Lotus Communications to Acquire Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Seattle Radio Stations for $18 Million. The three Seattle radio stations – all-news KOMO-AM/FM, talk KVI-AM, and hot AC KPLZ-FM – are the only radio stations in Sinclair Broadcast Group’s portfolio. The company is better known for its television station holdings and its conservative editorial policy. Lotus Communications will acquire the three stations – pending FCC approval – for “an aggregate purchase price of approximately $18 million in cash and other consideration.” Lotus Communications first SVP Jim Kalmenson says, “We are excited to work with the amazing staff at KOMO, KPLZ, and KVI. These are legendary stations which share Lotus’s vision of producing local programming to serve the community, enhance local neighborhoods, and support our hometown businesses. Seattle is home to several excellent broadcasting companies who have made this a great radio market.” Lotus owns and operates 44 radio stations in the Western U.S. This deal was initiated by Richard A. Foreman Associates and acted as exclusive broker representing Sinclair.
George G. Beasley Passes at 89. The founder of Beasley Broadcasting – George G. Beasley – died yesterday in Naples, Florida at the age of 89. Beasley was also serving as executive chairman of the board for Beasley Broadcasting at the time of his death. The company says, “While best known for his many trailblazing achievements in the radio broadcasting industry, George will be most remembered for his humility, kindness, integrity, work-ethic and love of family and friends. Born on April 9, 1932, George grew up working in the tobacco fields in his hometown of Ararat, Virginia. His drive and determination led him to enlist in the army to pursue a degree in Education through the G.I. Bill. Upon completing his B.A. and M.A. from Appalachian State University, he taught in Virginia, before moving to North Carolina in the late 1950s to become a high school principal and coach. Inspired by a commitment to provide a voice for the voiceless in his local community, George built his very first station (WPYB-AM) in Benson, North Carolina in December of 1961. Over the next 60 years, his hard work and vision paved the way for what Beasley Media Group has become today – one of America’s premiere publicly traded media companies, consisting of 62 radio properties located in 15 large and medium-sized markets with digital offerings and an esports division.” Among his proudest professional accomplishments was receiving an honorary doctorate and the unveiling of the George G. Beasley Media Complex on campus to provide future generations of ASU students with the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in broadcasting. Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley says, “George’s unconditional love for our mother, Ann and our family, along with his passion for the radio industry, helped to guide him throughout his lifetime. A loving father, mentor, and friend, I will especially miss his incredible wisdom, keen insight and gentle smile.” A memorial service will take place for family and friends in Naples, Florida. Details will be forthcoming. A private burial service will be held for the family in Ararat, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, the Beasley family requests donations be made in his name to The Broadcasters Foundation of America, 125 West 55th Street, 4th Floor New York, New York 10019. Online donations may also be made at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
Kim Komando Show: 86% of Those Surveyed No Longer Trust Big Tech. A national survey of 6,351 Americans conducted by “The Kim Komando Show” found that 86% of participants no longer trust Big Tech companies. Kim Komando says the poll underscores the growing concerns surrounding the power and influence Big Tech companies have on society and the little confidence Americans have in the tech power players. She says, “Americans are finally waking up to the fact that when a product is free, they are in fact the product.” Among the findings of the study: 1) 82.73% of those polled say they think smart speakers listen to what you say all of the time instead of only when you use the “wake” words. Kim recently explored how users can stop smart devices from listening to you and recording what you say; 2) Nearly 60% fear their smartphone is spying on their activity and have had advertisements populate for something they were just discussing. Thankfully, Kim explained in a recent “Daily Tech Update” episode that this phenomenon is likely dumb luck! 3) Participants surveyed believe Big Tech has too much influence on politics, with Facebook and Twitter each at 92%; 4) 67% of Facebook users would be willing to delete their account knowing that the social media platform tracks everything, sells data and cannot control what is posted on the site; and 5) 92% of people surveyed think Google knows too much information about their personal lives. To combat this, Kim has rounded up alternatives to Google that won’t track your information. She adds, “Since the onset of COVID-19, Big Tech companies have seen accelerated demand as the world has shifted to a more digitalized landscape. Across the board, the survey demonstrated that a majority of individuals worry that Big Tech has too much influence or knows too much about our personal information, yet nearly 4 billion people use social media worldwide and the numbers continue to grow. Interestingly, with the world becoming more digitalized and the news of Instagram for Kids, more than 84% of people surveyed said they would prefer their children to be over the age of 15 to use Instagram. Maybe we are starting to see the damage social media does to our adult lives and how it’s robbing children of a healthy, happy start to their own.” The national survey was disseminated to subscribers to “The Kim Komando Show” newsletters and 6,351 individuals across the United States participated.
Salem Brings Trish Regan into Podcast Network Fold. Conservative media figure Trish Regan is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network beginning June 15. Regan is most well known for her prime time show on the FOX Business Network. She was also a host on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and CBS Television. The former Miss New Hampshire competed in the Miss America pageant in 1994 and is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in U.S. history. Salem says,“‘The Trish Regan Podcast’ will be her unique take on the day’s news events. Trish will examine the trouble we have gotten into in this country, and how we can and must get out of it. Her understanding of Wall Street and the nation’s economy will be an added plus for her listeners.” Salem SVP spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “Trish is a superstar in conservative media. She adds class, personality, and wisdom to our lineup, and I have no doubt her millions of fans will follow her and find her here.” Regan adds, “I am thrilled to enter into partnership with Salem Media. Salem is an organization with real leadership and a management team that stands up for American values including—most importantly—our first amendment.”
Good Karma Brands Moving Milwaukee Stations to Downtown Location. The Milwaukee radio stations owned and operated by Good Karma Brands – as well as the company’s home offices – are moving from their longtime location on the northeast side of the city to new offices at The Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. GKB operates news/talk WTMJ, sports talk outlets WKTI-FM “94.5 ESPN” and WAUK “540 ESPN,” plus talk WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth” in the market. Company founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “It is incredibly important to us as a local operator of world class brands to be a part of the fabric of the local community and the cities in which we live and work. We couldn’t be happier with The Avenue and 3rd Street Market Hall as it is a symbol of the growth, investment and diversity present in downtown Milwaukee development, and aligns directly with our values as a locally owned company passionate about serving our local community.” Good Karma Brands’ home office and Milwaukee-based radio station operations will be located on the second floor of The Avenue, in a space designed and developed for the growing company. The radio station studios will be located on the first floor in the 3rd Street Market Hall as a featured activation within the space.
