer want to be subject to the fate of another brand. Strategically, it is important to build our own brand. For our sponsors, we maintain our large audiences with a network of over 500 affiliate stations. For our affiliates, our strong lineup remains. What is different though is that by operating as SportsMap, we can partner with multiple entities (vs. a single brand partner) in the development of new content and the expansion to digital platforms.” Recently, Gow has added sports talk talent including Scott Ferrall through Sportsgrid and Tony Bruno and Eytan Shander through JAKIB Media. Network program director Craig Larson adds, “Top to bottom our lineup has never been stronger. We have gotten great feedback from our affiliates.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that former WCAU-TV, Philadelphia “NBC10” anchor/reporter Denise Nakano is joining Entercom’s all-news KYW-AM as a part-time anchor. Nakano exited the NBC O&O television station in June in what was a COVID-19-related financial move…..In Chicago, two WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM staffers are exiting. According to a report by media writer Robert Feder, sports anchor George Ofman and traffic and spot news helicopter reporter Kris Habermehl are leaving the Entercom station in what appears to be budget-related layoffs…..Numerous news outlets – including BBC News – are reporting that ViacomCBS is severing its relationship with television and radio personality Nick Cannon after a recent edition of his “Cannon’s Class” podcast “promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” On the podcast, Cannon – who also hosts morning drive on Muerelo Media’s hip hop KPWR, Los Angeles “Power 106” and a syndicated radio show via Skyview Networks – interviewed former Public Enemy rapper Professor Griff in which the two discussed the theory that Jews control the media. ViacomCBS issued the statement, “ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism. While we support ongoing education and dialogue in the fight against bigotry, we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces a partnership with Omnicast Media that brings the podcast “Something You Should Know” to the Westwood One Podcast Network. The program began decades ago as a radio feature and in September 2016 was launched as a podcast by host Mike Caruthers. In each episode, Carruthers interviews top experts in their fields to offer fascinating information and advice to help listeners save time and money, advance their careers, become wealthy, improve relationships, and simply get more out of life.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Moderna Reveals Positive Vaccine Results, Trump Reverses Foreign Student Ban, Biden Unveils $2 Trillion Climate Plan, Presidential Race & Primaries, Violent Portland Protests, Trump Signs Hong Kong Accountability Act, Ghislaine Maxwell Bond Hearing, and Sports Leagues Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The spiking number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; pharmaceutical firm Moderna says latest COVID-19 vaccine trial shows “robust” immune response; President Trump reverses his ban on foreign college students; presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden unveils his $2 trillion climate and infrastructure plan; the November presidential election and Tuesday’s primary results in Alabama, Maine, and Texas; the ongoing, violent protests in Portland, Oregon; Trump pushes back against China by signing the Hong Kong Accountability Act; a judge rules Ghislaine Maxwell must remain in prison as she awaits her trial set for next summer; and the status of sports leagues as they prepare to play games 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. Programming pro Mat Mitchell is named brand and content director for Hubbard Radio’s hot AC KSTP-FM, Minneapolis “KS95.” Mitchell joins Hubbard from his most recent position with iHeartMedia in Phoenix where he programmed CHR KZZP, hot AC KMXP, and adult hits KYOT.  Minnesota region manager Dan Seeman says, “As you can imagine, this position attracted some of the best programming talent in America. We talked to a lot of smart and passionate programmers and Mat was the consensus favorite. He has great experience, vision, and a proven track record. Mat has the opportunity to work with one of the most talented staffs in radio. We are excited for Mat to lead the next chapter of ‘KS95.’”…..Digital/social media pro Lauryn Snapp is adding on-air contributor duties for the Premiere Networks-syndicated “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” and “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.” Premiere announces that effective immediately, Snapp will join Cody Alan each night, bringing pop culture and lifestyle stories to the country radio programs. When concerts and events return, she’ll also join Alan on the road as he provides listeners with artist interviews and behind-the-scenes reports. Alan says, “Lauryn’s winning personality and witty repartee make her a natural fit to join me on the mic every night. Her passion for music, culture, and fan engagement across our digital and social networks has quickly become an essential part of our programming.”…..SiriusXM announces the launch of its latest collection of exclusive radio channels dedicated to iconic musicians including: Beastie Boys, Bob Marley, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, and Queen, plus the return of The Prince Channel, that will be available through August 13.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

