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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

| March 25, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold 2nd Coronavirus Town Hall. The Townsquare Media news/talk station announces it will present its second Town Hall broadcast addressing the COVID-019 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues Thursday (3/26) at 7:00 pm.  WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” says special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott “leads the news and digital departments in linking a statewide audience with New Jersey’s top doctors fighting the pandemic, in a listener-driven, call-in format.”  Scott – who will anchor live from the New Jersey 101.5 studios with guests joining by phone – will speak with: Dr. Margaret Fisher, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health (also the medical director at Unterberg Children’s Hospital and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Monmouth Medical Center); Dr. Manisha Parulekar, program director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center; and Dr. Kevin Slavin, director of quality for Hackensack Meridian Health Children’s Services, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases.  The station is streaming the program on Facebook Live and via NJ1015.com.

Triton Digital: News/Talk Gets COVID-19 Streaming Bump. According to data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics service, listening to streams of news/talk-formatted radio stations increased 4% from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19.  The format’s streaming share grew from 29% to 33%, as news of the COVID-19 disruption hitting the U.S. took over the news cycle.  Triton says from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19, the share of streaming contributed by sports talk radio held constant at 8%, while music radio’s share of streaming declined from 64% to 59%.  The report adds that consumption patterns by device remain very stable, with streaming on mobile devices increasing from 49% to 51% of the total. The share of streaming on desktops/laptops decreased slightly from 27% to 25%, while smart speaker’s share of consumption held stable at 21%.  Triton Digital president of marketing development John Rosso says, “Radio in every form – broadcast, streaming audio, and podcasts – remains a trusted and relied upon medium for news and entertainment in the United States.  Despite the dislocation of many workers, this data shows the remarkable stability of the medium, as well as the importance of radio in delivering information in a time of crisis.”

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw’s Open Letter to the Industry: “We are in the midst of a crisis. It’s incredibly painful to our business, as it is to countless other industries. Our communities are reeling.  This crisis is going to end.  But radio’s troubles didn’t start a few weeks ago, when the coronavirus began its attack on our country. Competition for our audiences has never been fiercer. National revenue had hit a rough patch. Public radio companies were trading at their lows. Deal-making had ground to a standstill. It was harder than ever to grow our radio revenues. Certainly, there are bright spots and pockets of opportunity, and our industry is doing a terrific job tirelessly serving our communities during this unprecedented time. That having been said, I don’t think many of us were looking fondly at the halcyon days of Q4 2019.  As difficult as this crisis is, we have an opportunity to turn this disease into a cure.  Our logs are wide open. What we allow to happen to our product once things return to ‘normal’ is entirely up to us. Although our company has tried to maintain reasonable commercial loads, we can do much better. Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our clocks, maintain lower spot loads, stop incessant bonus commercials, reduce endless promos. Demonstrate integrity for the value of our products and give our listeners more of what they crave.  The universe is doing for us what we would not and could not do for ourselves. We have the opportunity to emerge from this dark time with a brighter flame than we have seen for years. What we do from here may make all the difference.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is producing a daily podcast addressing the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast.”  Longtime station personality Dave Ross and ‘KIRO Radio’ reporter Aaron Granillo will “condense the most important updates of the day into a short podcast format for the benefit of our community.  Together they will follow government officials, healthcare workers, business leaders, and local residents who are making crucial, early decisions … decisions that will soon guide, or warn, the rest of the country.”  It will be released each afternoon.  Station program director Bryan Buckalew says, “I think Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”…..FOX News Radio launches a new weekday evening edition of the daily podcast “The FOX News Rundown” dedicated to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic.  The newly re-titled program “The FOX News Rundown Podcast: Global Pandemic” is being hosted by FNC foreign correspondent Trey Yingst and debuts on March 30.  On the program, Jerusalem-based Yingst will be joined by medical experts and fellow reporters to discuss the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 around the world…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is giving weekend show hosting responsibilities to its daily stars in lieu of the usual weekend hosts, presumably to save some payroll expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says that “Boomer & Gio,” “Moose & Maggie,” and “Joe & Evan” are hosting Saturday and Sunday programs and Mike Francesa – currently only hosting the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show on WFAN – is doing a 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show on Sundays.  However, longtime WFAN weekend host Richard Neer will be heard hosting the Sunday night 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show via CBS Sports Radio Network on “The Fan.”…..Cadence13 – a division of RADIO.COM – is unveiling the second season of the podcast “Gangster Capitalism” that it says “offers an unflinching look at white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream”  This season explores the NRA.  Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As we further develop and expand our C13Originals slate, we’re prioritizing impactful and ambitious documentaries geared around culture, business, moments in time, music and more.  Our objective is about finding the right stories, and how we tell and express them, so that the audience can immerse itself in what we believe will create conversation and engagement.”…..AdLarge Media signs a deal with Remote News Service (RNS) to serve as its exclusive ad sales representative.  Remote News Service is owned and led by senior anchor Lesley Lotto…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in the radio pool seat in the newly re-designed social distancing briefing room awaiting yesterday’s coronavirus task force news conference.  The pink sticker on his lapel is confirmation that the White House took his temperature and it is normal.

