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Monday, October 19, 2020

| October 19, 2020

Monday Memo: Round-Off Teases. Even just-a-few more minutes, from just-a-few loyal listeners can move the ratings needle. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a simple tip. Read it here.

The Presidential Race/Early Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Stimulus Deal, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ The Economy/Financial Markets Activity, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the current early voting taking place; the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world and in the U.S., projections for fall-winter outbreaks, and the push for an effective vaccine; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani teases more to come from Hunter Biden laptop trove; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; complaints from conservative media figures about being censored by Twitter and Facebook; the state of the U.S. economy and the uncertain financial markets activity; and the functioning of U.S. pro sports leagues amidst the pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: No Such Thing As a Born Salesman. Poll a bunch of radio sales pros and you’ll probably find most agree that successful salespeople are “born salesmen.” Well, sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, says that’s not true. He says, “Professional selling is a series of learned skills.” He adds that because of that, the most successful sellers and managers are constantly working to improve their learned skills. Read his column here.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Officially Cuts Ties with Wendy Bell. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and talk show host Wendy Bell have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. This move came Friday, about six weeks after Bell was taken off the air by management for suggesting that park rangers should shoot on sight anyone seen vandalizing a public monument. The show segment in question was posted to Bell’s Facebook page in which she states, “My easy solution for the park rangers and hopefully snipers who are going to be watching for this is to shoot on sight. Shoot, done. No more messing with monuments. You want to mess with a monument? Done, get out.” Bell posted a Facebook video on Friday in which she is heard conversing with her husband and laments “being fired for sharing conservative values.” Bell had worked for CBS’ KDKA-TV for 18 years but was fired in 2016 over comments that the station deemed racist.

Charlie Kirk Latest SRN Personality to Have Twitter Account Locked. Although his Twitter account is active now, Salem Radio Network host and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk had his account locked on Sunday (10/18) after he posted a tweet based on a report published by ProPublica stating that the state of Pennsylvania had rejected 370,000 ballots. His actual tweet stated: “Pennsylvania has just rejected 372,000 mail-in ballots. One voter was said to have submitted 11 duplicate ballots. Pennsylvania might be the key to winning the White House. What’s going on?” However, the story actually said that 370,000 ballot requests had been rejected and that one voter had rejected 11 duplicate requests. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Charlie Kirk and Sebastian Gorka are in good company since Twitter also locked President Trump’s official campaign account last week. But these attempts by Big Tech to muzzle the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions two weeks before the election are what has prompted the U.S. Senate to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this week to explain why he apparently feels it is okay to keep vital information from the American people.”

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 100 Years; Adds FM Signal. Legendary news/talk outlet KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh is celebrating 100 years of service as “the authoritative news and talk voice of Pittsburgh.” In commemoration of the station’s centennial anniversary, the Entercom station will simulcast on FM for the first time ever and be heard on 100.1 FM (W261AX) as “100.1 FM and 1020 AM KDKA,” effective November 2. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “KDKA Radio is part of the radio history books not just here in Pittsburgh, but on a national level. What started back in 1920 as an opportunity to instantaneously provide news and information about the presidential election returns has blossomed into a key part of our listeners’ lives. After serving Pittsburghers on our AM dial for the last 100 years, we are thrilled to expand the reach of historic KDKA on FM. It’s an honor to be part of the team carrying the torch from those before us into the next 100 years.” On October 27, 1920, the Department of Commerce issued the first commercial radio station license under the call sign KDKA. The station launched on November 2, 1920 when Frank Conrad, an engineer at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, started 8ZZ and broadcast the results of the presidential election returns between Warren G. Harding and James Cox. The station’s yearlong centennial celebration has also included various original sound, historical soundbites and a special weekly program every Wednesday.

TALKERS News Notes. TALKERS magazine has learned that Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, has been hospitalized for almost two weeks with a severe case of spinal meningitis brought on by an infection. It required he undergo delicate heart valve surgery. After several touch-and-go days in a coma, family sources indicate that the surgery and treatment are showing signs of being successful and Rotella has turned the corner toward recovery. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “Our prayers go out to the Rotella family and all his many friends in the New Jersey broadcasting community and beyond who recognize Paul as one of the medium’s most dedicated advocates and all around wonderful human beings.  We wish him a speedy recovery.”…..WABC, New York talk radio host Curtis Sliwa is planning to run for mayor of New York City and he wants to make the pigeon the city’s official bird. Seen at left wearing his pigeon gaiter, Sliwa tells TALKERS he now has hundreds of pigeons that follow him from his apartment on the Upper West Side to WABC’s studios on the Upper East Side. “They wait for me until I finish my broadcast and leave. Then they follow me. The other hosts like Bernie and Sid are upset because dozens of birds flock to the windows and streets around the WABC studios awaiting my arrival. People think that I’ve lost it because I stop and talk to them. Hey, I’m a talk radio show host. I get paid to talk.” See a YouTube video of Sliwa talking to his followers here…..WSB-TV, Atlanta is reporting that federal agents are investigating the disappearance of financial adviser Chris Burns who vanished a day before he was expected to turn over documents related to an undisclosed Securities Exchange Commission investigation. Burns had brokered time from Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. Burns has not been charged with a crime, but one investor tells WSB-TV that she’s accepted that her money is probably gone. The piece also states Burns’ wife is cooperating with authorities…..Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles adds Starnes Media Group’s “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” to air Sundays at 7:00 pm. The program is based at KWAM, Memphis…..GCN nationally syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs launched the Change.org petition to end the back-and-forth between Daylight Saving and Standard time because of the multiple health risks that have been cited in scientific literature during the “spring forward,” including car accidents, heart attacks and workplace injuries.  Pre-existing legislation has stalled in Congress but Wachs tells TALKERS that the petition has gone viral, exploding in the last few days to garner over 194,000 signatures and rising. Its goal is to alert Congress to listen to the needs of individual states and their requests to end biannual time changes…..Pictured below are (from l-r): Lou Turco, president of the Lieutenant’s Benevolent Association; Vince Vallelong of the Sargent’s Benevolent Association; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and WABC, New York; and Pat Lynch, NYPD PDA Union President. They posed for the pic after taking part in TALKRADIO 77 WABC and Ramsey Mazda’s “Back the Blue Program” on Friday (10/16) in which that station asked New Yorkers to tie a blue ribbon around trees to show their support for police officers across the New York Metro area. 77WABC has already received almost 500 requests for ribbons.

