Monday Memo: Podcasting’s Prime Time. Once a hobbyist platform, on-demand audio now features the biggest stars, delivers advertisers ears and analytics they can’t get elsewhere, and pairs listeners and content creators like no other medium. In this week’s column, Holland Cooke summarizes the keynote Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff delivered during the CNBC Evolve webcast “The Evolution of Content and Consumption.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Time for a Skills Inventory. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa – president of Lapcom Communications Corp – writes today that year-end is a good time for radio sellers to take inventory of their sales skills and make sure they match up with the pandemic-influenced restrictions and technology-requisite times in which we’ll be working in 2021. Read more here.
Dom Giordano to Be Honored by the Zionist Organization of America. WPHT, Philadelphia 9:00 am – 12:00 noon host Dom Giordano will be honored by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, the nation’s oldest pro-Israel organization, for “his patriotism, friendship to the Jewish community, support for Israel and honest commentary about the Middle East” on his show. Giordano will be one of eight people nationwide recognized as “Zionist Spotlights” as part of ZOA’s Virtual 2020 National Superstar Gala. The Gala, taking place on Sunday, December 27, at 7:00 pm ET can be seen (live and on demand) at zoavirtualgala.com. Attorney and legal icon Allen L. Rothenberg is the other honoree representing the Greater Philadelphia Region. The event will also feature Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, hip-hop artist Ice Cube, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, physician and philanthropist Dr. Miriam Adelson, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, ZOA national president Morton Klein and more. Giordano – a former school teacher who is nationally recognized as one of the leading experts on education in talk radio and a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – received the Greater Philadelphia ZOA’s 2011 Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism/Man of the Year at the annual Gala that year.
ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York Moving DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg to AM Drive. As reported by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, ESPN is going local in morning drive on sports talk WEPN-FM, New York for the first time. In January, the Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty & Dave Rothenberg program moves from its current 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot to the 5:00 am to 8:00 am slot with the ESPN Radio nationally syndicated “Keyshawn, ZWill & Zubin” show airing from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. These changes come as ESPN tweaks the national lineup in preparation of the departure of Dan Le Batard in January. On WEPN-FM, “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by the “Bart [Scott] & [Alan] Hahn” show that’s now part of the national ESPN Radio lineup from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.
Bernie Miklasz to Return to St. Louis Airwaves on KFNS-AM. According to Dan Caesar’s report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, sports talk KFNS-FM, St. Louis is bringing former Post-Dispatch columnist and former crosstown WXOS-FM personality Bernie Miklasz aboard to host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Also, former KMOV-TV, St. Louis sports director Steve Savard will host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. John Hadley is operating the station while he and a group of investors work to buy the station from owner Randy Markel. Hadley admits that his acquisition of Miklasz’s and Savard’s talent was only possible because they both agreed to work for the “hometown discount.” Miklasz tells Caesar, “Unlike other potential employers who who tended to make promises they couldn’t keep, Hadley was realistic and honest about what they could do for me. The economy is bad, and I wasn’t looking to break the bank. But Hadley didn’t try to exploit the situation by making a ridiculous, low-ball offer. I was enthusiastic about working with him to reach a fair deal for both sides… The trust factor meant a lot to me… Local ownership appeals to me. Local ownership is investing more than money… The personal investment is meaningful.”
PPM Analysis: Four… Less… Years. News/talk stations in Nielsen Audio’s PPM markets enjoyed improved ratings during the November 2020 survey – 68% of news/talk stations in that survey were up over the previous month’s survey – that coincided with the final month of the presidential campaign (October 8 to November 4). In today’s analysis, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian compares the performances of news/talk stations in the November 2020 survey with the same period during the last presidential election in 2016. He shows that 74% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up (6+, weekly AQH share) in the November 2020 survey compared to the same period in 2016. In fact, there were 10 news/talk stations that increased their AQH share by three full shares or more from the November 2016 survey to November 2020. Find out which stations accomplished that plus much more in Mike Kinosian’s piece here.
Former NFL Player George Wrighster Hosting Late Nights on Mad Dog Radio Channel. Former NFL tight end George Wrighster joins SiriusXM to host the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Night Cap” program on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel, beginning tonight (12/7). Wrighster was drafted out of the University of Oregon in 2003. After his playing days, he transitioned into his second career as an entrepreneur/investor and sports media personality. He has hosted shows on radio and television for a number of networks including FOX Sports, ESPN, and KFWB and KLAC in Los Angeles. SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “With his experience both on the field and in the media, George brings an excellent and well-rounded perspective to the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel and we’re excited to have him deliver an engaging and entertaining show to our listeners on a nightly basis.”
