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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

| September 8, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

| June 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Extends Furloughs for 90 Days. As first reported by Billboard, iHeartMedia announces to staffers that it is extending the companywide furloughs for another three months due to the coronavirus pandemic that has “had a significant impact on advertising revenue.” The company says it will be some time before radio station staffing levels will return to full status. This extended furlough for certain staffers will now last through September.

Pennsylvania Attorney Targets Townsquare Media with Investigation. Bensalem, Pennsylvania attorney Howard G. Smith announces an investigation “on behalf of Townsquare Media, Inc. investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws” in which he’s seeking qualified clients. This comes a day after the company filed a Form 8-K with the Securities Exchange Commission in which it disclosed that it had discovered an error in projected cash flows that were utilized in its valuation model. As a result, the company is reporting an impairment charge of approximately $39.4 million for its licenses and an impairment charge of approximately $69.0 million for its goodwill. It reported that certain financial statements for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 should no longer be relied upon and would be restated due to the error. Townsquare says it is “reassessing its previous conclusions regarding the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Based on this assessment, the Company expects to report material weaknesses in the Company’s internal controls and therefore conclude that internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls are not effective.”  Smith says in a press release that “on this news, the Company’s share price fell $1.20, or nearly 19%, to close at $5.28 per share on June 9, 2020, thereby injuring investors.”

KXL, Portland Promotes Three, Adds On-Air Personality. At Alpha Media’s Portland news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” spoken word content director Bruce Collins announces the promotion of three news team members and the addition of another. Current morning and afternoon drive news and traffic reporter Brett Reckamp moves to the co-anchor chair on the station’s “Portland’s Morning News” program. He’s joined by co-anchor Veronica Carter. Previously, she’s served as West Coast regional news director for iHeartMedia and news anchor/reporter for Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM in Chicago. KXL assistant news director Jim Ferretti is promoted to news director and Jeremy Scott is promoted to full-time morning and afternoon drive traffic reporter. Collins says, “It’s awesome to have such a strong staff and be able to promote from within. With the addition of Veronica Carter and the promotion of key personnel, it puts KXL in an extremely strong position.”

WGN-AM, Chicago Adds ‘Sunday Standards with John Williams’ to Weekends. Chicago heritage news/talker WGN-AM adds a second music program to its weekend programming schedule beginning June 21 with the launch of “Sunday Standards with John Williams.” The Nexstar Media Group station says that following the success of “The Sinatra Hours with Dave Plier,” which ranked #2 with adults 25-54, it’s adding the new program hosted by midday talk personality and Great American Songbook aficionado John Williams to air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The show will feature a wide range of artists, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole, and Burt Bacharach, along with more modern artists like Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow and Amy Winehouse covering those songs. Williams comments, “Some of the hits we play go back 85 years, others go back 15 years. The music is really nice to listen to, and that’s the idea. I think there’s something really big about WGN Radio, a 50,000-watt AM station, energizing this music all over again – and getting people something they need right now.” Left out of the new Sunday program schedule is “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” that’s been airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm weekly. WGN general manager Mary Boyle says, “The success of ‘The Sinatra Hours’ has proven there is an appetite for nostalgia. This music is hard to find, and certainly not on free, over-the-air radio. John Williams has a passion for this kind of music, so it’s a natural fit.”

Kevin Wall Takes Over Afternoons on KMZQ, Las Vegas. Talk show host Kevin Wall is joining Kemp Broadcasting’s KMZQ, Las Vegas to handle the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station says that “together with morning drive host Heidi Harris, the addition of ‘Live and Local with Kevin Wall’ gives Las Vegas Valley radio listeners more local talk than any other Vegas radio station.” Wall – who has served with such talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco – was most recently hosting a talk show on Royce International Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Prior to that he was the afternoon personality on Entercom’s crosstown KXNT. Kemp EVP Marty Basch says, “Now more than ever with what’s happening in our country and locally, KMZQ will have Las Vegas’ only live and local morning show with Heidi Harris, and now afternoons with Kevin Wall. It’s Las Vegas radio’s ‘Dream Team,’”

