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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

| November 25, 2020

Walter Sterling Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The weekend nationally syndicated host of the “Sterling on Sunday” show, Walter Sterling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Sterling, who launched the show as a Sunday night feature on WPHT, Philadelphia some six years ago at the suggestion of then-CBS Radio EVP Chris Oliviero, went into the project after a decades-long career as one of radio’s most creative and influential programming management and consultation figures. Working for five decades under his legal name Walter Sabo, this colorful veteran’s resume, jobs, clients, and accomplishments as both a talk and music radio innovator are on a rarified level too numerous to list here. Now as on-air talent “Walter Sterling,” Sabo is breaking new ground in news/talk radio specialty programming addressing the social, cultural, and political issues of the day from the perspective of a devoted family man –  husband and father – taking a real life, down-to-earth approach to the issues of coping with life in the 21st century. The three-hour show (Sunday nights 10:00 pm ET) is a smash and has already reached the 100-affiliate mark via Sabo’s independent syndication firm, Sterling Sabo. In this fascinating, informal conversation between two old friends, Harrison and Sterling talk about today’s crisis in education, the state of youth in general, and the evolution of radio as it achieves its 100-year milestone. This podcast is a must-listen for students of radio – young and old. Don’t miss it!  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.

Takeaways from Round Two of Nielsen’s November PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the second round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that includes markets Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Some movements of note include iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston, which rose to a 6.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) to finish ranked #4 in the market. Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit also rises to the #4 rank on the strength of 5.4 share (+0.7). In Phoenix, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI-AM shoots up 1.7 shares to finish with a 7.5 share and takes over the #1 spot. And Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa jumps into the #3 spot after posting a 6.2 share (+1.1). You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

Newsmax TV Says It’s Now the 4th Largest U.S. Cable News Channel. Citing election week and post-election data, Newsmax TV says that it has risen to become the fourth-largest cable news channel in the U.S., noting that for the week of November 11, its Adults 35-64 audience increased 132%. It says the 7:00 pm ET “Greg Kelly Reports” program averaged “nearly 1 million viewers” from November 9-19, beating FOX Business Network and CNBC. Newsmax TV adds that its OTT viewing has increased from 4.5 million to 18.8 million from July 2020 through October 2020.

Stacy Washington Upped to Nights on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel. Talk host and commentator Stacy Washington is promoted to host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel. Washington has been hosting her “Stacy on the Right” show on Sunday mornings since she joined SiriusXM this past summer. SiriusXM VP/GM of talk programming Dave Gorab says, “When Stacy joined the Patriot family this summer with her new Sunday morning program, it didn’t take long to take off with our audience. In addition to her weekly program, Stacy played a vital role in SiriusXM Patriot’s campaign coverage and was a regular contributor to programs across the channel. The expansion to a daily show comes as well-deserved recognition for Stacy’s contributions, and we know our audience will be excited to hear ‘Stacy on the Right’ five nights a week.” Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran who serves as an advisory board member of Vets for Trump and co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. She has appeared on FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, TheBlaze, and PBS, and has written for publications including FOX News Opinion and Townhall.com.

WHAM, Rochester Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Relates COVID-19 Battles. Talk radio host Bob Lonsberry – heard on iHeartMedia’s WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse – recently spoke with WHEC-TV, Rochester about his family’s ordeal with COVID-19. Lonsberry says he, his wife and all five of his kids became infected with the disease but to varying degrees. He tells WHEC-TV, “That was one of the things that was so interesting about this that it affected everybody differently. I think a couple of our young sons were truly asymptomatic and we all sort of went our own way, about half the people had a fever, half didn’t, half had coughs and sore throats, half didn’t. It manifests itself very differently in each of us and lasted over a different course of time for each of us.”

Cumulus Media Cincinnati RVP and Market Manager Dave Crowl to Retire. Radio management pro Dave Crowl is retiring from Cumulus Media at the end of this year after a 44-year career in the radio business. Crowl has been serving as regional vice president and market manager for Cumulus’ Cincinnati station group. Crowl began his career as an account executive at WLVQ-FM, Columbus. Over the years he’s worked in the Portland, Oregon and Milwaukee markets before landing in Cincinnati to become president of Jacor Communications’ radio division. In 2000, he was appointed SVP of then-Clear Channel Communications and joined Cumulus Media in 2012. He says, “A 44-year career in radio would have been challenging to achieve without the support of my family, mentors, colleagues and friends who constantly inspired me. More importantly, I could not have arrived at this moment without the foundation of all the many dynamic general managers and their market teams who delivered compelling audio content to their listeners, communities, and advertisers every day 24/7.” Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner adds, “Dave Crowl has distinguished himself as one of the most respected leaders in radio, dedicating the last 44 years to making radio the best it could be for the many communities he has served so well. In the process, he has lifted up our industry and the people in it, always treating others with respect, dignity and understanding. He will be greatly missed, and we wish him all good things in his retirement.”