SiriusXM Closes on $325 Million Acquisition of Stitcher. Back in July Sirius XM Holdings announced that it is acquiring full-service podcast platform Stitcher for $325 million. Today (10/19), SiriusXM announced it has closed the deal. The company says that alongside Pandora, Simplecast, and AdsWizz, Stitcher strengthens its position in the fast-growing podcast arena. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “We are deepening our position in podcasting, the fastest-growing sector in digital audio, and with completion of this transaction, our vision is taking shape. With Stitcher and its varied assets, we are now a one-stop shop able to meet the needs of podcast creators, publishers and advertisers, while also providing listeners with access to great shows, series and programming.” Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn stays with the company and reports to SiriusXM president and CEO Scott Greenstein. Stitcher’s chief revenue officer Sarah van Mosel also remains with the company and reports to SiriusXM chief advertising officer John Trimble.

Three Firms Partner to Expand Pacific Northwest Ag Network. The partnership between Gen Media Partners, J.L. Farmakis, Inc., and Cherry Creek Media will endeavor to expand the Pacific Northwest Ag Network that serves radio stations across Idaho, Oregon and Washington. As part of the effort, Cherry Creek Media will expand its news and content for the network that has “developed a reputation of providing in-depth and accurate farm news and information” that “producers across Washington have come to know and trust. Now that same programing is available for quality radio stations across the Northwest.” Affiliate, national, and network advertising sales will be handled by Gen Media Partners and agricultural media rep firm J.L. Farmakis, Inc. Pacific Northwest Ag Network program director Glenn Vaagen says, “The strength of the Pacific Northwest Ag Network is our connection to the farm community; those boots on the ground. Each weekday, our team provides listeners across Washington not only the latest state and national ag news, but also the latest farm research occurring at area universities, connect them with the next generation of farmers through FFA and 4-H, and much more.  We are excited about the opportunity to expand this programing across the entire Pacific Northwest.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated program “The Jubal Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG-FM, Colorado Springs “98.9 Magic FM.” Host Jubal Fresh, a.k.a. Jubal Flagg, had previously been heard on the station while partnered with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke & Jubal” show. After Jubal’s exit from the show in late March of this year, KKMG-FM continued to air the “Brooke and Jeffrey in the Morning” show. Now, “The Jubal Show” takes over the AM drive daypart…..Saga Communications names Borna Velic program director for Milwaukee classic rock WKLH-FM. Velic is also program director for the company’s rock WHQG-FM, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog.” At the same time, WHQG midday personality Mindy Novotny is promoted to music director and programming assistant for that station while sister CHR WNRG-FM midday host and music director Mandy Scott adds WKLH programming assistant duties…..Nashville Public Radio announces that Jewly Hight is named music director for WNXP “91.ONE” and Marquis Munson joins the soon-to-launch station as production coordinator. Hight has served with Nashville Public Radio as a reporter and as a contributor to the NPR Arts Desk and NPR Music, among others. Munson most recently served with Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

| September 8, 2020

Monday Memo: Noise Fatigue = News Renaissance?  With one new nightly network newscast launched, and another debuting this month, consultant Holland Cooke – himself a cable host – welcomes new play-it-straight players to the TV news menu. Read Cooke’s post-holiday Tuesday edition of the Monday Memo here.

Presidential Race/Polls/Vote-By-Mail Debate, School Openings/College Outbreaks, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Portland Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election, the most recent polls, and the debate over voting by mail; the opening of schools across the country and the outbreaks of COVID-19 cases at numerous college campuses across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, projections for future cases, and the progress on a vaccine; the ongoing violent clashes between protesters and police in Portland; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: 19 Years Ago This Friday. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about his memory of the terror attacks on the U.S. 19 years ago this Friday. Read it here.

WGN, Chicago Makes Surprise Programming Changes. The departure of Roe Conn from the afternoon drive slot on Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago was not entirely unexpected – it has been rumored that the station was considering moving on when Conn’s contract ends in December – but the timing of Friday’s announcement was a bit surprising. Conn is gone from his show, effective immediately, as is longtime WGN overnight personality Nick Digilio. Effective September 28, Steve Bertrand will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Chicago’s Afternoon News” program and Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker joins to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Anna Davlantes’ early afternoon program expands to 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In a press release, Bertrand says of the new show, “I am thrilled to get a chance to help create a show that will be equal parts informative and entertaining. With any luck, we’ll end the day a little smarter and have a good time getting there.” WGN Radio general manager Mary Boyle adds, “The importance of local news and information being shared by someone who is trusted by our audience is paramount during these challenging times. Steve Bertrand has always been committed to reporting the news in a fair and thoughtful way. This afternoon news-oriented program led by Steve is a welcome addition to our WGN Radio weekday lineup.”

