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Monday, June 21, 2021

| June 21, 2021

Monday Memo: Podcasters, Tell The World. “While broadcast content must be mass-appeal, your topic can engage followers – everywhere – if it is specialized and high-affinity.” That’s the word from consultant Holland Cooke who this week explains why “broadcasters need to think ‘narrow-cast’” to make it as podcasters. In addition, he includes three useful links; read more from Holland Cooke here.

Pending Business: The Water Bottle. In today’s column, Lapcom Communications Corp president Steve Lapa, writes “You feel like the second half of 2021 will be a walk in the park compared to the COVID numbers of 2020. Experienced sellers often reach a point where autopilot kicks in and personal improvement stops.” Lapa then asks, “How does a top biller improve when #1 is as good as it gets?” Since “nobody bats 1000,” he advises, “never stop learning.” Grab a fresh, unopened bottle of your favorite brand of bottled water and read more here.

Round Three of May PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 sweep covered April 29 – May 26. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets. Albeit -1.6 from April 2021 (12.7 – 11.1), iHeartMedia-owned WLW “700 Cincinnati’s News Radio” (Reds flagship) is the lone mainstream news/talk outlet from these 12 markets to reach #1 (May 2021, 6+). Off a combined two full-shares from April 2021 are Bonneville Salt Lake City’s KSL “News Radio” (8.3 – 6.8, -1.5, first to second, 6+) and cross-town iHeartMedia’s KNRS-AM & KNRS-FM “Talk Radio” (6.3 – 5.8, -.5, fourth to sixth, 6+). Only two news/talkers in these markets that finished in the top 20 post April 2021 – May 2021 improvements: WLW cluster-mate WKRC “55 KRC The Talk Station” (4.2 – 4.3, +.1, unchanged at #8, 6+) and Audacy Las Vegas’ KXNT “News Talk 840” (1.9 – 2.2, +.3, #21 to #20, 6+). The latter’s Cleveland sibling – WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” – registers sports talk’s heftiest April 2021 – May 2021 increase (3.2 – 4.3, +1.1, #12 to #10, 6+). You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets (as well as the first two rounds of markets) here.

Audacy Adds Seven “BetQL Network” Affiliates. The following Audacy outlets will rebrand today (Monday, 6/21) as part of the “BetQL Network”: KIKK “650 AM The Bet,” Houston; WJFK-AM “1580 AM The Bet,” Washington, DC; WXYT-AM “1270 AM The Bet,” Detroit; WJZ-AM “1300 AM The Bet,” Baltimore; KXST “1140 AM The Bet,” Las Vegas; and KWOD “1660 AM The Bet,” Kansas City. WWWL-AM “1350 AM The Bet,” New Orleans will make the switch next Monday, 6/28. According to Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano, “When we launched the ‘BetQL Network’ in January, we committed to giving our national audience a home for compelling sports betting content as this new landscape was rapidly growing. This expansion is the next step in that goal and we’re pleased to bring new and dynamic ‘BetQL Network’ programming to additional markets and new digital platforms. We are proud to build on our local and national sports audio leadership position with this expanded commitment to production and distribution of entertaining sports betting content to audiences across the country.” The aforementioned rebrands are in addition to previously launched “The Bet 93.1 HD3,” Los Angeles; “The Bet 105.9 FM-HD2,” Chicago; and KEZW “1430 AM The Bet,” Denver. “BetQL Network” programming will also be heard in various times on WTEM “980 The Team,” Washington, DC; WQAM “560 The Joe,” Miami; and WRNL “The New Sports Radio 910 AM & 105.1 FM,” Richmond. The expanded “BetQL Network” weekday programming lineup includes: “The Daily Tip” with Chelsa Messinger and Michael Jenkins (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “BetQL Daily” with Joe Ostrowski and Joe Giglio (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and “Bet MGM Tonight” with Quinton Mayo and Ryan Horvat (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm).

