Round Four of May PPM Survey Results Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM sweep has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from these markets. After ballooning by more than four full-shares in April 2021 (5.6 – 9.7, +4.1, 6+), the highest (6+) gain by any station in all 48 PPM markets (March 2021 – April 2021), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ relinquishes one-half share to 9.2 (6+). Even so, “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the solitary mainstream news/talker from these 12 metros to achieve #1 status (May 2021, 6+). Cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WISN “News Talk 1130” forfeits eight-tenths (7.4 – 6.6, fourth to third, 6+). In other head-to-head news/talk battles, iHeartMedia Raleigh’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” improves by two-tenths (5.0 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” gains three-tenths (1.8 – 2.1, #16 to #14, 6+). Nashville’s format share dips a combined seven-tenths: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” (7.1 – 6.7, third to fourth, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.2 – 1.9, flat at #17, 6+) drop four-tenths and three-tenths, respectively. At the same that Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” sheds two-tenths (4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” improves by that margin (.7 – .9, #21 to #19, 6+). West Palm Beach is a completely mixed bag: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” is up one-half share (3.0 – 3.5, ninth to seventh, 6+); cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” surrenders eight-tenths (2.0 – 1.2, #13 to #17, 6+); and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” is flat at 2.0 (steady at #13, 6+). Three Hartford news/talk facilities populate the top 20: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” (5.1 – 4.7, -.4, flat at #8, 6+); Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” (1.0 – .8, -.2, stays at #15); and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM” (unchanged at .2, #18 to #17, 6+). Read Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.
Saga Communications Declares A Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid in about four weeks (7/16) to shareholders of record on June 30, 2021. It will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, Saga Communications will have paid over $72 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend nine years ago (2012). Saga currently intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends as declared by the board of directors. Going forward, the board may also consider declaring special cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock buybacks.
Media Consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke Ties-the-Knot. Moments after filing this week’s TALKERS Monday Memo column, noted media consultant and TV talk show host Holland Cooke was married to his longtime friend, Sarah Collins. The happy couple is pictured at their private ceremony in Key West, Florida. Ms. Collins is a financial analyst and fellow New Englander.
Audacy Expands Crooked Media Partnership. It does so by carrying “Lovett or Leave It” across Audacy original station Channel Q and the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The podcast will be heard each Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Channel Q stations in 32 markets and via the Audacy app, effective next week (6/28). “Lovett or Leave It” is hosted by former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Lovett and features guests that include comedians, actors, journalists, activists, and politicians. Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano remarks, “The show’s quick and witty flair for discussing the most relevant topics surrounding today’s political and pop culture landscapes is what differentiates itself; we look forward to welcoming the show to the Channel Q family.” Crooked Media senior vice president of programming Sandy Girard states the podcast is “where Jon Lovett talks about everything from the most pressing political and social issues to what everyone is bingeing on TV, to the latest trends in scientific advancement – all with his incredibly intelligent and hilarious point of view. We’re so excited to expand our partnership with Audacy to bring ‘Lovett or Leave It’ to even more listeners around the country and to kick it off with our special Pride episode ‘Out of The Closets and Into the Streets.’” Popular “Lovett or Leave It” segments include “The Rant Wheel,” where each guest delivers a prepared rant to a hot cultural topic, and “The High Notes,” where listeners share personal anecdotes about finding optimism in these challenging times. Lovett co-founded progressive media company Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor in 2017. He co-created the NBC-TV comedy “1600 Penn” and wrote speeches for former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Newsmax Adds Ellis, Gidley. Former senior legal adviser/personal counsel to Donald Trump – Jenna Ellis – and onetime top official in the Trump White House – J. Hogan Gidley – join Newsmax as on-air television contributors. Newsmax chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jenna Ellis brings a sharp mind and pointed legal commentary and constitutional analysis to the workings of our court system as it works to defend our liberties and freedoms. She is a strong addition to our growing lineup. Few know the media, Washington and the future of the GOP better than Hogan Gidley – we’re glad to have him on Newsmax to offer our viewers his valuable insights.” Ellis opines, “Newsmax consistently gives viewers an independent perspective on the news of the day. I look forward to continuing to be part of their coverage and bringing the truth as Americans strive to have their voices heard.” Gidley adds, “I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Ruddy and Newsmax for this new and exciting opportunity. I will draw from my experiences in public service to provide Newsmax viewers my detailed analysis and unvarnished opinion regarding so many difficult issues facing the American people.” Ellis is special counsel with the Thomas More Society and allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Once the deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Weld County, she hosts a daily podcast, “Just The Truth.” Gidley was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy White House press secretary in the Trump Administration. In 2020, he joined the Trump re-election campaign as national press secretary. He previously was communications director to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, senators Elizabeth Dole and Rick Santorum; and was executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.