UNUSUAL TALK MEDIA GUEST ALERT: Bob Kosch Is Back! Former mortgage banker, loan broker, tax lien investor, rock ‘n’ roller, and music/talk radio broadcaster Bob Kosch is back (after another prison stint) and available to do talk media interviews. If you’re looking for a change-of-pace type of special guest for your talk radio show, TV show, or podcast, check out this fascinating ex-con. Michael Harrison (a longtime friend of Kosch) describes Kosch as a “compellingly articulate, original, charming and informative larger-than-life character” who has no problem taking on a variety of subjects including the economy, commercial real estate, scams, the Donald Trump Era (he’s an outspoken Trump critic), prison reform, and pop music, among others. Bob Kosch is an ex-con with a plan that he says can save America from recession and move the economy forward. Experiencing corporal punishment by nuns at St. Anthony’s in Hawthorne, NJ as a child because of learning disabilities and left back in the 5th grade, he began engaging in deceptive behavior at an early age – all of which he talks about openly. He is an expert in mortgage law, focusing mainly in foreclosure and equitable subrogation. Kosch was charged with wire fraud by the U.S. Government in 1999. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in prison on September 12, 2001. His case brought to light Household Finance’s alleged predatory lending which ultimately led to that company’s demise. The most recent were charges by the State of New Jersey for theft-related offenses which he points out were fabricated by local prosecutors. The case was reversed, and charges vacated but Bob spent six years in prison during the process! While in State custody, Kosch was in charge of the Law Library at Northern State Prison and worked as “substitute counsel” in court line proceedings. In a particular case, he worked with the ACLU when a transgender inmate was brutally beaten by police and then charged with assault. He was successful in having her transferred to the Women’s Prison in Clinton, New Jersey – setting a precedent in the system and the state. He was instrumental in the enactment of a bill signed by Governor Phil Murphy to end Administrative Segregation arguing Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claims. Since his release on November 1, 2020, he voluntarily continues to help others in custody who do not have the money to hire an attorney for appeals and post-conviction related matters. He just recently filed a “writ of coram nobis” in an immigration proceeding for an inmate subject to deportation. Bob Kosch can be contacted via email at email@example.com or phoned at 973-900-2831.
Beasley Media Group Promotes Tina Murley to VP of Corporate Sales. Boston director of sales Tina Murley is promoted to vice president of corporate sales for Beasley Media Group, effective immediately. Murley has been DOS at Beasley Boston since 2014 and will continue to be based in Boston. In her new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing the traditional and integrated sales efforts on behalf of the entire company. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Tina brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role as VP of corporate sales. Her positive attitude and commitment to excellence on behalf of our advertisers and the company made her the perfect choice to lead our company’s sales efforts into the future.”
Nate Dixon Named VP of Sales for Entercom St. Louis. Radio sales pro Nate Dixon joins Entercom’s St. Louis station group as vice president of sales for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets KMOX-AM and KFTK-FM and four music radio outlets. Dixon was most recently with Radio One’s St. Louis operations as station manager. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan comments, “Nate has an incredible track record of performance, community outreach, and team building throughout his career in St. Louis. He is going to elevate our performance to new heights, and I look forward to him leading the way for our sales operation, turbo-charging revenue on all fronts.”
COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Giuliani Hospitalized, Lives vs Livelihood Debate, Trump Challenges Election Results, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, and the Economy/Job Losses Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines in the U.K., and expectations for U.S. vaccine distribution; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is hospitalized with COVID-19; the lives-versus-livelihood debate as lockdown’s hit California; Trump’s continuing challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues building his administration; Georgia’s January U.S. Senate runoff elections and Sunday’s Loeffler–Warnock debate; and the state of the U.S. economy and the effects of job losses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’ s going to be double duty for on-air pro Frank Ski who is joining Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” as morning host, effective February 1. Ski will continue to host the afternoon drive program at Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR, Washington, DC. In addition to his radio work, Ski is signed to a global publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing for his catalogue of hip-hop, rap, gospel, and Baltimore club-music. WALR director of branding and programming Terri Avery says, “I’m thrilled to usher in this new era of ‘The Frank Ski Show’ on ‘KISS 104.1.’ Frank Ski is a proven leader and trusted voice in Atlanta’s African American community. We welcome Frank to the ‘KISS 104.1’ team.”…..Hubbard Radio announces that Fitz – host of KNUC, Seattle’s “Fitz In The Morning” show – will end his daily program in the next few weeks to focus his efforts on the nationally syndicated “Country Top 40” and the creation of new projects. Fitz says, “While I will dearly miss the daily interaction with my Seattle listeners, I’m truly excited to focus my attention on continuing the tradition of ‘CT40’ and bringing it into the next decade with fun, captivating new features, emotion, and remembering the stars of yesterday, while introducing the country stars of tomorrow.” KNUC brand/content director Scott Mahalick says, “We look forward to writing a new chapter for ‘98-9 The Bull’ next year and are working on plans now. We are glad to continue being the flagship radio station for ‘CT40’ with Fitz and look forward to him playing the hits for years to come.”
