Rush Limbaugh Addresses Cancer Battle on Radio Show; Third Wave ‘Kicking My Ass.’ Since being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer back in January, Premiere Networks talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh has not spoken regularly about his battle with the disease as he says he “vowed not to be a cancer patient on the radio.” But he opened his Tuesday show explaining that he felt his listeners were overdue for an update. “There have been many cycles, but this is the third wave, and this current wave, I have to tell you, is kicking my ass. For the last seven days, I have been virtually worthless, virtually useless. I haven’t left the house. I haven’t done much of anything except just try to rest and relax. All of this was told to me; it was gonna be a factor.” If you missed it you can read a transcript at Limbaugh’s website here.
Holiday Weekend Re-Opening, Statistics & Projections, George Floyd Death/Amy Cooper Incident, Trump Twitter Controversy, Presidential Race, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). Americans react to the re-opening of economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll and the projections for future cases; the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the protests that followed, tied with the case of white New Yorker Amy Cooper who called the police on a black man for asking that she leash her dog; President Trump’s tweet alleging that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough killed a woman who died in the then-congressman’s office; the November presidential elections; and the world’s financial markets begin the week on a bullish note were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One: Drop AM/FM Advertising at Your Own Risk. In this week’s Westwood One blog, the company reveals the results of a case study of a new brand that, after two years of a radio campaign that helped it compete with two established brands, dropped radio and doubled down on TV. You can probably see where this is going as WWO calls this a “cautionary tale.” Westwood One says the Nielsen analysis indicated that TV skews much too old for the consumer category. The brand’s category users are mostly made up of adults 18-49 (73%). When the brand left AM/FM radio for television, campaign impressions skewed much older. Only 36% of the TV impressions were 18-49. The vast majority of TV deliveries (64%) occurred over the age of 50. WWO adds that the demographic imbalance of the TV plan also extended to key targets for the brand. Compared to heavy TV viewers, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are far more likely to be members of the brand’s frequent shopper club, have access to their distribution platform, and are much more likely to be heavy category users. Additionally, dropping AM/FM radio in 2019 caused erosion in awareness, weekly usage, brand consideration, and AM/FM radio ad recall. After strong growth from 2017 to 2018, association to brand attributes stagnated from 2018 to 2019. Finally, dropping AM/FM radio also caused major damage among heavy AM/FM radio listeners. Brand equity suffered greatly down the entire purchase funnel with double-digit losses. See more from the blog here.
Shadoe Stevens Delivers Innovative Podcast Series, ‘MentalRadio.’ Legendary LA-based radio personality and multimedia icon Shadoe Stevens has launched a 10-episode series of 30-minute podcasts collectively titled, “MentalRadio.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes the podcast series as “one of the coolest audio media extravaganzas to come down the pike since the golden age of radio theater. It’s a rich listening experience.” Stevens, tells TALKERS, “‘MentalRadio’ is subversive optimism disguised as comedy – each episode is a scripted, 30 minutes of highly produced, immersive audio theater. It’s SNL-style sketches, original music and jingles, and features parodies of everything from conspiracy theories to breaking news and pop culture.” Stevens adds, “‘MentalRadio’ uses humor, entertainment, and real solutions to try to shift a listener’s mental state away from doubt and gloom and toward optimism and hope, to feel better whether they want to or not.” Stevens has an extraordinary media background that goes back for decades. He was an innovative programmer who played a major role in the establishment of iconic LA rock stations KMET and KROQ, hosted “American Top 40” following Casey Kasem, served as announcer and personality on a number of network television game shows and talk shows in addition to appearing as an actor in several major TV series and motion pictures. To learn more about “MentalRadio,” please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. A piece published