Report: Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes Off SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network. According to a story in Crossing Broad, the “Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes” has been taken off of SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick channel as well as the Houston-based SportsMap Radio Network in the aftermath of Bruno’s recent comments about NBA players boycotting games and about LeBron James in particular. Deadspin wrote a very critical story about Bruno’s segment on the NBA and paraphrased Bruno in its headline that read, “NBA Players Can’t Read.” Bruno was critical of Deadspin’s twisting of his words in a piece published by Barrett Sports Media. Bruno can be heard saying, “Most of these guys can’t even read, for God’s sake.” BSM writes, “In context, it is clear that Bruno was being flippant and not as malicious as Deadspin portrays.” The Bruno and Mayes program has been removed from the website program schedules at both SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network.

Wendy Bell Off Air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a piece at Patch.com, afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. The move came after Bell said on the air that park rangers should shoot people who are vandalizing monuments to historical figures. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP Michael Spacciapolli said in a statement: “Entercom is the home to thousands of voices representing Americans of all races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, beliefs and ability. We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a platform for our communities to engage in diverse and meaningful dialogue, debate and the right to freedom of speech, we do not condone the incitement of violence on any of our platforms. Members of our community have recently brought to our attention comments made by Wendy Bell that do not align with Entercom’s values. Wendy has been taken off air until further notice. Entercom Pittsburgh remains steadfast in our commitment to inclusive conversations that engage everyone in Pittsburgh while excluding any form of violence.”

Sterling: My Cousin Brucie Problem. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling (pictured at left) writes today about his Cousin Brucie “problem.” Sterling hosts the hour immediately following radio legend Cousin Bruce Morrow’s new Saturday evening program on WABC, New York. His “problem” is figuring out how to keep as much of Cousin Brucie’s audience as he can. Read more here.

Premiere Networks Puts Black Information Network into Syndication. The newly launched BIN: Black Information Network, billed by iHeartMedia as “the first and only 24/7 national all news audio service dedicated exclusively to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective,” is being made available to stations nationwide via Premiere Networks. “Black Information Network News” features :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists, including Vanessa Tyler, Mike Stevens, Madelyne Woods, Morgyn Wood, Mike “Devin” Dunston, Tanita Myers, and Julius White. “Black Information Network News” launched on September 7 on nearly 20 stations across the country, including WVON-AM, Chicago; KMAZ-FM, Houston; KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis; and more. Midway Broadcasting chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is pleased to add the Black Information Network as our national news source. WVON’s 24-hour Black talk format is an important and impactful voice in the Chicago market and BIN is the perfect complement to keep our vibrant local community aware of what’s happening across the country. What happens in Black America matters. Telling our story matters. BIN’s timing is perfect!”

KNX, Los Angeles Celebrating 100 Years of Service. Beginning today (9/8), Entercom begins celebrating 100 years of KNX 1070 News Radio “Southern California’s only 24-hour news and traffic station” with the airing of “KNX: a Century of Covering Southern California,” a “history-rich, eight-part on-air series to commemorate its centennial anniversary and pay tribute to former employees who helped grow KNX 1070 News Radio into one of the nation’s premiere all-news brands.” On Thursday (9/10 – the station’s official anniversary) KNX will reimage itself for the day using memorable jingles, sounders and sound bites from the previous 100 years. The radio station launched on September 10, 1920 when Fred Christian started 6ADZ for the customers of his Electric Supply Company to listen to. Twenty months later in May 1922, the electric supply company was issued the call sign, KNX. Current KNX brand manager Ken Charles says, “KNX is a historic brand and I’m in awe of being a part of its illustrious history. This station is a local pillar, here before the Hollywood Sign, the Santa Monica Pier and the Rose Bowl. Just as iconic as any of our local treasures, KNX is a consistent part of the fabric of Southern California, serving as a breaking news resource for our communities, first responders and the nation.”

Jason Bailey Exits Sun Broadcast Group. Media exec Jason Bailey is leaving his role as president of Gen Media PartnersSun Broadcast Group to “move on from the network he founded in order to focus his attention on his company Reatro Ventures, the developer of affiliate research software, ARC.”  Reatro is co-owned by former Sun COO Julio Aponte who will also be taking a more active role in the start-up venture. Warren Friedland, the managing partner of Gen Media Partners, will be filling the role of president for Sun. Bailey says, “Today is bittersweet for me. I’m excited to join Julio and our team at Reatro to focus on the amazing software and app development projects we have on our plate. I’m also incredibly sad to leave my baby (Sun) for the very last time. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with the great men and women at Sun these last 12 years. They are my family and will always be in my heart. I am certain that under the leadership of Warren along with new COO, Danno Wolkoff, Sun will continue to shine bright for years to come.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WNIO, Youngstown as ‘The Gambler.’ Youngstown, Ohio sports talk outlet WNIO re-brands from “The Sports Animal” to “1390 The Gambler,” effective immediately. iHeartMedia says, “‘The Gambler’ will focus on sports talk with a concentration on gambling, including top-of-the-hour wagering updates from VSiN and will feature programming from the BetR Network, including “My Guys in the Desert,” hosted by sportscaster Brent Musberger. The station will also broadcast programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Clay Travis Show,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Lombardi Line,” hosted by former Cleveland Browns general manager, Mike Lombardi. iHM Youngstown market president Keith Kennedy says, “‘The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to The Valley and assist the Youngstown community with navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”