iHeartMedia Names Spencer Bynes Area President for Texas. Former iHeartMedia executive Spencer Bynes returns to the company as area president for the Texas area in which he’ll oversee the Beaumont, McAllen, Waco, Corpus Christi and Bryan markets, effective immediately. He will report to Nick Gnau, division president for iHeartMedia. Gnau says, “Spencer has been a proven leader throughout his career, his energy is contagious and his ability to develop teams and talent are unmatched. I am extremely excited for Spencer to lead these markets and expand our community efforts as well as our revenue and rating footprint in the great state of Texas.” Bynes joins iHeartMedia from Lee Hecht Harrison, where he most recently served as vice president of business development in the Southern Region. Prior to joining LHH, he was managing partner and co-founder of Accendo International Consulting. Bynes served with iHeartMedia from 2011 to 2016 as director of talent management and talent acquisition before leaving to launch his consulting business.
iHeartMedia Louisville Sets First Annual Community Voices Town Hall. Taking place on June 10 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, iHeartMedia Louisville’s Community Voices Town Hall will “aim to address and bring awareness to the biggest issues in the Louisville community that have been identified by the iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board, including child abuse, racial equity and mental health. The town hall will feature subject-matter experts that will address and discuss these issues.” WHAS “NewsRadio 840” personality Terry Meiners and the Kentucky-Indiana Metro community engagement manager Gabriela Espino will host the event that will include a panel of local politicians, charity heads, experts, and activists. iHeartMedia Louisville metro president Earl Jones says, “I am thrilled we have a platform to bring key voices together to discuss the issues affecting our community. The in-kind media campaigns will support local programs that address these key issues. Through the power of iHeartMedia, we are committed to positively impacting our community.” iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board will help select eight 501(c)(3) organizations in the Louisville metro area who will receive a three-month in-kind media campaign addressing child abuse, racial equity or mental health. The in-kind media campaigns will be activated using the radio stations’ on-air, social media and digital platforms.
TALKERS News Notes. After nearly 40 years with the station, all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco morning news anchor Stan Bunger is retiring on June 11. To commemorate his final day, the Audacy station will look back on his career and the major news events he’s covered – everything from 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, 9/11 terrorist attack, championship parades for the Giants and Warriors, COVID-19, and his daily conversations with former Oakland Raiders head coach and NFL Hall of Famer John Madden. The final broadcast will also feature interviews with several of Stan’s past co-anchors and co-workers, including former news directors…..A new member joins the iHeartMedia, Inc. board of directors. Former Lala U.S. CEO and president Graciela Monteagudo takes her place on the board immediately. The company says Monteagudo is an internationally respected executive who, over her 30-year career, has held leadership roles at a variety of multinational Fortune 500 companies across the consumer products, healthcare and retail industries. iHM chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are extremely pleased that Graciela is bringing her expertise across strategic planning, digital marketing, mergers & acquisitions, international operations and the Hispanic and Latin American consumer audience, as well as her leadership in diversity, inclusion and cultural transformation, to the iHeart board. Her significant experience in North and Latin America – and her extensive background in global/digital marketing, e-commerce and consumer goods will provide valuable insights to our board as well as significant contributions to our company and our shareholders.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NCAA will present live audio broadcasts of every game of the Women’s College World Series for the first time ever. The network, which has broadcast the Championship Series since 2011, will expand coverage to include all the preliminary games for the 2021 Series.
Taja Graham Joins MIW Board of Directors. Radio management pro Taja Graham is joining the board of directors of Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. Graham serves as market president for Emmis CommunicationsIndianapolis. She is a proud graduate of the 2011 MIW Mildred Carter Mentoring Program, and in 2010 completed the Rising Through the Ranks Management Course for Women presented annually by Radio Advertising Bureau, Broadcast Music, Inc., and MIW. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “After decades of service, MIW founding member Mary Beth Garber transitioned off our board this year. We are ever grateful for her contributions. Today, with open arms, we welcome Taja Graham to fill her seat. From MIW mentee to board member, LSM to market president, Taja embodies the spirit and strength of the MIW’s beliefs and mission.”
COVID-19/Fauci Emails, the Economy/Employment, Trump ‘Reinstatement,’ 2020 Vote Audits, Israel Government, JBS Cyberattack, NFL’s Race-Norming Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). The fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Joe Biden’s deal with Anheuser-Busch to offer a free beer to those who get vaccinated, and the flap over Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails on the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy and employers’ complaints that they can’t find enough willing workers; the belief by some that former President Donald Trump will be “reinstated” as president; the audits of 2020 election votes in Arizona and New Hampshire; the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel and a coalition forms to oust him; the ransomware attack on meat giant JBS and concerns about future cyberattacks; and controversy over the NFL’s “race-norming” policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia Begins Massive Layoff of Air Talent. The exact number of personalities let go is not known at this point, but as iHeartMedia issued a press release yesterday explaining its new Markets Group management structure designed to “take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace,” it was firing local air personalities it deems not necessary to the company’s future success. iHeartMedia, like every other radio company, faces intense competition for listeners from digital music services and digital spoken-word platforms. Dayparts that aren’t crucial to a station’s revenue – usually nights and overnights – are often seen as not needing live, local jocks, especially when the company produces quality national programs to fill those hours. As for news/talk and sports talk hosts, the cost of maintaining a show with two or more personalities plus a producer is sometimes more than income from spot sales and other revenue streams can provide. iHeartMedia’s statement on the “employee dislocation” is as follows: “We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in. This is another step in the company’s successful transformation as a multiple platform 21st century media company, and we believe it is essential to our future – it continues our momentum and adds to our competitiveness, our effectiveness, and our efficiency with all our major constituencies. During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500. That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.” Some of those in the spoken-word formats who’ve exited the company include: Kerry Belkin, producer, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Leland Conway, host, WHAS, Louisville and WLPA, Lexington; Big Jim Donovan, host, WSYR, Syracuse; Andrew Downs, program director, KXNO, Des Moines; Jim Fisher, host, WOC, Quad Cities; Seth Harp, programmer and host, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Carl Harris, creative services director, Tampa Bay cluster; Travis Justice and Heather Burnside, hosts, and Sean Roberts, producer, Pete Kaliner, host, WWNC, Asheville, NC; Dave Levora, morning host, WOC, Quad Cities; Mike Lucas, host, WTSO, Madison; Ross Peterson and Chris Williams, hosts, KXNO, Des Moines; Jake Query and Derek Schultz, hosts, WNDE, Indianapolis; Chip Ramsey, weekend producer, WERC, Birmingham; John Ramsey and Mike Rutherford, hosts, WKRD, Louisville.
Brian Sussman Exits KSFO, San Francisco. Eighteen-year KSFO, San Francisco talk show host Brian Sussman announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media station where he’s been hosting the morning drive show. Sussman says that in April of 2019 he resigned due to an impasse in contract negotiations, but soon thereafter reached a temporary agreement to host the show four days per week through December (his brother, Brad Sussman, hosted the fifth day). But in October, Sussman was required to go on medical leave through the remainder of the year. That affected his plans for continuing into 2020. He tells TALKERS magazine, “Fortunately, I’m feeling great, but clearly all those years of scant sleep and starting show prep at 3:00 am finally caught up with me. The KSFO listening family – both locally and nationally – are such a loyal band of patriots. But what I’ll miss the most about our show is working with the best producer in talk radio, Sheri Yee, and my lovely and super-hilarious sidekick, Katie Green. Thankfully, Brother Brad has been doing a great job filling in for me and I hope he’s the future! Meantime, I appreciate KSFO’s management team for having been so considerate these past few months.”