Coronavirus Status in U.S., Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stocks Surge, U.S.-China Relations, India Locks Down Entire Country, and Olympics Postponed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The latest numbers on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.; the negotiations in the U.S. Senate to craft a coronavirus stimulus package; global stocks surge on news that the Senate is close to a stimulus package; relations between the U.S. and China as the COVID-19 blame game ramps up; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders lock down of 1.3 billion citizens; and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are postponed among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED CONTENT TO FILL SPORTS GAPS?  ‘Our American Stories’ Reaches Out to Sports Talk Stations with Programming to Temporarily Fill Holes in Their Schedules.  The producers of the highly popular syndicated spoken-word program “Our American Stories” tell TALKERS, “We are pleased to announce we are making ‘Our American Stories’ available to sports stations on a temporary basis with no contract to fill holes in their schedule resulting from the shut downs in the sports industry due to Covid-19.  No strings attached.”  The statement continues, “We have had several sports stations reach out to us and ask if they could use our content temporarily to fill holes in their lineup as so many sporting events have been cancelled.”  A number of the episodes in the archives of the program directly address sports-oriented themes including: “The Heart of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service,” “He Made A Wood Bat For His Son… Now He Outsells Louisville Slugger,” “The Bird and Magic Story: Love, Friendship, and Basketball” and “I Shall Not Fail Those With Whom I Serve.”  “Our American Stories” host and founder Lee Habeeb adds, “At this time in our country, Americans need to be encouraged and reminded that our nation is one that has persevered through tumultuous times and have hope that we will again prevail. We can help with that encouragement through the power of storytelling.”  Interested stations should click here or contact Bryan Dawson at 720-737-2950 or bdawson@oanetwork.org.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  February is not traditionally a good month for the sports talk format, but the February 2020 PPM survey was especially bad as only two stations in our panel showed any weekly, 6+ AQH share gain from January 2020.  And even there Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis (0.1 to 0.3) and iHeartMedia’s WYGM-AM, Orlando (1.1 to 1.2) showed increases that were essentially meaningless.  Year-over-year, about as many stations shows ratings increases (45%) as saw decreases (42%), with big gainers including iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “The Fan” (+2.4), Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.3), and Entercom’s KGMZ-FM, San Jose (+1.1) leading the pack.  The highest-ranking sports talk station during the February survey was Entercom’s WFAN in the Long Island market, finishing the month at #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Hotwire Communications Adds Newsmax TV to Video Service. Southeastern U.S. telecom firm Hotwire Communications and Newsmax Media announce a new distribution deal to deliver Newsmax TV to basic tier video service in seven major Florida markets – Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville/Brunswick, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne and Tallahassee/Thomasville – as well as the Atlanta and Savannah markets in Georgia, the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina, and the Greenville/Spartanburg/Ashville/Anderson markets in South Carolina.  Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Newsmax is excited to have Hotwire on board as our newest affiliate, and we look forward to working together to deliver what its customers have been asking for — an alternative voice within news media.  And with Hotwire’s reach throughout these markets, Newsmax will be exposed to a broad audience seeking news they can trust.”  Hotwire Communications is an all-fiber service provider that has been providing triple-play telecommunication services since 2000.  Hotwire offers a full suite of services to residential, commercial, hospitality, government, smart city, and educational customers in 14 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking place in Sunday’s 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot on FOX Television originally for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, iHeartMedia and FOX announce “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic.  Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more, from their own homes, filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment, to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  In addition to airing on FOX, the program will air across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free and, in addition to the music, will pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus.  It also will encourage viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation…..On-air pro Jeff Lewis Neal joins the WHZT, Greenville, South Carolina-based “Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.”  SummitMedia also airs the program on rhythmic CHR WKHT “Hot 104.5” in Knoxville and rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “Power 104.3.”  SummitMedia Greenville operations manager Mike Klein says, “I’m excited to welcome Jeff Lewis Neal to ‘Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.’  He’s the missing piece of the puzzle to take us to the next level on air and online.”…..Music director Kendall Stewart is promoted to program director for Saga Communications triple A WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia.  She makes the jump after Jeff Sweatman resigned from the position.  Stewart says, “The last four-and-a-half years at ‘106.1 The Corner’ have been the most formative in my career so far and I can’t express how grateful I am to Jeff Sweatman for everything that he has taught me.  I love this station and the amazing music town that I get to live in – Charlottesville – has been through a lot in recent years, but the tragedy that we faced in 2017 has only made us stronger as a community.  I am honored to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to further serve the people of this city and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

| February 12, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Stars Dennis & Judi Announce ‘UnPLUGGED’ Performance. WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” midday personalities Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco are performing a live stage show titled, “Dennis & Judi: UnPLUGGED,” at Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre at The Count Basie Center in Red Bank, New Jersey on Saturday, May 2.  The station says that the live show “will feature many of the elements that make ‘Dennis & Judi’ popular among the station’s audience, including live music, audience interaction, and special guests.”  Ron de Castro is market president for Townsquare Media and he adds, “We’re excited to offer this very special night with New Jersey 101.5’s top-rated midday show hosts. Dennis and Judi’s 20 plus-year-long friendship has a special chemistry that transcends multiple media every day, and now we’re pleased to add the dimension of a live stage show to their already substantial brand.”

Covering the New Hampshire Primary. News networks and some talk radio hosts were in New Hampshire on Tuesday covering the state’s Democratic primary election.  CBS News Radio was headquartered in Manchester for the New Hampshire primary with reporter Steve Dorsey there, Steven Portnoy with Pete Buttigieg, WCBS-AM reporter Steve Burns with Bernie Sanders, and Jim Krasula with former Vice President Joe Biden in Columbia, South Carolina.  Pictured at right is Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) with Steve Burns.   FOX News Radio offered live coverage of the returns with FOX News national correspondent Jared Halpern anchoring plus political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters Tonya J. Powers and Jessica Rosenthal.  In addition, FNR produced a number of podcasts focused on the race, including “The Campaign with Bret Baier” and the latest from anchor Dana Perino and FOX News politics editor Chris Stirewalt’s “I’ll Tell You What.”  Plus, FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show is broadcasting live from Manchester throughout the week.  Pictured at left is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro, who took his radio program to New Hampshire to cover the primary.  Westwood One News‘ coverage of the primary included correspondent Bob Costantini (right) at the Bernie Sanders victory celebration at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