iHeartMedia Partners with Podimo to Present Translated Podcasts. This collaboration between iHeartMedia and European podcast platform Podimo creates a strategic partnership to translate and adapt popular podcasts across the globe in different languages. The partnership kicks off with the widely popular true crime podcast “Forgotten: Women of Juárez” (Olvidadas: Muertes de Juárez) about femicides in Mexico’s most dangerous city in three languages: Spanish, German, and Danish. The adapted podcast series will be released in early 2021 in 20 countries in Latin America, as well as in Spain and in the USA, followed by Podimo’s German and Danish markets at a later date. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “We’re excited to partner with a podcast innovator like Podimo and use iHeartMedia’s unparalleled ability to introduce podcast listening at scale to bring some of the most fascinating local podcasts to millions of listeners worldwide. Podcast listening continues to see tremendous growth as more and more listeners seek out layered storytelling, and we believe this venture with Podimo will help us to introduce great podcasts to new fans around the world.”

COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Holiday Traveling, Biden Transition/Trump Still Fighting, Record Dow/The Economy, OANN YouTube Ban, and Utah Monolith Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/24). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and warnings about gathering in groups for the Thanksgiving holiday; the Joe Biden administration officially begins the transition process while Donald Trump continues to challenge the election results; the Dow hits a record 30,000 though some economists warn a correction is due this winter; conservative news outlet One America News Network is banned from posting on YouTube for a week for violating the platform’s COVID misinformation policy; and the discovery of a mysterious metal monolith found in a remote part of Utah 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. The alternative format known as WWCD and operated by Randy Malloy has found a new home in Columbus after losing its lease on the 102.1 FM frequency and going briefly to an online-only model. The station is leasing the WMYC-AM/W255CS duo from ICS Communications with the intent to buy the signals, according to a piece at WOSU.org. This is the third frequency shift for the alternative station. It originated on 101.1 FM, then moved to Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System’s 102.5, and now to the current simulcast operation…..Programming pro Jason Taylor joins Adams Radio Tallahassee as operations manager and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf.” Taylor takes over for Casey Daniels who is returning to Indiana for personal reasons. Taylor spent the past 16 years at iHeartMedia’s crosstown station group. Adams Tallahassee VP/GM Jason Lamp says, “We are ecstatic about this announcement. Jason Taylor is a brand that Tallahassee country listeners have adored for many years. Having Jason join our live and local team in afternoon drive alongside ‘Cash & Woody in the Morning’ on ‘The Wolf’ is a dream come true for us. His management style is 100% of what we need in our building!”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is offering four holiday specials designed for adult contemporary and hot AC stations designed for air on Saturdays or Sundays from November 28 through December 20. The Christmas specials include: On November 28-29, Johnny Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls featuring the new Goo Goo Dolls Christmas album, It’s Christmas All Over; on December 5-6, Carrie Underwood featuring her new Christmas album, My Gift; on December 12-13, Meghan Trainor featuring her new Christmas album, A Very Trainor Christmas; and on December 19-20, Taylor Swift featuring her favorite Christmas playlist.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