Komando To Deliver More Tech Insider Tips. Stemming from an increase in listener demand, Kim Komando will debut a one-minute “Komando Digital Life Tech Tip” in three weeks (7/21). The daily vignette will be offered to stations and streaming services without charge and will carry a 60-second commercial. Komando’s digital insider tips will reportedly include: how to stop robocalls by changing one smartphone setting; ransomware prevention secrets; and the best parental control smartphone apps. Talent management firm Sound Mind’s founder/president Kraig Kitchin comments that Komando – who writes a column for “USA Today” – is “entertaining and helpful; Kim continues to make great radio.” In addition to her weekend three-hour call-in “Kim Komando Show,” which airs on 420 stations (and the American Forces Radio Network) to an estimated 6.5 million listeners, she hosts “Daily Tech Update” seven mornings a week on 389 stations.
TALKERS News Notes: A three-hour CBS Audio Independence Day Special will be available for airing July 2 – 5. Among the topics/guests on the Gil Gross-hosted celebration of America’s Birthday are: Family-safe alternatives to DIY fireworks; behind the scenes of the Capitol Fourth of July Concert with the National Symphony; “The Men Who Lost America” author Andrew O’Shaughnessy on how Great Britain’s bad decision-making helped us win The Revolutionary War; Broadway/TV star Betty Buckley shares her thoughts about “1776, The Musical” reopening with an all-female cast; and Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role in winning the war and his attempt to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves in order to set them free … Meanwhile, one of three ABC Audio specials to affiliates for use over the July 4th weekend includes ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” The three-hour special deals with ways Americans are having fun this summer as the country begins to reopen. It explores how people are entertaining themselves through the shows they’re watching, the music they’re listening to, and the activities they’re doing. In addition, “Press Play” highlights America’s most rapidly growing sport—Pickleball—and introduces listeners to some of its biggest fans.
Facebook Establishes Live Audio Rooms. Next steps were revealed yesterday (Monday, 6/21) as Facebook pushes into the social audio and podcasting spaces, taking aim at (among others) Clubhouse, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter Spaces. Per an Adweek report, the social media platform is “rolling out Live Audio Rooms on iOS for public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States, as well as making select podcasts available to U.S. listeners.” Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features. Event hosts appear in profile icons at the top of the screen; listeners appear in the bottom half as smaller icons. There is no limit on the number of listeners allowed in and as many as 50 people are able to speak at once. In addition to live captions, notifications are made when friends or followers join a room. Facebook will use automated technology and human reviewers to moderate content in Live Audio Rooms. According to CNET, “Users who repeatedly violate Facebook’s rules won’t be allowed to create or speak in a Live Audio Room.” Facebook is building new audio tools for creators to develop and launch “Soundbites,” or short-form audio clips that will launch later this year.
It’s a New Deal for Cumulus Programmer Bill Hess. Programming pro Bill Hess and Cumulus Media sign a new, multi-year contract extension. Hess is the company’s vice president of news/talk, program director for WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, and operations manager for the Washington, DC cluster. During his 41-year career, Hess has programmed WTEM, Washington; WHJJ, Providence; and WHYN-AM/FM, Springfield, Massachusetts. He served as SVP of programming for Air America Media and has programmed music outlets WASH and WBIG in Washington. Cumulus Media Washington VP/market manager Jake McCann says, “This is an exciting time for news/talk in our nation’s capital and we have the privilege of being led by one of the strongest program directors in the country. Under Bill Hess’ leadership and hands-on approach, WMAL has consistently grown ratings. He works daily with on-air staff to guarantee they are delivering a top-level product to their audience.”