in the Pittsburgh alt-weekly CityPaper takes a critical look at the programming on Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM. Citing some former and current staffers – all anonymously – writer Ryan Deto explores what he concludes has been a concerted effort to become more aggressively hard right on the part of its talk hosts, specifically late morning host Marty Griffin and afternoon drive personality Wendy Bell…..Nexstar Media Group is producing a COVID-19 special that will air on Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from WGN-TV, Chicago and be simulcast on eight other Nexstar TV stations across Illinois as well as on WGN-AM. The program is called “Illinois Town Hall: Responding to COVID-19” and is being hosted by WGN-TV news anchors Tahman Bradley and Julie Unruh along with political analyst Paul Lisnek. Nexstar president Tim Busch says, “Illinois residents interested in hearing about the impact of the pandemic and who want to express their concerns and ask questions regarding the re-opening of the state’s economy can rely on Nexstar’s dedication to local content to provide them the latest news and a connection to their government and community leaders.”…..ABC News’ Dan Harris interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the “Ten Percent Happier” podcast. In it, the Dalai Lama says that while self-isolating for COVID-19, he watches “1 hour or 2 hours” of television, he “sometimes is reading” and he’ll do a daily online meditation for “4 or 5 hours.” The interview will also be broadcast on “Nightline” tomorrow night (5/28), will appear on streaming news channel ABC News Live later this week as well as on “GMA Weekend.”…..AdLarge Media announces it is extending its ad sales agreement for Ashley Flowers’ true crime podcast “Crime Junkie.” The podcast is getting more than 31 million downloads a month. Adlarge is also lending its support to further grow Flowers’ audiochuck Network with four new shows, all executive produced by Flowers…..The San Jose Spotlight reports that longtime San Jose broadcaster Bob Kieve died on Sunday (5/24) at the age of 98. Kieve owned and operated KLIV-AM since 1967 and served as president of Empire Broadcasting, which also owns country KRTY-FM. Kieve took KLIV-AM dark in 2019 after being unable to sell the station.
NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at “Expert Guests.” Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an expert on everything you need to know about attending graduate school; a fascinating futurist; an expert on honestly and openly coming to terms with discussing and dealing with death – and more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York radio pro Richard Neer posts this piece about the coming 50th anniversary of WLIR-FM, Long Island’s transition to a progressive rock format on June 30, 1970. Neer – author of the 2001 book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard) – says he’ll post more pieces on the station as the June 30 date draws closer. The station, long a cultural mecca for teens growing up on Long Island during the station’s rock heyday, is now owned by Univision and plays a Spanish hits format under the new calls WQBU-FM…..In Denver, Max Media re-brands CHR KFCO as “HOT 107.1.” The station made the change prior to the start of the holiday weekend and went commercial free for the three days. Vice president of programming and operations Rick Thomas says, “Our desire is to accurately reflect the musical passion of the marketplace. To that end, we have simply expanded our approach allowing listeners to enjoy a wider variety of rhythmic hit music, re-branding as ‘HOT 107.1,’ Denver’s New Hit Music.’”…..Hall Communications moves midday personality Courtney Kelley to morning drive alongside Brian Mulhern on country WCTK, Providence “Cat Country 98.1.” She takes over for Madelyn Grimaldi who exited the radio biz. Station PD Bob Walker says, “Courtney has been with us since 2013. As long as I have known her, she has wanted to host a morning show. We are beyond excited to have her living out that dream every morning on ‘Cat Country.’”…..Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC-FM, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” awarded 10 listeners the opportunity to take part in a Friday evening Zoom Pizza Party with country star Brad Paisley and “98.9 The Bull” morning host Fitz. Paisley hung out on the Zoom party for more than 45 minutes answering questions, having a quick awkward sing-a-long of his new release, “There’s No I In Beer,” and sharing the amazing scenery of his ranch, including a close encounter with a hawk! The station made arrangements to have pizza delivered to all 10 winners, prior to the 4:30 pm Zoom Party.