| October 30, 2019

Round Two of October PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Some (6+) ratings gains of note from these markets include: Entercom’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington rises 0.8 to a 4.3 share and a #8 ranking in the market; both Boston sports talkers see positive movement as Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” climbs 1.1 to a 6.1 share and #4 in the market while Entercom’s WEEI goes up 0.7  to 4.4 share and #7 in the market; Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit climbs 0.6 to a 2.9 share; Bonneville’s KMVP, Phoenix “98.7 Arizona Sports” gains 0.7 to a 3.1 share; iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego ranked #5 in the market after a 0.7 increase to a 5.0 share; and recent programming changes at iHeartMedia’s KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” push it up a full share to a 2.1 and #18 in the market.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does each month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations. See his “Takeaways” from this second round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (10/31), C-SPAN2 will air a one-hour special television program about the new book by nationally syndicated radio host Todd Starnes titled, Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left From Killing a Nation (2019, Post Hill Press).  Former longtime FOX News Radio host Starnes is launching a new, three-hour talk show on Monday (11/4).  Interested stations can inquire about the program by emailing: media@hamiltonstrategies.com…..The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that WIP, Philadelphia overnight on-air personality Big Daddy Graham is dealing with a setback in his health situation that began with a spinal cord injury back in July.  His daughter Ava Graham, who works on the Angelo Cataldi morning show on the station, told listeners her father is back in the hospital suffering with double pneumonia, an inflamed kidney, and a necrotic femur.  He spent 88 days in the hospital recovering from the spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from the waist down…..Tomorrow night (10/31), Premiere Networks personality George Noory will continue his traditional “Ghost to Ghost AM” version of the “Coast to Coast AM” show.  It will feature ghost stories, open-line callers, and a Halloween greeting from actor Bill Mumy (“Lost in Space” and “Babylon 5”), as well as a deceased guest.  He’ll also welcome special guests, including The Haunted Housewives – Theresa Argie and Cathi Weber…..WSCO-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin “The Score” morning personality Brian Butch is adding duties with the Big Ten Network this season as a game and studio analyst.  The former University of Wisconsin basketball star says, “I’m excited for this opportunity and for a chance to get back to my Big Ten roots.  I look forward to continuing my growth as a broadcaster and sharing my knowledge of basketball with the viewers.”  Butch co-hosts the “BJ and the Bear” program on the Woodward Radio Group sports talk outlet.  He’s also filled in on FOX Sports Radio’s Rich Eisen show…..Premiere Networks and Dr. Dave Creative Entertainment announce the launch of the “Legit Check” podcast, hosted by Yeezy Busta.  The program is “a journey through the evolving and influential world of sneaker culture.  Each week, Yeezy Busta will invite celebrities, musicians, comedians, athletes, and other sneaker enthusiasts to discuss the state of sneaker culture –where it’s going, the people who influence it, the latest trends, its effect on music, and much more.”

Westwood One: Boomers Are a Demographic Brands Shouldn’t Ignore. In its weekly blog post, Westwood One states that while so many advertisers are focusing on targeting Millennials, “Boomers account for 54% of all disposable income, making them an important demographic brands can’t afford to ignore.  Using AM/FM radio, they can reach and influence this desirable consumer group.” Some of the data points in the report include: Boomers 50+ spend nearly $550 billion annually on their home and personal retail. Boomers have a more active lifestyle than Millennials, spending 56% more time doing leisure activities and sports and 22% more time shopping than Millennials 25-34, according to the Video Advertising Bureau; Weekly, persons 50-64 spend an average of 14 hours and 35 minutes with AM/FM radio.  Daily, they are clocking an average of 2 hours and 5 minutes with AM/FM radio; and Boomers especially connect with classic rock, the music of their formative years, as well as news/talk and sports format stations.  See the blog here.

Impeachment Inquiry Testimony, California Wildfires, 2020 Presidential Race, Boeing CEO Testimony, Rising Sea Levels/Global Warming, and Brexit Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/29). Tuesday’s testimony from National Security Council member Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman before the House Intelligence Committee about President Trump’s plea to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden; the California wildfires that have some 25 million people on edge and the PG&E power blackouts; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; the latest report on climate change and rising sea levels; and Britain’s December 12 elections in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to gain conservative PMs to push his Brexit plan through were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Nominations Open for 2020 NAB Technology Awards. The National Association of Broadcasters announces it is opening nominations for the 2020 Technology Awards to be presented at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.  The Radio and Television Engineering Achievement Awards are presented to individuals for their outstanding accomplishments in the radio or television broadcast industry and include the following honors: Radio Engineering Achievement Award; Television Engineering Achievement Award; Technology Innovation Award; and Best Paper Award.  NAB executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny says, “It is an annual highlight to present these awards to deserving individuals and organizations in celebration of our industry’s technical and engineering achievements.  I look forward to again recognizing the successes that foster progress in broadcast technology and broadcaster innovation at the 2020 NAB Show.”  The deadline for nominations is January 13, 2020. Nomination forms and detailed award rules are available at nab.org/events/awards.asp, along with listings of past recipients.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WKSC, Chicago “103.5 KISS FM” promotes overnight and weekend personality JRDN to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show.  iHeartMedia Chicago SVP of programming James Howard says, “He brings a level of energy to events that no one can match.  Through his charisma and passion for both music and radio, JRND creates inviting and exciting experiences for listeners on the air and in person.”…..Eight-year iHeartMedia New York engineer Tony Peiffer returns to Lewistown, Pennsylvania to take on the market manager role at Mifflin County Communications/Nittany Media where he’ll be in charge of active rock WCHX-FM, country WVNW-FM “Star Country 96.7,” and classic hits WKVA-AM/W262DO “Big 100.3.”  He says, “This is sort of a homecoming, as I had worked with this company prior to my move to the Big Apple.  I’m looking forward to rejoining and now leading the team in Lewistown.  I’d like to thank Ann Hain, Jon Hain, and the entire leadership team at Nittany Media for putting their faith in me to rebuild their hometown heritage stations and brands.”…..Entercom announces the lineups and dates for the “Stars and Strings” concerts in New York (12/4), Detroit (12/6), and Chicago (12/8).  Entercom SVP of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin says, “‘Stars and Strings’ has been consistently sold out in Chicago every year since its inception and sold out in under 30 minutes in its debut in Detroit.  We look forward to expanding the show to additional cities to reflect the strength and mass appeal reach of country music.”  The Detroit lineup includes: Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Brett Young and Ryan Hurd and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Folds of Honor – a charity that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members.  To date, Entercom has raised more than $250,000 for Folds of Honor.  The New York show will feature: Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Chris Janson, Blanco Brown, Runaway June, Gone West, and Matt Stell.  The Chicago event will feature: Kane BrownChris Janson, Scotty McCreery, Lindsay Ell, and Seaforth…..Google and SiriusXM announce that SiriusXM will be available on Google Nest smart speakers and displays via the Google Assistant.  Rolling out over the next week, users will see SiriusXM’s extensive lineup of programming in the Google Home app, available on iOS and Android devices…..Last night (10/29), Big Sean took the stage at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for iHeartRadio LIVE.  He performed hits including” “Bezerk,” “Single Again,” and “Bounce Back,” as well as some of his earlier hits.  Pictured backstage at the Apollo are (from l-r): iHeartMedia EVP of programming Thea Mitchem; iHeartMedia manager, artist relations, urban programs Newal Dehan; Big Sean; iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes; and iHeartMedia artist operations and production Natasha Lees. Photo: Rachel Kaplan.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