Stone Canyon Buys Northern Arizona Station Group. This deal has three broadcast management pros organized as Stone Canyon Radio and Marketing, LLC buying four Northern Arizona signals from Grenax II Broadcasting for an as yet undisclosed sum. The stations are: news/talk KBTK-FM/K246AA “97.1 The Big Talker,” country KSED “107.5 KOLT Country,” classic rock KWMX “The Wolf-Classic Rock 96.7,” and 80s rock KFLX “Rewind 92.5/104.1.” Stone Canyon’s principals are former Cherry Creek Media CEO Joe Schwartz (left), Emmis SVP John Beck (right), and Withers Broadcasting and Dana Communications president Dana Withers (center). Schwartz states, “This is a wonderful opportunity for three veteran broadcasters to pool our years of broadcast experience to create exceptional programming, on-the-street marketing, top digital assets, and to bring the best advertising services available to the Flagstaff-Prescott area. In addition, I can’t wait to work with current VP & general manager Stan Pierce and his team.” Schwartz will be relocating to the Flagstaff area to work with the cluster team and Beck and Withers will remain in their current positions in St. Louis and Mt. Vernon, respectively. The start of an LMA is expected to be announced in the near future.
WMAL’s Mary Walter to Host Fisher House Foundation’s Talk Radio Special. The Fisher House Foundation’s annual talk radio special, “Home Away from Home – The Fisher House Story,” is being hosted this year by WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning co-host Mary Walter. The Fisher House Foundation and The Jeff Wyatt Group are producing the program for talk stations around the country to be aired any time from Veterans Day (11/11) through the holidays. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that the Fisher House program provides “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes provide temporary, free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis. This year’s three-hour radio special will feature stories of our nation’s heroes, families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. Show producer Jeff Wyatt says Mary Walter’s love of the military will add to the quality of the program. “Her talent, well known support for our military, and broad base of listening across the U.S. makes her a great fit to support our wounded, injured, and ill service members and their families.” Stations interested in the program can contact Wyatt at: email@example.com
TALKERS News Notes. Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro is celebrating 20 years on talk radio in the Ocean State this month. DePetro says that he was working part-time air shifts on WABC, New York while also serving as national sales manager for WABC and sister WPLJ when he was offered a weekend show on WHJJ, Providence in his home state. After a few months, he took over the full-time job of mid-morning host on WHJJ in January of 1999. He currently is heard in Rhode Island on WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island.…..iHeartMedia announces the fruit of its partnership with technology platform creators Jelli and Foursquare is a new attribution product for broadcast radio that will offer marketers “a unique combination of iHeartMedia’s massive reach and Jelli’s programmatic buying capabilities, with the attribution and insights tools from location technology company Foursquare.” iHeartMedia says this is the next step in its effort to make radio easier to buy and measure. It says it “invested in Jelli’s programmatic platform to make the purchase of data driven radio campaigns as easy as digital, and now with the addition of Foursquare, more in-depth campaign measurement and real-world attribution data is now available to advertisers who buy via Jelli’s demand side platform SpotPlan.” iHM president of revenue and data operations Brian Kaminsky adds, “This initiative with Foursquare and Jelli is the next evolution in the development of our platform, providing retailers and QSRs the same measurement and accountability for broadcast radio as Google is in search and Facebook is in social.”…..Entercom and Telemundo’s KTMD-TV, Houston announce a multi-platform media partnership that includes distribution of content across all partner channels, including KTMD-TV and Entercom’s Houston stations sports talk KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650,” plus country KILT-FM, Spanish KLOL, and hot AC KHMX. Content will also be distributed across each entity’s websites and social media platforms. Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “We are excited to partner with Telemundo and further serve our community with enhanced coverage. We’re looking forward to continue bringing our listeners improved access and coverage of live, local news.”…..Sun & Fun Media announces it has hired Tim Closson to join the company as a senior AE. He was previously manager of affiliate sales for country & sports at Westwood One. Sun & Fun Media offers a “suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter.”…..Donna Hardwick is appointed chief marketing officer for PRX, the public media program supplier that recently merged with PRI. Hardwick was most recently senior director of communications & distribution for ITVS.