Bob Adams Exits Saga’s Portland Station Group. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald, Bob Adams has exited his general manager role at the Portland cluster of Saga Communications stations that includes news/talk WGAN-AM and seven music brands. The paper says that a memo sent to station staffers from SVP of operations Chris Forgy and Saga president and CEO Ed Christian indicated the reason for Adams’ departure was the need for a “more defined growth pattern” and that “a change was necessary.” The company expects to name a new general manager within the next few days. Adams’ exit comes after a number of high-profile air talent were recently laid off, including WGAN-AM talk host Ken Altshuler and music programmer and jock Randi Kirshbaum.

Round Two of May PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and he reports that a number of all-news and news/talk stations that saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up in April as a result of coverage of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to see those numbers fall. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington dropped seven-tenths to a 9.3 share but stays in the #1 position in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington adds three-tenths and climbs into the #2 spot. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston gives up a half share to finish May at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank. Sister all-news WBZ-AM also forfeits a half share for a 5.9 share finish and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle bucks the trend, adding three-tenths to wrap the May survey with a 7.2 share and the #1 rank. Meanwhile, Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit drops seven-tenths to a 5.7 share and falls into the #2 rank in the Motor City. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that the status of ESPN Radio personality Trey Wingo is up in the air as the sports media giant mulls its options. He currently co-hosts the morning drive show with Mike Golic. Marchand says ESPN is “reshaping its radio and NFL presentations” and with Wingo’s contract up, it’s not clear what his status with ESPN is. He says the company would like Keyshawn Johnson – who’s currently heard on O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – and Max Kellerman on its national radio platform. Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the summer…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco announces it raised more than $100,000 for Bay Area hunger relief partnering with Giving in Motion for last week’s fund drive. The money raised will provide more than 6,500 family meals, plus 1,300 bags of school supplies and household essentials to Bay Area residents impacted by COVID-19. The KNBR staff will deliver the meals to people in need at specific locations in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Walnut Creek…..Cox Media Group Tulsa announces that it has helped its community partners raise more than $2 million in the first half of 2020. The cluster – including news/talk KRMG-FM, four music brands and three TV signals – says that figure does not include non-monetary fundraising efforts it has pushed through its channels. The cluster partnered with the Community Food Bank to collect more than 774 pounds of food for its annual Spread the Love campaign, collected 220 pints of blood through a drive with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and diverted more than 93 tons of recyclable items from the dump through the inaugural Big Spring Clean. CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “During times of great uncertainty, like now, people rely more than ever on the support of community partners to help them get through. This is why we have not only upheld our commitments to our current partners but have gone a step further and added a number of new events to try and help our partners jump-start donations to serve more people who are now reliant upon them.”

George Floyd Funeral/Protests, Police Reform, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Georgia Election Problems, Russia Probe Review, Financial Markets Activity, MLB Negotiations/NFL Racism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The funeral of Minneapolis police violence victim George Floyd and the ongoing protests taking place across the country; the calls for the reforming and de-funding of police departments; the rising and falling of confirmed COVID-19 cases as states continue the re-opening process; the November presidential election; the troubles Georgia faced holding efficient voting on Tuesday; the review of the Russia probe being led by John Durham; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. unrest; and the negotiations between the MLB’s players and the league and the state of racism in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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 includes an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle classic hits outlet KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet” announces the debut of its new morning show, “95.7 The Jet Mornings with Jodi & Bender.” The iHeartMedia station notes that Bender previously served as a morning host on its KBKS “106.1 KISS FM” where he “became one of the most impactful on-air personalities in the Seattle region.” Jodi has served with KJR-FM since 2011. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “Putting Jodi and Bender together gives ‘95.7 The Jet’ a dynamic morning show that will be entertaining and provide civic values to our great city of Seattle. Whether it’s Seafair or Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jodi, Bender, and KJR will be there to shine a light on the good things happening in the Emerald City.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Mark Manuel is the new program director for classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities. He’s been serving the station as APD and webmaster. He says, “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. After chasing a morning host dream for two decades, I found that I really enjoyed the programming aspect of radio for the past five years. I especially want to thank iHeartMedia for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’m happy to continue to be part of the team for years to come.”