| June 9, 2020

Round One of May PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 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). Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and so far, it appears the weekly, 6+ AQH shares for news/talk stations has leveled off after enjoying ratings spikes during the April survey. In New York, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR went from a 3.0 share in April to a 2.6 share in May. In Los Angeles, iHM news/talk KFI dropped nine-tenths to finish May with a 4.6 share and the #2 rank in the market. Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago forfeits four-tenths for a 5.2 share but remains in the #3 slot. Entercom all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago loses 1.4 shares but stays at #1 with a 7.0 share. In San Francisco, Entercom’s KCBS-AM gives back 1.4 shares for an 8.5 share finish and the #2 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta relinquishes 2.8 shares but stays in the #1 spot for the 11th straight sweep. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” adds one-tenth to finish May with a 6.8 share and the #3 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

New Podcast from Pollster Scott Rasmussen Debuts on Just the News. The Just the News multiplatform news network announces a new, daily podcast called “Number of the Day” from pollster, political analyst, and author Scott Rasmussen.  The “Number of the Day” has been a long-running feature at Rasmussen’s Ballotpedia.org that now becomes the newest show on the Just the News podcast platform. Just the News founder John Solomon says, “Scott has been conducting our widely quoted daily poll and now he will give our listeners a podcast that makes sense of the numbers that define what Americans are thinking. He is one of the most respected barometers of American sentiment. The context and insights he brings to politics are a must-listen opportunity as we head into the 2020 fall election.” Ron Hartenbaum is managing member of Crossover Media Group, which handles ad sales for Just the News as well as produces, sells and distributes audio and video programming for the platform. He says, “Scott has earned his place among America’s premier pollsters and political analysts. He gets it right more often than most and his insights can be essential to understanding the 2020 races.” The podcast will be published each morning at 8:00 am ET.

BLM Protests, De-Fund Police Movement/Police Reform, U.S. in Recession, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Prince Andrew & Jeffrey Epstein Case, and Fate of MLB Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the country; the movement in several cities to de-fund police departments and New York’s discussion about reforming its police department; economists determine the U.S. officially entered a recession in February; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and concerns about rising numbers in the wake of re-openings and protest activities; the U.S. Justice Department’s interest in Prince Andrew in connection with the case of the late Jeffrey Epstein who was charged with sex trafficking; and the fate of the 2020 baseball season as players and the league continue to negotiate were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new content deal between FOX News Media and SiriusXM to report. FOX News Audio president John Sylvester announces that all of FOX News Podcasts’ original programming is now available to Pandora users across all tiers of the service. Also, the daily news digest “The FOX News Rundown” is now airing weekday mornings on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel. Sylvester says, “We are thrilled to expand our longstanding partnership, ensuring SiriusXM and Pandora’s combined over 100 million listeners continued access to our cutting-edge news coverage, as well as our best-in-class lifestyle and opinion programming.”