PPM Analysis: News/Talk. There was a lot of news and controversy during Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey (August 13-September 9) during a period that is usually sleepy in non-election years and that could account for the fact that 62% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian notes in his analysis that gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+1.6), Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” (+1.4), and Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+1.3). Looking at year-over-year ratings improvements, WISN was the most-improved news/talk station putting up a 5.5 share gain from September 2019 to September 2020. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City was close behind (+4.5), followed by WCBM Maryland’s WCBM, Baltimore (+3.5). iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles was again the news/talk station with the highest cume (742,800). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
New Midday Sports Talk Program Debuts on Radio and Online. The new sports talk program “The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes, and Eytan” will launch on Monday (10/19) starring former NFL lineman Barrett Brooks (bottom), Harry Mayes (top right), and Eytan Shander (top left). The program, produced by JAKIB Media Partners, will air live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on PhillyVoice.com and WBSS-AM, Pleasantville “AM 1490 Sports Betting Radio” in South Jersey. It is also available via the SportsMap Radio Network. PhillyVoice CEO Hal Donnelly says, “This exciting partnership brings together two of the city’s top sources for Philly sports news, making it easier than ever for fans to consume the content they crave on the platform of their choice. We look forward to welcoming JAKIB Media’s audience to PhillyVoice.com.”
October Is the Time to Reexamine ‘The Scare On the Air.’ With Halloween just weeks away, what better time to take a look at the genre that produced some of radio’s most revered programs – the horror drama. University of St. Francis professor Tim Weldon writes for TALKERS about the great horror dramas of radio’s Golden Age (the 1930s through the 1950s). Proof of radio listeners’ love of stories that thrill and chill exists today in the numerous scripted podcasts being produced in the horror genre. In his piece, Weldon chronicles some of the great radio horror dramas, explains the importance of sound effects (and how they were made!), and gives credit to some of the writers that made those great programs as successful as they were. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Dueling Town Halls, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Hunter Biden Emails Probe, COVID Stimulus Negotiations, California Wildfires, and NFL’s COVID Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The November presidential election and controversy over two networks’ competing presidential town hall broadcasts; the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad plus concerns about a full-blown fall/winter second wave; the Hunter Biden emails that could implicate him in benefiting from access to then-Vice President Joe Biden; the negotiations in Washington over a new COVID stimulus package; the status of the California wildfires; and the NFL’s handling of positive COVID tests among players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (10/16), Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” present the daylong “Back the Blue” special – a tribute to “honor the men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to keep the New York Metro Area safe.” Listeners are being encouraged to tie a blue ribbon on trees, bushes, park benches – everywhere around the tri-state area – to show their support for the men and women in blue. The program will feature current and former law enforcement officers as well as family members of officers who’ve fallen in the line of duty. WABC and Red Apple SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi says, “As New Yorkers, we want to let the police know that we appreciate all that they do for us. The 77 WABC ‘Back the Blue’ special is one way we can honor police officers across the New York Metro Area.”…..The program “Conversations on Health Care,” a production of Community Health Center, Inc, is celebrating the 11th anniversary of its first broadcast featuring an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is leading the COVID-19 response at the National Institutes of Health. The nationally syndicated show is co-hosted by Mark Masselli, founder and CEO, and Margaret Flinter, SVP and clinical director of CHC, Inc. The program initially launched to explore the transformation of American health care in the 21st century, spurred by technological advances and passage of the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the show’s first guest in the fall of 2009…..The New Haven Register reports that radio’s Clark Smidt has purchased WATX-AM, Hamden, Connecticut, (the former WQUN) from Quinnipiac University. Luther Turmelle writes that Smidt purchased the station via his Clark Media LLC and the amount – not revealed by Smidt – is estimated to be a portion of the school’s legal bills for the transaction. The station is currently dark and it’s unknown what if anything Smidt intends to do with the signal…..It may mean nothing at all but Kevin Kinkead writes in Crossing Broad that WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon drive host Mike Missanelli has changed his Twitter handle from @MikeMiss975 to @MikeMiss25. Kinkead says, “One would assume that removing the 975 reference would allow him to continue to post partisan political tweets and call other people idiots and dolts without any of that coming back to Beasley Media Group. It’s like saying ‘views don’t represent those of my employer’ without actually saying it. Maybe Beasley suggested he do this, or maybe not. Just speculating on that.”
Charlie Kirk Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The founder and president of Turning Point USA and host of a newly launched daily Salem Radio Network show, Charlie Kirk is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, The Michael Harrison Interview. At 26, Charlie Kirk was the youngest speaker at the recent Republican National Convention and is already a force to be reckoned with in American politics. Regardless of one’s personal partisan leanings, this young communicator commands respect for his ability to articulate a compelling case for traditional conservative ideology. He is the founder and president of Turning Point USA – a national student movement with the mission of “identifying, organizing, and empowering” young people to promote the principles of free markets and limited government which are – or at least are supposed to be – the foundation of American conservative thinking. With a presence on over 2,000 high school and college campuses nationwide, 250,000 student members, and over 150 full-time staff, Turning Point USA is the largest and fastest growing conservative youth activist organization in the country. Kirk is also a New York Times best-selling author whose presence on social media reaches over 100 million people per month and according to Axios he is one of the “top 10 most engaged” Twitter handles in the world behind only President Trump among conservatives. His new midday talk show on the Salem Radio Network debuted two weeks ago. 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 on every page of Talkers.com.