iHeartMedia Unveils iHeartPodcast AdSuite. Today (2/12) at Podfront LA 2020, iHeartMedia unveiled its iHeartPodcast AdSuite – a package of tools designed to help marketers drive results via “iHeartMedia’s unmatched podcast offerings, distribution and listener reach.” iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “As the podcast industry continues to evolve and capture massive consumer attention, advertisers and brands are looking for tools and products to capture and measure the impact.  They are often left without a system for quantitatively monitoring the success, impact. and reach of podcast advertising.  As the leader in the space of both audio and podcasting, we are meeting this challenge head on, offering a new suite of cutting-edge podcast ad products – from better targeting to boosted reach across broadcast radio – as well as pulling together performance and insights across the multiple platforms where we reach audiences.”  The company says the iHeartPodcast AdSuite provides advertisers “with diverse ad formats and customization tools.  Through these products, iHeartMedia has created a dynamic range of options for advertisers and brands to reach their audiences with targetability and scale without sacrificing the listener experience.”

Allgeier to Lead Leighton Broadcasting in Winona. Sales and management pro Jim Allgeier is appointed general manager for Leighton Broadcasting’s Winona, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KWNO and four music brands.  He was most recently market manager for Federated Media’s Fort Wayne, Indiana operations.  Leighton vice president of sales and marketing Stephanie Theisen says, “Jim is an accomplished media expert with experience in radio and beyond.  The addition of a radio veteran like Allgeier, with over 19 consecutive years in the business, will provide the direction and leadership we have been seeking for our Winona market.”

Presidential Race-NH Primary, Wuhan Coronavirus, Roger Stone Case, Trump Budget-Deficit Concerns, Weinstein Trial, and Jussie Smollett Indicted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the effect on China’s economy; four prosecutors resign as the Justice Department reduces the sentencing of convicted Trump attorney Roger Stone; the Trump administration’s fiscal 2021 budget and the Fed’s concerns about the soaring deficit; the sexual assault trial of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein; and actor Jussie Smollett’s indictment on disorderly conduct charges 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. Raleigh CHR WDCG-FM “G105” adds air personality Danny Meyers to “The Showgram” alongside Erica, Ben, and AshleyhiHeartMedia Raleigh SVP of programming Trevor Morini says, “I am incredibly excited to welcome Danny to ‘The Showgram.’  Danny’s extensive track record of morning show success and experience coupled with the other talented hosts make this the perfect fit for ‘G105.’”  Meyers joins the Raleigh market from iHeartMedia Norfolk, where he most recently served as the morning show host on hot AC WMVN “MOViN 107.7.”…..Cumulus Media names Brian Roberts program director for hot AC KEHK-FM, Eugene, Oregon “Star 102.3” and adult contemporary KSCR-AM/FM.  Roberts moves to Eugene from his most recent position with Cumulus programming adult contemporary WPEZ-FM, Macon, Georgia “Z93.7.”…..Air personality Greg Rivers leaves Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC, Canton, Ohio to join iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WMXY, Youngstown, Ohio as morning show host…..Estrella Media, Inc. appoints Eddie León executive vice president, radio programming.  In this position, León will be responsible for overseeing programming at Estrella Media’s 17 owned-and-operated radio stations across the U.S., including the Don Cheto Radio Network…..Matt Stockman is the new director of programming for Pillar of Fire’s contemporary Christian WAWZ-FM, New York “Star 99.1.”  He was most recently a program director with K-Love.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

| July 16, 2019

APOLLO 11 ANNIVERSARY:  CBS News Radio Correspondent Peter King is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (7/20) and the stellar 45-year career of a CBS News Radio reporter who has been covering the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the past two decades, Peter King is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison (a passionate space enthusiast) and King discuss a wide variety of topics including NASA, US space exploration, memories of the Apollo 11 mission, their love of radio, and the state of journalism in America.  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 of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

Esiason Gets The Call to NY State Broadcaster’s Association HOF. Twelve-year Entercom New York City sports talk WFAN morning show co-host, Boomer Esiason, has been selected to the New York State Broadcaster’s Association’s Hall of Fame. The legendary former NFL quarterback will be inducted at the Broadcast Leadership and Hall of Fame luncheon during the NAB New York Show in October. Entercom New York regional president/market manager Susan Larkin remarks, “Boomer has been a cornerstone of this station since his arrival. This distinguished recognition represents his invaluable contributions to our station and industry overall.” In thanking the NY State Broadcaster’s Association “for this incredible honor,” Esiason comments, “It is extremely humbling to be recognized alongside hardworking, accomplished individuals in our industry.” He and Gregg Giannotti form “Boomer and Gio” weekday mornings on WFAN, which is the flagship of the Yankees, Giants, Brooklyn Nets, and New Jersey Devils. After his 14-year NFL career, Esiason debuted as a commentator on ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football.” For nearly two decades, he has called games for Westwood One/CBS Radio Sports and served as a studio analyst for “The NFL Today” on CBS-TV and Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with Special Luncheon Address by Salem Radio Network Host Sebastian Gorka.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/16) post presents a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network.  Yesterday’s (7/15) post presents the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.  Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Preliminary iHM Q2 Results, NASDAQ Listing. Under the Global Select Market ticker symbol “IHRT,” NASDAQ approves the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, par valued at $0.001 per share. Class A shares are expected to begin trading on NASDAQ this Thursday (7/18). Meanwhile, preliminary SEC-filed second-quarter financial show year-to-year revenue rose 2.4% to $913 million. Operating income (OI) was off $1 million to $180, while Adjusted EBITDA grew 3.1% ($255 million to $263 million). Preliminary results have not been audited or reviewed by the company’s independent accountants, and remain subject to review by iHeartMedia’s management and audit committee. Results may differ from actual results, which remain subject to completion of management’s and the audit committee’s final review, as well as the interim review by its independent accountants.