| March 12, 2019

Townsquare Media Reports Q4 2018 Net Revenue Up 12%; Net Revenue Rises 4.7% for Full Year of 2018.  Note that those figures are not pro forma – they include the revenue from Townsquare Media’s July 2018 closing on three Trenton stations that didn’t exist for the company in 2017 – and they also include political advertising.  Pro forma net revenue for the fourth quarter was $109 million – up 9.7% over the same period in 2017.  Excluding political revenue, the figure was $103.3 million, an increase of 5.2%.  For all of 2018, net revenue was $430.6 million.  That’s up 4.7% from all of 2017.  The pro forma figure for the whole of 2018 was $434.2 million, up 3.7%.  Excluding political revenue, the yearly figure was $420.6 million, an increase of 2.8% over 2017.  For all of 2018, Townsquare reports a pro forma net loss of $30.6 million, as compared to $8.2 million in the same period in 2017.  The company says the decline in net income was driven by an increase in non-cash impairment charges in 2018, due in part to the revision of certain assumptions in the company’s annual testing for intangible impairment as a result of the company’s depressed stock price and market capitalization as compared to the prior year, among other factors.  Net income was also impacted by a $9 million decline in income tax benefit, primarily related to the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act.  Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson states, “In 2018, we delivered net revenue growth of approximately 5% and Adjusted EBITDA growth of over 7%, driven by the impressive growth of our digital businesses, which now total $120 million in annual net revenue and thus nearly 30% of our total net revenue.  Further, we beat our previously issued 2018 revenue guidance.  The fourth quarter delivered the strongest year over year growth in 2018, with net revenue growth of 12%, and we saw sequential improvement in our advertising business throughout the year.”

Saga Communications’ Fourth Quarter Net Revenue Rises 4.7%. Reporting on both the fourth quarter and the full year of 2018, Saga Communications indicates net revenue was $32.9 million – up 4.7% — in the fourth quarter, compared to the same period in 2017.  Income from continuing operations before tax increased $2.3 million to $6 million compared to $3.7 million last year.   Operating income increased $2.1 million to $6 million and station operating expense increased $523 thousand to $23.8 million for the quarter.  During the fourth quarter of 2017 Saga recognized an income tax benefit of $11.2 million compared to an income tax expense of $1.7 million for the same period in 2018. The income tax benefit in 2017 was primarily due to an $11.5 million reduction in our deferred tax liability as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  Looking at the full-year 2018 report, net revenue increased 5.7% to $124.8 million.  Income from continuing operations before tax increased $3.1 million to $19.4 million compared to $16.3 million last year.  Operating income increased $2.5 million to $19.7 million and station operating expense increased $6 million to $93.7 million for the twelve-month period.  On a same station basis for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018 net revenue increased 1.1% to $116.5 million. Operating income increased $2.6 million to $19.4 million and station operating expense increased $642 thousand to $86 million.  Saga Communications reports total bank debt of $20 million as of December 31, 2018 and had $40.7 million cash in hand as of March 11, 2019.