WGAU, Athens’ Tim Bryant Honored with Enshrinement in Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Radio news and on-air pro Tim Bryant – currently morning show host and news director for Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens – has been honored as a Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Career Achievement Inductee for his more than 30-year career in radio. Bryant is one of seven radio icons to have receive this top honor, which recognizes and celebrates individuals who have had a lasting impact on Georgia radio. The virtual ceremony was held on Friday (9/4). Cox Athens station director Kelsey Gresham says, “The name Tim Bryant is synonymous with WGAU and Athens, as his has been a steady and trusted voice on Athens’ radio station of record for a quarter of its more than 80-year history. Tim’s work goes well beyond the airwaves, as he is an integral part of the fabric of the Classic City. He is extremely involved in the community, often hosting forums and debates between political candidates, covering major local events and giving back as a volunteer to various community efforts as often as he can. We are so proud and honored to have him as part of the CMG team.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards were handed out via an on-air and social media special over the Labor Day weekend on iHeartRadio stations nationwide, and the iHeartRadio App, the all-in-one digital music, podcast, on demand and live-streaming radio service. Some of the winners included: Lizzo for “Song of the Year”; Billie Eilish for “Female Artist of the Year”; Jonas Brothers for “Best Duo/Group of the Year”; and Taylor Swift for “Album of the Year.”…..Beasley Media Group brings Delaware Valley radio personality Jessie Jordan to hot AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington “MIX 99.5” as co-host of “The Mix Morning Show with Johnny B and Jessie Jordan.” Jordan has worked on air at WIOQ-FM and WBEB-FM in Philadelphia prior to joining WJBR-FM this past summer. Station program director Eric Johnson says, “We are thrilled to have Jessie join Johnny B weekday mornings. She certainly added sparkle and feel good fun to this summer’s weekend programming. Now we get to start our day with her sunshine each morning!”…..Nick Cannon announces he’s returning to the helm of his Skyview Networks-syndicated radio program after taking time away for a period of reflection, dialogue, and study with some of America’s most notable Jewish community leaders and representatives. Skyview says, “During his hiatus, Nick worked to deepen his understanding of the issues long troubling the Black and Jewish communities and pledged from this point forward to be a leading voice and advocate for positive change, greater understanding. and unity.” Skyview president and COO Steve Jones says, “We are so appreciative of Nick Cannon’s affiliates for their commitment to Nick during his period of reflection. We recognize that he is an incredible entertainer with a powerful voice that will continue to command the interest and attention of radio listeners during this volatile time in America.”…..Connoisseur Media welcomes Janine Johns back into the company fold as general sales manager for its five-station cluster on Long Island that includes: hot AC WALK-FM, adult contemporary WKJY “K-JOY 98.3,” classic hits WBZO “103.1 MAX FM,” rock WWSK “94.3 THE SHARK,” and oldies WHLI-AM.  She’s been serving as senior account manager for Altice since 2015.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

| May 27, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Addresses Cancer Battle on Radio Show; Third Wave ‘Kicking My Ass.’ Since being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer back in January, Premiere Networks talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh has not spoken regularly about his battle with the disease as he says he “vowed not to be a cancer patient on the radio.” But he opened his Tuesday show explaining that he felt his listeners were overdue for an update. “There have been many cycles, but this is the third wave, and this current wave, I have to tell you, is kicking my ass. For the last seven days, I have been virtually worthless, virtually useless. I haven’t left the house. I haven’t done much of anything except just try to rest and relax. All of this was told to me; it was gonna be a factor.” If you missed it you can read a transcript at Limbaugh’s website here.

Holiday Weekend Re-Opening, Statistics & Projections, George Floyd Death/Amy Cooper Incident, Trump Twitter Controversy, Presidential Race, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). Americans react to the re-opening of economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll and the projections for future cases; the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the protests that followed, tied with the case of white New Yorker Amy Cooper who called the police on a black man for asking that she leash her dog; President Trump’s tweet alleging that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough killed a woman who died in the then-congressman’s office; the November presidential elections; and the world’s financial markets begin the week on a bullish note were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: Drop AM/FM Advertising at Your Own Risk. In this week’s Westwood One blog, the company reveals the results of a case study of a new brand that, after two years of a radio campaign that helped it compete with two established brands, dropped radio and doubled down on TV. You can probably see where this is going as WWO calls this a “cautionary tale.” Westwood One says the Nielsen analysis indicated that TV skews much too old for the consumer category. The brand’s category users are mostly made up of adults 18-49 (73%). When the brand left AM/FM radio for television, campaign impressions skewed much older. Only 36% of the TV impressions were 18-49. The vast majority of TV deliveries (64%) occurred over the age of 50. WWO adds that the demographic imbalance of the TV plan also extended to key targets for the brand. Compared to heavy TV viewers, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are far more likely to be members of the brand’s frequent shopper club, have access to their distribution platform, and are much more likely to be heavy category users. Additionally, dropping AM/FM radio in 2019 caused erosion in awareness, weekly usage, brand consideration, and AM/FM radio ad recall. After strong growth from 2017 to 2018, association to brand attributes stagnated from 2018 to 2019. Finally, dropping AM/FM radio also caused major damage among heavy AM/FM radio listeners. Brand equity suffered greatly down the entire purchase funnel with double-digit losses. See more from the blog here.

