Monday Memo: “And The Winner Is…” Like the Super Bowl, this Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast is one of the few remaining events so many of us still witness in real-time. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke bemoans poorly prepared acceptance speeches, and urges “radio talkers to take the hint.” Read his column here.
Pending Business: Rates, Rotation, Negotiation. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that sellers focusing only on the packages management creates are not serving their clients as well as they could. “Ask the right questions, listen carefully and your advertiser will tell you how to sell them…or not. Yet most sellers are focused on their own goals pushing for the package of the week. They fail to listen, ignoring the advertiser’s goals.” Read his column here.
Morning Host Bob Flaherty’s Exit from WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts Prompts Programming Changes. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that Bob Flaherty exited Saga Communications’ news/talk WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts in late March after what he describes as “a couple of rants” about his thoughts on punishment for the gunmen responsible for mass shootings. He tells the paper, “I was fired. From what I can understand, this came directly from corporate, which is Saga Communications. It had to do with a couple of rants, I guess you would call them, over the last few weeks.” Flaherty, who hosted the morning drive show on the station for the past 11 years, says, “I have nothing but respect and love for my colleagues in Northampton. These are great, great people. I’ve enjoyed every minute.” The station is now airing Compass Media Networks’ “This Morning with Gordon Deal” in the morning drive daypart. It moved “The Thom Hartmann Program” to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and added the Howie Carr Radio Network’s “The Grace Curley Show” for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Regarding the changes in the morning programming, WHMP general manager Mike Ekblom says ultimately, his goal is to have local programming from 7:00 am to 9:00 am daily.
Dickey Broadcasting Flips WFOM-AM/W292EV, Atlanta to News/Talk. Shucking the sports talk format, Dickey Broadcasting Company announces WFOM-AM/W292EV, Atlanta debuts its new talk format and branding as “XTRA 106.3FM – Atlanta’s Most Conservative News & Talk Station.” The program schedule includes programming from FOX News Radio and Premiere Networks. The lineup is: “Morning XTRA” (Mondays only), “FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla,” “The Glenn Beck Program,” “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” “The Guy Benson Show,” “The Buck Sexton Show,” and “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.” Dickey Broadcasting president David Dickey comments, “We are excited to announce the return of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and FOX News, among many other great names, to the Atlanta market. These voices have entertained and informed generations of Atlantans and will now continue to do so on ‘XTRA 106.3FM’ and streaming on the XTRA app. Atlantans deserve great options for their news and information. We are proud that we can deliver this popular content to millions of listeners who feel they’ve been disenfranchised by recent programming shifts.”
Ethics Board Rules in Favor of Valdosta, Georgia Mayor Scott James Matheson in Radio Show Complaint. The ethics complaint filed against Valdosta, Georgia Mayor Scott James Matheson has been dismissed by the city’s three-member ethics board by a 2-1 vote. Back in February, four Valdosta, Georgia community organizations petitioned the city clerk to look into what they called ethics violations by Matheson, who is also principal of Small Town Broadcasting, owner of talk outlet WDDQ-FM on which Matheson co-hosts the morning show. The organizations – Concerned Clergies of Valdosta, NAACP Lowndes Chapter, The Mary Turner Project, and Valdosta/Lowndes Community Alliance – say Matheson’s comments on his radio program included unsubstantiated claims of illegal voter canvassing and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and that qualified as a violation of six tenets of the City of Valdosta’s Code of Ethics for elected officials. The board ultimately ruled that Matheson engaged in speech protected by the First Amendment.
TALKERS News Notes. A new true crime series from PodcastOne is premiering tomorrow (4/20) called “Final Days on Earth” that features longtime CBS News journalist and producer Claire St. Amant. The program is an investigative podcast franchise from Cold Case Productions that examines mysterious deaths that have elements of an accident, murder, or suicide – and sometimes all three. In season one – “The Life and Death of Dammion Heard” – St. Amant investigates the baffling disappearance and mysterious death of Texas state champion wrestler Dammion Heard…..iHeartMedia announces its exclusive podcast partnership to launch the NFL’s podcast network that includes the distribution of NFL Media’s existing podcasts, (“Around the NFL,” “Move the Sticks,” “NFL Fantasy Football,” “Huddle and Flow,” “NFL Total Access: The Locker Room,” “Good Morning Football” and “NFL Legends”) as well as the co-production and distribution of two dozen new original podcasts. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne comments, “Our partnership with the NFL is an incredible moment for iHeart – and the podcast industry, period. The NFL represents sports at its highest level – with the greatest athletes and the most heart-pounding games the world has seen. These are legendary stories, and we can’t wait to roll out a slate of incredible new podcasts to capture it all – for iHeart’s huge audience and the NFL’s massive fanbase alike.”…..Audacy reveals the launch of “Ultimate Mock Draft 2021,” a six-episode series leading up to the NFL Draft presented in partnership with the Locked On Podcast Network. The series will be released in 45-minute episodes, weekdays from today through next Monday (4/26). The series is hosted by Brian Peacock and Matt Williamson and episodes include a dive-deep into each team’s needs, draft strategy, player short-list, and “Ultimate Mock Draft” pick for the first round of the NFL Draft. Audacy VP of sports Matthew Volk says, “No other sports platform has the unique combination of national voices combined with the localized and team-specific influencers and opinion leaders, and this series will help get football fans fully prepped for this year’s draft, no matter their favorite team. Each year, the NFL Draft helps turn the page to the upcoming season and we’re looking forward to previewing this year’s event alongside our partners at Locked On.”