Erika Beasley Moves to Corporate Digital Content Director Role. Most recently, Erika Beasley has been serving as vice president and market manager for Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  Now, she takes on the Tampa-based position corporate digital content director for local markets, reporting to chief digital content officer Lori Burgess.  In this role she’ll be responsible for leading the company’s digital content expansion at the local level as well as working in tandem with digital program directors, programming teams, and talent on locally relevant content development and marketing initiatives.  Burgess says, “Erika brings a positive, can-do attitude, and locally-centric focus to our digital initiatives.  She was quick to embrace the company’s content transformation this past fall and expanded Fayetteville’s digital presence and audience growth for both WKML and WZFX.  We fully expect Erika to leverage her experience to further our live and local mission in an effort to grow digital value for consumers and advertisers alike.”

Beasley Promotes Kent Dunn to RVP for Augusta and Fayetteville. Radio management pro Kent Dunn has been leading Beasley Media Group’s Augusta, Georgia station group that includes news/talk WGAC-AM/FM and sports talk WRDW since December of 2017.  Now, he takes on leadership of the company’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster as Erika Beasley moves into a corporate position (see story above).  Prior to returning Augusta, Dunn served as vice president and market manager of the company’s Tampa cluster.  Beasley EVP and COO Brian Beasley states, “It is a privilege to promote Kent to the position of Regional Vice President within the company.  His vast experience and leadership continue to raise the bar within the organization.  We look forward to him continuing to lead Augusta and now Fayetteville into the future.”

Cumulus Star Larry O’ Connor Joins the Washington Examiner as Podcaster and Columnist.  Bi-coastal, local talk radio host Larry O’ Connor, who is heard in mid-mornings on KABC, Los Angeles and in afternoon drive on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC, is expanding his media footprint to the Washington Examiner news organization where he will be launching a regular print column and audio podcast.  O’ Connor will also be helping spearhead a new Washington Examiner podcast channel that is currently on the drawing board.

Jennifer Keiper Lands at All-News WBBM in Chicago.  Just a day after reporting news pro Jennifer Keiper had exited Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM, Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that Keiper has signed with Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM as a news anchor and reporter.  Keiper served with WBBM in the past as a traffic reporter and part-time anchor/reporter. The Chicagoland native had done two stints with WLS-AM as well as having served as a Midwest correspondent for FOX News Radio.

WJR, Detroit Grabs Numerous Honors at MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards. Detroit news/talker WJR was honored with the Radio Station of the Year honor from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters at last week’s Great Lakes Media Show in Lansing.  The Cumulus Media station has won the award three out of the last four years.  WJR also took home nine other Best awards – including for Best Breaking News Story, Best Morning Show Broadcast (Frank Beckman), and Best Weekday Broadcast, Personality or Team (Mitch Albom) – as well as seven Merit awards. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manager Steve Finateri says, “We here at Cumulus Detroit couldn’t be prouder of our WJR team.  The level of creativity and professionalism at all levels rivals that of any station in the country.

Sook Honored at 2019 Golden Mike Award Gala. Pictured above is honoree Perry Sook – the founder, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Nexstar Media Group – at the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2019 Golden Mike Award gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  The event raised more than $450,000, a record-breaker, including a $100,000 personal donation from Sook and his wife, Dr. Sandy Sook.  The evening was hosted by NBC News’ Craig Melvin and featured a performance by country superstar duo Sugarland. Pictured above are (from l-r): BFoA chairman Dan Mason, Melvin, BFoA president Jim Thompson, Perry Sook, and his wife Dr. Sandy Sook.

Comrex Announces Firmware Updates. Users of Comrex’s ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs should know that the company is releasing firmware version 4.3-p6 that includes an experimental version of a new HTML5-based user interface along with bug fixes and improvements.  The company says that given that Adobe has announced the end of Flash support, and because most browsers disable Flash by default, it is providing an alternative to the Flash-based GUI with this new, fresh, more user-friendly interface.  All current Comrex IP audio codecs by default still use the Flash interface, as well as Toolbox, Codec Commander, and Fleet Commander.  Users who try the new HTML5 interface are encouraged to send a note to techies@comrex.com if they notice potential bugs not listed in the “known issues” section of the 4.3-p6 Changelog.  Firmware version 4.3-p6 also includes Comrex’s new HotSwap feature that lets users back up studio-to-transmitter links (STL) or other dedicated links with a wireless modem.  ACCESS NX Rack and ACCESS MultiRack will both have the new HTML5 user interface, and will be featured at NAB 2019.