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Hazy Shade of Winter,” looks back at this past week of November 30 – December 4, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Stephanie Miller, talk show host, WYD Media Management; Amy Hao, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey (October 8 – November 4), today focusing on the news/talk format. This survey leading up to the November 3 presidential election was, in general, a boon to the news/talk format. In fact, 78% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the November of 2019 survey to this November 2020 survey. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November survey, 68% of news/talk stations’ ratings were up, with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+2.3), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.9), KFYI, Phoenix (+1.7), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7). Returning to year-over-year numbers, big gainers here included iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+7.6), KFYI-AM, Phoenix (+5.0) and WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+4.5). In what is a first, the top 10 news/talk stations by market rank were all #1 in their respective markets during the November 2020 survey. See which stations those were and a whole lot more in Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
Dan Le Batard and ESPN Agree to Part Company. This is one of those separations that might have been termed a “shocker” simply because of the successful nature of the relationship between ESPN and Dan Le Batard. But as industry watchers are aware, the relationship has been contentious recently and Le Batard made no secret about his displeasure with ESPN’s directive during the summer to steer clear of politics. He was also not pleased that ESPN laid off his radio producer Chris Cote as part of its staff cutbacks (Le Batard brought Cote back by paying his salary out of his own pocket). Pile on top of that the fact that ESPN recently moved the video simulcast of his show from cable’s ESPNews to the subscription ESPN+ platform and reduced his radio show from three to two hours. Le Batard’s final programs will be on January 4. In a statement, ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible. We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.” Le Batard’s official statement is as follows: “Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car. Can’t believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent. I’m forever indebted to Erik Rydholm, Matt Kelliher and their vibrant team for providing a creative oasis across a decade, and for expanding the Le Batard family to include so many brilliant colleagues who have become forever friends, bonded eternally by laughter and love. Want to also extend my gratitude to Chuck Salituro, Jimmy Pitaro, Traug Keller, Marcia Keegan, Connor Schell, Juan Diaz, Mike Foss, Amanda Gifford, Liam Chapman, Megan Judge, Elizabeth Fierman, the Hialeah-soaked crew at Imagina …and when did this become a droning acceptance speech instead of a quick goodbye? In short, thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings. To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough.”
New ESPN Radio Schedule to Launch on January 5. With the departure of Dan Le Batard from the ESPN Radio and ESPN television schedules, ESPN announces the broadcast schedule for the radio network that begins effective on January 5. ESPN moves “Greeny,” with Mike Greenberg from the early afternoon slot to Le Batard’s current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon air time. It inserts the WEPN-FM, New York duo “Bart & Hahn” – Bart Scott and Alan Hahn – into the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart. As for the television program “Highly Questionable,” it will continue with a “contributing team” consisting of Elle Duncan, Domonique Foxworth, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Katie Nolan, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, and Clinton Yates.
Joe Madison to Be Honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. Talk radio pro Joe Madison is being honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame as a 2021 inductee for the “National Satellite Talk Radio Award.” Organization president Bernard Hayes says, “We as a board decided that it would be only fitting to continue the honoring of our leaders in Black Radio despite the current climate in our country and have thereby decided to continue honoring the legacy of those who have done so much to support our communities at large. We will fulfill this task by using the services of the Zoom application.” The National Black Radio Hall of Fame, whose main facility is located at Harris Stowe State University, will have its program hosted by its National Board Members and the local Atlanta Chapter on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET.
WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Recovering from Health Issue. Georgia talk radio host Martha Zoller is off of her regular talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia after having emergency surgery on a burst abscess on a lung that sent her to the hospital on November 21. She tells TALKERS magazine that she is recovering at home and will be away from her radio show for a couple of weeks and then expects to be hosting her program from home until she’s cleared to return to WDUN’s studios.
WAMU Staff Joins SAG-AFTRA. The content creation staff at American University’s public radio outlet WAMU-FM, Washington voted unanimously to recognize SAG-AFTRA as its union. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including DCist.com, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” “1A,” “The Big Broadcast,” “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” and the podcasts “Dish City,” “What’s With Washington,” and “Diane Rehm: On My Mind.” The newly formed bargaining unit will be made up of 80 employees, including hosts, reporters, producers, editors, and engineers who create content for the news, programming and digital units. WAMU “Morning Edition” host Esther Ciammachilli says, “WAMU’s content creators, as a collective bargaining unit represented by SAG-AFTRA, are thrilled to advance our shared beliefs in transparency, accountability, fairness and most importantly, the truth.”
Longtime Chicago Cubs TV Personality Len Kasper Joining WMVP Radio for White Sox Broadcasts. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, 16-year Chicago Cubs television play-by-play man Len Kasper is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk outlet WMVP-AM as announcer for Chicago White Sox broadcasts. Feder says that Kasper – who replaces Andy Masur in the play-by-play role – will work alongside analyst Darrin Jackson.
COVID-19 Spike, Vaccines, and Prevention Tie for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the anticipated rollout of vaccines, and prescriptions for prevention of the disease tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30 to December 4, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing to claim election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the pardons granted by President Trump and the possibility he’ll grant pardons to his children and himself, followed by the Georgia Senate runoff elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas adult contemporary outlet KSNE-FM “Sunny 106.5” and KLAS-TV “8 News Now” is presenting a special broadcast titled “A Very Sunny Christmas” to benefit Opportunity Village in Southern Nevada – a nonprofit organization serving adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities. Airing on the iHeartMedia radio station and KLAS-TV on December 18 and 25, it will feature Sunny 106.5 morning hosts AJ and Joanna plus performances by Nevada-based entertainers including Wayne Newton, Little Big Town, Debbie Gibson, Darius Rucker, Mat Franco, Brian Newman, Russell Dickerson, Shin Lim, Daniel Emmet, Piff The Magic Dragon, Xavier Mortimer, and many more. AJ says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges to Opportunity Village and the people they serve, particularly with the upcoming event season as their normal holiday events like Magical Forest have been cancelled for the 2020 season.”
Former WFAN Star Craig Carton Released from Prison. Former WFAN, New York morning drive personality Craig Carton was granted early release from a federal penitentiary yesterday morning (6/23) after serving a little more than a year of his three-and-a-half-year sentence on a fraud conviction. The New York Post reports that Carton will serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement or a halfway house. Of course, this gets the speculation going about a return to the WFAN airwaves for Carton and the Post’s Andrew Marchand writes about a possible scenario today. Marchand suggests in his column that while a return to mornings alongside Boomer Esiason is not likely, he can see Carton in afternoons facing ESPN’s crosstown WEPN-FM star Michael Kay. He writes, “Carton has what [current WFAN afternoon hosts] Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts lack — Carton is an entertainer, first and foremost.”
CMG Moves News/Talk WDBO to Translator; Spanish Music Format Airs on 96.5 FM. A series of programming moves by Cox Media Group takes news/talk WDBO off the class C FM signal at 96.5 and returns it to its original AM 580 signal – bumping the ESPN Radio sports format that’s been airing there – and simulcasts WDBO on translator W297BB at 107.3 FM that had been simulcasting urban contemporary WCFB-FM, Daytona Beach. CMG sees a bigger revenue upside to a Spanish-language music format than the news/talk format. CMG Orlando VP and general manager Jason Meder says, “With two dominant TV stations, six radio brands, and various digital platforms, Cox Media Group Orlando delivers the largest audience in Central Florida. This move strengthens our portfolio of radio brands and reflects our commitment to serving the diverse community of audiences and advertisers in the market.”
PPM Analysis: Coronavirus Cume Factor (Part 1). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today pivoting to the cume for all-news and sports talk stations. As Kinosian notes, when referring to a station’s ratings, AQH share is most often cited. But cume is just as important (if not more), so today he examines the performances of all-news and sports talk stations based on cume. He lays out charts showing cume increases and decreases from the April 2020 survey to the May 2020 survey for both formats. See it all here.