Kavanaugh Assault Allegations/Cruz Restaurant Protest, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein’s Status, Midterm Elections, U.S.-China Trade War, Iran Threatens Attacks, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the related restaurant protest that forced Senator Ted Cruz and his wife to leave; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related uncertainty over the status of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; the coming midterm elections; the trade war between the U.S. and China; Iran’s threats against Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the U.S. after the deadly attacks on its military parade; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Charlotte market, Beasley Media Group announces promotions at urban contemporary WBAV “V 101.9” and hip hop WPEG “Power 98.” Brian “Mr. Incognito” Robinson is upped to program director for both stations. He was most recently APD for WPEG and previously held the music director, afternoon drive host, and morning drive co-host positions. At the same time, the company bumps Janine Davis up from traffic correspondent for both stations to midday personality at “V 101.9.” Nikki “Ya Girl Nikki” Davis rises from evening host to afternoon drive personality on “Power 98.” Finally, John Reynolds is promoted to operations manager for the entire cluster. Reynolds most recently served as the program director and operations manager at CHR WNKS “KISS 95.1” and Adult contemporary WKQC “K 104.7.” Beasley Charlotte VP and market manager Bill Schoening comments, “John is an exceptional leader and very committed to the success of all of our Beasley Media Group Charlotte radio stations. I am looking forward to seeing him continue to build our strong brands for many years to come.”…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Collin Raye’s Rewind Country” adds new affiliate stations WVWF-FM, Waverly, Tennessee and WPAY-FM, Garrison, Kentucky. “Rewind Country” is a daily, one-minute vignette that “highlights amazing stories behind the greatest country hits, shared by Raye and friends such as Dolly Parton, John Michael Montgomery, and Lorrie Morgan…..ABC Radio, Skyview Networks, and Front and Center Entertainment are introducing radio versions of the PBS programs “The Front and Center Sessions” — for country stations — and “The Speakeasy Sessions” for rock outlets. Both series will feature 12, two-hour programs that are being produced exclusively for ABC Radio’s distribution. ABC Radio VP and general manager Steve Jones says, “We are excited to work with today’s greatest performers in country and classic rock music. We’re taking a wealth of content and weaving it into fast-paced radio programming that features great music and riveting behind-the-scenes stories and never-before-shared anecdotes from some of the biggest country and rock stars.”…..Westwood One is launching a new urban morning show on its 24/7 network starring former WHQT, Miami “Hot 105 FM” personality Rick Party (right) and former WALR, Atlanta “Kiss 104.1” jock Sasha the Diva (left). Comedian Benji Brown is also named as part of the cast. WWO says it has 20-plus stations initially lined up to carry the program that is targeted to females 35-44.
Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Begin Posting Today. First Up: Sean Hannity Keynote Address. As promised last week, today (7/15) marks the first day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The world-wide showing of these very special videos kicks off today with the event’s powerful keynote address by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity. The focus of Hannity’s address is a critical look at the present state of Nielsen Audio ratings which the talk show host strongly suggests do not do an adequate job of rating the true audience of talk radio which is spread across a variety of digital platforms — none of which Hannity claims are presently represented in the giant media research firm’s metrics-gathering system. Hannity told the hundreds of broadcasters in attendance, “Clear Channel pays Nielsen $100 million a year for bad information; Cumulus pays them $50 million a year for crappy information. If we don’t confront the ratings failure that exists today and has not kept up with new technology, we are literally paying for our own demise. It’s madness!” Hannity was joined onstage during his speech by renowned talk radio programmers Phil Boyce, VP of spoken word programming, Salem Communications and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media. Both men concurred with Hannity’s premise adding their views that today’s distorted ratings picture falls into the hands of people and organizations who use it for political motives to create the false impression that news/talk radio is losing its audience and influence, when the exact opposite is true. To see the entire session, please click here. Coming tomorrow (7/16), WFAN, New York legendary personality Mike Francesa delivering the Talkers New York 2014 sports talk keynote address. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick to Broadcast from U.S.-Mexico Border. In a series of programs dedicated to the current child immigration crisis, Matt Patrick, host of “Houston’s Morning News” on Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston “NewsRadio 740,” and “The Matt Patrick Show” on the company’s sister station KPRC, Houston, is visiting the Texas-Mexico border this week. On Wednesday, July 16 and Thursday, July 17, Patrick will broadcast both programs live and will broadcast the KTRH show live on Friday as well. Today, Patrick travels to the border to meet with U.S. Border Patrol and local and state officials who deal with border security.