Shadoe Stevens Delivers Innovative Podcast Series, ‘MentalRadio.’  Legendary LA-based radio personality and multimedia icon Shadoe Stevens has launched a 10-episode series of 30-minute podcasts collectively titled, “MentalRadio.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes the podcast series as “one of the coolest audio media extravaganzas to come down the pike since the golden age of radio theater. It’s a rich listening experience.”  Stevens, tells TALKERS, “‘MentalRadio’ is subversive optimism disguised as comedy – each episode is a scripted, 30 minutes of highly produced, immersive audio theater. It’s SNL-style sketches, original music and jingles, and features parodies of everything from conspiracy theories to breaking news and pop culture.”  Stevens adds, “‘MentalRadio’ uses humor, entertainment, and real solutions to try to shift a listener’s mental state away from doubt and gloom and toward optimism and hope, to feel better whether they want to or not.”  Stevens has an extraordinary media background that goes back for decades.  He was an innovative programmer who played a major role in the establishment of iconic LA rock stations KMET and KROQ, hosted “American Top 40” following Casey Kasem, served as announcer and personality on a number of network television game shows and talk shows in addition to appearing as an actor in several major TV series and motion pictures.  To learn more about “MentalRadio,” please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece published in the Pittsburgh alt-weekly CityPaper takes a critical look at the programming on Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM. Citing some former and current staffers – all anonymously – writer Ryan Deto explores what he concludes has been a concerted effort to become more aggressively hard right on the part of its talk hosts, specifically late morning host Marty Griffin and afternoon drive personality Wendy Bell…..Nexstar Media Group is producing a COVID-19 special that will air on Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from WGN-TV, Chicago and be simulcast on eight other Nexstar TV stations across Illinois as well as on WGN-AM. The program is called “Illinois Town Hall: Responding to COVID-19” and is being hosted by WGN-TV news anchors Tahman Bradley and Julie Unruh along with political analyst Paul Lisnek. Nexstar president Tim Busch says, “Illinois residents interested in hearing about the impact of the pandemic and who want to express their concerns and ask questions regarding the re-opening of the state’s economy can rely on Nexstar’s dedication to local content to provide them the latest news and a connection to their government and community leaders.”…..ABC NewsDan Harris interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the “Ten Percent Happier” podcast. In it, the Dalai Lama says that while self-isolating for COVID-19, he watches “1 hour or 2 hours” of television, he “sometimes is reading” and he’ll do a daily online meditation for “4 or 5 hours.” The interview will also be broadcast on “Nightline” tomorrow night (5/28), will appear on streaming news channel ABC News Live later this week as well as on “GMA Weekend.”…..AdLarge Media announces it is extending its ad sales agreement for Ashley Flowers’ true crime podcast “Crime Junkie.” The podcast is getting more than 31 million downloads a month.  Adlarge is also lending its support to further grow Flowers’ audiochuck Network with four new shows, all executive produced by Flowers…..The San Jose Spotlight reports that longtime San Jose broadcaster Bob Kieve died on Sunday (5/24) at the age of 98. Kieve owned and operated KLIV-AM since 1967 and served as president of Empire Broadcasting, which also owns country KRTY-FM. Kieve took KLIV-AM dark in 2019 after being unable to sell the station.

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 expert on everything you need to know about attending graduate school; a fascinating futurist; an expert on honestly and openly coming to terms with discussing and dealing with death – and more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York radio pro Richard Neer posts this piece about the coming 50th anniversary of WLIR-FM, Long Island’s transition to a progressive rock format on June 30, 1970. Neer – author of the 2001 book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard) – says he’ll post more pieces on the station as the June 30 date draws closer. The station, long a cultural mecca for teens growing up on Long Island during the station’s rock heyday, is now owned by Univision and plays a Spanish hits format under the new calls WQBU-FM…..In Denver, Max Media re-brands CHR KFCO as “HOT 107.1.” The station made the change prior to the start of the holiday weekend and went commercial free for the three days. Vice president of programming and operations Rick Thomas says, “Our desire is to accurately reflect the musical passion of the marketplace. To that end, we have simply expanded our approach allowing listeners to enjoy a wider variety of rhythmic hit music, re-branding as ‘HOT 107.1,’ Denver’s New Hit Music.’”…..Hall Communications moves midday personality Courtney Kelley to morning drive alongside Brian Mulhern on country WCTK, Providence “Cat Country 98.1.” She takes over for Madelyn Grimaldi who exited the radio biz. Station PD Bob Walker says, “Courtney has been with us since 2013. As long as I have known her, she has wanted to host a morning show. We are beyond excited to have her living out that dream every morning on ‘Cat Country.’”…..Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC-FM, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” awarded 10 listeners the opportunity to take part in a Friday evening Zoom Pizza Party with country star Brad Paisley and “98.9 The Bull” morning host Fitz. Paisley hung out on the Zoom party for more than 45 minutes answering questions, having a quick awkward sing-a-long of his new release, “There’s No I In Beer,” and sharing the amazing scenery of his ranch, including a close encounter with a hawk! The station made arrangements to have pizza delivered to all 10 winners, prior to the 4:30 pm Zoom Party.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