Trump Budget Request/Border Wall Funds, Sanders Press Briefing, Pelosi Impeachment Comment, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls/Young Dems Socialist Movement, Boeing 737 Max 8 Worries, Brexit Vote, Carlson-MMA Flap, Venezuela Blackout, and NBA/NCAA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/11).  The 2020 budget proposal from President Trump and the inclusion of funds for the U.S.-Mexico border wall; yesterday’s contentious press briefing from White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement declining to consider impeachment of President Trump; the group of Democrats vying for the 2020 nomination and the related socialist movement of younger Democrats; Boeing’s troubles with the new 737 Max 8; today’s Brexit vote and concerns Britain’s exit from the EU may never actually happen; FOX News Channel star Tucker Carlson’s spat with Media Matters over past radio show comments; the blackout in Venezuela continues as the U.S. recalls diplomatic staff; 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. At Thursday night’s iHeartRadio Music Awards, the Backstreet Boys, Ella Mai, lovelytheband, and Marshmello with special guest Lauv will perform.  Additionally, Travis Barker and Yungblud will join Halsey as special guest performers.  The awards show takes place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and is being broadcast live on FOX Television and iHeartMediastations across the country…..Syracuse radio personality Scott “dXn” Dixon was inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYS) Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 7.  Dixon is afternoon personality, APD/MD, and “Locals Only” show host at Cumulus Media’s alternative WAQX “95X.” Dixon has been covering and supporting the local music scene in Syracuse for the past 20 years…..Programming pro Chris Patyk is leading the curation of alternative and rock stations for TuneIn. He was most recently with Entercom in the San Diego market programming alternative KBZT “ALT 94.9” then-CHR KEGY “Energy 97.3” and adult contemporary KYXY…..Cox Media Group names David Abel vice president/market manager of its six San Antonio music-formatted radio stations.  Abel joins the CMG San Antonio team from his most recent position as vice president of radio with Tulsa-based Griffin Communications…..LARadio.com is reporting the death of former KMET-FM, Los Angeles program director Richard Kimball.  He was believed to have been 82.  Programmed KMET and KWST “K-West” in the mid-1970s.  He managed music acts including Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and David Cassidy before returning to radio with Westwood One in 1980.  He later founded Artist Acquisitions Service Kompany…..Pictured below you can see the WWPR, New York-based, Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Breakfast Club” show as guests on FOX News Channel’s “FOX News @ Night” with anchor Shannon Bream.  The trio of (from l-r) DJ Envy, Angela Yee & Charlamagne Tha God talked about their role hosting presidential candidates on their influential radio program.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

| January 31, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  The annual Holiday PPM survey is generally not kind to spoken-word formats and sports talk took a hit to the chin as just 26% of stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase and 62% went down.  However, comparing Holiday 2017 to Holiday 2018, 57% of stations improved, led by Entercom’s WJFK-FM, Washington (+1.4) and WKRK, Cleveland (+1.2), and RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus (+1.1).  Two sports talk stations ranked in the top three in their respective markets during the Holiday 2018 survey – Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia at #2 with a 7.1 share and Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” at #3 with 5.6 share.  See the whole report here.

Cumulus Names Steve Finateri to Lead Detroit Cluster. Director of sales Steve Finateri is promoted to vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Detroit station group that includes heritage news/talker WJR, country WDRQ, CHR WDVD, and classic country WDRQ-HD2.  Finateri joined Cumulus in 2006 as national sales manager for WJR and transitioned to local sales manager for the station in 2008. Finateri says, “It’s a privilege and an honor to represent such an elite team of media professionals.  Our Cumulus Detroit radio stations reach over 1.6 million listeners weekly, delivering over 42% of Metro Detroit’s total population, even more when you include WJR’s booming regional signal that adds significant listenership throughout Michigan. Cumulus Detroit has Michigan’s most well-known and beloved radio personalities and is the home of the Detroit Lions Radio Network and flagship for Michigan State University football and basketball.  Those assets, coupled with Cumulus Media’s robust suite of sophisticated digital offerings, give us all the horsepower we need to be the one-stop shop for effective marketing campaigns for our customers who range from local businesses on up to Michigan’s largest companies.”