Study: Podcast Ads Least Likely To Be Skipped. Monthly podcast listeners skip digital ad formats the most – online pop-up ads, online banner ads, e-mail advertising, direct mail, and online video. That’s among the nuggets Westwood One uncovered when it teamed with Canadian media research consultancy Audience Insights in a study focused on podcast consumers and their listening habits. Fielded this past March, the report examines podcast consumption habits of 1,407 monthly podcast listeners. It addresses four distinct segments based on when people began listening to podcasts: 313 “Podcast Pioneers” who started listening four or more years ago; 415 who began listening two to three years ago; 327 who began listening in the past seven to 12 months; and 352 “Podcast Newcomers” who began listening within the last six months. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “The finding that emerging podcast listeners are using a diverse number of platforms signals a turning point for the podcast industry. When compared to the ‘Podcast Pioneers,’ who use Apple Podcasts almost exclusively, ‘Podcast Newcomers’ are open to using multiple platforms to access podcasts.” Audience Insights president Jeff Vidler notes, “This podcast download report expands on much of what we have seen as we put our microscope on Canadian podcast listeners. Podcasting is uniquely engaging, on trend with on-demand content platforms like Netflix or paid music streaming services, but the only one accessible to advertisers.” Other study highlights include: Roughly three of ten (31%) “Podcast Newcomers” typically discover podcasts by hearing about them on terrestrial radio. While the average monthly podcast listener accesses 2.7 podcast platforms, “Podcast Newcomers” use 3.5 platforms. Two of three “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast hosts on social media. Podcast listeners equally use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to follow their favorite hosts. Approximately two of five (42%) “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast host on Twitter, compared to 22% of U.S. adults who ever use Twitter. Spotify and Google Podcasts are attracting consumers who recently began listening to podcasts. Among those listening to podcasts over four years, Apple is the leading destination.

SBG President: “Case Is Far From Over.” As we reported yesterday (TALKERS, 7/15), a Los Angeles superior court jury ruled unanimously in favor of independent syndicator of radio live play-by-play Sports USA in its multi-year violation of contract suit against Sun Broadcasting Group. The jury awarded Sports USA damages in excess of $2 million as compensation for Sun’s breach of its advertising representation agreement with Sports USA. Sun Broadcast Group president Jason Bailey, however, stresses, “This case is far from over. We were shocked and saddened by the verdict in Pacific West Radio Sports, LLC (d/b/a Sports USA) v. Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. Despite establishing wrongdoing by Sports USA from even before the inception of the agreement between the parties, the jury granted judgment in favor of Sports USA. The jury reached that verdict without the benefit of being able to consider key evidence of Sports USA’s wrongdoing. Sun was barred from introducing that evidence at trial on hearsay grounds. We remain determined to see that justice is done, and plan to pursue every available avenue to overturn this result so that Sports USA’s improper business practices are exposed and no other company falls victim. This verdict involves the old Sun, which has not traded since late 2018. It does not involve the current SBG-owned and operated by Gen Media Partners.” Bailey further notes, “This will be the only statement I will make on the matter while we work through the appeal process.”

Three Moody Radio AM Stations Are On The Block. With plans to exit the AM radio business, Moody Radio is set to spin off its three AM facilities. Chicago-based operator Moody Bible Institute will focus on FM network expansion. Senior vice president of media Greg Thornton writes, “Moody Radio seeks to transform the world for Jesus Christ, one listener at a time, by producing and delivering quality, creative, biblical content, which helps people take the next step in their journey with Jesus. In looking to the future, Moody Radio is committed to double [our] overall impact by  2030. Our strategic roadmap to achieving this bold vision includes audience growth through market expansion/realignment, and content development strategies.” Thornton recognizes “the limitations of AM broadcasting today, including [that] many AM stations only broadcast in the daytime.” Thus, Moody Radio will be selling Spanish religion WMBI W268AY “Moody Radio – AM 1110,” Chicago; Spanish religion WDLM “Moody Radio – AM 960,” East Moline/Quad Cities, Illinois; and Spanish religion WGNR “Moody Radio – AM 1470,” Anderson, Indiana. According to Thornton, “Listeners in these cities will still hear Moody Radio 24 hours a day on our strong FM signals. Proceeds from the sale of these three AM licenses will be used to further the expansion of Moody Radio through the addition of digital/online content, new apps in both English and Spanish, and the acquisition of select FM broadcast licenses.”

TALKERS News Notes.  As part of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing investigating charges of bias against conservatives, Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager will testify at 2:30 pm (ET) today (Tuesday, 7/16). Prager’s opening statement has already been submitted and, in part, he states, “I have been communicating this appreciation of America for 35 years as a radio talk show host, the last 20 in national syndication with the Salem Radio Network, an organization that is a blessing in American life.” According to Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup, videos from Prager’s “online Prager University have been blocked as ‘controversial’ by Google and other search engines. Google officials deny any political bias or filtering of conservative viewpoints.” Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz is the chair of today’s hearing ….. In two weeks (7/30 & 7/31), Westwood One News’ coverage of the Democratic National Committee-sanctioned/CNN-produced Democratic Presidential Debates will air from Detroit. Westwood One News correspondent Evan Haning will anchor, starting at 7:59 pm (ET) both nights, while Bob Costantini handles on-scene reporting and will be available for live Q&A from the Motor City. The network will offer stations an unanchored feed and one-minute special reports each night at the top and bottom of the hour (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. Set to rejoin WTEM “980 The Team” in three weeks (8/5) is Kevin Sheehan, who wasn’t retained when Radio One acquired the Washington (DC) sports talk outlet late last year. Sheehan co-hosted mornings with Chris Cooley and will return for 7:00 am – 10:00 am duty. Radio One senior regional vice president Jeff Wilson comments, “I’m elated to have Kevin Sheehan back home on ‘The Team.’ His unique approach to the sports landscape, combined with his overwhelming passion, provides an entertainment destination for listeners throughout the Nation’s Capital.” Prior to departing last year, Sheehan had been with WTEM 14 years and states, “I’m looking forward to coming home – it’s great to be back.” ….. The first three Jim Rutt Show podcasts went live yesterday (Monday, July 15) on JimRuttShow.com. The series will examine “cutting-edge thinking” in science and technology, and the future of our economic, political and social systems and institutions. The past chair of The Santa Fe Institute; former chief executive officer of Network Solutions; and first CTO of Thomson-Reuters, Rutt was called “the internet’s bad boy” by The New York Times for his reputation for creative mischief. A complete collection of Rutt’s podcasts, including show transcripts, episode highlights, guest biographies, and links are available on the aforementioned website.