Thursday, November 21, 2019

| November 21, 2019

Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder Out in New WGN, Chicago Program Schedule. Two months after new management ousted station manager Todd Manley from his role at WGN, Chicago and hinted more changes were on the horizon, the Nexstar-owned news/talk outlet announces its new programming lineup and late morning duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder are the odd couple out.  After the close of the Tribune-Nexstar deal, Sean Compton became executive vice president and director of news and operations Mary Sandberg Boyle was named interim programming manager.  Yesterday (11/20), Boyle announced the changes via internal email.  Among the changes effective December 2 are: Steve Cochran’s morning show starts an hour earlier, airing from 5:00 am to 9:00 am; John Williams moves from his current 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Ji Suk Yi takes over hosting the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm “Wintrust Business Lunch” show; and Anna Davlantes leaves the co-host role on the afternoon drive Roe Conn program to host her own 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm talk show.  Conn remains in afternoons, followed by Justin Kaufmann from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by Nick Digilio from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.  WGN will simulcast the “WGN-TV Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  Read Chicago media writer Robert Feder’s coverage here.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Rich Zeoli Interviews President Trump. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Rich Zeoli interviewing President Trump in the Oval Office as part of Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the United States Mexico Canada trade deal.  The president also talked about the 2020 election and the impeachment hearings.  Zeoli says, “The president was incredibly gracious with his time and said how much he loves talk radio.”  Photo: Andrea Hanks

John Fredericks Show Interviews VP Mike Pence. At Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the USMCA treaty, Virginia talk station owner and statewide talk radio personality John Fredericks (right) posed for a photo with Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Fredericks’ wife, Anne (center), who serves as CFO of the John Fredericks Network.

Cumulus Inks ‘The Ticket’ Morning Show ‘The Musers’ to Multiyear Extension. Dallas sports talkers George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith – collectively known as “The Musers” – sign contract extensions to continue hosting the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KCTK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket.”  The Cumulus Dallas-Houston regional vice president Dan Bennett says, “For 25 years, the Morning Musers’ George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith have performed at a market dominant level and we are excited that will continue for many more years in Dallas!”  The Musers comment, “We are very pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Cumulus and the wonderful leadership of the Dallas/Fort Worth market.  This company has made us feel appreciated and we are extremely thankful for their support of such a special station.  ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas/Fort Worth is our home and the bond that we have with our listeners is something we will cherish for as long as we breathe.”

Salem Covers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Premiere. Above is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) interviewing director Marielle Heller (right) at last night’s premiere of the SONY Pictures film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  The film stars Tom Hanks as television icon Fred Rogers.  The premiere took place in Pittsburgh where the “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show was produced at WQED-TV.

Skyview Networks Sponsors Panels at MLB Rightsholders Conference. The photo above shows the participants in this year’s MLB Audio Rightsholders Conference in Las Vegas.  More than 20 teams and organizations participated in panels covering technology, audio sales strategies, and the future of emerging non-terrestrial mediums.  Digital content captured the main focus of the conversations as franchises shared strategies for monetizing this evolving platform.  Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Skyview Networks is proud to return as the title sponsor of this conference, which hosts an innovative group of baseball and broadcast executives as they discuss the critical role radio and digital audio play in fan engagement.  We look forward to developing additional technology to serve our partners in this evolving audio space.”  Additional panel topics included maximizing ad sales with an emphasis on innovative features and creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content, especially concerning podcasts.  As the digital listenership rapidly increases, the franchises are hyper-focused on monetizing the platform.

