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Thursday, July 15, 2021

| July 15, 2021

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s June 2021 survey period covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips four-tenths for a 3.6 share (6+ weekly AQH share) finish and the #11 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP also loses four-tenths, finishing the survey with a 7.7 share and falls to the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston sheds two-tenths for a 3.7 share but remains in the #9 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM also dips two-tenths for a 5.7 share and again finishes ranked #5 in the market. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM falls out of the #1 spot after losing seven-tenths and falling to a 5.9 share good for the #3 rank while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM adds 2.2 shares to climb to the #1 rank on the strength of a 6.5 share finish. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets here.

FCC Denies Petitions by Larry Wilson and Paul Stone to Nix Alpha Media Applications for Assignment of Licenses. Minority stake holders Larry Wilson and Paul Stone filed petitions with the FCC to deny the assignment of licenses for the stations that will comprise the new New Alpha, whose pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan has been approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In a ruling handed down on July 13, the FCC’s Audio Division, Media Bureau denied both petitions, paving the way for New Alpha to emerge as scheduled. Wilson argued two points: 1) that the FCC’s assigning the licenses would authorize the restructuring of the company thereby causing him economic injury as a minority stakeholder; and 2) that Alpha officers engaged in corporate misconduct by taking actions – including filing the prepackaged bankruptcy plan – without a vote of the board of directors. (Stone’s petition to deny centered around the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations.) In denying Wilson’s petition, the Media Bureau ruled that he (as well as Stone) has failed to show he has standing in the proceeding since his arguments center around his private interests and not the public interest with which the FCC in concerned. It adds that Wilson’s complaint about corporate governance is outside the Commission’s purview and belongs in a state court. You can read the ruling here.

WCNN-AM, Atlanta Unveils New Program Lineup. From a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM “The Fan” has made changes to its program lineup. First, joining the morning drive team of Brian Finneran and John Michaels are three station personalities from other dayparts. “Hometeam” Brandon Leak, Joe Hamilton, and Hutson Mason are joining the morning show on Monday (7/19) as the show changes names from “The Front Row” to “The Locker Room.” Midday host Buck Belue – currently paired with Mason – will go solo from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The new midday show will air from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and star Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino. The afternoon drive show hosted by Chuck Oliver and Matt Chernoff moves to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and its producers, Brian Hoyt and Carlos Medina, will host a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show called “Fun Bag” when Atlanta Braves games are not airing. Owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “We’ve got the deepest bench in town with local, live talent. It’s not about how many people are in the room. It’s about the right chemistry. It’s about the right energy. It’s about having the right diversity of voices to reflect the modern conversation about sports.”

Report: Good Karma Brands Talking with ESPN About New York and LA Radio Stations. According to a piece by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles owner ESPN is in “serious talks” with Good Karma Brands to have the latter operate those two stations as GKB is currently doing with ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Marchand writes, “ESPN would make such a move to reduce the head count on Disney’s books, which is nearly 40 people. In New York, it would also alleviate some of the massive cost that ESPN pays to Emmis Communications to lease the 98.7 FM signal. That would effectively put the local business sales and marketing in Good Karma’s hands, while ESPN would retain oversight of the station’s content.” Marchand asserts that ESPN’s interest in radio is taking a back seat to its efforts in the podcast genre.

WGFX Adds ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ to ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’ The new podcast platform branded “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” from Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville announces a new program hosted by NFL analyst Greg Cosell called, “The Install with Greg Cosell.” The podcast is being co-hosted by WGFX-FM midday personality Buck Reising. The show promises to bring “a different approach and sound to how Cosell covers film, as Cosell and Reising go through NFL film that Cosell has watched, through a Tennessee Titans lens.” The show also covers the rest of the NFL. Cosell, a nephew of legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell, is the co-author of the book, The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays (ESPN 2011) with Ron Jaworski and David Plaut. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “I am thrilled that Greg Cosell is partnering with Buck Reising to host ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ as the latest piece to the expanding 104.5 The Zone Network. ‘The Install’ along with Cosell’s weekly appearance on the Zone with ‘3HL’ will allow him to take Titans fans to even more places.”

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast, Sort Of. One of the most colorful members of the radio industry’s endangered species list – the independent local radio station owner/operatorMichael Zwerling is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Zwerling (known to his friends, employees and station listeners as “MZ”) has owned the 10,000-watt Central California heritage news/talk flamethrower, KSCO AM 1080 for the past 30 years. He is widely known in the radio industry for his eccentric personality, tongue-in-cheek humor, prowess in NTR marketing and unwavering commitment to local, community-involved broadcasting. Zwerling, himself, hosts a weekly two-hour, Saturday morning, commercial-free program titled, “The Saturday Special,” in which he tackles a wide variety of issues while taking listener calls and interviewing guests. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison joined MZ as a guest on the show this past Saturday for a half hour segment that candidly addressed political correctness, the First Amendment, the state of media and the future of talk radio. The provocative conversation between Harrison and Zwerling recorded on that broadcast is the basis for this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” So, in a sense, Harrison actually serves as Zwerling’s guest on this week’s podcast. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Vaccines, Trump and the GOP/New Trump Book, January 6 Investigation, Senate Democrats’ Budget, Cuba Protests, Voting Legislation, Western Heat and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The surge of COVID-19 cases in several U.S. states and the stalling rate of vaccinations; former President Donald Trump’s relationship with the Republican Party and the new Trump book, I Alone Can Fix It; the House panel to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol; the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget; the protests taking place in Cuba and in Florida’s Cuban community; controversy over the new, stricter voting policies enacted in several states; and the Western heatwave and wildfires 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.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

| December 3, 2020

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November 2020 survey (10/8-11/4), 50% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up while 28% were down and 22% were unchanged. Gainers were led by Entercom’s WWJ-AM, Detroit (+0.6) and KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Jose (+0.5). Comparing year-over-year data, 63% of all-news stations were up with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (+2.2) and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle (+2.0). During the November ratings period, two all-news stations ranked #1 in their respective markets: Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington with a 9.3 share and WBZ-AM, Boston with a 7.0 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