Impeachment, Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Iran Protests, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Royal Family Controversy, Philippine Volcano Eruption, and MLB Sign Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The impeachment articles against President Trump set to move to the Senate; the Democrats hoping to challenge Donald Trump in November and last night’s debate in Des Moines; the protests in Iran over the Islamic Republic’s accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752; the Trump Administration’s progress in trade negotiations with China; the controversy over Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s stepping back from royal life; the deadly eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines; and the MLB’s handling of the sign stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Comrex Announces New Firmware in Conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack. News from Comrex Corporation reveals that the company has released firmware version 4.5p2, a new update for its line of IP audio codecs. This new firmware version is being released in conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack – a new multi-instance codec that provides seamless integration of all functions with legacy single-instance ACCESS codecs. This new firmware simplifies CrossLock connections between the new ACCESS MultiRack and legacy Comrex IP audio codecs. It replaces an older Adobe Flash-based GUI with an HTML5 web-based GUI as the default user interface. This new interface avoids the security risks posed by Adobe Flash, and is supported by all browsers. Users can upgrade their Comrex IP audio codecs using the free Device Manager application which can be downloaded here. If a user is updating a device from FW version 2.7.1 or earlier, they can contact Comrex Support for assistance.
TALKERS News Notes. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum covering last night’s Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes that the hosts of WSCR, Chicago’s weekly golf show, “The Scorecard on The Score,” – Ed Sherman and Steve Olken – are leaving the station. The two have hosted the show at the Entercom sports talk station for the past 10 years. WSCR is expected to name new hosts for the show before it returns to the air in March…..KTBB, Tyler, Texas is the newest affiliate of FOX News Radio, subscribing to the FOX 5 Minute News Service on January 6…..FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade visited affiliate station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta in December and senior operations and program manager Drew Anderssen says, “Few syndicated hosts, if any, create the kind of impact with affiliates and their communities that Kilmeade does. Brian participated in our 29th annual drive to provide Georgia foster children with gifts at Christmas. His impact helped us fulfill wish lists for over 9,000 foster kids, in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services!” Pictured below (clockwise from top left) are: Anderssen, “Kilmeade & Friends” senior producer Alyson Mansfield, Kilmeade, WSB traffic anchor Ashley Frasca, and WSB-FM “B95.5” morning personality Tad Lemire.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s urban contemporary WDMK, Detroit “105.9 KISS-FM,” the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is now heard in the 6:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Station program director John Candelaria says, “We are thrilled to have Rickey Smiley join ‘105.9 KISS FM.’ I have watched Rickey ascend to national superstar over the past 20 years and we are excited to have him leading the lineup for the ‘All New 105.9 KISS FM.’ Detroit is ready for a fresh new morning show!”
Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.” During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself. 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 TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Ten Candles Atop WBZ-FM’s Birthday Cake. One week from today (Tuesday, 8/13), Beasley Media Group Boston sports talk outlet WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” will commemorate its 10th anniversary by airing a ten-hour special (7:00 am – 5:00 pm) celebrating Boston sports moments and events. It will include the victories and agony the city has experienced, as well as special moments that have been broadcast the past decade. According to Beasley Media Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna, “In ten short years, [WBZ-FM and national spoken-word brand manager] Mike Thomas and the amazing team that he has assembled have built ‘The Sports Hub’ into an award-winning iconic brand and a household name in New England.” Thomas states, “It is an honor to work with the incredibly-talented ‘Sports Hub’ staff, on and off-the-air Not many people gave us a chance ten years ago. We were heavy underdogs – but so were Boston teams for many, many years. The ascendancy that Boston sports fans have experienced is unprecedented. We are just happy to have been along for the ride the past ten years and we look forward to many more victories to come.” Nielsen Audio July 2019 results will be released later today, but in Boston’s June 2019 report, WBZ-FM placed fourth (5.6, 6+). “The Sports Hub” is the flagship station of the Stanley Cup runner-up Bruins; Super Bowl champion New England Patriots; and the Celtics. By the way, in the years since “The Sports Hub” surfaced in 2009, the Patriots have won three Super Bowl titles (2015, 2017 and 2019) and the Red Sox have scored two World Series championship banners (2013 and 2018). The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in the 2010 – 2011 season, while the Celtics were NBA champions in 2008 – one year before “The Sports Hub” debuted.
Cumulus Media Faces $233,000 Sponsorship ID Rule Violations Fine. The infraction as cited by the FCC stems from Cumulus Media’s apparent violations of the commission’s sponsorship identification rules. In addition, Cumulus Media ostensibly failed to promptly self-report some violations, even though the company agreed to do so under a 2016 consent decree with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. It is noteworthy, however, that the commission’s “Notice of Apparent Liability For Forfeiture” only advises Cumulus Media on how it has perhaps violated the law and sets a proposed fine. This isn’t a final ruling. The FCC cannot impose a higher penalty than the proposed $233,000 amount. Cumulus Media has a chance to appeal to the “Notice.” Prior to acting further to resolve the matter, the commission will evaluate Cumulus Media’s legal arguments and any submission of evidence. More than three years ago, the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau reached a $540,000 settlement with Cumulus Media regarding sponsorship identification in radio ads promoting a proposed energy project. It was the largest payment in FCC history for a single-station violation of the commission’s sponsorship ID laws. The settlement resolved an investigation into whether the company’s Dover, New Hampshire country outlet WOKQ “The Big 97.5” violated the rules. The FCC is alleging that in 2017 and 2018, seven Cumulus Media operations failed, in 26 instances, to air appropriate sponsorship identifications as required by its rules. Moreover, the FCC claims the company waited approximately eight months before reporting some rule-breaking, which would be in conflict of its 2016 consent decree commitments.
“Share of Ear” Study Highlights Audio Habits of Registered Voters. Share of Ear views how Americans consume audio content. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One has released results of Edison Research’s recent quarterly analysis. Edison reports share of audio time spent and percentage of Americans who use each type of content. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “To build name recognition, candidate perception, affinity, and voting intent, campaigns have to reach as many voters as possible. According to this new analysis, AM/FM radio has massive and powerful ad-supported audience shares among registered voters and key voter segments.” Among registered voters, AM/FM radio’s share of audio time spent (80%) is eleven times larger than Pandora (7%), twenty times larger than Spotify (4%), and twenty-seven times larger than SiriusXM (3%). Terrestrial radio has the highest share of ad-supported audio time spent among all three major political affiliations: Independents (79%), Republicans (82%), and Democrats (78%). Each quarter, Edison Research conducts a national study of 1,000 Americans (13+) to measure reach and time spent listening to audio sources. Respondents complete a 24-hour diary of their audio listening on an assigned day. Diaries were completed both online and by-mail using a paper diary. Diaries were completed in English and Spanish. Each report consists of 4,000 respondents representing the prior year worth of surveys. This wave is based on persons from the third and fourth quarters of 2018, and the first and second quarters of this year (2019).