TALKERS News Notes. The NM Political Report says that KIVA-AM/K229CL, Albuquerque owner Eddy Aragon is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Udall, who is not running for re-election.  Aragon – a staunch conservative – hosts the afternoon show on the station branded, “the Rock of Talk.”  He tells NM Political Report this is something he’s only considering at this point. “You have to imagine the tremendous sacrifice that I have to consider.  Being off [the air] during the year Donald Trump is running in 2020, that’s a sacrifice to my radio station.”…..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller is pictured below talking to KTVB-TV, Boise news about his annual Miller’s Mission Turkey Drive to help provide the hungry and homeless in Boise with a warm dinner for the holidays.  The goal is to collect 3,000 turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.  Each year Miller dons his turkey suit and broadcasts live from a local Walmart parking lot to collect turkeys and cash donations.

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Case/Prince Andrew Troubles, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Human Rights Act, and Mexicans Sue Walmart Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). Wednesday’s impeachment hearing with testimony from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Wednesday’s Atlanta debates; the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death and the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview; U.S. trade talks with China and the U.S. House’s Hong Kong Human Rights Act; and Mexicans’ suit against Walmart over the mass shooting in El Paso 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. Programming pro Robyn Simone exits Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “Kiss 103.1” where she’d been serving as program director for the past year.  She says, “Working at Cumulus Media in Columbia was a challenge, but I gained a lot of knowledge in my short time there.  As the program director/air talent for ‘Kiss 103.1,’ I’m a stronger and more knowledgeable PD because the experience.  I would like to thank [VP programming operations] John Dimick and VP/urban programming Kenny Smoov for the opportunity and their commitment to set new standards for urban radio.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

| October 29, 2019

Round One of October PPM Ratings Released.  The first of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex (New Jersey).  The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Some positive (6+) ratings gains of note include: Entercom’s WFAN, New York (+0.6) re-enters the market’s top 10 with a 3.8 share; Nexstar’s WGN, Chicago (+0.3) continues to ascend to #9 in the market with a 3.5 share; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas marks six consecutive surveys without a dip and scores a 4.1 share; iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston has a another positive survey, now ranking #11 in the market with a 3.9 share; Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta earns a fourth consecutive positive survey (+0.6) and is #1 in the market with an 8.2 share; and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia rises almost a full share from September to a 7.5 share.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does every month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations. See his “Takeaways” from this first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Bill O’Reilly Packs House at Boston Event. Pictured above at center is Key Networks syndicated radio personality and best-selling author Bill O’Reilly at last Saturday’s appearance in suburban Boston.  iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO airs the daily “The O’Reilly Update” program and hosted the “An Afternoon with Bill O’Reilly” event that drew a sellout crowd during which O’Reilly offered his “no spin” take on news, politics, the 2020 election, his experience being back on radio, and more.  He also talked about his latest book, The United States of Trump (2019, Henry Holt & Company).  Pictured with O’Reilly are WRKO talk show hosts Doug “VB” Goudie (left) and Jeff Kuhner (right).  Photo: Mario Jarjour.

TALKERS News Notes. With the release of the latest October 2019 PPM ratings from Nielsen Audio, the sports talk radio battle in New York between Entercom’s WFAN and ESPN’s WEPN is once again under scrutiny by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.  He reports that in afternoon drive, WEPN’s Michael Kay grabbed a 7.4 share to take the #1 spot in that daypart while WFAN’s Mike Francesa had a 5.6 share – or a 6.0 share if his streaming numbers are included – to finish third or second, respectively…..Salem Media Group’s KNUS, Denver is presenting a live event titled, “Countdown 2020: War for America’s Soul,” at University of Colorado South Denver tonight (10/29).  It features Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager and author, FOX News contributor, and TOWNHALL columnist Michelle Malkin discussing such topics as “the march toward socialism,” “Iran waging war,” “restricted free speech and religious rights,” and “racial tensions.”…..Good Karma Brands fires up a new subscription service for content from its Wisconsin sports talk stations called, “Wisconsin On Demand.”  For $5 per month or $50 per year, subscribers get content on demand from WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison” and WKTI-FM and WAUK-AM, Milwaukee “ESPN Milwaukee” that includes limited commercials…..Condolences to the family and friends of former, longtime Syracuse traffic reporter Anthony Bombardo, Jr., who passed away on October 27 at the age of 78.  During his career, Bombardo worked as an aerial traffic reporter on WHEN, Syracuse as Captain Scott King.  Later, he provided traffic reports to numerous Central New York stations using his given name.  He retired in 2010.