WLS, Chicago Puts Local TV News Brothers Together for Weekend Show. WLS, Chicago operations director Drew Hayes announces the debut of a new Sunday afternoon talk show co-hosted by local TV reporters Dan and Anthony Ponce. Anthony Ponce works at NBC O&O WMAQ-TV as a general assignment reporter while Dan Ponce is a general assignment reporter at Tribune’s WGN-TV. Dan also co-founded the nationally recognized a capella singing group Straight No Chaser. Together they will recap the top national and local stories and give listeners a chance to grade the media. “There’s always so much more to report beyond the time we have on TV. This is the perfect opportunity to tell the story behind the story,” says Dan. “We’re hoping to give listeners a peek into the world of Chicago journalism and hear their opinions about the week’s biggest stories and how they’re covered,” adds Anthony. Drew Hayes states, “Dan and Anthony have enormous energy, contacts and hands-on experience with Chicago’s biggest news stories which they combine with an organic sense of entertainment. More importantly, the Ponce Brothers bring an enthusiastic thirst for feedback giving WLS listeners a unique opportunity to talk back to the ‘news media.’”
CBS Radio Closes on Purchase from Family Stations Inc. Less than a week after firing up its all-news format on WNEW-FM, Washington, DC at 99.1 (licensed to Bowie, Maryland), CBS Radio closes on the station that made the format shift possible. CBS Radio bought WLWL-FM, Annapolis at 107.9 from Family Stations, Inc for a reported $8.5 million (CBS has not officially stated the purchase price) in November of last year. That allowed CBS to move its Spanish “El Zol” format to the 107.9 frequency and debut the all-news WNEW-FM on the 99.1 frequency.
Carolyn Polke Promoted to SVP of Digital at Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts. Glenn Beck’s production company, Mercury Radio Arts, announces Carolyn Polke is promoted to senior vice president of digital for the company she’s been with since 2006. She is responsible for the continued development and marketing of GBTV, GlennBeck.com and Mercury’s other e-commerce initiatives. Mercury president and COO Christopher Balfe says, “Mercury is leading the way in developing innovative digital platforms to connect with readers, viewers, and listeners around the globe. Carolyn is an incredibly talented leader and I’m thrilled to have her in charge of building and managing our most important products.” Polke works out of Mercury’s New York City headquarters.
WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Host Talk Show on RT Network. He’s reviled in some quarters and hailed as a hero of transparency in others and soon Australian national Julian Assange will be talking with “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” on a planned 10-program series produced and aired by the former Russia Today cable channel known as RT. The network boasts a worldwide audience of 430 million people. There is no announced start date for the program but Assange is currently under house arrest in Great Britain as he fights extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges.
Urban, Female-Targeted “Café Mocha” Program Inks Ads Sales Rep Agreement with Cumulus Media Networks. The two-year-old, weekend syndicated variety program is currently heard in 20 markets across the country. It’s co-hosted by Grammy-nominated artist MC Lyte, actress/comedienne Loni Love and broadcast pro Angelique Perrin. The show was created and is produced by Sheila Eldridge who says, “It’s an exciting time for us as we grow our various brand extensions and answer the requests of our listeners to be everywhere and to go mobile. Our new ‘Café Mocha To Go’ on-demand app has been a huge success, offering listeners’ uncut content, exclusive celebrity interviews, social commentary, on-demand music mixes by MC Lyte, and inspirational messages. Our goal is to expand the on-air experience for listeners and increase our global presence!” The show is a blend of urban music, interviews with celebrities and newsmakers, conversations and advice. It’s produced by Miles Ahead Broadcasting.
Clarification. Yesterday’s piece on Santita Jackson’s program at WVON, Chicago needs a bit of clarification. According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, Jackson’s late morning program has been off the station since December and she is working on developing a nationally syndicated program. Midway Broadcasting chairman and WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “Santita’s goal is to have a national platform and I need some time to get over a little [financial] slump. When she rolls out on a national level, I will clear this market for her, let her use our studios and give her all the support I can give her.”
Gingrich-Romney Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Aftermath and Euro Zone Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The fierce battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for votes in next week’s Florida primary, analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address and revived concerns about the economic stability of the Euro Zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.