| April 9, 2020

JVC Media Giving Away Free Airtime. The company that operates stations in New York and Florida is announcing it is opening the airwaves of all of its stations to help promote local essential businesses and services that are still open and still serving the community.  JVC Media’s Florida stations include talk outlet WDYZ-AM/W288CJ “Florida Man Radio.”  Its Long Island group includes news/talk WRCN “LI News Radio 103.9.”  The company says the message is simple: “In Florida call the Quarantine Speed Advertising line at 407-647-5332, in NY call 631-542-5441, and leave a 30 second voicemail showcasing your business.  The JVC team will produce your message and play it on the appropriate radio station free of charge.”  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “This is the time for radio to shine.  We are not closed, we are not automated, we are live, local, and serving our local communities.  I don’t see the streaming or satellite services offering something like that.”

Neuhoff Media Using Radio to Connect Teachers and Students. In an effort to ameliorate the disconnect between teachers and students in Central Illinois, Neuhoff Media announces the Louise Neuhoff Educational Access Project initiative.  The project is named in honor of the Neuhoff Media co-founder.  The company will make available specific periods of time each day for public school teachers to present lessons, read books, and review specific material on air.  These programs will ensure educators are readily accessible to all students and their parents while under stay-at-home orders.  Neuhoff Media president and CEO Beth Neuhoff comments, “We have the ability for teachers to talk directly to students each day regardless of technology.  We wanted to find some small way to help bridge the gap between teachers and primary students.  We are simply providing local educational leadership the opportunity to use our most popular radio stations to connect with students and their parents.”

Bonneville Outlines Coronavirus Initiatives. Company president Darrell Brown issued a press release outlining Bonneville International’s plans to ramp up its coronavirus crisis efforts.  Brown says, “Bonneville has always prioritized our purpose above our profits.  Our mission and the reason our company was created was to be a trusted voice that builds up, informs, connects and celebrates the families and communities we serve, and there is a great need right now for all of those things.”  Some of the company’s initiatives include: News/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix is providing statewide newscasts for other radio groups and supporting local businesses through an “Open for Business” campaign; in Salt Lake City, the cluster is operating the “Stronger Together Utah” campaign to promote local businesses while “Newsradio” KSL-AM/FM is hosting a daily coronavirus call-in show and a related podcast; and Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM is producing the podcast “COVID-19: Seattle” as the station’s “Gee and Ursula Show” started a “Letters of Hope” project to send messages of encouragement to the elderly.

TALKERS News Notes. Pittsburgh talk show host Wendy Bell is trending on Twitter for stating on the air that she’s “on the fence” about the conundrum of saving lives versus protecting people’s livelihoods.  According to a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the KDKA-AM personality said, “We’re told that we need to shut down the economy.  There’s a cost.  Everything shuts down, but to what end?  Yes, every life lost is one too many.  Yes, that’s the talking point.  That’s what we’re going to say.  But ultimately dollars and cents boil down to, ‘Are you going to bankrupt America and the future for less than 1% of our population?’ Many of whom are already ill or aged.  I’m on a fence.”…..The nationally syndicated “Small Business Advocate” program hosted by Jim Blasingame adds new affiliate stations KFAQ, Tulsa and KSHP, North Las Vegas, Nevada.  The program is syndicated by Skip Joeckel’s Talk Shows USA.  Joeckel says, “Small businesses need all the help they can get and Jim’s program has been dedicated to helping them since 1997!”…..This year’s National Headliner Awards – bestowed since 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City – have been announced and in the radio division, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News wins first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for coverage of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio last year.  Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco took home the first-place honor for “Radio Stations Newscast (all markets)” category for its morning news coverage of the Kincade Fire on October 24, 2019.  Hearst’s WBAL-AM, Baltimore won first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for “FBI Raids Mayor Pugh’s Home” by reporter Scott Wykoff and the station’s news staff.  Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington won first place in the “Radio Stations Feature and Human Interest Story” category for “Rock Creek Rescue” in which reporter Megan Cloherty recounted the “riveting and fascinating story about a WTOP staffer who becomes a hero after saving a woman who had fallen into an icy, life-threatening Rock Creek.”  See all awards here…..Entercom reports that according to data from Podtrac, Triton, and Apple Podcast Top Charts, it is experiencing “blockbuster audience growth across its Podcast Network, which includes Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, outperforming recent softness in listening reported among other leading podcasters.”  Entercom says it hit new record listenership of 28 million listeners worldwide during the month of March.

WCCO, Minneapolis Meteorologist Mike Lynch Retires. After a 40-year career with Entercom’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis, meteorologist Mike Lynch is retiring from the station.  In a Facebook post, Lynch says, “It’s been an incredible run that I have been so blessed to have the privilege of doing.  I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and WCCO Radio has been part of my life from the get-go.  I can picture in my mind my parent’s kitchen radio on corner shelf at 6617 Lakeshore Dr.  I remember hearing greats like big Bob De Haven, Howard Viken, Joyce Lamont, Randy Merriman, and others.  When I was delivering morning newspapers, I loved to listen with a transistor radio and laugh out loud at 5:00 am with Roger Erickson and Maynard Speece.  When I came home every day from Holy Angels High School the ‘Cannon Mess’ was on in our kitchen… It was Steve Cannon though who took me under his wing and launched my career.  I couldn’t have done it without his kind heart.  I’ve had so many wonderful experiences at WCCO Radio.”