Self-Syndication Has Been Berry, Berry Good – A Profile of Talk Radio Host Michael Berry. Houston-based talk radio host Michael Berry – heard on KTRH, Houston locally and on stations across the nation in syndication – is the subject of a profile by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Michael Berry is an attorney, former real estate broker, former six-term Houston city council member, and former Houston mayor pro tem who got his start in talk radio doing a weekend real estate program. From there he transitioned into hosting a news/talk radio program. Berry’s current programs are heard on some 20 affiliate stations in addition to home base KTRH. He says, “We have not aggressively sought markets. Folks find our shows on podcasts, streaming, or when they’re driving in another town. They reach out to me through my website and literally ask what it would take to get me on their station. We don’t actually in the technical, literal sense ‘syndicate.’ I don’t sell an ad to a nationwide company that we place into the show. It’s not syndication in the purest sense. We give stations the show and all the resources they need. If a station makes money from the show, they are going to keep it. I’m still in the building phase and doing it on my own. You lose money for a long time to get a big footprint.” Read the entire piece here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Fort Smith, Arkansas radio personality Darren Miner, a.k.a. Maverick, has been fired by iHeartMedia for a tweet about a University of Arkansas female basketball player. Miner worked on air at country KMAG-FM. Responding to player Erynn Barnum’s tweet of four pictures of herself in uniform sitting on top of the announcers table at the school’s arena, Miner tweeted, “Now they just need to install a pole.” iHeartMedia area president Clyde Bass tells KFSM-TV that as soon as they became aware of the tweet, Miner was let go…..Beasley Media Group names Tradia McCoy the new midday personality at hip hop WZFX-FM, Fayetteville “Foxy 99. ” She was most recently with Radio One’s hip hop WCDX-FM, Richmond, Virginia. “Foxy 99” program director and brand manager Kenny J says, “We’re extremely excited to welcome Tradia McCoy to the ‘Foxy’ family. Tradia’s energy, passion, and social media knowledge made her the fit for middays on WZFX/Foxy 99.”…..Skyview Networks announces that Raul “Rico” Colindres joins the company as vice president, content development and syndication. In this role, he’ll lead the company’s syndication initiative, working to develop current shows such as “The Dana Cortez Show” and “Nick Cannon Radio,” and discover and develop additional programs. As part of the new relationship, Colindres’ “Carmen’s Calls” prank phone call bit service joins the Skyview syndication lineup, effective January 1, 2021…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s urban contemporary WDAS-FM, hip hop WUSL “Power 99,” and adult contemporary WISX “106.1 The Breeze” announce the fourth annual “Sista Strut” breast cancer walk taking place virtually Saturday (10/17). A portion of the proceeds for the event will benefit the American Association for Cancer Research.
KBME, Houston Drops Josh Innes Morning Show. Houston Chronicle writer David Barron reports that iHeartMedia has dropped sports talk radio host Josh Innes from its morning drive daypart on sports talk KBME, Houston. Innes’ info has been scrubbed from the KBME website and Barron reports that Innes tweeted yesterday that his show was dropped for “budget reasons” and “I do not have a show anymore.” Innes joined KBME in October of 2016 after returning to Houston from Philadelphia where he had served with sports talker WIP for three years. Barron reports that ratings appear to have been the cause for Innes’ departure, writing, “Innes’ ratings have mirrored those of the station and of Houston sports radio in general. KBME’s morning drive audience share as of the most recent Nielsen Audio ratings ranked 25th among all Houston radio stations among men 25-54, the key demographic for sports radio, and trailed the station’s competitors at KILT and KFNC ‘97.5 FM’.”
Bubba the Love Sponge Sues Cox Media Group, Personality Mike Calta, and Former Cast Member Matthew Lloyd. Florida-based talk radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a. Bubba Clem, is suing Cox Media Group for anti-competitive actions and two individuals for allegedly playing roles in a purported conspiracy to ruin his show. The complaint, filed in Pinellas County, Florida alleges that Cox, along with the help of its own WHPT-FM, Tampa show host Mike Calta and former Bubba show staffer Matthew “Spice Boy” Lloyd, worked to destroy Bubba’s show that was airing at that time on Beasley Media Group’s then-WBRN-FM, Tampa. Bubba alleges Cox took actions that caused Nielsen Audio to ultimately sue him for damages due to allegations of ratings tampering. (Nielsen and Bubba reached a confidential settlement over that matter.) Bubba’s complaint says that the result of the tampering allegations was Nielsen not listing WBRN-FM’s ratings in October of 2015, thereby hurting the station’s ability to sell his show and that ultimately led to Beasley dropping Bubba’s show in Tampa and Fort Myers. Bubba also alleges that the defendants stole and leaked to Gawker a video of pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan having sex with Bubba’s then-wife. Hogan sued and settled with Gawker, netting a large award that forced Gawker out of business. The motive for all of this alleged behavior on the part of the defendants is Bubba’s success at the expense of former employer Cox, its station and staffers. Bubba is seeking damages (over $15,000) to be determined at a jury trial.