Mass Shootings/Gun Control, COVID-19, Border Crisis/Immigration Policy, Daunte Wright Shooting/Derek Chauvin Trial, U.S. to Exit Afghanistan, Newsom Recall/Caitlyn Jenner Challenge Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spate of mass shootings in the U.S., including at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, in Austin, and at a Kenosha bar, as well as the related issue of gun control legislation; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the lifting of restrictions in numerous states; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the police shootings that killed Daunte Wright in Minneapolis and Adam Toledo in Chicago and the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; President Joe Biden’s order to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11; and the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom and the report that Caitlyn Jenner is among potential challengers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Katz: Study Says Radio Reaches Independents In Battleground States Better. The study was done by Nielsen and commissioned by Katz Media Group and Katz says it concludes that “customizing radio messages to local markets in key battleground states is the most impactful way to swing young Independent voters in the upcoming presidential election and in critical down ballot races.” This is the fifth wave of “The Local Vote 2016” that analyzed custom data from Independent voters across seven states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Colorado.) Some of the key findings include: One in three battleground Independents spend more time listening to radio than watching television. On average, these voters listen to over 2 hours of radio daily, while watching less than 1 hour of TV; and radio – across a diverse range of formats – outstrips cable news. On a weekly basis, more Independents will listen to news/talk/sports radio stations (33%) and music formats such as adult contemporary (43%), rock (40%) and country (35%) than watch cable news channels CNN (23%), Fox News (15%) or MSNBC (10%). As far as key local radio findings are concerned, the study indicates geographical differences. For example, in Ohio, Independents gravitate towards different formats depending on the Ohio market they live in. Adult/classic hits has the highest share of listening with Cleveland Independents; adult contemporary garners the highest share in Columbus; and news/talk/sports and country are the strongest formats in Cincinnati. Katz Media Group’s Stacey Lynn Schulman, EVP of strategy, analytics and research, says, “‘The Local Vote 2016’ continues to unearth important insights to help candidates and political strategists effectively use media to engage the local electorates. Everyone is voting in the same election, but you need to speak to people where they live. It’s a national election won by reaching local voters. And, what we have consistently found is radio delivers better national reach with the ability to connect on a local level than any other medium.”
Trey Ware to Host Special Race Relations Show on KTSA. The program will air tomorrow (8/19) on Alpha Media’s KTSA, San Antonio at 7:00 pm. It’s titled “Race Relations in San Antonio and Beyond,” hosted by morning drive personality Trey Ware. The station says, “This is a topic that has dominated local and national news many times in the past with the police officer shootings in Dallas and the Black Lives Matter movement. The discussion panel consists of well-known religious, law enforcement, and community leaders. Ware comments, “Everyone has something valuable to contribute. That is why this event is so important. People who are different from us have so much to offer, and together we make each other better.”
CBS Philly Inks New Deal with Ray Didinger. Philly sports media legend Ray Didinger signs a new, multi-year contract with CBS RADIO to continue his weekend program on sports talk WIP (co-hosted with Glen Macnow) and take on new duties with the cluster. The Pro Football Hall of Fame writer’s show will be heard on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. He’ll continue to make frequent appearances on WIP throughout the year, especially during football season. Additionally, he will also be heard on news/talk WPHT with morning host Chris Stigall on Fridays during the football season, and he’ll do commentary on all-news KYW. Didinger says, “I’m delighted to continue my relationship with WIP. I’ve had a great time working with so many good friends, in particular Glen Macnow, my weekend partner for many years. I enjoy talking sports with the Philadelphia fans and I’m grateful to CBS RADIO Philadelphia for giving me that opportunity.”
iHeartMedia Realigns Northeast Division; Promotes Preacher and Carwile. This realignment within iHeartMedia’s Northeast division is part of a dismantling of its former Mid-Atlantic region. The Washington, DC and Baltimore markets will now form the new Washington, DC Region and the Virginia markets will join the existing Carolina region to form the new Virginia-Carolina region. To lead these new regions, the company has promoted Michael Preacher – formerly the SVP of Strategic Partnerships to president of the Washington, DC region and government initiatives. Region president Dave Carwile is now president of the Virginia-Carolina region. That region consists of the following markets: Richmond, VA; Harrisonburg, VA; Norfolk, VA; Roanoke and Lynchburg, VA; Winchester, VA; Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC; Asheville, NC; Greenville, SC; and Greensboro, NC. Both Preacher and Carwile report to Northeast division president Hartley Adkins.