Glenn Beck Publishes New Book, Arguing with Socialists. Nationally syndicated talk host Glenn Beck releases his latest book, Arguing with Socialists (2020, Threshold Editions).  According to the publisher, the Premiere Networks personality’s new book “arms readers to the teeth with information necessary to debunk the socialist arguments that have once again become popular and proves that the free market is the only way to go.”

U.S. Coronavirus Infections/Deaths/Projection, Sanders Drops Out, Vote-By-Mail Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Linda Tripp Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8). The tally of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases, the death toll, and the death projection; Bernie Sanders drops out of the Democratic race for the nomination; the debate over the potential for the November election to be handled by mail; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization, claiming it acquiesced to China in downplaying Covid-19 early on; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; and Clinton whistleblower Linda Tripp dies among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Red Apple Media President Chad Lopez Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The president of Red Apple Media, the New York City-based firm that recently acquired heritage radio outlet 77WABC from Cumulus MediaChad Lopez, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Red Apple Media is a division of the Red Apple Group – a multi-billion-dollar company in the energy and supermarket businesses owned by its CEO and founder, John Catsimatidis.  Catsimatidis, in addition to being a self-made business mogul and a former top-tier NYC Republican mayoral candidate, is a talk show host in his own right with a syndicated weekly show, “The Cats’ Roundtable,” that emanates from friendly cross-town talk rival WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”.  He is also a lover of radio and has an extremely warm spot in his heart for WABC and its legacy.  Chad Lopez comes to the position of president of this new endeavor with an extraordinary background in New York City radio management and sales.  He was a kid from Queens who grew up listening to NYC radio and, after attending college in the area and serving four years in the Navy as a petty officer on the aircraft carrier USS Independence, worked his way up through the ranks of Big Apple radio that included 16 years in sales managing at CBS Radio – including such giant outlets as WFAN, WINS, WCBS AM/FM and the New York Yankees Radio Network.  He stepped up the corporate ladder after his time with CBS and became VP/market manager for the New York cluster of Cumulus Media which involved overseeing hot AC WPLJ, urban WNBM, country WNSH “NASH-FM” and news/talker 77WABC.  When Red Apple Media acquired 77WABC, Lopez was promoted to president of the company.  Commenting on the purchase of WABC by Catsimatidis, Michael Harrison recently stated, “This is quite possibly the most important radio ownership transaction of the past several years. A local businessperson with significant assets who has demonstrated a lifetime love for radio acquires a major market heritage station with the promise of strengthening its service. This could be just the model that sets the stage for radio’s next renaissance! The industry’s eyes and ears will be on this one.”  Harrison and Lopez discuss Red Apple’s plans for 77WABC along with the state of radio in this extraordinarily transitional year for New York City, the nation, the world and the American broadcasting industry.  This is a deep-dive conversation about the business that professional radio broadcasters should not miss!  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. Non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” names Kevin Sucher executive director.  Milwaukee native Sucher worked as a professional musician for several years, teaching himself recording and sound engineering skills that eventually led to a career as a music producer.  Through his producing work, he built relationships with artists and influential professionals in the entertainment industry and that led to a national career in artist management in which he worked with artists, including: Eric Benét, David Foster, Train, The Tenors, and Michelle Branch.  Radio Milwaukee board president Juli Kaufmann comments, “While rooted in Milwaukee, Kevin brings connections and innovative ideas drawn from his national music industry experience.  He is an inclusive leader who brings fresh perspective to enhance our already exceptional team.  We are thrilled to advance our mission under Kevin’s leadership.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

| January 15, 2019

iHeartMedia Asks Bankruptcy Court for More Time. In a motion filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston yesterday (1/14), iHeartMedia asks the court to grant it more time in which it (the Debtors) may remove actions from its Modified Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.  It is asking the court to give it until June 7, 2019 to address the matters.  It says, “Given the size and scope of the Debtors’ capital structure and business operations, expeditiously moving toward exit from these chapter 11 cases will require significant effort. Due to the Debtors’ efforts to date, they are on track to consummate a restructuring that will maximize value for all stakeholders.  As a result, the Debtors have not yet determined conclusively which Actions, if any, they will seek to remove. The extension requested herein will provide the Debtors with time to make informed decisions concerning which Actions to remove and will ensure that the Debtors’ rights to remove Actions can be exercised in an appropriate manner.”  iHM notes that the rights of parties to the actions will not be unduly prejudiced.  “If the Debtors ultimately seek to remove Actions pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9027, parties will retain their right to seek remand with respect to such Actions pursuant to section 1452(b) of the Judicial Code. Therefore, the Debtors submit that cause exists for the relief requested herein.”

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s Marty Griffin Cancer-Free. Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM announces that afternoon personality Marty Griffin – who’s been battling cancer since last year – is cancer free.  Griffin co-hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show with Wendy Bell on the Entercom station.  He had a PET-CT scan at UPMC’s Hillman Cancer Center yesterday (1/14) and the results indicate he is officially cancer free.  Griffin was diagnosed with HPV-related cancer near his throat and underwent weeks of chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy.  He’ll continue with three more months of immunotherapy to increase his survivability rate.  Griffin said upon learning the results of this latest test, “I won the lottery today, its Christmas morning, it’s just beautiful.”