Robin Fitzgerald to Serve as Chief Judge for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards. The Radio Mercury Awards announces that BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald will serve as the 2020 Chief Judge for the 29th annual Radio Mercury Awards.  Fitzgerald has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Creative People in Social Media Marketing” and “Most Creative Women in Advertising.”  She has participated on juries for the Radio Mercury Awards, D&AD, One Show, Clios, Art Director’s Club and New York Festivals.  She says, “I’ve always loved radio. To me, it’s one of the most challenging platforms for creatives.  The Radio Mercury Awards are a champion of great ideas delivered in stereo.  It’s a pretty cool gig to be leading the charge on curating the best of the best for 2020.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, Death of Baghdadi, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Hill Scandal, and Trump Booed at World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of Trump’s quid pro quo offer to Ukraine and Hunter and Joe Biden’s energy dealings there; the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi; the California wildfires that threaten some 25 million and the PG&E power blackouts; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the sex scandal that forced U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) to resign from the House; and President Trump being booed at the World Series 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. Programming pro Nick Rivers joins Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach station group to serve as APD and music director for country WIRK and classic hits WEAT.  He is also hosting afternoon drive on WIRK.  He was most recently in the production and imaging department at Dick Broadcasting’s Greensboro, North Carolina station group.  Hubbard West Palm Beach OM and brand/content director Bruce Logan says, “We had a lot of fantastic candidates to join Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach, but Nick’s enthusiasm and the chemistry he had with the team truly set him apart from the others.  We are building something special at WIRK and Nick is another outstanding puzzle piece.”…..In Atlanta, Radio One promotes Derek Harper to operations manager for the cluster, taking over for Hurricane Dave Smith, who exited in August.  Harper has been serving as program director for urban AC WAMJ “Majic 107.5” and Gospel WPZE “Praise 97.5.”  He’ll continue to program WAMJ and serve as Radio One and Reach Media’s captain for the inspiration format…..Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles announces the lineup for the RADIO.COM event, “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019” on December 7 at the Honda Center in Orange County.  The opening night of the two-day event will feature performances by: Cage The Elephant, Beck, Jimmy Eat World, Young the Giant, Angels & Airwaves, Cold War Kids, The Head and the Heart, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and DJ Jeremiah Red…..Non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” begins a search for a new executive director as Glenn Kleiman announces he’ll exit the position next spring.  Station board president Juli Kaufmann says, “The search will focus on seeking the next leader to continue our forward momentum of inspiring positive change in the community.  Through creative content and programming, Radio Milwaukee will continue to raise the social awareness and engagement of listeners while expanding our audience.”  Kleiman became executive director in April 2016 after previously serving as a station consultant.  He says, “I love this job, our team, and our mission.  I’m proud of the work we do, and I’ll miss leading our efforts.  But it’s time for me to slow down a bit.  I’m not retiring, just turning it down a notch.  I do hope to stay involved with ‘Radio Milwaukee’ in some capacity.”…..Christian broadcaster Brighter Media Group announces the addition of Molly Chambers to afternoons on Christian contemporary WRBS, Baltimore “SHINE-FM,” alongside longtime host Jack Larkin.  Program director John Lawhon says, “It’s amazing to see what God is doing with SHINE-FM.  Molly brings a new and fresh voice to the SHINE-FM team.  She represents a commitment to investing in the next generation of talent.  She is a rock star!”