Cumulus Media Birmingham Taps Robinson As VP/MM. Former Univision Communications San Antonio vice president/director of sales, radio, television & digital James Robinson is appointed vice president/market manager of Cumulus Media Birmingham. Cumulus Media’s cluster in that Alabama metro consists of: sports talk WJOX-FM “JOX 94.5”; sports talk WJOX-AM “JOX 3 690 AM”; sports talk WJQX “ESPN 100.5 JOX 2”; news/talk WZRR “Talk 99.5”; news/talk WAPI; and urban AC WUHT “Hot 107.7.” Senior vice president, operations Mark Sullivan remarks, “I’m extremely pleased that James will be bringing his experience and talent to the Cumulus Media team. I’m looking forward to many shared successes with him.” Robinson states, “Now is the best time to work in radio [and] Cumulus Media is a dynamic and innovative company. I’m honored to join the talented team in Birmingham. The Cumulus Media stations in Birmingham are iconic brands that have a history of deep commitment to the community and partner success. I’m looking forward to continuing to build on this success with the talented team in Birmingham.” Prior to his San Antonio tenure, Robinson was director of sales for Radio One Houston; vice president of sales for iHeartMedia Washington, D.C.; and general sales manager for iHeartMedia in St. Louis and Memphis.

Video Coverage of TALKERS 2021 Begins Next Monday June 28.  Every keynote speech, fireside chat, special presentation and panel discussion that took place at the recent 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running, largest and most important national convention – TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University – was recorded under the direction of renowned industry videographer and chronicler Art Vuolo. These videos will be posted one per business day beginning next Monday June 28, right here on Talkers.com.  If you were unable to attend the event in person, you will not want to miss the opportunity to take in some of the most pertinent industry conversation about the state of radio, talk programming, and related media to take place since the start of the pandemic.

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Post-Summit Analysis, January 6 Investigation, Southern Border Crisis, Juneteenth, and the Western Heat Wave & Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  COVID-19 – particularly the Delta variant and the rate/progress of vaccinations – continued to be a dominant topic on talk shows over the weekend along with microscopic analysis of the optics of the BidenPutin meeting in Geneva on news/talk stations across the nation.  Immigration Reform remains a front burner topic, fueled largely this weekend by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s plan for the Lone Star State to build a wall on its own.  The naming of Juneteenth as a Federal holiday came at a very timely juncture for the weekend and the Western States Heatwave & Drought could not be ignored, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

“Hurley in the Morning” Charity Golf Open Raises $45,000+. Held this past Friday (6/18) at the Linwood (New Jersey) Country Club, the 14th annual Harry Hurley in the Morning Charity Golf Open was not only a sold-out success, it raised roughly $45,000. Event founder/chairman/morning host of Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM” Hurley states, “We had an amazing day with picture perfect weather. We have a wonderful community comprised of some of the most generous people in America.” Hurley’s morning show aired live on-site (6:00 am – 10:06 am) from the country club. With more to follow, the charity this year has awarded grants to: The Broadcasters Foundation of America; The Shore Medical Center Foundation; Stockton University; FACES 4 Autism; Atlantic County Toys For Kids; and The Joan Fineran Nursing Scholarship. In the photo at the right, Hurley (left) – who appears at #37 in the recently released TALKERS Magazine 2021 “Heavy Hundred” – is pictured with Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City president/chief executive officer Mark Giannantonio.