Line Drives. This past weekend, NBC Sports Radio produced seven radio shows from the driving range at Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Lake Tahoe (Nevada), site of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. Flanking MLB Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz (center) are Tim Murray and Michael Jenkins, hosts of NBC Sports Radio’s “The Daily Line.” Launched this past January in conjunction with Westwood One, “The Daily Line” is a weekday, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm sports talk show, focusing on sports betting.

Trump’s Controversial Tweets; US Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities; 2020 Presidential Race; and US-China Trade War Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). President Donald Trump’s Tweets attacking four Congressional Democratic women of color; conditions for migrants detained at the border; the relative standing and contributions raised by Democratic Party presidential candidates; and the US-China trade war’s impact on the Chinese economy were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

CRB Elects 2019 – 2020 Board of Directors. Returning as board president of the Country Radio Broadcasters is Townsquare Media’s Kurt Johnson; Cumulus Media’s John Shomby is elected vice president; and SummitMedia’s Beverlee Brannigan returns as secretary. Johnson remarks, “This is one of the strongest boards CRB has ever had. [I am] so proud to work with this group of radio and Music Row leaders to present country with the best CRS ever – February 19 – 21, 2020.” This year’s board of directors are: Chuck Aly (Country Aircheck); Beverlee Brannigan (SummitMedia); Becky Brenner (Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Consulting); Johnny Chiang (KKBQ-FM, Houston); George Couri (Triple 8 Management); Andy Denemark (United Stations); Ryan Dokke (Curb); Mike Dungan (UMG); John Esposito (Warner Music Nashville); Dan Halyburton (Falls Media); Debra Herman (Apple); Steve Hodges (Sony Nashville); Clay Hunnicutt, Dave Kelly (Big Machine Label Group); Jon Loba (BBR/BMG); Mike McVay (McVay Media); Charlie Morgan (Emmis Communications); Rod Phillips (iHeartCountry); Tim Roberts (WYCD, Detroit); Royce Risser (UMG); Bob Richards (Emmis Communications/WLHK, Indianapolis); Brittany Schaffer (Spotify); John Shomby (Cumulus Media); Lesly Simon (Pearl Records); Matt Sunshine (CFSS); Joel Raab (Joel Raab Country Radio/Media); Ryan Redington (Amazon Music); Kristen Williams (Warner); and Charlie Monk continues as a lifetime director emeritus.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Many stations are noting the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first-ever “moon walk” (July 20, 1969) with Apollo lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. Without question, one of the cleverest promotions is being done by the program director of Cumulus Media Salt Lake City country-formatted KUBL “K-Bull 93” … Travis Moon. As part of the “Travis Moon Walk,” which began today (Tuesday, 7/16) at 7:00 am and is expected to end Saturday (7/20) coinciding with that history-making mission, Moon plans to “walk” more than 80 miles to raise money for Salt Lake City-based Shriner’s Hospitals For Children. Hoping to travel approximately 16 miles a day, Moon admits it will be a “long, tough walk. The exciting part is the unknown – if I can actually do this physically. I guess we will all find out.” While on foot from (Utah cities) Provo to Ogden, Moon will discuss the hospital’s purpose and invite listeners to make donations ….. “California Live,” a 30-minute lifestyle/entertainment show, which airs on Los Angeles’ KNBC-TV (as well as KNTV-TV, San Jose and KNSD-TV, San Diego) has added “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” co-host Sisanie as a correspondent. In her latest segment, Sisanie visits Los Angeles’ first cat cafe experience, where customers can drink coffee while cuddling rescue cats that are up for adoption ….. Starting next Monday (7/22), Sytonnia “Toni” Moore joins Cox Media Group Atlanta urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1” as co-host/news anchor on the (5:00 am – 9:00 am) “Morning Groove” with Art Terrell and Corey “Zooman” Miller. The station’s director/branding and programming, Terri Avery, declares, “Toni Moore is the real deal. Her experience and passion for radio is beyond compare and will take ‘Kiss 104.1’ to new levels.” Moore remarks, “This is an incredible opportunity: I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the powerhouse that is Cox Media Group and ‘Kiss 104.1.’ It’s a dream I’ve had for a few years. It’s beyond exciting to see it come to fruition.” Moore previously was an on-air personality for cross-town Entercom urban contemporary and sports talk siblings WVEE “V-103” and WZGC “92.9 The Game,” as well as a sports reporter for the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons ….. Continuing his role as afternoon-drive host, Andy Chanley adds music director duties at California State University – Northridge’s KCSN & Saddleback College’s KSBR, Mission Viejo (both California, simulcast on 88.5). General manager Patrick Osborn proclaims, “Andy has done it all in this market – mornings, middays, afternoon drive – and has vast experience in all the rock format genres. I’m happy to say we are operating at full strength with great, experienced broadcasters in every position.” Program director Marc “Mookie” Kaczor notes, “Andy is such an asset for us. He’s an incredible personality and he’s been a great sounding-board for me. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other.” Chanley adds, “There’s no station in the world like 88.5 FM. It’s a special blend of music and people — on both sides of the transmitter — that makes radio fun again. I’m really proud to be on this team, and beyond excited at the opportunity to help steer the rudder even more.” KCSN and KSBR began simulcasting just over two years ago …. Three-year WUSN “US-99” nighttime talent Kimmie Caruba departs the Entercom country outlet. Caruba was previously heard in the same day-part in Phoenix on co-owned KMLE “Country @ 107.9,” and she did mid-days in that Arizona market on cluster-mate KALV “Live 101.5.” ….. A six-episode podcast on Milwaukee’s hip-hop history, “Backspin,” debuted yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on Radio Milwaukee triple A WYMS “88Nine.” Hosted by hip-hop expert Tyrone Miller (“DJ Bizzon”) and “88Nine” music director Justin Barney, “Backspin” provides an insightful view into black America in the late-1970s and early-1980s, through the lens of hip-hop. Miller comments, “The series is about so much more than who recorded Milwaukee’s first hip-hop song. It’s about the journey of getting to that song. Hip-hop is more than a genre: It’s connected everywhere – radio, movies, TV, and fashion. It’s in every piece of culture.” ….. After departing two months ago from Townsquare Media, “Taste of Country Nights” host Sam Alex surfaced yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on the eponymous “Sam Alex Show.” Affiliate licensing and sales for the syndicated program are being handled by Sun Broadcast Group. Alex notes (in Forbes Magazine) that he’s “so excited about this new chapter. The world of radio,” he opines, “has changed so much in the past decade, with continued consolidations, new technology, and increased competition to discover new music. This change positions me to have full creative control and reach listeners in new ways.” ….. KDVV “V-100 Topeka’s Rock Leader” 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent Randy Raley adds PD duties at the Cumulus Media rocker and classic hits cluster-mate KWIC “99.3 The Eagle.” Cumulus Topeka operations manager Amber Lee notes, “Randy brings significant on-air experience and format knowledge to these stations and to our programming team.” According to Raley, “I’ve been a radio geek since an early age – I’m happy to be taking the programming reins at the legendary ‘V-100.’ Amber Lee has put together an incredible staff and we’re going to do great things together.” St. Louis Classic Rock Hall of Famer Raley did afternoon drive on St. Louis’ KSHE  for 13 years and has worked in Kansas City at KYYS “KY-102,” and KCFX “101 The Fox.” ….. Among the latest affiliates for Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is Metro Radio Berkeley Springs, West Virginia classic hits-oldies WXDC. The show airs Saturday nights starting at 7:00 pm on “Cool 92.9 – Good Times/Great Oldies.”