Monday, July 29, 2019

| July 29, 2019

Dave Ramsey Moves into New HQ and Studios. Pictured above in his brand-new studio is nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey.  The studio is inside the newly constructed Ramsey Solutions headquarters just outside of Nashville.  The company says the studio is the focal point of the six-story headquarters – phase one of an ambitious plan that includes 600,000 square feet of office space and a 50,000 square foot conference center.  Ramsey Media executive vice president Brian Mayfield, “We’re extremely excited for people to visit our new studio.  Every year, we welcome thousands of people to watch the show and do their debt free screams.  Our new space is going to take that listener experience to a whole new level.”  Ramsey’s radio show is in its 27th year. Ramsey Media says the show is the fifth most-downloaded podcast on all major platforms, including: Apple, Google, Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio.  It has more than one million YouTube subscribers and is also featured on the SiriusXM platform.  “The Dave Ramsey Show” is the cornerstone program of the Ramsey Network that also includes: “The Ken Coleman Show,” “The Rachel Cruze Show,” “The Chris Hogan Show,” “The Anthony O’Neal Show,” “Business Boutique” and “EntreLeadership.”  Dave Ramsey says of the more than 8,000 listeners who did their “debt-free screams” either by phone or in-person and those who paid off $490 million dollars, “As I walked through our old building, I thought about all those families – those heroes who changed their behavior and learned how to win with money.  They’re the reason we do what we do. They’re the reason we exist.”  Ramsey Solutions was voted among Nashville’s best places to work 11 times.  It employs nearly 900 team members.  The new campus will see that number grow to more than 1,000 within a year.

Ji Suk Yi Joins WGN’s Steve Cochran Show As Contributor. Journalist and Chicago media figure Ji Suk Yi is joining WGN, Chicago’s “Steve Cochran Show” as a contributor, starting August 5.  She writes, “The Grid: Neighborhood Eats,” a weekly Chicago Sun-Times restaurant column and video series that highlights new and old-school favorites.   WGN says that feature will also be a recurring segment on the Wednesday edition of the morning drive radio show.  Yi emigrated from South Korea as a child and earned her law degree at the University of North Carolina before moving to Chicago to pursue a career in journalism.  Prior to the Sun-Times, she was a co-host and contributor on WLS-TV’s “Windy City Live” for seven seasons.  She says, “I’m excited to take part and enhance a fun and clever daily conversation at a legacy station that jump starts the day in a meaningful way for listeners…hearing directly from them and connecting is the best part!” WGN station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley adds, “Ji has become one of Chicago’s most compelling cultural storytellers.  Her fresh voice adds a whole new dimension to Steve’s show.”

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 June PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  It’s not unusual for the news/talk format to experience a ratings dip during the summer months and that’s the case this year as 48% of stations in our panel see their weekly AQH share decrease.  Still, 32% of stations went up in June, led by Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte (+1.2).  Comparing June of 2018 to this year, 46% of news/talk stations were down and 42% were up.  Big gainers were Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas (+2.0); and Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford (+1.7) and WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte (+1.6).  Only one news/talk station ranked #1 (6+) in its market in June – Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” in the Middlesex market.  However, six news/talk stations ranked #2 in their respective markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: Social Media Headlines That Drive Traffic.  Consultant Holland Cooke writes in today’s Monday Memo about effective use of language for driving traffic via social media.  Cooke says there are certain types of words that catch people’s attention in a positive way and there are words and phrases that turn people off.  Read his column here.

Missouri Broadcasters Association Institute Begins Today. Today is the first day of the third annual Missouri Broadcasters Association Radio Talent Institute at Northwest Missouri State University.  Students taking part in the 10-day program will learn from more than 30 broadcasters working in the industry for companies including: Zimmer Radio, Entercom, Mid-West Family Broadcasting, Alpha Media, Eagle Communications, Hubbard Radio, Cumulus Media, Bott Radio Network, and iHeartMedia.  Missouri Broadcasters Association president Mark Gordon says, “We are pleased to bring this program, taught by industry professionals, to Missouri, which will help fill job openings at broadcast stations with quality employees who have a true understanding of how fun and rewarding a career in our industry can be.”  The MBA Radio Talent Institute is the final institute of the National Radio Talent System this summer.