WHJJ, Providence to Air “The Financial Exchange” Show. The WRKO, Boston-based program, “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan,” is being added to the programming lineup at Clear Channel’s WHJJ, Providence beginning July 28. The show airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WRKO and will be delay broadcast from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WHJJ. WHJJ program director Bill George comments, “We’re very excited to add ‘The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan’ to the ‘NewsRadio 920’ programming lineup. Barry and Kim talk about the economy and its impact on our everyday lives like few radio personalities can. This isn’t just a show about money. From your job, to your home, to planning for your family’s future, it’s about the topics that matter most to people in Southern New England.”
Genesis Communications Launches ‘The Power Hour’ on Florida Sports Talkers. On the company’s sports talk simulcast of WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa branded “Sports Talk Florida,” Genesis Communications debuts what it’s calling a “sports and pop culture mash-up show titled, “The Power Hour.” Hosted by SportsTalkFlorida.com digital director Matt Sardo, the show “features a lively mixture of athletes, pop culture personalities, and insiders from SportsTalkFlorida.com, all uniting to smash stereotypes and bring a new twist to sports radio.” The show is being co-hosted by Amanda Borges, assistant digital editor of SportsTalkFlorida.com and a self-described “college football junkie and health and fitness freak.” Borges states, “This show is an awesome way to get to know athletes for their strange quirks and hobbies. It’s not every day that you get to talk to tough quarterbacks about their secret love for chick flicks and Taylor Swift.”
Radio Show “Super Session” Headliners: Mason and Pittman. CBS Radio president Dan Mason and Clear Channel chair and chief executive officer Bob Pittman will participate in this year’s Radio Show “Super Session.” NAB executive vice president of radio John David will moderate the “From the Control Room to the Board Room” discussion. One common thread Mason and Pittman share is that the two group heads started in the industry as on-air talents. The session is, therefore, intended to illustrate how their early careers influence current leadership and programming decisions. Produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and the NAB, the Radio Show will be held in two months (9/10 – 12) in Indianapolis. The Mason-Pittman “Super Session” takes place on September 11.
”Super Human Radio” Gets GCN Syndication Deal. Carl Lanore has been broadcasting “Super Human Radio” since 2005. Beginning the middle of next month, Genesis Communications Network (GCN) will begin syndicating the Lanore and Alisa Profumo-hosted program,which is dedicated to providing health, fitness, and longevity tips. GCN owner Ted Anderson comments, “We are very excited to have ‘Super Human Radio’ join the Genesis Communications Network. ‘Super Human Radio’ is a perfect fit for our listeners and will give them great insight into the importance of health and wellness.” According to Lanore, “No matter what religious theology you subscribe to, we have this one life right now and we want to make it the best life we can. We want to live long healthy lives. Something as simple as not getting startled with avoidable disease is our right and not a privilege.” Having weighed more than 300 pounds, Lanore experienced his own major weight-related health issues, however, he transformed himself about 14 years ago. The 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm weekday “Super Human Radio” discusses ways to deal with similar issues for those facing potential complications with weight gain and diseases associated with unhealthy lifestyle.
MMG Slots Sanders as Senior VP/Sales. Former Focus 360 LLC director of strategic development/national accounts Michelle Sanders is appointed Media Management Group’s senior vice president of sales. MMG president and chief executive officer Jeff Schwartz comments that his company “specializes in lifestyle programming that has amassed a large and loyal following both on-air and online. Michelle is absolutely one of the best in the business at explaining the benefits of this targeted content to prospective sponsors.” Sanders remarks, “I am profoundly honored to join the talented team at MMG, a company that is dedicated to developing, promoting, and providing integrative advertising solutions for its nationally syndicated media clients. MMG has shown itself to be able to adapt to the ever-changing media environment, which is critical in today’s marketplace. I am delighted to take on this new role and to be joining MMG at a time when it is positioned for such growth and future success.” Sanders will manage cross-platform advertising sales for MMG Radio Network‘s “The Frommers Travel Show,” “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein,” “Intelligent Medicine with Dr. Ronald Hoffman,” and “Home Wizards with Cindy Dole and Eric Stromer.” Sanders’ previous background includes an eight-year run with Interep as regional market director.