Recipe for Better Sales Revenue: Better Sales Compensation Programs. In an exclusive TALKERS advice piece posted today (8/6), veteran radio/media sales pro Bill Brady – president/CEO of Futures & Options, Inc. – suggests that the key to reviving radio sales is to reward hard-working, well-trained reps with increased compensation packages. He writes, “Over the last generation, radio companies have gone through several rounds of sales compensation reductions. Sales staffs were reduced in size and byzantine commission and compensation plans were implemented. Radio revenues have essentially stagnated ever since.” Read the article here.
Entercom, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics Join Forces. As part of the multiyear, multiplatform agreement, Entercom Philadelphia’s 50,000-watt WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” becomes the new radio home for Penn State football and men’s basketball games, beginning with the 2019 – 2020 athletic season. In addition, Radio.com will feature ancillary on-demand programming. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager David Yadgaroff remarks, “As a proud Penn State alum, the easy access to Penn State sports content on air and on Radio.com makes me very happy for our listeners, the University, and all alumni. This will be an excellent partnership with Penn State Athletics and will complement our existing portfolio of leading sports coverage in the city.” Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics vice president Sandy Barbour states, “We appreciate the opportunity to create a new radio partnership with Entercom. The tremendous reach of WPHT ‘Talk Radio 1210’ allows us to connect with Penn State alumni and fans throughout the Delaware Valley, and promote the comprehensive excellence of Penn State Athletics. We look forward to our new partnership and having a great new radio home for Nittany Lion basketball and football in metro Philadelphia.” Penn State Sports Properties vice president and general manager Doug Nelson adds, “We’re happy that WPHT ‘Talk Radio 1210’ will serve as our new radio home for Penn State football and men’s basketball in Philly. The enhanced radio audience and promotional opportunities for Penn State with our new Entercom partnership are exciting for both fans and advertisers.” WPHT cluster-mates KYW “News Radio 1060,” WIP-FM “Sports Radio 94,” adult contemporary WBEB “B-101.1,” classic hits-oldies WOGL, and CHR WTDY “96.5 Today’s Hits” will provide promotional support for Penn State Athletics.
Mayor Joins iHeartMedia Louisville For Its First Community Breakfast. Last Friday’s (8/2) event at the Muhammad Ali Center united over 125 community leaders, business partners, and non-profits to showcase iHeartMedia Louisville’s commitment to the community. WHAS “News Radio 840” on-air talent Terry Meiners hosted the event which spotlighted iHeartMedia Louisville’s community partners. In his keynote speech, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer discussed the importance of giving back within the community. Fischer comments, “Compassion is good for business and it’s good for our city and our country. I want to thank the folks at iHeartMedia Louisville for supporting our vibrant and active non-profit community.” Plans call for iHeartMedia to quadruple its efforts by providing media support to twelve non-profit organizations that fall under the “Kids: Heart of Kentuckiana” theme. Region president for iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Earl Jones notes that, “Each campaign will include PSAs, on-air personality endorsements, as well as streaming and digital placement. We are committed to using our resources to amplify the message of these organizations that work so hard for our community.” Pictured below (left to right) are Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Region president Earl Jones, and WHAS “News Radio 840” afternoon personality Terry Meiners.
SiriusXM To Debut Daily “Jess Cagle Show” This Fall. Former editor of Entertainment Weekly (2009 – 2014) and People (2014 – 2019), Jess Cagle will host a two-hour weekday (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, PT) Los Angeles-originated eponymous show on SiriusXM starting this fall. It will feature pop culture news and long-form conversations from Cagle and co-host Julia Cunningham. Of Cagle, SiriusXM senior vice president of news, talk, and entertainment Megan Liberman notes, “It’s hard to think of anyone who knows Hollywood better or could bring more insight and expertise to the conversation about pop culture. This show will be a destination for the biggest stars in movies and television and a must-listen for entertainment fans.” SiriusXM chief entertainment anchor Cagle states, “As a magazine editor, I’ve done a lot of work with SiriusXM. The producers and executives there have been magnificent partners – smart, strategic, and innovative. Over the years, SiriusXM has become a second home to me. I’ve always wanted to do a news and talk show with a lot of humor, smart commentary, and in-depth interviews. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make that a reality, and excited to work with SiriusXM on their growing podcast and video content. I’m a longtime fan of Julia Cunningham, and am really looking forward to working with her every day.” In addition to his daily show on “SiriusXM Stars” (channel 109), Cagle will host SiriusXM Town Hall events and appear across channels. Cagle spearheaded the partnership with SiriusXM to launch Entertainment Weekly Radio and recently joined the USC Annenberg Center of Communication Leadership & Policy as a senior fellow.
Focus 360 Partners With Lipstick & Vinyl. As a result of investing in the female-oriented podcast network Lipstick & Vinyl and assuming its ad sales representation duties, Focus 360 cracks the podcast arena. According to Focus 360 chief executive officer Phil Brown, “We have been looking for a podcast partner that offered stand-out content. By seeking out the underrepresented and diverse voices in the marketplace, Lipstick & Vinyl delivers audiences that are super-loyal and highly engaged. Expanding our suite of audio ad platforms enables us to offer more solutions to our advertisers.” Lipstick & Vinyl founder and chief executive officer Allyson Marino notes that, “Focus 360 is known for its outstanding relationships with agencies. That is extremely important to the growth of our company and our content partners. Podcasts provide a wonderfully unique and intimate way to connect with people and tell stories. Focus 360’s expertise in audio ad sales made them the perfect choice to help us grow.” Lipstick & Vinyl network hosts include journalists, TV writers, comedians, single mothers, and advocates for social change.