…..iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee sports talker WRNW-FM “97.3 The Game” adds a new, Saturday evening show called, “On Your T’s and Q’s,” co-hosted by Milwaukee natives, Grady “Trey” Crosby III and Quinton “Q” Miller. Each Saturday evening from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm the duo will share their intense and passionate views on a variety of sports and discuss a multitude of topics within the Milwaukee community and worldwide…..According to May 2020 data from the London-based financial publication Learnbonds.com, just 10 podcast publishers accounted for 893.78 million streams and downloads. in May 2020. Learnbonds says, “iHeartRadio podcasts attracted the highest downloads and streams at 216.15 million, followed by NPR with 208.92 million. Among the top 10 podcast publishers, iHeartRadio and NPR accounted for 47.6% of the streams and downloads. In the third spot, there is New York Times podcasts which attracted 130.28 million streams and downloads. In the fourth spot, there is PRX which had 82.87 million streams and downloads while Barstool Sports closed the top five categories with 55.46 million streams.” Learnbonds says other publishers with top podcast streams and downloads include Wondery (53.64 million), NBC News (41.97 million), Cumulus/Westwood One (37.74 million), WNYC Studios (35.91 million) and Kast Media (30.74 million)…..SportsGrid announces its 24/7 linear video gaming network is launching on The Roku Channel. SportsGrid says its live video original programming will be available to Roku users “delivering insightful analysis with extensive team, player, pre- and post-game data and statistical intelligence. SportsGrid features a team of experienced anchors and analysts providing the network’s comprehensive signature programming coverage including “Ferrall Coast to Coast” hosted by Scott Ferrall, “Game Time Decisions” with Gabe Morency and “In-Game Live.”…..Beasley Media Group Philadelphia announces details about the Beasley Small Business Advertising Grant Program presented by PECO in which the company is giving away $250,000 in advertising grants to businesses located in the Philadelphia Metropolitan market. A total of five $10,000 advertising grants per Philadelphia station will be awarded. The stations include: country WXTU-FM, rock WMMR-FM, adult hits WBEN-FM, sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” and classic rock WMGK-FM and the initiative takes place June 8 – 21. A total of five $10,000 advertising grants will be awarded per station. Interested local businesses are encouraged to submit a 300-word essay on why they should be chosen to receive the advertising grant. Consideration will be based upon the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as community service, business culture, and employee loyalty.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Nate Reed is promoted to operations director for Cox Media Group’s Tampa station group. Reed has been serving as director of branding and programming for adult contemporary outlets WDUV “105.5 The Dove” and WWRM “Magic 94.9,” roles he will continue. His new position also gives him programming oversight for CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5,” classic hits WXGL “107.3 The Eagle,” and talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone.” CMG Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless says, “Nate is a brilliant programmer, thoughtful leader, and an all-around great person. The entire CMG Tampa team is fortunate to have Nate leading the future of our content.”…..The Wichita Eagle reports that SummitMedia’s country KFDI, Wichita laid off staffers recently and among the casualties are midday host, APD and music director Carol Hughes and assignment editor Wil Day. Former KFDI news director Dan Dillon is quoted by the paper saying, “I have never seen a better ambassador for that radio station than Carol Hughes. Listeners loved her. Her contacts in the country music industry were unbelievable. They still are.”…..Beasley Media Group announces rock WDHA-FM, Dover, New Jersey air personality Curtis Kay has died after a three-and-a-half-year battle with lung cancer. Kay had been with the New Jersey rock station for 40 years. He launched his radio career in 1980 when he was hired by Howard Stern at WRNW in Westchester, New York. Beasley Media New Jersey SVP and regional market manager Dan Finn says, “Besides being an enormous and passionate talent, Curtis was the salt of the earth. He was such a kind person with an incredible disposition. I’m proud to have had the honor to work with him.”…..As the state of Connecticut continues to adjust guidelines related to graduation, Connoisseur Media’s rock WPLR, New Haven is helping one area high school with its graduation ceremony. Tomorrow (6/10) at 5:00 pm, the station will stop regular programming and air, commercial free, the full graduation ceremony of Amity Regional High School. The school is too big to comply with the state’s social distancing guidelines for an in-person graduation ceremony. Connoisseur VP of programming Keith Dakin says, “We have felt incredibly bad for our local high school seniors and we thought this was a great way to honor them. They won’t be able to walk across the graduation stage, but they will be able to hear their name over 50,000 watts throughout the state. Who else can say that?”