 

 

June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Friday, June 7, 2019

| June 7, 2019

TALKERS Convention Opens Today in New York City. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running and most important convention in the talk media industry (radio, television, satellite, internet) – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story – opens today in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater. More than 67 speakers will address the hottest issues, challenges and opportunities facing talk radio and its related media and business communities before a sold-out crowd of media professionals. TALKERS will provide on demand video coverage of the key sessions of this colorful event shortly after it takes place for those who have been locked out due to on-site space limitations. For the latest agenda and information about this historic convention, please click here.

2019 Radio Mercury Winners Crowned.  Last night (6/6) at SONY Hall in New York City, the winners of the 2019 Radio Mercury Awards were announced, and this year’s $50,000 Best of Show award was presented to Wieden + Kennedy for their Old Spice Pomade Radio campaign.  In addition to the other winners that you can see here, Progressive Insurance was named the Radio Marketer of the Year.  Chief judge (and chief creative officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day NY) Chris Beresford-Hill says, “We have tremendous diversity in tonight’s winning audio, and what impressed the final round judges most was the power of storytelling and the various ways advertisers were able to convey a brand’s message through innovative and unique creative.”  Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Erica Farber – who also serves as chair of the Radio Creative Fund – says, “It was another great night for radio and the strength of the audio medium in conveying a brand’s message.  The Radio Mercury Awards continue to advance the medium forward by showcasing innovative and effective radio commercial work.”  Pictured below are (from l-r): Beresford-Hill, copywriter Adam Crouch, Wieden + Kennedy art director Alex McClelland, and Farber.


Matt Derrick Named Operations Manager for SummitMedia Omaha. Programming pro Matt Derrick joins SummitMedia to serve as operations manager for the Omaha cluster that includes CHR KQCH (for which he’ll serve as PD), sports talk KXSP, rock KEZO, adult contemporary KSRZ, and classic rock KKCD. SummitMedia Omaha president Kathy Higgins says, “We are excited to have Matt join the SummitMedia Omaha team. He has deep experience across multiple formats in numerous markets where he served as program director, operations manager and regional SVP of programming.  I look forward to his positive energy and creativity to help us continually better serve our local community and engage and entertain our audiences.”

Stolnis Rises to News Manager for Westwood One. News pro John Stolnis is promoted from executive editor at Westwood One News to news manager.  The company says that in this newly created role, Stolnis will be responsible for day-to-day assignments, coverage, and newsroom operations.  He reports to WWO News vice president Kevin DeLany.  Stolnis is a 20-year veteran of radio news and talk programming, with the last 15 years spent at Westwood One.  He has served as executive editor and reporter for Westwood One News since its debut in 2015. Prior to that he produced for NBC News Radio as well as multiple national talk radio programs under the Westwood One umbrella, including “The Jim Bohannon Show,” “The Fred Thompson Show,” and “The Douglas Urbanski Show.”   Stolnis says, “I’m extremely honored to be able to work with such an incredible staff of anchors, correspondents, editors, and newsroom managers, all of whom are the heartbeat of Westwood One News.  Westwood One News has quickly become a leader in network radio news, and I look forward to continuing to serve our affiliates and listeners with the best coverage and programming in the industry.”