TALKERS News Notes. Changes going into effect today (Tuesday, 8/6) at iHeartMedia San Diego sports talk KLSD “XTRA 1360” find Darren Smith taking over mid-days (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm) and Jon Schaeffer shifting from that slot to 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, where he’ll join “Loose Cannons” hosts Steve Hartman and Rich Ohrnberger. Prior to his west coast broadcast career, Smith spent four years (1998 – 2002) at ESPN Radio, where he produced several programs, including “The Dan Patrick Show.” Smith will be joined by senior reporter/producer – and San Diego State University grad – Marty Caswell. Taking an “NFL Insider” role with the station is Nick Hardwick, who most recently co-hosted mid-days with Schaeffer. Hardwick’s “Football Hour” will air Monday and Friday at 8:00 am. The revised KLSD “XTRA 1360” weekday lineup is: Costa & Richards (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Darren Smith (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “The Loose Cannons” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); and Ernie Martinez (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm) ….. Meanwhile, across the hall at news/talk KOGO “News Radio 600,” Lou Penrose’s “Penrose Report” grabs the vacant afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) opening created when Carl DeMaio (“The DeMaio Report”) exited to focus on running for California’s 50th congressional district seat. Director of news & sports programming for iHeartMedia San Diego/Riverside Brian Long notes, “Lou Penrose is an exciting talent and a perfect addition for the afternoon drive show.” Penrose runs a full-service government relations and public affairs consulting firm and has served as district chief of staff for multiple U.S. congress members, including John Campbell, Ed Royce, and Mary Bono. He previously was director of news & talk programming for Morris Media’s KNWZ, Palm Springs (California) ….. Having covered the Washington Nationals for NBC Sports Washington, Bobby Trosset joins Hearst Television Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090” and co-owned WIYY “98 Rock.” He will anchor morning sports updates on both stations and be a significant part of the stations’ coverage of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. WBAL & WIYY president and general manager Cary Pahigian declares, “Nobody covers sports in Baltimore like we do. The home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football welcomes Bobby Trosset to Maryland’s most-connected and elite sports staff.” Trosset – who starts his new assignment this Thursday (8/8) – adds, “Baltimore’s loyalty to its sports teams is second to none. I’m ecstatic to be returning to the city I called home during my college years at Loyola and look forward to providing coverage, insight, and analysis to a passionate fan base.” ….. “The Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth” begins two weeks from this Saturday (8/24) at 12:01 am throughout Long Island Sound. The tournament offers up to $40,000 in cash prizes, including the grand prize of $25,000 for heaviest bluefish. Connoisseur Media Bridgeport, Connecticut news/talk WICC “600 AM” will broadcast hourly update results all weekend from Captain’s Cove and interview the first-place winner live … After 14 years with ESPN, Ryen Russillo departs to join Bill Simmons’ The Ringer. On Twitter, Russilo writes, “So … the news is out. I’m headed to [The Ringer]. Want to thank [ESPN] for the last 14 years. I grew up on [SportsCenter]. To be on the actual set, my name on a show, I have to remind myself at times how cool that is.” Using the same social media platform, Simmons tweets, “Happy to confirm that [Ryen Russillo] will be working exclusively for [The Ringer] for all multi-media stuff starting in September. Will be a regular on my BS Pod as well.” ….. This Saturday (8/10), iHeartMedia Wilmington, Delaware holds its 15th annual “Miles For Military” motorcycle ride to benefit USO Delaware. A number of on-air personalities from the cluster will be on site hosting the event, one of the largest motorcycle rides crossing the state. Participants will finish at Dover International Speedway. USO Delaware director Bruce Kmiec remarks, “We are excited about our partnership with iHeartMedia Delaware for the ‘Miles for Military’ motorcycle event. It has grown over the years into a household name event. We are floored by the amount of support we get for our current military and their families by all the riders that attend this amazing event. The money raised provides funding to over 50 USO Delaware military support events and programs we hold each year.” The five-station iHeartMedia Wilmington cluster consists of WDOV “News Radio 1410,” WILM “News Radio 1450,” and WWTX “Fox Sports 1290,” as well as WDSD “94.7 Delaware’s Continuous Country,” and hot AC WRDX “92.9 Tom-FM.” ….. In an unusual move, “CNN Newsroom” showed the names of 49 GOP lawmakers who turned down an invitation to discuss this weekend’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton. “CNN Newsroom” offered 50 Republican lawmakers a chance to discuss the attacks. Yesterday (Monday, 8/5), it led an interview with Florida Republican Congressman Ted Yoho by naming the 49 other GOP lawmakers, who refused to come on the network to talk about the shootings.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. With over 20 years of broadcast industry experience, Al B. Sure! last night (Monday, 8/5) debuted his Sunday through Friday, 7:00 pm – 12:00 pm, REACH Media-syndicated “Love and R&B Hosted By Al B. Sure!” program. The five-hour longform show launched on affiliates in markets that included Dallas; Washington, DC; Detroit; St. Louis; Cincinnati; Columbus; Raleigh; and Richmond. REACH Media and Radio One chief executive officer David Kantor comments, “Al B. Sure! has a style that’s been well-established with his music, performance, and past broadcast experience that is ideal for evening listening. I’m confident he will be a nightly draw to a very large listening audience.” According to the host, “I am elated to be part of what media icon Ms. Cathy Hughes identified as the ‘Dream Team of Radio’ – REACH Media. I look forward to taking ‘Love and R&B’ to a new level.” When the program director of San Francisco’s KISQ “98.1 Kiss-FM” heard Al B. Sure! being interviewed in the early-2000s, he asked the singer if he would do a weekend radio show. Shortly thereafter came Al B. Sure!’s syndicated “‘Secret Garden Radio” show. His musical career dates back to 1988 with “In Effect Mode,” which was certified triple platinum and spent seven straight weeks at #1 on the R&B chart. He has received four Grammy awards; the American Music Award for “Best New R&B Artist”; and more than 75 ASCAP awards for writing and composition performance. Sean Andre is the program’s producer. Founded by Kantor and Tom Joyner in 2003, REACH Media is an Urban One company ….. Under program director Jeremy Reyes (a.k.a. “DJ Jeremiah Red”), Entercom Los Angeles introduces “FireLane” on KAMP-HD3 and Radio.Com. The station features mixers such as DJ Vice, Flipside, DJ Lisa Pittman, DJ Majestik, DJ Sophenom, DJ Drew Pierce, and DJ Sabio. Entercom Southern California regional president Jeff Federman notes that we are “currently living in a world where music tastes have collided and consumers are more interested in the authenticity of the music blend, rather than the genre. I have to credit a member of our team for suggesting the development of a station that encompasses today’s ‘festival tent’ feel with rhythmic, dance, hip hop, and EDM all being represented.”
July 2019 PPM Data – Round One. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.
New York City
Spoken-Word Formats – Down or flat the past five survey periods for a collective loss of three-tenths (1.8 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WOR “710 The Voice of New York” picks up one-tenth in July to 1.6 (6+) and repeats at #20. The March 2019 through July 2019 topline for Townsquare Media’s similarly-formatted WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” is a very consistent 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.3 (#23 to #22, 6+). May’s one-tenth increase halted five straight down or flat sweeps that resulted in an overall loss of four-tenths. Following four successive decreases accounting for a loss of six-tenths (1.5 – 1.3 -1.2 – 1.0 – .9, 6+), news/talk WABC adds one-tenth to 1.0 (#24 to #23, 6+). Cumulus Media is selling WABC to John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media for $12.5 million; the deal is expected to close later this year.
A May/June loss of seven-tenths (4.2 – 4.0 – 3.5, 6+) by Entercom sports talk WFAN is followed by a July improvement of one-tenth to 3.6 (6+) as the Yankees’ flagship inches up from ninth to eighth. Off one-tenth (1.7 – 1.6, #19 to #20, 6+), WEPN has its weakest 6+-stat (1.6) since “Holiday” 2018’s 1.4. Before adding two-tenths in May, “98.7 ESPN New York” posted a 1.8 (6+) in three of the previous four sweeps (1.8 – 1.8 – 2.2 – 1.8, 6+).