Cattles Named PD at ‘ESPN Radio 94.1’ in Norfolk. Afternoon drive talk host Nick Cattles is promoted to program director at Max Media’s sports talker WVSP-FM, Norfolk-Virginia Beach “ESPN Radio 94.1.” Cattles served with the station from 2012 through 2017 when he left for a stint at now-Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  He returned to WVSP last June.  About his promotion, Cattles says, “I’m so grateful for being named the new PD of ‘ESPN Radio 94.1.’  “I’ve loved my time working as a host at the station and now enthusiastically jump into this next challenge. I’d like to thank Keith Barton, Rusty James, and the ownership at Max Media for this opportunity.”

TALKERS News Notes. New York news/talk WABC will have a place at the radio row for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. The “Bernie and Sid Show” featuring Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg as well as Rosenberg’s “Sid Sports Sunday” programs will broadcast from the Atlanta Sheraton.  The “Bernie and Sid” show will broadcast on Thursday and Friday. Rosenberg tells TALKERS magazine this is the first time a WABC show has gone on the road for the Super Bowl…..CBS News and Simon & Schuster announce a joint podcast/book project by popular “CBS SUNDAY MORNING” correspondent, humorist, and history buff Mo Rocca. His long love of obituaries has led him to write Mobituaries, an “irreverent but deeply researched appreciation of the people (and things) of the past who have long intrigued him — from an unsung Founding Father to the first Chinese-American superstar, from Neanderthals to the station wagon.”  The Mobituaries podcast premieres January 17 with eight weekly episodes in the first season…..Television talk host, game show host and Premiere Networks nationally syndicated morning radio star Steve Harvey is hosting the “NFL Honors” program live from Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on Saturday, February 2.  The two-hour primetime awards show is in its seventh year and is designed to recognize the NFL’s best players, performances, and plays from the 2018 season.  It will air at 9:00 pm on CBS TV.

Border Wall Issue, Government Shutdown, Barr Confirmation Hearing, Federal Birth Control Ruling, 2020 Presidential Candidates, Rep. Steve King Troubles, Jayme Closs Case, Today’s Brexit Vote in U.K., and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The ongoing battle over funding the U.S.-Mexico border wall; the issues surrounding the federal government shutdown; today’s senate confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William Barr; federal judges block President Trump’s birth control mandate rollback; the potential Democratic candidates for president in 2020; U.S. Rep. Steve King has committee assignments taken away after white supremacist comments in NYT story; missing teen Jayme Closs escapes captor in Northern Wisconsin; today’s Brexit vote in the U.K.; and the NFL playoffs 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. The LGBTQ-targeted “Channel Q” format comes to Seattle as Entercom adds it to KNDD-HD2 and translator K277AE at 103.3 FM.  Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “We are thrilled to bring ‘Channel Q’ to Seattle.  We’re passionate about giving a voice to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, and look forward to partnering with people and organizations that help the LGBTQ+ community thrive in Seattle.”…..“The Breakfast Club” co-host Angela Yee is named the first-ever BSE Global Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE) Ambassador.  As such, Yee will “play a prominent role in helping the organization build deeper connections to Brooklyn neighborhoods to further expand awareness of the company’s events and community initiatives. As part of her position, she will participate in BSE Global’s youth educational programs throughout the community.”  Her nationally syndicated morning program is based at iHeartMedia’s WWPR, New York “Power 105.1.”  Yee says, “As a Brooklynite, this borough holds a special place in my heart and I’m excited to represent BSE Global and identify opportunities that elevate our community to new heights.  Brooklyn has a strong, historic relationship with both music and basketball, and I look forward to working with BSE Global to find new ways to deepen and celebrate that relationship within our community.”…..In Southeastern Wisconsin, Magnum Communications names Mitch Morgan morning show host at country WVTY, Racine.  Morgan also hosts the afternoon show on the company’s sister country outlet WMBZ, West Bend “92.5 Buzz Country,” a position he’ll continue. Prior to his work with Magnum, Morgan served as music director at iHeartMedia’s country WMIL, Milwaukee for more than 25 years…..Two programming staff moves take place at Neuhoff Media’s Lafayette, Indiana station group.  Jared Jesulaitis gives up the program director position at CHR WXXB “B102.9” and takes on the dual roles of sports director for the cluster and morning co-host on sports talk WASK-AM/W269DJ “101-7 The Hammer.”  Rising from APD to program director for “B102.9” is Joe LeCay.  Cluster vice president of programming Mike Shamus comments, “These guys have both worked very hard over the last few years and we are happy to see them move into positions that will make Lafayette an even stronger market for Neuhoff Media.”

iHeartMedia and The CW Renew for Television and Streaming Deal.  Television network The CW and iHeartMedia announce a new, multi-year agreement for The CW to remain the exclusive television broadcaster and video streaming partner for the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the annual holiday iHeartRadio Jingle Ball event.  The two have partnered for the events since 2012.  Under the new agreement, The CW will air a “best of” special featuring one of iHeartRadio’s 2019 marquee events as well as live stream four of iHeartRadio’s Theater Shows from New York and Los Angeles.  The CW Network president Mark Pedowitz says, “The CW has really enjoyed the incredible relationship we’ve shared over the years with our friends at iHeart, as we’re able to showcase for our fans the best of the best in the world of music.  As the exclusive TV broadcast and video streaming partner, The CW is looking forward to continuing our tradition of starting our fall launch with the iHeartRadio Music Festival, celebrating the holiday season with Jingle Ball and adding some new events through the year.”