New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” Posted.  The brand-new installment of the weekly news roundup, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” is posted.  This edition looks back at the week of June 3-7, 2019 with a focus on President Trump’s visit to England, the U.S. trade wars, big tech under fire, and a salute to the heroes of D-Day, plus more.  Guests include (in order of appearance):  Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Graham Mack, program director/morning host, Fix Radio, London; Heidi Harris, morning host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston; Doug Stephan, host, DJV Show/American Family Farmer; Chip Franklin, host, KGO, San Francisco; and Victoria Jones, executive director/chief Washington correspondent, DC Radio Company.  The one-hour program, hosted by the iconic founder of TALKERS, is aired weekends on iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC and KSCO, Santa Cruz, California and is now available on a market-exclusive basis to stations interested in running it.  Call 413-565-5413 for information.  To listen to the show, please click here.

TALKERS 2019 Heavy Hundred Published. The 2019 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – also known as the Heavy Hundred – has been published. This is the 25th edition of the Heavy Hundred that is compiled by the editors of TALKERS magazine and inclusion is based upon a combination of hard factors such as ratings, revenue and longevity, plus soft factors including effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. Executive editor Kevin Casey says, “As the editorial staff was preparing to publish the Heavy Hundred, we reflected on the 25-year history of this list – especially how challenging it is to whittle the thousands of hosts doing a talk radio program in America today down to the 100 most important. That said, we are excited to publish this year’s list and we believe it represents an honest reflection of the state of talk radio today.” See 2019 Heavy Hundred here.

TALKERS News Notes. The most recent podcast from iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman – titled “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” features former MTV CEO and current Amazon board directorJudy McGrath.  The program includes McGrath discussing “her front-row seat experiencing two business phenomena in one lifetime: MTV and Amazon, and how the two are similar in culture…McGrath also discusses her early years at Conde Nast, how she convinced advertisers to get behind ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘South Park’ and the importance of always supporting your talent.”…..A deal between President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground production company and Spotify has the former First Couple producing podcasts exclusively for the audio platform.  Barack Obama is quoted saying, “We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation.  It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”…..A report in the New York Post by Andrew Marchand indicates the MLB’s New York Yankees are talking about creating YES Radio that could change the future of the way Yankees games are heard. Marchand’s report notes that as the team – with the financial backing of Amazon and Sinclair Broadcasting – navigates buying back the YES Network from Disney for $3.5 billion, it is in talks with SiriusXM about a new channel for YES Radio. Currently, Yankees games are heard on Entercom’s WFAN, New York.  Marchand writes that if YES Radio becomes a reality it could start “a series of moves that could have huge implications not only locally, but on the future of sports media.”…..SiriusXM is presenting the exclusive national radio coverage of the 119th U.S. Open Championship from Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.  SiriusXM’s programming will feature 44 hours of live hole-by-hole coverage June 13-16…..Pictured below grabbing some lunch  in New York City is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) with FOX Business Network personality Lou Dobbs (left).  Texas-based Tradup is in the Big Apple to attend today’s Talkers 2019: Telling the Story conference.

Trump in England/75th D-Day Anniversary Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 3-7.  The state visit to Great Britain by President Trump and the related 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the U.S. trade wars with China and Mexico.  Coming in at #3 was the House Judiciary Committee’s planned investigations into possible anti-trust activity by big tech firms, followed by the Virginia Beach shootings, the Australia shootings, and the charging of former Parkland, Florida deputy Scot Peterson tied 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Adult hits KPRT-FM, Kirkland, New Mexico “107.9 Pirate Radio” adds the Envision Networks-syndicated “Ashley & Brad Show” for the morning drive daypart.  Program director Shawn Kelly says, “The Ashley & Brad Show is a great addition to our mornings.  It’s easy to make it sound local and they relate to our local audience.  Great move, glad we did it.”…..KFRG, Riverside programmer and air personality Scott Ward exits the Entercom country station after 24 years with the station.  Ward had been programming the station for the past two years and hosted the afternoon show.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

| May 22, 2019

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  The performance of the all-news format is very important to Entercom as it owns nine of the 12 all-news stations in our panel.  Almost 60% of these stations went down (weekly, 6+ AQH share) from the March PPM survey to April.  Comparing April 2018 to this year, 6+ ratings movement was even, with half the stations going up and the other half going down.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington again ranks #1 in its market (the only all-newser to do so this month), while Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and WWJ-AM, Detroit both ranked #2 in their markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s full report here.