Entercom all-news siblings combine for a net June 2019 – July 2019 decrease of four-tenths, after an overall May 2019 – June 2019 loss of one-half share. Specifically, WINS is trending 3.9 – 3.5 – 3.2 (6+) and drifts from the top ten (#9 to #13), while Mets flagship WCBS-AM falters by a collective full-share via four straight declines (3.4 – 2.9 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.4, flat at #15, 6+). In advance of adding two-tenths in May, WINS was -1.1 in three successive down or flat reports (4.8 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+).
While unchanged at #18, WNYC Broadcasting Foundation news/talk WNYC-FM has lost a collective eight-tenths in three successive negative or neutral sweeps (2.9 – 2.4 – 2.1 – 2.1, 6+). An April boost of three-tenths curtailed four successive down or flat sweeps that resulted in an overall -1.0 (3.6 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 2.9 – 2.6, 6+). The February 2019 through July 2019 topline for co-owned news/talk WNYC-AM is .4 – .3 – .4 – .3 – .2 – .3 (#37 to #35, 6+).
New York City Music Formats – Within 3.1 – 3.7 range (6+) in each of the last ten ratings periods (3.6 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 3.7, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR WKTU erupts with an increase of six-tenths to 4.3 (eighth to sixth, 6+). The last time “103.5 KTU” reached the four-share level (6+) was in September 2018 (4.0). Its format rival, Emmis’ WQHT “Hot 97,” has lost a collective half-share in four straight down or flat moves (3.8 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.3, #11 to #12, 6+). Peekskill, New York-licensed Pamal Broadcasting adult contemporary WHUD “100.7 – Westchester & The Hudson Valley’s Music Station” debuts with a .5 (#27, 6+). This marks the third month in succession that WLTW “106.7 Lite FM” logs a 6.8 (6+), as the iHeartMedia adult contemporary outlet is #1 for the 25th consecutive ratings period. WLTW posted a one-half share increase in March, but surrendered seven-tenths in April. A combined -5.3 in January/February (12.5 – 7.6 – 7.2, 6+), “Lite FM” was +5.8 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (6.7 – 9.1 – 12.5, 6+). In back-to-back mega losses totaling a massive -2.7, WPLJ has virtually wiped away its May AQH-stat (3.1 – 1.5 – .4, 6+) and plummets from the top twenty (#20 to #31). In conjunction with its sale from Cumulus Media to Educational Media Foundation, WPLJ flipped from hot AC to contemporary Christian “K-Love Classics.” The legendary contemporary music outlet went out on a very positive note leading up to the format flip though, as it posted five straight New York City gains for a cumulative +1.1 (2.0 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 3.1, “Holiday” 2018 through May 2019, 6+). Down one-tenth in May, Entercom hot AC WNEW-FM “NEW 102.7” follows the WPLJ format change with a combined June/July gain of six-tenths (3.0 – 3.3 – 3.6, 6+) and enters the top ten (#13 to #8). Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish contemporary WPAT-FM “Amor 93.1” notches its fourth successive up or neutral move for an overall plus of six-tenths (2.9 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.4 – 3.5, flat at #11, 6+). In the last six sweeps, Spanish tropical sibling WSKQ “La Mega 97.9” has recorded a 5.0 (6+) on three occasions and a 5.3 (6+) the other three times (5.3 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.0, fourth to fifth, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – After a combined May/June uptick of eight-tenths (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KFI “AM 640” drops two-tenths to 4.3 (6+) but carries on in fifth-place. Ever since debuting in February, its internet stream notched three straight up or flat moves (.6 – .6 – .7 – .8, #34, 6+), but disappears from print in June and July. Co-owned news/talk KEIB regains the one-tenth it lost in July (.9 – 1.0, flat at #32, 6+). “AM 1150 The Patriot” was off by just an overall one-tenth in three straight down or flat sweeps (9 – .8 – .8 – .8, 6+) before adding two-tenths in May to 1.0 (6+). Having regressed by three-tenths in June (.9 – .6, 6+), Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA “AM 870 The Answer” rebounds with a spike of two-tenths to .8 (#35 to #34, 6+). Cumulus Media-owned KABC “790 News-Talk-Evolved” loses half (-.3) its 6+ AQH-share in three straight dips (.6 – .5 – .4 – .3, #41 to #42, 6+).
Just as they were in June, iHeartMedia sports talk/Dodgers flagship KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports” and Disney-owned KSPN “710 ESPN” are deadlocked at #27, as both repeat June’s 1.4 (6+). KLAC was up two-tenths in June and KSPN improved by one-tenth.
Five straight negative or neutral monthlies by KNX “1070 News Radio” accounted for a full-share loss in that January 2019 – June 2019 timeframe (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.1 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.7, 6+) but the Entercom operation is up one-tenth in July to 2.8 (#14 to #13, 6+).
Up one-tenth after June’s loss of one-half share (2.3 – 1.8 – 1.9, 6+), Pasadena City College news/talk KPCC “The Voice of Southern California” remains at #23.
Los Angeles Music Formats – Recording an AQH share between 1.4 – 1.9 in each of the last ten sweeps (1.8 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.9, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KSCA “Zona MX 101.9” busts out an improvement of seven-tenths to 2.6 and reenters the top twenty at #16. This is its finest 6+-performance in over a year (2.6, as well in May 2018). Bouncing back from June’s decrease of eight-tenths with a one-tenth gain to 5.9 (6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5” is #1 the tenth straight time. After its “Holiday” 2018 13.0 (6+), “Coast” has followed with 6.2 – 6.5 – 6.5 – 6.3 – 6.6 – 5.8 – 5.9 (6+). Prior to January when it surrendered a -6.8 to 6.2 (6+), KOST was an overall +8.4 through five improvements in a row (4.6 – 4.7 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 9.0 – 13.0, 6+). Co-owned hot AC KBIG “104.3 My-FM” is up or flat the third straight time for a half-share gain (4.1 – 4.5 – 4.6 – 4.6, unchanged at #4, 6+). While it repeats in eighth-place, KLOS logs its seventh straight up or flat trend for a net gain of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.3, 6+). Meruelo Media Holdings acquired KLOS from Cumulus Media for $43 million and is programming the station under a Local Marketing Agreement. A loss of three-tenths to 2.9 (6+) by Spanish Broadcasting System regional Mexican KLAX not only snaps at seven its consecutive string of up or flat moves that yielded a +1.1 (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.2, 6+), “97.9 La Raza” exits the top ten (#9 to #11). Notwithstanding that it has lost eight-tenths in five consecutive negative or neutral sweeps (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.7 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss FM” continues in seventh-place. Prior to June, the last time “Kiss” was under a four-share (6+) was in “Holiday” 2018 (3.5). Meanwhile, Entercom-owned/similarly-formatted KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio” is within 2.0 – 2.9 territory the 26th time in a row (2.4 – 2.3, #16 to #17, 6+). Slipping from #18 to #19, iHeartMedia’s KYSR “Alt 98.7 – LA’s New Alternative” has lost two-tenths in four consecutive sweeps without an increase (2.4 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2, 6+). It remains two-tenths ahead of format rival, Entercom-owned KROQ (flat at 2.0, #20 to #21, 6+), whose June gain of one-tenth ended four consecutive negative or neutral sweeps that resulted in a collective half-share deficit (2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – Even though Tribune Media news/talk and White Sox flagship WGN repeats June’s 2.9 (6+), it drops from #12 to #13. Not only is WLS-AM “890 AM” without a loss the seventh consecutive report, doubling (+1.1) its 6+ AQH share in that “Holiday” 2018 through July 2019 timeframe (1.1 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 2.1 – 2.2, 6+), the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet is back in the top twenty after a lengthy absence (#21 to #20).