Bill Kelly ‘Unretires’ with Cumulus Youngstown. Radio management pro Bill Kelly retired from iHeartMedia in February, ending his career with the company as regional president. But on October 3 he’ll leave the ranks of the retired and join Cumulus Media as vice president and market manager for the Youngstown market. Kelly worked in the Youngstown market for 35 years, beginning with the original owners of heritage AM signal WKBN. He helped build the six-station iHeartMedia cluster when it was first acquired by Jacor in 1997. Kelly comments, “After meeting with CEO Mary Berner and other senior leaders at Cumulus, I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity. I can’t thank them enough. The Cumulus brands as well as the staff are well positioned. I look forward to helping them get to the next level.” Cumulus owns eight stations in the Youngstown market.
NYMRAD Releases Q2 2016 Report. The New York Market Radio Association releases its second quarter 2016 State of the New York Market Report. The organization calls it’s a “comprehensive analysis of the NY marketplace…[that] assesses the New York area economy, including business drivers and provides up-to-date consumer research on music consumption, radio usage, and more.” The report states that “New York Radio revenue showed some positive growth in the first half of 2016. Four hundred and fifty advertisers increased their spending by double-digit percentages. Fourteen percent of these advertisers more than doubled their radio ad spend, each paying more than $100K for airwaves. Of these larger spenders, six were in the automotive space and nine were part of the food and beverage sector. In the entertainment category, advertisers for concerts, theatre, and movies had a 22% increase over the last six months. Communications/Cellular spending has increased by 7%.” Read the entire report here.
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Media Group Denver operations, Scott Curtis is the new afternoon drive news anchor on the Steve Kelley and Krista Kafer program. Curtis says, “I am excited to finally be working at a great team at Salem Media. For a radio guy, this is a dream job!”…..NBC Sports Radio is adding Emmy Award-winning Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya as a featured contributor across NBC Sports Radio programming in which she’ll also do interviews with affiliated stations. She says, “I began my broadcasting career in radio and I absolutely love the medium. Sports talk radio offers a certain freedom to talk more conversationally than most formats. NBC Sports Radio has been a fun platform for me over the past couple of seasons, so I’m looking forward to this extended role.”…..CBS Sports Radio unveils its football-intensive weekend programming that begins Saturday (8/20) with the “Eye on Fantasy Football” show. Other shows this fall will include “Eye on College Football,” “Sunday Morning Football,” “Fantasy Football Today,” and “Eye on Football.”…..Entercom’s news/talk KNSS, Wichita takes the top prize from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters in the Best Complete Newscast category for Large Market Radio in the organization’s 2016 awards. The station’s Steve McIntosh, Ted Woodward and Jad Chambers, earned honor for their work on the “Day After Hesston, KS Mass Shooting.”
The Presidential Race, Milwaukee Shooting Case, Rio Olympics-U.S. Swimmers Detained, Louisiana Floods/SoCal Wildfires, Battle for Aleppo, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/17). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man by police in Milwaukee; the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro and the controversy over U.S. swimmers’ allegations they were robbed at gunpoint; the devastating floods in Louisiana and the Southern California wildfires; the battle to retake Aleppo from Islamic State forces and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
The Conclave Names New Board Members. Three broadcast executives join the board of directors for The Conclave. The new members are: Peter Bowen, vice president/market manager, Cumulus Media Chicago; Tony Coles, EVP, programming, iHeartMedia; and Melek Demir, director of radio, National Association of Broadcasters. Cumulus Media VP, social Lori Lewis says, “As volunteers, it’s not always easy to find time to give back. We are all busier than ever. And because of that, I’m grateful for Peter, Tony and Melek for giving their time to Conclave. I am also grateful for the current board members that work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure Conclave serves our industry. We are working on dates for Conclave 42 in 2017 and will have an announcement soon!”
What’s Cupping? WHMP, Northampton, Massachusetts morning personality Bob Flaherty – like many watching the Rio Olympics and noticing the dark spots on U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps – was intrigued by the ancient healing practice known as cupping. But instead of just asking an expert about it, Flaherty decided to get “cupped” live on the air and stream it live on Facebook as well. Flaherty is pictured here with the small glass globes still on his back while doing his program.