Kim Martinez Elevated to SVP/Market Manager for Entercom Portland.  Media sales pro Kim Martinez is named senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Portland, Oregon station group that includes sports talk outlets KFXX “1080 The Fan” and KMTT “910 ESPN” plus seven music brands.  Martinez was most recently vice president of digital sales for the company.  She says, “It is such a great time to be in radio, the number one reach medium in the U.S. I’m looking forward to joining this team and to be associated with these incredible brands that make a positive impact on the Portland community every day.”

John Boehner No Fan of Talk Radio. Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told the Caxambas Republican Club of Marco Island, Florida that the recent federal government shutdown was caused by Republicans in Congress who listen to talk radio.  According to a report in The Hill, Boehner was speaking to the group on Monday (1/28) when he called accused “talk radio  people” of influencing legislators – “goofballs on the right” – who agreed to President Trump’s demand for $5 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.  He went on to say, “When I was looking for legislative strategy, the last place I looked was talk radio.  The second last place I looked was the knucklehead caucus, who don’t know how to vote ‘yes’ on anything.  They did the president a total disservice.”

SiriusXM 2018 Q4 Revenue Up 7%. Fourth quarter 2018 and full-year financial data for SiriusXM has been released and the satellite radio company announces it hit record revenue of $1.5 billion in Q4 and $5.8 billion for the year – increases of 7% and 6% respectively.  Net income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $251 million, compared to the loss of $37 million the company reported in Q4 of 2017.  Net income for 2018 was $1.2 billion, up from $648 million for all of 2017. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM had a strong finish to 2018, a year that saw our ninth consecutive year of one-million-plus net subscriber adds and our lowest full-year churn rate in the past decade.  We have set even more ambitious goals for the company to continue growing in 2019.  In addition, we were pleased that yesterday Pandora’s stockholders voted in favor of our proposed merger and expect to close the transaction shortly.”

THE TALKERS INTERVIEW: A Conversation with ‘Our American Stories’ Founder and Host, Lee Habeeb. A longtime radio innovator, Salem Radio Network VP/content Lee Habeeb longed to create something new and different for commercial news/talk radio listeners – a show that would tell stories about American life. They would be stories about our nation’s past and present including sports, the arts, business, innovation, science and everything in-between. It would be a show that would tell the story of America to Americans. “This is a great country precisely because it is a good country,” Habeeb tells TALKERS. “The American people are longing for programming that’s positive, beautiful and good to lift their spirits, and tell the story of the country we all love – because the schools and colleges sure as heck aren’t doing it. And radio will attract a whole bunch of new listeners if we do it right.” Thanks to some significant donor support, and the blessing of his bosses at Salem, Habeeb founded American Private Radio (APR), an independent non-profit alternative to National Public Radio (NPR). APR’s debut show is, by all accounts, doing it right – at least if its impressive growth is any indication. Titled “Our American Stories,” the innovative program debuted on two stations in 2015 and recently passed the 170-affiliate mark, recently announcing some big new additions, including daily slots on KABC, Los Angeles and WHO, Des Moines. It is a meticulously produced show, with a wide range of subjects targeted to a wide audience. It is designed, according to Habeeb, to reach Americans who long for a show to reinforce their values and beliefs. However, he seeks to accomplish this “without all the debate and anger that political debates engender and without the pretentiousness and elitism of public radio.” It is also designed to be a safe space for advertisers to wrap their brand around and be extremely business friendly. “It is entrepreneurs who built the country, who employ people, and generate the taxes that help pay our teachers, police and our safety net,” Habeeb adds. “We celebrate our entrepreneurs, old and new, and their risk taking and their spirit on our show. American life is unimaginable without them.” TALKERS caught up with Habeeb to talk about the show we believe will be one of the big break-out hits of 2019. To read the entire TALKERS interview with Lee Habeeb conducted by Michael Harrison, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is launched titled, “Sore Losers,” featuring The Bobby Bones Show’s Lunchbox, Eddie, and RayPremiere Networks says the new show is part of Bobby Bones’ Nashville Podcast Network.  It’s a daily podcast featuring the trio of 30-something friends as they discuss all things sports.  Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “Lunchbox, Eddie, and Ray give listeners a front-row seat to real, and often hilarious, conversations among friends who have at least one thing in common – their love of sports.  We’re excited to have this fun and relatable podcast as part of our entertaining and diverse roster of audio content.”…..Beasley Media Group adds the “TwistedPhilly” podcast to its bPod Studios platform.  The program was created and is hosted by Deana Marie in which she “uncovers bone-chilling tales of mischief, mayhem, and nefarious goings on in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.” The podcast has a growing listenership that has it rapidly approaching one million downloads to date…..TM Studios announces that Dave Bethell joins the company as creative director/new business development and Chris Stevens comes aboard as vice president, affiliate management.  The company says these moves “play into a new affiliation strategy for jingles at TM, where creative staff will be directly involved with clients from the beginning of the affiliation process.”  TM Studios general manager and vice president of creative Greg Clancy says, “Both of these guys truly understand the art of sung jingles and they know that jingles are the most effective branding tools on the radio.  These moves ensure that programmers are given VIP treatment in their search for the perfect sounds for their stations. Our creatives will be involved in every step of the process.”…..SiriusXM welcomes PGA Tour pro Brad Faxon to its PGA Tour Radio channel where he’ll debut his new show, “Just the Fax,” on February 4…..TALKERS sends condolences to the family and friends of Chuck Edwards, who died recently at age 49.  Edwards was the creative services director at Alpha Media’s Biloxi-Gulfport cluster and also served as the stadium voice of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Trump Attacks Intel Chiefs, Trump-Russia Investigation, Midwest Record Cold, Virginia Abortion Bill Controversy, 2020 Presidential Candidates, Christie Book, Venezuela Unrest, and Super Bowl LIII Build-Up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30). The criticism of U.S. military intelligence chiefs on North Korean and Iran by President Trump; the indictment of Trump adviser Roger Stone and the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation; the record cold affecting much of the U.S. Midwest; the controversial Virginia late-term abortion bill; the candidates for president in 2020; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s new book, Let Me Finish; the political unrest in Venezuela; and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Veteran Talk Programmer and Communications Professor David Bernstein Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most seasoned radio programmers in the industry, David Bernstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Bernstein, who’s programmed such heritage outlets as WOR, New York; WRKO and WBZ-AM, Boston; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WPRO-AM, Providence, is currently the general manager of TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio showcase TalkersRadio and has been serving as a professor in the Department of Communication at Caldwell University in New Jersey for the past three years. Harrison and Bernstein engage in an informal chat about his view of our changing society from the front-line perspective of teaching a college communications class. Check it out! 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 every page on Talkers.com.