New Director of Sales at Entercom’s Greenville Station Group. Radio sales pro Devon van der Merwe is named director of sales for Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina station group that includes news/talk WORD-FM “WYRD-FM”, sports talk WORD-AM “ESPN Upstate” and five music-formatted stations. Devon van der Merwe moves up from her general sales manager position. Entercom Greenville SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “Devon has displayed an exceptional ability to lead sales efforts since she joined the Greenville market, and I am fully confident in her continued success. Under Devon’s direction, our sales teams will continue to thrive and reach new milestones.”
KIRO-AM, Seattle Partners with ‘Coaching Boys Into Men.’ The Bonneville sports talk station announces it is partnering with the local nonprofit Coaching Boys Into Men to focus on the goal of helping teach student athletes – as well as school coaches and athletic department leadership – to learn youth leadership skills, prevent domestic violence, and achieve healthy relationships. KIRO-AM program director Mike Salk says, “We are excited to partner with an organization that makes such an important difference in our community. Coaching Boys Into Men has a unique ability to positively affect young people by helping them grow as leaders, while also changing long-term views on consent and respect.”
TALKERS News Notes. The NHL’s Washington Capitals and Entercom sports talker WJFK-FM, Washington renew their deal for the station to serve as the flagship for radio play-by-play of the team’s games. Caps games will also air on the company’s RADIO.COM platform. Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Phil Zachary states, “We are thrilled to bring Capitals hockey to D.C.’s top-rated sports station ‘106.7 The Fan.’ In addition to all games, the station will provide fans with full coverage of their favorite team through premiere programming on air, online and on demand.”…..The Elvis Duran Group and SportsGrid are broadcasting live from this weekend’s National Fantasy Baseball Championships (3/15-16) via their Fantasy Sports Radio Network (FNTSY Radio). The broadcast team includes FNTSY Radio host Gregg Sussman, sports analyst and author of the best-selling Fantasy Black Book series Joe Pisapia, and former Major League Baseball pitcher Brad Ziegler…..Seven Bucks Productions, Andrew Jenks Entertainment, and Cadence13 announce the launch of a new interview series on the hit podcast “What Really Happened?” Written and hosted by documentarian Andrew Jenks, in the interview series he examines and contextualizes famous figures and historical or widely-publicized events while discovering untold stories and unraveling newfound narratives…..Cumulus Media is adding “The BOB & TOM Show” to the morning drive daypart at classic rock WKXS-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina “94.5 The Hawk,” effective Monday (3/18).
Manafort Sentenced/Trump-Russia Investigation, College Entrance Cheating Scheme, Boeing 737 Maxs Grounded, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls/O’Rourke Joins Race, Clinton Email Matter Testimony, Brexit Chaos, Bomb Cyclone Hits U.S., NFL Signings, and NBA and NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort receives his second sentence and the related Trump-Russia investigation; the college entrance cheating scheme; the U.S. grounds Boeing 737 Maxs after pressure following the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Beto O’Rourke’s entrance into the race; just-revealed testimony from former FBI attorney Lisa Page that the agency was directed by the Obama DOJ not to charge Hillary Clinton in the email server investigation; the political chaos in England over Prime Minister Theresa May’s failed Brexit plan; the Mountain West and Midwest hit with bomb cyclone weather effects; the trades and free agent signings in the NFL; and NBA and NCAA basketball action 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 Philadelphia, Entercom announces that former country WXTU personality Frank Lario is joining current morning host Marilyn Russell for the new “Frank and Marilyn Morning Show” on classic hits WOGL. The duo debut on Monday (3/18)…..On-air pro Sean Strife moves from iHeartMedia’s Cedar Rapids, Iowa CHR KOSY “HOT 95.7” to the company’s Madison CHR WZEE “Z104” where he’s the new afternoon host and APD/MD…..Air personality Audrey Constant is named afternoon personality at CodComm’s adult contemporary WKFY, East Harwich, Massachusetts (Cape Cod). She was most recently with Plymouth Rock Broadcasting’s AC WPLM-FM, Plymouth and takes over for Rob Walker…..Cumulus Media is adding “The BOB & TOM Show” to the morning drive daypart at classic rock WKXS-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina “94.5 The Hawk,” effective Monday (3/18).