In May, Entercom sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” posted its best 6+-showing (4.2) since October 2018, but the Cubs flagship loses a combined four-tenths in June/July (4.2 – 3.9 – 3.8, flat at #7, 6+). Erasing June’s loss of two-tenths with a July increase of three-tenths (1.4 – 1.2 – 1.5, 6+), Disney/ESPN-owned WMVP “ESPN Chicago 1000” progresses from #26 to #24.
Dipping from third to fourth, Entercom news outlet WBBM-AM is an overall -1.4 via six successive down or neutral moves (6.2 – 6.1 – 5.8 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+). Prior to April, WBBM-AM finished on top the previous three survey periods.
Off a collective nine-tenths in three consecutive sweeps without an increase (3.4 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.5, 6+), Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ ends the slide with a gain of two-tenths to 2.7 (unchanged at #19, 6+).
Chicago Music Formats – A combined -1.3 in May/June (5.6 – 5.2 – 4.3, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC WVAZ “V-103” reduces roughly half the deficit with an improvement of six-tenths to 4.9 (fourth to third, 6+). The combination of a three-tenths uptick by Hubbard Broadcasting classic rock WDRV “97.1 The Drive” (5.1 – 5.4, second to first) and an equal margin decrease by hot AC cluster-mate WTMX “101.9 The Mix” (5.5 – 5.2, second to first, 6+) results in the siblings swapping places at the top. “Mix” was #1 the past three months and continues its relatively steady January 2019 through July 2019 topline of 5.4 – 5.5 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 5.6 – 5.5 – 5.2 (6+); April’s 5.9 was its highest 6+-stat since November 2017’s 6.3. A combined +.9 in May/June (3.9 – 4.5 – 4.8, 6+), Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WLS-FM “94.7 Chicago’s Classic Hits” surrenders all but one-tenth of that increase (4.8 – 4.0, -.8, 6+), skidding from third to sixth. Advancing from #18 to a three-way scrum at #16, Entercom-owned WUSN “US-99 Chicago’s Hottest Country” has a February 2019 through July 2019 topline of 3.0 – 2.6 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 2.7 – 2.8 (6+). Similarly-formatted/iHeartMedia-owned WEBG repeats June’s 1.6 (6+) but inches up from #24 to #23. Before dropping two-tenths in June, “Big 95.5 Chicago’s New Country” had been up or flat the previous seven sweeps for an overall gain of four-tenths (1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.8, 6+). Chicago’s three principal adult contemporary operations all record June 2019 – July 2019 fluctuations of one-tenth. On the positive side, iHeartMedia’s WLIT “93.9 Lite FM” is up or neutral the fourth time in a row for a gain of four-tenths (3.9 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 4.2 – 4.3, sixth to fifth, 6+) and Venture Technologies Group-owned WRME-LP “FM 87.7 – Me TV” has its third straight bump for a collective increase of six-tenths (2.5 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.1, #12 to #11, 6+). Prior to gaining three-tenths in June, WLIT was an overall -9.4 as a result of five successive down or flat reports (13.3 – 5.0 – 4.4 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.9, 6+); “Lite FM” was a combined +10.1 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (3.2 – 8.4 – 13.3, 6+). June’s 3.0 marked the first time WRME-LP reached the three-share level (6+) since November 2018’s 3.3. Meanwhile, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WSHE “100.3 SHE,” which was up one-tenth in June, returns that increase in July (2.8 – 2.9 – 2.8, #15 to part of that three-way logjam at #16, 6+). Before faltering by one-half share in May, WSHE notched an overall increase of eight-tenths via four consecutive positive or flat moves (2.5 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.3, 6+). Up four-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss, alternative WKQX logs a 3.0 the third time in a row (2.6 – 2.8 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.0, #12 to #13, 6+). Meanwhile, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI-FM has a January 2019 through July 2019 topline of: 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 2.8 (flat at #16, 6+).
Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
Report: ESPN to Break Up ‘Mike & Mike.’ According to a report in SI.com by Richard Deitsch – and picked up by numerous other news outlets – ESPN is moving ahead with plans to move Mike Greenberg from the ESPN Radio morning show he’s co-hosted with Mike Golic since 1998 and place him at the helm of the new morning show on cable TV’s ESPN. If true, what the sports giant does with the longtime – and reportedly revenue-producing – morning show includes a couple of options. Deitsch’s piece speculates that the odds-on candidate to move to mornings is current ESPN personality Trey Wingo. He could partner with Golic or – if Golic is not retained – head up a new morning show. Golic’s son, Mike Golic Jr., is a staffer with ESPN and it’s being reported that Golic Jr. could join a re-tooled version of the morning program. Deitsch reports that it’s not known when these moves will happen but his sources say the changes will happen sooner rather than later. Read the SI.com piece here.
WYM Media to Syndicate Devil’s Advocates Radio. The Devil’s Advocates Radio Show – co-hosted by Dominic Salvia and Mike Crute formerly aired on iHeartRadio’s progressive talk WXXM, Madison “Mic 92.1” prior to the station’s format flip late last year. Now, the issues talk show is going into national syndication via WYM Media with distribution by Westwood One. WYM says the show is launching on 16 affiliates in the Northeastern, Midwest, West, and Southwestern, as well as on the Armed Forces Radio Network. It airs live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. WYM adds, “The Devil’s will take their show back on the road, broadcasting events and protests from Donald Trump’s Inauguration week in Washington D.C. January 18-20. Additionally, the Devil’s will provide an anchored livestream from the Women’s March on Washington, on Saturday January 21.” The Devil’s Advocates is an independent production of DC Communication, LLC, based in Wisconsin.