John Kincade Named New Morning Host at WPEN-FM, Philadephia. As a number of Philadelphia radio watchers had predicted, Beasley Media Group brings sports talker John Kincade back to Philadelphia to take over hosting duties at WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” effective January 4. Kincade was a longtime host of the “Buck and Kincade” show (with Buck Belue) on Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN-AM, Atlanta “680 The Fan.” He exited that role back in September as part of a budget-related talent shakeup at the station. He has also served as co-host of “The BIG Podcast with SHAQ” on PodcastOne. WPEN-FM program director Chuck Damico says, “We have a very clear vision for what we want to accomplish at the station and adding John Kincade is a giant leap towards accomplishing those goals. Our team is thrilled that he chose ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ for his homecoming to Philadelphia. We’re excited about the future!” Kincade says, “From the beginning of my search for a new radio home, my conversations with [market manager] Joe Bell and Chuck Damico were the most enthusiastic and interesting. It became clear to me that joining the team at ‘The Fanatic’ was the best place for me to start this next chapter. With guys I have long respected like Mike Missanelli and Anthony Gargano already there, I knew it would be an honor to join their team.”

Former NFLer Geoff Schwartz Joins FOX Sports Radio. Former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz becomes part of the weekend lineup at FOX Sports Radio where he joins FSR personality Steve Hartman as co-host of the Saturday afternoon program (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET). The program debuts on Saturday (12/5) on 400 stations and includes highlights and instant analysis on the weekend in games plus conversations with insiders and experts. Schwartz has served as one of the primary fill-in hosts for FSR’s “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” for the past three years and is a weekly guest on the show. Premiere Networks SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “Building on what’s already the strongest weekend lineup in the game, Geoff’s entertaining and thoughtful approach takes it up yet another notch. FSR’s talented weekend cast is here to deliver exactly what sports fans want before, during and after games.”

WEEI-FM, Boston Raises $1.5 Million for Jimmy Fund. The COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on the annual Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that takes place every August, so this year Entercom sports talk outlet WEEI-FM, Boston used the national “Giving Tuesday” (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving) to help raise more than $1.5 million for The Jimmy Fund that directly supports innovative cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and helps transform cancer treatment, so patients and their families can spend more time together. Since 2002, WEEI has helped raise nearly $60 million for The Jimmy Fund. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “This was the first time in 19 years we were unable to hold our annual ‘Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon,’ but this broadcast allowed us to continue supporting the fund’s lifesaving mission to provide compassionate patient care and groundbreaking cancer research for children and adults. I’m very grateful for the widespread support from our listeners and some of New England’s biggest stars to help make this radiothon a success.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Biden Transition/Trump Tactics, Georgia Runoff Elections, UN Climate Report, the Economy/New Stimulus Negotiations, and NFL’s COVID Cases Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the climbing death toll, and the rollout of vaccines in the U.K. and Russia; the Joe Biden administration transition process and Donald Trump’s ongoing statements calling the election results into question; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the dire tone of the new UN Climate Report; the state of the U.S. economy and current negotiations for a new COVID relief deal; and the NFL’s handling of positive COVID cases as the season moves toward the playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Progressive Political Talker and Multi-platform Groundbreaker Stephanie Miller Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the longest-running leaders among the relatively rare species of commercial news/talk radio progressives, Stephanie Miller is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Miller’s daily morning ensemble program, now in the middle of its second decade, has developed a large, active, and extremely loyal national audience through a cross-platform array of venues that includes terrestrial radio, SiriusXM Satellite RadioFree Speech TV, podcasts, and online streaming. During the past several years, this three-decade-plus veteran of talk radio has enjoyed groundbreaking success in bringing her “Sexy Liberal Tour” – a theatrical version of her ensemble radio show – to sold out houses at some of the most prestigious theaters in America. Since that got sidelined in early 2020 by COVID-19, she and her business partner Ron Hartenbaum have successfully morphed it into the “Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour” that has been drawing in gigantic monthly audiences anxious to see and follow what has become a rising force in online political sketch comedy. Ironically, Miller comes to the Left from the Right. She is the daughter of William MillerBarry Goldwater’s 1964 Republican presidential running mate. In a fast-paced, candid, and informal conversation between longtime friends, Harrison and Miller discuss the “survival mode” state of progressive news/talk radio, non-traditional methods of generating broadcasting revenue, the evolution of her successful theatrical (and now online) “Sexy Liberal” offshoot, and her no-holds-barred take on today’s explosive presidential politics. Not to be missed! 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. At  Entercom’a hip hop WVEE, Atlanta “V-103,” air personalities Tylerchronicles and Christina “Ms. Basketball” Granville join “The Morning Culture with Big Tigger” that airs from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Adding Tylerchronicles and Christina ‘Ms. Basketball’ Granville will not only round out our widely popular morning program, but further establish ‘V-103’ as the people’s station throughout Atlanta. Both possess a unique talent for captivating and entertaining their audiences, and I look forward to introducing them to our listeners as part of their morning routines.”…..Eagle Communications closes on the acquisition of country KZTL-FM, Paxton and rock KRNP, Sutherland – both in Nebraska – from Legacy Communications. KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.