TALKERS News Notes. Business executive and Forbes Coaches Council member Mitch Russo wrote a column published in Forbes that promotes the value of radio advertising for small businesses.  The column – How Small-Business Owners Can Find Success on the Radio – details Russo’s past successes with radio advertising.  Check it out here…..FOX Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb is going on the road for the network’s annual NFLTraining Camp Tour.  Today (7/29), “The Doug Gottlieb Show” is broadcasting from the Los Angeles Rams training camp at UC Irvine, followed by the Los Angeles Chargers training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California on August 6.  Finally, he’ll visit the Dallas Cowboys training camp at River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard, California on August 13.….The founders of the nationally syndicated morning radio show “Ace & TJ,” along with VoiceHunter.com owner Adam Goodman are launching a new service called Podcast Access.  The service will debut this fall and is described as a “marketing tool designed to provide corporate entities launching branded content with hosts and co-hosts.” Podcast Access says its performers “will ensure the quality of the podcast reflects the quality of the brand.” To achieve this, they are looking for performers with a minimum of 10 years of unique audio creation experience (radio hosts, podcast hosts, TV personalities, etc.) to add to their talent roster.  Ace says, “We’ve been blessed throughout our careers to have worked with and befriended the most talented people in the business.  We are excited to be able to use this amazing new platform to help brands achieve their marketing objectives with the most professional podcasts featuring the very best, media savvy hosts and co-hosts available.”…..Edison Research is being honored by Content Marketing Institute with a 2019 Content Marketing Award for Best Use of Original Research in Content Marketing for The Infinite Dial 2018.  Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “I’m beyond proud that the work of the team at Edison has been honored with this award.  The Infinite Dial has been around long enough to track the birth and growth of audio, mobile phone usage, widespread internet connectivity, smart audio, and most recently, podcasts, among Americans and now throughout the world.  We appreciate that Content Marketing Institute is recognizing the effort that goes into marketing such research.”…..WIP, Philadelphia overnight host Big Daddy Graham is recuperating from spinal surgery after suffering spinal cord trauma last week.  Graham’s daughter Ava appeared on WIP’s Angelo Cataldi show last Friday to update fans on her dad’s condition.  She told them doctors hope Graham will walk again but was paralyzed from the waist down after the surgery.

Trump’s Baltimore Attacks, 2020 Presidential Race, California Festival Shooting, Ratcliffe Nominated for Intelligence Post, Iran Tensions, and Hong Kong Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spat between President Trump and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings over the president’s criticism of the city of Baltimore; the Democrats running for president in 2020 and this week’s debates in Detroit; a gunman kills three and wounds many more at a festival in Gilroy, California; President Trump’s nomination of John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence; the tensions in the Persian Gulf over Iran’s military posturing; and the violent protests in Hong Kong over China’s increased authority 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. In San Diego, Entercom signs contract extensions with country KSON morning drive duo John Flint and Tammy Lee.  Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Bob Bolinger says, “John and Tammy are one of America’s premiere morning show personalities and are delivering exceptional daily programming with an unmatched country flair.  We are excited that we will have them here for years to come.”  John Flint and Tammy Lee have co-hosted the morning drive show on KSON since 2011 and have been a team for 19 years. They began working together in 2000 at WWQM-FM in Madison, Wisconsin.  They served at WMAD-FM in Madison where they were on the air from 2006 to 2011…..Beasley Media Group classic rock WMGK-FM announces midday personality Debbi Calton is officially retiring from the station on December 6.  Calton has been the star of the midday show for the past 26 years.  She worked for 10 years at former crosstown rock WYSP-FM (now sports talk WIP-FM) before joining WMGK in 1993.  She recalls a run-in with management over her pay at a station at which she worked early in her career.  “I was told at that time that I was just a little girl who, until they taught me, didn’t know anything and that I would never work in radio again.  I am extremely grateful for what I learned there (and at all the radio stations I’ve worked at since), but I also deserved equal pay.  I’m glad I held my ground at that time.  Here I am all these years later, still working in radio…a profession that I love!”