Odds & Sods. The Syracuse Post Standard is reporting that Syracuse.com community engagement specialist – and former WSKO, Syracuse sports talk personality – Brent Axe will begin hosting a one-hour, daily show titled, “On the Block with Brent Axe,” to air at 5:00 pm on Galaxy Communications-owned simulcast WTLA and W249BC “ESPN Radio 97.7” on August 4…..Detroit public radio host Craig Fahle is exiting Wayne State University-operated outlet WDET-FM and his daily weekday morning program to take a position with the Detroit Land Bank Authority…..Just off her recent gig on ABC TV’s “The View,” controversial celeb Jenny McCarthy will do a limited-run talk show on SiriusXM beginning tomorrow, July 16. The one-hour, weekly program is titled, “Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy,” and will feature her “trademark humor and outspoken style to discuss topics such as parenting, sex, dating and marriage.” Celebrity guests will include: Chelsea Handler, Perez Hilton, Jenny’s fiancé Donnie Wahlberg and many others…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles is announcing the next installment in its “Ask the Mayor” series with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday, July 17 at 10:00 am. The show is a live, listener call-in program hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
‘Cities 92.9’ Bloomington Host Ian Bayne Fights City Gas Tax. Pictured here is WRPW, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois morning drive host Ian Bayne (left) with a listener (right) who’s placed a flamingo on her lawn as part of the Bayne-organized campaign to fight a city gas tax to help fund a flamingo museum in the region. Bayne reports he recently had Mayor Tari Renner on the Pilot Media-owned news/talk station “Cities 92.9” to defend the gas tax hike comment on the flamingo sign campaign. Meanwhile, Bayne says of this effort, “This campaign is just the beginning of a listener revolt here in central Illinois to fight back against government oppression. I have three words for this – yes we can.”
Child Immigration Crisis-Amnesty Proposals, Israel-Hamas Violence, Obama Approval Ratings, Clinton, Inc. Book to Be Released, Elizabeth Warren Presidential Bid Speculation and World Cup Final Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The ongoing child immigration crisis in the Southwest and the war of words over immigration reform; the violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip; chatter about President Obama’s approval ratings and suggestions he’s losing popularity among Democrats; the soon-to-be-released book about Bill and Hillary Clinton titled, Clinton, Inc.; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s populist message and talk about her presidential candidacy in 2016; and Germany’s victory over Argentina in the World Cup Final were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Posts Positive Q4 2013 Revenue News; Dickey Pleased with ‘Core Performance.’ The fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole were seen in a positive light by Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey during yesterday’s investor conference call. Dickey noted at the outset that he was happy that the company was able to meet and, in some aspects, exceed its guidance through “core performance without any impact of” mergers and acquisitions. He also says the company achieved its goals despite 2012 political comps of over $20 million. The company reports Q4 net revenue up 4.5% over the same period in 2013. For the year of 2013, Cumulus net revenue rose 2.4%. Following up on previous conference calls in which he highlighted his expectations for sports and traffic, Dickey said CBS Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio, NFL and NCAA play-by-play are “hitting their stride as national content brands. Both sports and traffic are currently exceeding expectations for 2014 and are taking share in their respective markets. And will again be substantial growth drivers as we expected them to be. We are very encouraged by the level of interest by both the advertisers and affiliates in these products, which is a testament to the high-quality nature of the content and again the efficacy of broadcast radio advertising on sports and traffic sponsorships respectively.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
Imus: Scott Shannon Will Get the Job. The Scott Shannon watch continues as the next radio home of the former, longtime WPLJ, New York morning co-host remains the subject of speculation in New York and across the country. This morning, WABC-based Don Imus was heard saying, “I’m told Scott Shannon will get the [WOR] job and I’m very happy about that.” Imus seemed sincere about his statement. TALKERS reported yesterday that the chatter has Shannon landing at either Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR for morning drive (where the company just ended the Elliot Segal simulcast from “DC101”) or at one of CBS RADIO’s music FMs – either classic hits WCBS-FM or CHR WNOW.
Clear Channel Promotes Rob Anthony in New England. Programmer Rob Anthony is named to the operations manager and program director position at Clear Channel’s Providence cluster that includes rock WHJY, news/talk WHJJ, classic hits WWBB “B101,” and hot AC WSNE “93.3 The Coast.” Anthony has been serving as regional programming manager for New England based out of the company’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster. He will retain that title which has him overseeing programming at the Springfield, Worcester, and Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire station groups. Anthony says, “I can’t even begin to express my excitement for the opportunity to work with such heritage brands as ‘Coast 93.3,’ ‘B 101,’ ‘NewsRadio 920’ and the mighty ‘94 HJY.’ This is truly an honor, and I can’t wait to get to work. Thank you to Clear Channel’s programming team and [market president] Rhonda Lapham for all their continued support and guidance.”