Four New Shows to Launch on ‘Forbes on PodcastOne.’ Building on the recent partnership with the Norm Pattiz-founded digital platform PodcastOne, Forbes Media is preparing to debut four new podcasts on the “Forbes on PodcastOne” network. The new shows are: “The Forbes Interview,” “Forbes Under 30,” “Forbes Lists” and “Forbes Sports Money,” and will launch this month and next. Forbes Media chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin says, “Our focus this year is about taking Forbes content off domain and monetizing those experiences. Podcasts represent yet another avenue for us to diversify our revenue streams.” PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Forbes’ initial conversation podcast will feature Adam Carolla, the most downloaded podcaster of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Adam will discuss his own personal journey, the building of Carolla Digital, and a lot of other extremely interesting things from questions put forth by ‘The Forbes Interview’ podcast host, Steve Bertoni. Future shows will include leaders from business, technology, entertainment and sports – the kinds of people that you would likely see on the cover of Forbes. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership.”
Ryan Wrecker Exits WOWO, Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne’s Federated Media makes changes in the management structure at heritage news/talk WOWO and program director Ryan Wrecker exits after more than four years at the programming helm. During his time at WOWO, Wrecker was instrumental in creating the station’s podcast platform. WOWO won a Marconi Award from the National Association of Broadcasters in 2014.
Trump Press Conference Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 9-13, 2017. President-Elect Donald Trump’s first press conference after winning the November election was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the allegations of Russia’s hacking the DNC emails tied with the Trump ‘dossier’ purported to detail his bizarre sexual behavior while visiting Moscow. Coming in at #3 was the Trump cabinet nominee hearings, followed by the Justice Department’s announcement it would investigate its own and the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server matter 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
WNDB, Daytona Beach’s Marc Bernier Hosts FOX News’ Brett Baier at Embry-Riddle. Pictured above are FOX News Channel personality Brett Baier (left) and WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) at the more recent installment of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Speaker Series. Bernier serves as the director for the series. At the event, Baier conducted his nightly “Fox Report” from the school’s campus before sitting down for a town hall-style interview with Bernier.
Michael Harrison and Sid Rosenberg Talk About Sports, News/Talk, Radio, Personal Demons, Redemption and Life. In a powerfully candid conversation, WABC, New York mid-morning co-host Sid Rosenberg is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” For the past year, Rosenberg has been successfully co-hosting the station’s 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program with his old friend, Don Imus show executive producer, Bernard McGuirk. The daily news/talk program, “The Bernie and Sid Show,” has done so well in attracting an audience and creating positive buzz in its first 11 months that WABC has just expanded it by an hour to a 9:00 am start. Rosenberg came up through the ranks of NYC and South Florida sports talk radio, recently making the transition to news/talk – although he still serves as a sports commentator on the Imus show that precedes the mid-morning program. Rosenberg has a colorful track record of landing big jobs based on his sheer talent and enthusiasm…and then losing them due to highly-publicized issues he’s faced battling personal demons. It seems that Rosenberg has gained control over these problems and as Harrison puts it, “is on a healthy track to redemption and success.” Harrison continues, “Sid Rosenberg is one of the most authentic, vibrant and ‘human’ radio personalities on the air today. He exudes infectious energy and captures the very essence of being a New Yorker – thus contributing greatly to WABC’s local flavor. What a great radio story! I’m rooting for him to stay on his present path and go all the way.” To listen to the entire podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Legendary Louisville Talk Host Milton Metz Dies at 95. The Louisville Courier-Journal writes in its obituary for Milton Metz that, according to former WHAS colleague Wayne Perkey, Metz was “a role model and father figure for a younger generation of broadcasters” that included himself, Terry Meiners, and Jack Fox. Metz began his lengthy career on WHAS in 1959 and the “Juniper 5-2385” show (named after the phone number) ran until 1993. His son, Perry Metz, is quoted saying, “If civility is old-fashioned, you could say he was old-fashioned.” Read the Courier-Journal obit here.
Odds & Sods. In the Hickory, North Carolina market, Long Communications adds an FM translator to the signal of news/talk WHKY. The station’s programming is now also heard on W272DU at 102.3 FM…..SiriusXM is announcing that in the lead-up to next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, it will broadcast a special series titled, “The Road to CPAC 2017” with hosts Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and his wife Mercedes Schlapp, columnist and FOX News contributor on its Patriot Channel. The inaugural show will feature the Schlapps in conversation with Steve Bannon, senior counselor to President-elect Trump and former host of “Breitbart News Daily” on SiriusXM.
Cool SoCal Talk Gig. This position is in Los Angeles. Conservative SoCal fast growing blowtorch KRLA and KTIE are looking for ‘Morning Answer’ replacement for exiting Ben Shapiro. Must be a conservative for this particular slot on the morning show. Knowledge of politics/news/events required. Talk radio experience preferred but not required. Must be able to peacefully co-exist with other ‘Morning Answer’ show members. If you’re not interested in being part of a team environment, please look elsewhere. The “Morning Answer” focuses on today’s highest interest news and events, and the hosts opinions and commentary. It’s a fast-paced and generally upbeat take on mornings in Los Angeles. Now’s a great time for conservative radio…help us ride the wave and reflect the sentiment that ushered in unprecedented political change. Materials to: email@example.com. EOE.
‘Bootleg Kev’ Named Night Jock at ‘LIVE 101.5’ in Phoenix. Air personality Kevin Ratliff, a.k.a. “Bootleg Kev,” is named the new evening personality on CBS RADIO’s Phoenix CHR KALV “LIVE 101.5.” Phoenix vice president of programming Tim Richards states, “Kev is a radio vet and an incredible personality who brings a breadth of experience to ‘LIVE 101.5.’ He is a hometown guy who was born and raised in Phoenix – he knows the market and what our listeners want. We are excited to have him join the ‘LIVE 101.5’ family.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Hibbing, Minnesota country outlet KGPZ – owned by Midwest Communications – adopts the Envision Networks and Kroeger Media classic country format “DUKE FM” and takes on the brand “96.1 DUKE FM.”…..In San Diego, 23-year “Jeff & The Showgram” staffer Randy Hoag announces via Facebook that he’s been let go by the CBS RADIO hot AC KYXY…..Triple A KMMS, Bozeman, Montana brand manager Michelle Wolfe announces she’s leaving the Townsquare Media station to take time off from her career to pursue personal goals…..Cumulus Media Charleston, South Carolina parts ways with programmer Terry Base, who’s been with the company for the past 19 years. He served as PD for hip hop WWWZ “93Jamz,” and urban adult contemporary WMGL “Magic 107.3.”
Ed Sheeran Visits with CBS RADIO New York. Pictured above with artist Ed Sheeran (right) is CBS RADIO SVP of programming Jim Ryan (left). Sheeran appeared at CBS RADIO New York’s Adorama Live Theatre to chat WNEW-FM and WBMP-FM hosts about his new album, Divide. Sheeran spoke with “Fresh 102.7” morning show hosts Jeffrey Jameson and Karen Carson and “92.3 AMP Radio” personalities Shoboy and Nina. Photo: CBS RADIO New York.