Cumulus Asks FCC to Allow Up to 100% Foreign Investment.  The FCC has a rule that no more than 25% of an American broadcast entity can be owned by foreign investors.  As Cumulus Media emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in 2018, foreign ownership of its voting stock was no more than 22.5%.  The company made sure of that in order to facilitate the proceedings. Now, Cumulus is asking the FCC to allow foreign investment of up to 100%. The FCC public notice states, “Cumulus now requests approval to permit up to a 100 percent aggregate foreign investment to enable holders of warrants and non-voting stock to convert or exercise these instruments in exchange for voting stock and allow non-U.S. persons or entities to hold up to 100 percent of its voting stock and capital stock generally in the future.  Specifically, Cumulus explains that upon grant of the Petition, the special warrants would be automatically exchanged, and foreign ownership of Cumulus immediately following such exchanges would then be approximately 34 percent on a voting basis and 31 percent on an equity basis.  Notwithstanding that the foreign ownership which would result from exercise of the special warrants is expected to be much less than 100 percent, Cumulus states that it is requesting a ruling that would permit non-U.S. persons or entities to hold up to and including 100 percent of its voting stock and 100 percent of its capital stock generally.  Cumulus believes that elimination of the overall limitation on foreign ownership of its shares will, inter alia, enhance the market liquidity of its stock and ‘provide the Company with the greatest degree of flexibility in accessing foreign investment capital.’  Cumulus asserts that grant of the Petition is entirely consistent with the public interest. In support of the Petition, Cumulus asserts that grant of the Petition is consistent with the reorganization plan, which has enabled Cumulus to emerge from bankruptcy in a stronger financial condition, and which, in turn, will enable Cumulus to raise capital, enhance its programming, better serve the public, and compete with non-FCC regulated entities on a more level playing field.  Cumulus also maintains that grant of the Petition aligns with U.S. foreign trade policy and the U.S. government’s desire to ‘promote inbound foreign investment’ and encourage reciprocity with U.S. trading partners.”  The public comment period is open through July 8.

Alpha Media Stations Moving into Chicagoland Mall. After almost two years of negotiations, the local village board in Gurnee, Illinois (near the Illinois-Wisconsin border) has voted to pay Alpha Media $200,000 to assist in the cost of moving its four north suburban stations – news/talk WLIP-AM, Spanish sports talk WKRS-AM, rock WIIL-FM, and hot AC WXLC-FM – into space at the Gurnee Mills mall complex.  According to a report in the DailyHerald, mall owner Simon Property Group is paying Alpha $600,000 to help with the cost of the estimated $847,000 renovation project.  In return, Alpha will produce at least 32 public events at the mall to drive foot traffic and will air ads for the mall.

TALKERS News Notes. The Kirk MinihaneEntercom relationship appears to be turning sour again with the sports media personality now threatening to take legal action to get the platform he desires.  Brandon Contes at Barrett Sports Media writes an account of Minihane’s displeasure over his situation at Entercom that he expressed while broadcasting recently on Periscope.  Minihane wants his own “network” on Entercom’s Radio.com platform within a month or he says he’ll sue.  Minihane officially left the WEEI, Boston morning show last fall.  At the time, Entercom said it wanted Minihane to do a show on Radio.com…..Media personality Michele Tafoya – whose work includes serving as co-host of “The Tom Barnard Show” on Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS, Minneapolis – was honored Monday at the 40th Annual Sports Emmy Awards in New York with the Outstanding Sports Personality award for her work as an NBC Sports sideline reporter for NFL games.  Tafoya also won the award in 2012 and 2014.  Cumulus VP, classic rock and Twin Cities operations manager Scott Jameson says, “All of us at Cumulus Minneapolis are very proud of Michele winning this prestigious Emmy award.  We’re quite fortunate having her on our legendary morning show hosted by National Hall of Fame inductee Tom Barnard and the rest of the morning team.”…..Westwood One News picks up another honor for exceptional reporting as the organization and correspondent Jim Roope receive a Deadline Club Award for best “Radio or Audio Feature Reporting.”  The award recognizes Roope’s 2018 report, “Las Vegas: Remembering and Healing,” in which he returned to Las Vegas one year after the deadly mass shooting and spoke with the community and the victims about how they were remembering, coping, and healing. The Deadline Club Award is bestowed by the NY Society of Professional Journalists for reporting across all media platforms, including newspapers, magazines, radio, digital, and TV…..Radio personality Walter Sterling is guest starring on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento this holiday weekend.  He’s sitting in for Pat Walsh on both Friday and Monday from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Sterling’s syndicated program is heard Sunday evenings on the iHeartMedia station…..Forever Media closes on its acquisition of the 10-station group in Delaware and Maryland it purchased from Steinman Communications for $18.5 million. The signals include news/talk WDEL-AM/FM, Wilmington and news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware.  Michael J. Bergner of Bergner & Co. was the exclusive broker for the deal.

ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

Trump Financial Records Subpoena, Dems Impeachment Talk, U.S.-Iran Tensions, U.S.-China Tariff Battle, 2020 Election Politics, New Anti-Abortion Laws, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The request from congressional Democrats for President Trump’s tax returns and financial records; key Democrats battle House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment possibility; Iran’s increased production of enriched uranium and the possibility of U.S. military action against it; the trade war being waged between the U.S. and China; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the new, restrictive anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; and NBA/NHL playoffs action 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. In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia names programming pro Brandon “Buster” Satterfield program director for CHR WIOQ-FM “Q102,” effective June 17.  Satterfield moves north from his most recent position with the company as APD for CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP for programming Brian Check says, “Brandon brings a unique combination of top 40 radio experience on and off the air, as well as knowledge of the market and passion for everything Philly.  His dedication to the brand and keen eye for programming and the latest music make him the perfect fit.”…..Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” brings two-time Grammy nominee and radio personality Monie Love aboard to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show, effective today (5/22).  Station director of branding and programming Terri Avery comments, “We are so excited to have Monie Love join the ‘KISS 104.1’ team.  Her love of hip-hop, entertaining personality and star power make her a great addition to our afternoons here in Atlanta.”…..Westwood One’s internationally syndicated “The Ty Bentli Show” announces Adrian Kulp joins the show as senior executive producer.  WWO says Kulp brings a wealth of creative experience across multiple entertainment mediums to the show.  He served for almost 10 years as a television executive with positions including vice president of TV development at Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, vice president of TV development at Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing, and a stint at CBS’s “The Late Late Show.”  NASH Network director of programming John Shomby says, “Ty Bentli continues to build a team that is focused on maximizing creativity!  Adrian brings a different perspective to the table that will help the show build a unique vision and bring that to our listeners each morning!”