PLAN AHEAD, DON’T BE SHUT OUT! 2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Former WARH, St. Louis “The Arch” morning personality Spencer Graves is joining Atlanta’s country WUBL “94.9 The Bull” to co-host mornings with current morning personality Kristen Gates.  Graves takes over for Jason Pullman, who recently exited “The Bull.”…..Programmer and music industry pro Willobee Carlan joins Colorado Public Radio’s triple A OpenAir format as program director. The format is currently heard on stations and translators in Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and more than a dozen other signals across the state.  Carlan was most recently with Nevada Public Radio’s KVNV, Sun Valley, Nevada “NV89.”  CPR president and CEO Stewart Vanderwilt says, “We are thrilled to welcome Willobee as OpenAir’s next leader and begin a new chapter in the station’s ongoing development.  Music discovery is an essential part of the Colorado experience and likewise CPR’s service.  We’re confident Willobee’s experience and leadership will help elevate OpenAir and the distinct mix of new, independent and local music important to Colorado.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting launches a new classic rock station in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Michigan market on WQLQ-HD2 and translator W239CJ branded as “95.7 The Lake.”  Director of programming and content Bill Gamble is quoted in a story by sister news/talk station WSJM-FM saying, “One of the things when we decided to put this radio station together is we didn’t want to make it like every other radio station across the country.  There’s 50 years-plus of great rock music and a lot of it doesn’t get played on the radio.”…..Starlite Broadcasting agrees to buy hot AC KLTG-FM, Corpus Christi and country KHLB-FM, Mason, Texas from Tejas Broadcasting for $600,000.  Media Services Group represented the seller.

Interview with Phil Boyce

| November 26, 2018

By Ryan McCormick
Goldman McCormick Public Relations

 

NEW YORK — Phil Boyce has been senior vice president of Salem Radio Network & spoken word formats at Salem Communications since November 2014.  Boyce served as vice president and director of spoken word format of Salem Communications from February 2012 to November 2014.

He is well known for his 14-year stint as program director of WABC, New York. During his time there, he was named vice president of news/talk programming for ABC Radio and later Citadel.  He is credited with hiring Sean Hannity at WABC and taking his show into national syndication for ABC in 2001.  Later he hired Mark Levin at WABC and took him into national syndication in 2006.  He left WABC in October of 2008 shortly after WABC hit a 5 share 12+ in New York (Arbitron PPM Sept. 2008), the highest share the station has achieved since going talk from rock in 1982.

Before joining WABC, he programmed WJR, Detroit where he hired morning host Paul W. Smith and afternoon host Mitch Albom, both of whom are still working there.   Read More