Starnes Media Group to Syndicate New Sunday Show Starring Jennifer Kerns. The new, Sunday talk radio program “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” is launching on KWAM, Memphis this Sunday and will be offered in national syndication via Starnes Media Group. Kerns served as a press secretary for 15 years in blue states and swing states. She served as an appointee of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as spokeswoman and communications director for the California Republican Party, the Colorado Recalls (defending the Second Amendment), and the Prop. 8 initiative in California that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Starnes Media Group says the program will feature Kerns delivering conservative commentary and hard-hitting analysis of Sunday morning news shows, political news of the week, and a look ahead at what’s on tap on the campaign trail across America. Todd Starnes adds, “Jen is one of the top conservative writers in America today and her ability to connect the dots for her audience is going to lend itself well to talk radio. She is a champion for conservative causes who has won millions of votes across America. Her unafraid, outspoken, yet down-to-earth style is going to endear her to our listeners in Memphis.” The program airs live at 5:00 pm CT.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM evening talk host Ji Suk Yi is leaving the Nexstar Media Group radio station after her July 10 program to become the breaking morning news reporter for the company’s “News Nation” national news startup at WGN America. Though “News Nation” will be a three-hour, nightly newscast, Ji will appear on NewsNationNow.com and its app. WGN-AM general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle states, “‘News Nation’ is a marquee asset for Nexstar and we were thrilled that Ji got this opportunity.”…..The Buffalo News’ Alan Pergament reveals that Buffalo Sabres reporter Paul Hamilton is being let go by Entercom’s sports talk WGR, Buffalo. Hamilton was one of the company’s staffers furloughed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Entercom has made his departure from the station’s airwaves permanent. The story notes that a memo from Entercom Buffalo market manager Tim Holly says “these are difficult times that affect us in ways never considered. That being said, I am sorry to announce after a 25+ year career on WGR, Paul Hamilton will no longer be our resource for the Buffalo Sabres and no longer employed at Entercom Buffalo.” The company also lets promotions department staffer Rosemarie Paternostro go in the financially related move…..A new, daily radio feature is being launched by Marketplace and Westwood One. The “Marketplace Minute” is 60-second economic news report – delivered three times daily – produced in Los Angeles by American Public Media and distributed by Westwood One. Westwood One says this partnership “represents the first time a public media entity has partnered with a commercial audio network to distribute a news product in these formats.” Marketplace SVP and general manager Deborah Clark says, “Now more than ever, it’s clear every American needs to understand the economic realities we face. This partnership will help us realize our mission of raising the economic intelligence of the country by bringing new audiences to our storytelling. We’re in a critical time for smart, nonpartisan, solutions-based journalism, and we want to reach audiences where they are. To that end, commercial radio is a logical distribution extension.”…..SiriusXM announces a new, weekend radio program hosted by Stacy Washington that airs Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Patriot channel. Titled, “Stacy on the Right,” the program features the journalist and conservative commentator interviewing politicians and newsmakers. Washington also offers “her views on the week in politics plus the breaking headlines from the busy Sunday morning news cycle.” Washington is an Emmy-nominated TV personality, podcast host, and documentarian, who is already a familiar voice to the Patriot audience as a regular fill-in host on the channel, in addition to her appearances on FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, The Blaze, and PBS.
COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Bolton and Mary Trump Books, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, BLM Protests/Statue Removals, Second Round of Stimulus, Bubba Wallace Case, MLB to Open July 1 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases in some parts of the U.S. and projections about future cases as the country continues to re-open; the controversy over former national security adviser John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened book and the White House’s battle to prevent Trump’s niece Mary Trump from publishing her book; the presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and this week’s primary elections; the Black Lives Matter protests taking place around the country and the removal of Confederate and Colonial-era figures; President Trump’s desire for a second round of stimulus checks; the “noose” case involving NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace; and Major League Baseball’s plans to open camps on July 1 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. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN-FM – Jason Pullman and Katie Bright – is out. The story indicates that after Bright decided to resign her position to focus “on her personal life,” the company also decided to cut ties with Pullman and will execute a search for a new WUSN morning show. For the time being, midday host Drew Walker will be on air from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm…..A four-part, limited series titled, “Motown Countdown with iHeartRadio’s Angela Yee,” will air on FOXSoul.tv each Tuesday in July at 10:00 pm ET, beginning July 7. iHeartMedia, FOX Soul, and Motown Records announce the partnership. FOX Soul head of programming James DuBose says, “As we continue to grow FOX Soul into the premier destination for black culture content, being able to partner with iHeartMedia and Motown to bring this series to the community is the definition of black excellence and I couldn’t be more excited.” Each 30 minute episode will contain one countdown of the “top 5 current torchbearers” in a specific category. The series premiere will focus on hip hop’s best. The second installment will highlight the most impactful songs to encourage change and revolution. The third will discuss Andre Harrell-inspired hits, and the final will consider Motown songs throughout the decades…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville is airing “Celebrate the USA,” an annual birthday party for America, over the Fourth of July weekend. CMA and ACM award winner Jon Pardi hosts the show with some of his all-star friends including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, among others. The four-hour special will be available for stations to air over the holiday weekend beginning Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5…..iHeartMedia CHR WRVW, Nashville “107.5 The River” announces the lineup for its virtual music festival “River Under Your Rooftop” on July 9 that will feature performances from: Lewis Capaldi, Finneas, Jojo, Tones And I, AJR, Olivia O’Brien, Alec Benjamin, and Jxdn, with more performers still to be announced. The event will broadcast live on the @1075theriver Instagram page, with each artist participating in a small virtual meet and greet directly after their performance.
Starnes Media Group to Purchase KWAM, Memphis. Conservative talk media personality and author Todd Starnes, via his Starnes Media Group, is acquiring historic radio station KWAM-AM, Memphis and translator W300DE, Memphis (107.9 FM) from Legacy Media for $685,000. Starnes produces his daily talk radio show – currently heard on some 60 affiliate stations – and commentary feature that is distributed by Hamilton Strategies. Starnes tells TALKERS magazine KWAM will be the flagship for his radio show. “Memphis is my hometown. And I’m glad to be coming back to the Mid-South. Memphis deserves a locally owned and locally run talk radio station. Our news, traffic and weather will be produced in Memphis by Memphians. And I can promise that all-new ‘The Mighty 990’ is going to be a blowtorch for freedom across the Mid-South.” Starnes parted ways with FOX News in October of 2019 after his contract expired and shortly thereafter launched his new radio programs and podcast.
NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. The new episode titled, “Wag the Tongue!” looks back at this past week of January 6-10, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston; Bill Brady, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Lee Elci, talk show host, 94.9 News Now WJJF, Southeast Connecticut; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Christopher Ruddy, president/CEO, Newsmax Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on: WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
Cumulus EVP/CFO John Abbot to Exit in March. An executive-level change takes place at Cumulus Media as executive vice president and chief financial officer John Abbot announces he’ll leave the company in the beginning of March, after the company reports its full-year 2019 financial results. Meanwhile, the company is conducting a search for his successor. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “On behalf of the board and the entire company, I would like to thank John for his many contributions to Cumulus and for the strong finance and accounting organization he has helped build. After nearly four years of commuting to Atlanta from Connecticut, it’s understandable that John has decided to pursue new opportunities at a company based closer to his home. We appreciate his continued support through the transition and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.” Abbot says, “It has been a privilege and tremendously rewarding to work with Mary and the rest of the Cumulus team and I am truly proud of our many accomplishments over these past several years. I am confident in the company’s ongoing ability to achieve its objectives and I look forward to following Cumulus’ continued success in the years ahead.”
WABC, New York Renews Clint Arthur’s Sunday Night Talk Show. New York City news/talk WABC announces it has “extended its commitment” with “The Greatest Show of All Time,” the Sunday evening program that stars celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur, to continue to air at 9:30 pm through the end of 2020. Arthur says, “The mission of this show is personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more. As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.” Arthur is the author of best-selling books: What They Teach You at The Wharton Business School; Speaking Game: 7-Figure Speaker Secrets; and The Greatest Book of All Time. WABC is currently owned by Cumulus Media and is in the process of being sold to John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media for $12.5 million.
Management Changes at ESPN. After 15 years with the company, Traug Keller is retiring from his position as SVP of ESPN Audio. He moved into that role in 2004 after having served as president of ABC Radio Networks. He’ll officially exit the company next month. Also retiring from ESPN Audio is vice president of national radio programming and production Marcia Keegan. Assuming the leadership of the ESPN Audio division will be Dave Roberts, currently vice president of production, and Amanda Gifford, who holds the coordinating producer title. At the same time, Tim McCarthy, who leads sports talk radio outlet WEPN-FM, New York as SVP and general manager for the company, is taking on the same responsibilities for ESPN’s sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN 710.”