FCC to Rework Internet Regulation Rules; Republican Commissioners Question Move. FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has announced the Commission will revisit the “net neutrality” issue by “proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how internet service providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition. Preserving the internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency.” Wheeler states that the recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling affirms Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 giving “the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition. The court recognized the importance of ensuring that so-called ‘edge providers,’ those that use the network to deliver goods and services, can reach people who use the internet.” Republican Commissioner Mike O’Reilly disagrees, saying, “I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the internet. As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.” At the same time, Commissioner Ajit Pai adds, “When Congress told us to encourage broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, it also established the policy of the United States to ‘preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’ Whatever the Commission does as it moves forward, it must take that statutory command to heart. The internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules. It remains free and open today. Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.”
LDR Interactive Launches TopicPulse; Partners with TTWN for Sales. Interactive broadcast technology firm LDR Interactive announces the launch of an upgraded version of its TopicPulse, what it calls “a real-time social media monitoring system for newsrooms and content producers.” LDR Interactive explains: “TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, comment boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. In addition to tracking local and national topics, producers can also access trending video and images. The system then produces a user-friendly, real-time report that newsrooms can use to drive local, regional, and national content.” LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig states, “TopicPulse was inspired by feedback from the world’s leading broadcasters, who said they were in critical need of a better way to track and monitor social media to produce news content. With those needs in mind, we built and optimized TopicPulse for broadcast and digital newsrooms and released the system on beta to LDR’s media partners in 2012. Since then, we’ve seen tremendous momentum and positive results from media companies in all market sizes.” In addition to tracking trends, TopicPulse identifies which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media. Newsrooms also have access to a “glance” screen with trending topics for the brand’s target audience, which can be utilized as a “heads up display” of the market. A Tweet Map feature showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends. LDR Interactive is partnering with Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) as the TopicPulse national sales partner. The TTWN sales team will serve as the major force behind local market integration of the platform in newsrooms across the U.S.
Lars Larson Show Added to CRN Digital Talk Lineup. The Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson program is added to the program schedule at CRN Digital Talk Radio airing at 7:00 pm ET. Larson hosts a local show on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland in addition to a separate nationally syndicated program through Compass Media Networks. CRN will carry the national program. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Lars adds another unique, passionate voice to the CRN schedule. He’s a newsman, a reporter, and a host – so he brings extra doses of preparation and personality to his show.”
Former FCC Chair Richard Wiley to Receive BFoA’s Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Richard E. Wiley, chairman of Wiley Rein LLP and a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will receive the 2014 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award to be presented during The Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. Wiley heads the 80-attorney communications practice. He served as chairman of the FCC from 1974 to 1977. Wiley played a pivotal role in the development of HDTV in this country, serving for nine years as chairman of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service from 1987 to 1995. He represents a number of major communications-oriented organizations, including Verizon, AT&T, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Motorola, CBS, Belo, Gannett, Sirius/XM, Emmis, Gray Television, and LG. Wiley has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington’s 30 “Superstar” lawyers for his role as “the unofficial sixth commissioner” of the FCC (2011) and consistently listed as one of Washington’s “Best Lawyers” and “Top Lawyers” in the magazine. He was named the “most prominent telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist in Washington” by Broadcasting & Cable in 2005, and he was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
Teen Radio Host Wins Student Category Gracie. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the winners of the 2014 Gracie Awards in the local, online, student and public categories and 16-year-old Florida radio talk host Pavlina Osta wins in the student category Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine for her “Pavlina’s Kidz Place Radio Show.” The Port Orange, Florida resident has been hosting a kids-targeted radio program since she was 11 and boasts an impressive list of celebrity interviews including: Katie Couric, Ed Sheeran, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sick Puppies, A Great Big World, and Steve Forbes, to name just a few. Now she can add Gracie Award winner to her resume!
Obama Executive Power Controversy, Winter Weather/Global Warming Debate, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian Unrest, and N. Korea Human Rights Abuses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). GOP response to President Obama’s use of executive power; the onslaught of winter weather in much of the country and the debate over the global warming issue; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Winter Olympic games in Sochi; the protests and political unrest in the Ukraine; and the global community’s concern over growing evidence of human rights abuses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.