Kachinske Named OM for Cumulus Media Providence. Programming pro Mary Ellen Kachinske comes to Cumulus Media’s Providence cluster after most recently serving as program director at Hubbard Radio’s high-performing hot AC WTMX, Chicago “The Mix” for the past 18-plus years. In Providence, she’ll be program director for adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” and serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM and two other music brands. Cumulus Providence vice president and market manager Holly Paras says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, I am pleased to have Mary Ellen Kachinske joining the Cumulus Providence programming team. The breadth of Mary Ellen’s experience will no doubt be felt immediately throughout the cluster. We look forward to her leadership and her ability to think strategically, in order to allow these well-established brands to continue to grow into the next decade.”
SummitMedia Ups Brannigan to SVP of Programming; Johnson to Lead Wichita Cluster. Being promoted from president and general manager of SummitMedia’s Wichita operations to senior vice president of programming for the company is Beverlee Brannigan. As she moves into the corporate role, Todd Johnson is upped from general sales manager to president/GM for the Wichita station group. Brannigan served as president/GM of Wichita for nearly six years. Her previous programming experience has earned her a place in Country Radio Hall of Fame and she programmed country KFDI to a CMA Station of the Year Award. She says, “I am honored to join Bill Tanner and John Olsen on the SummitMedia programming team. We all share a commitment to radio that strongly connects with our audience.”
Iran Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10. The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces and its diplomatic aftermath was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the impeachment articles against President Trump. Coming in tied at #3 was the presidential race and the political speeches at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, followed by the Australian bush fires and climate change at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Radio Sales Opportunity. Religious broadcaster Pillar of Fire International is seeking a full-time ad salesperson. The company says: “Star 99.1 is looking for our next great radio salesperson! This full-time position includes work in the office and travel throughout the NY metropolitan area to meet with customers and prospects. Over-achievers strongly encouraged to apply! A proven track record in radio or media sales is a pre-requisite and high standards of business integrity are expected. We offer a positive working environment and the satisfaction of doing a job that ‘counts.'” Qualified candidates should send letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Jobs, Star 99.1, P.O. Box 9058, Zarephath, NJ 08890. No calls please. Star 99.1 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
PPM Analysis Extra: The ‘All Christmas’ Phenomenon. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a “bonus” PPM analysis based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 survey. Kinosian says that the shift to all-Christmas music has been a ratings boon for stations that adopt the change. “In our December 2019 ratings recap ‘extra,’ let’s see if playing wall-to-wall holiday hits is still growing strong or starting to wane. The following breakouts reflect those stations in the 48 PPM-markets that either increased their 6+ stat by at least one full share or faltered by that margin in the December 2019 sweep (November 7 – December 4). Hefty positive November 2019 – December 2019 movement is more often than not directly attributable to the all-Christmas music phenomenon.” See the report here.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. New Haven urban AC WYBC-FM adds the “DeDe in the Morning” show to its program schedule, effective Monday (1/13). WYBC is operated by Connoisseur Media. The program is produced by Service Broadcasting’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and is syndicated by Compass Media Networks. DeDe McGuire says, “It is an absolute honor to be part of the legendary WYBC and we can’t wait to wake up New Haven. Thank you, [director of operations] Juan Castillo and the WYBC team for your support and confidence. We are going to have some fun together.” As part of this move, Castillo – who had been morning host – moves to the afternoon drive daypart…..In Nashville, air personality and program director Zigz, a.k.a. Chris Cox, is leaving one of his positions with Cromwell Media’s alternative WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.” Zigz will continue to host the midday show but is relocating to Illinois as the result of his wife accepting a new gig. In the interim, current afternoon drive host and digital/social media coordinator Hayley St. John is handling programming duties. Station vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon says, “Naturally, a decision like this didn’t come easy for Zigz and we most certainly had to respect his decision to be supportive of his wife’s career and the needs of his family. There’s no question Zigz will be missed but the good news is he will remain a key part of our team, anchoring the midday show.”…..Pictured below is Ultra Records recording artist Chelsea Cutler (right) appearing in front of a roomful of listeners as air personality Mikey V (left) interviews her on iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108.”