TALKERS News Notes: As reported here last Friday (TALKERS, 6/18), Premiere Networks debuts the “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” today (Monday, 6/21) in the timeslot formerly occupied by talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm). Victor Lisle is selected as image/brand voice of the new venture and states, “I’m genuinely humbled beyond belief for this amazing opportunity. Never in a million years did I expect something of this magnitude could happen.” … The entire “JOX Roundtable” morning show – consisting of Lance Taylor, Jim Dunaway, Ryan Brown, and Sean “Rockstar” Heninger” – departed Cumulus Media Birmingham sports talk WJOX “JOX 94.5” last Wednesday (6/16). The four call the exit “amicable” and will start a still undisclosed digital project … According to The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, former KSRO, Santa Rosa (California) morning talent Pat Kerrigan has returned to the Amaturo Sonoma Media Group news/talk station to host a series of hour-long monthly specials, as well as a podcast, “Pat Kerrigan Unleashed.” … University of Hawaii football announcer Robert Kekaula died Saturday morning (6/19) at the age of 56. Prior to becoming the television play-by-play voice of the Rainbow Warriors in 2011, Kekaula was radio analyst for Hawaii football (1992-2010) … Benztown and P1 Media Group will host a free 30-minute webinar this Thursday (6/24) at 1:00 pm EST/10:00 am PST. Hosted by Benztown CEO Andreas Sannemann and P1 Media Group partner Ken Benson, “Next: Creating Amazing Radio, Round 2” will feature Lee Abrams. The programmer/consultant will field attendees’ questions and cover topics that will include: how to create “entertainment magic” on a station; radio predictions for 2026; the future of streaming and podcasting (and how that will affect radio); if contesting is still relevant; and how radio should be using social media … On the opening day of the National Religious Broadcasters conference in Dallas, SRN NewsLori Tradup (seen in the photo at the left) interviews the head of Voddie Baucham Ministries, Voddie Baucham. Approximately 3,500 delegates from the U.S. and around the globe are attending the annual conference at the Gaylord Texan Hotel … Additions to “The Erick Erickson Show” include Pinehurst Broadcasting news/talk WEEB “Talk Radio 97.3 FM & 990 AM,” Southern Pines, North Carolina and WULK, Crawfordville, Georgia; the show broadcasts via Premiere XDS.

Friday, August 14, 2020

| August 14, 2020

Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSErick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).

PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”

TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).

Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14.   The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”

Thursday, October 31, 2019

| October 31, 2019

Round Three of October PPM Ratings Released. The third of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Here are some of the ratings gains (6+) of note from this group of markets: Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City puts up an astonishing 2.4 share increase from last month to finish at a 6.4 share and a #3 rank in the market; Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland adds 0.4 to its September number for a 5.1 share and a rise to the #5 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio adds to its four-sweep, upward trend to finish the October survey at a 5.7 share and a #2 rank in the market; in Pittsburgh, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM adds 0.4 tenths to finish at a 4.1 share and the #10 rank while sports talk sister KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” increases 0.8 for 7.1 share and remains ranked #4; and Entercom’s sports talk WKRK, Cleveland adds 0.9 tenths to its four-month upward trend to finish with a 5.3 share, good for a #8 rank 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 first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Cumulus Names Robert Berju Vice President of Finance and Strategy. Media finance pro Robert Berju joins Cumulus Media in the newly created position VP, finance and strategy. In this role, Cumulus says Berju “will lead financial planning and analysis, budgeting and forecasting, capital management, and modeling of strategic initiatives, while having financial oversight of Westwood One.”  Berju is based in New York City.  Berju was most recently with Clever Devices as SVP, finance and accounting.  He previously served with iHeartMedia as VP, corporate finance and as VP, finance and operations for AMC Networks.  Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One, Suzanne Grimes says, “Robert is a highly accomplished media veteran with over two decades of finance, accounting, and strategic planning experience.  He will play an important role in building upon the success of Westwood One and propelling the organization to new heights in 2020 and beyond.”

SiriusXM Reports Third Quarter Pro Forma Revenue Up 7%. Reporting 2019 third quarter financial data, SiriusXM says revenue jumped 36.7% to $2.01 billion due to the impact of the February acquisition of Pandora.  Revenue was up 7% on a pro forma basis.  However, net income was $246 million – down from $343 million during the same period a year ago – due largely to expenses tied to redeeming its 6% senior notes due 2024 alongside prior-year non-recurring tax benefits.  Still, the satellite/internet radio business added 210,000 net subscribers, pushing the service’s total to 34.6 million.  Self-pay subscribers now total 29.6 million.  Pandora’s ad revenue rose 8% to $315 million, an all-time high for the service.

TALKERS News Notes. As the wildfires in California continue to create havoc, ABC News Radio says that it is providing extensive coverage with correspondent Alex Stone having spent two days on the fire lines in Northern California covering the Kincaid Fire and correspondent Jason Nathanson on the fire lines in Southern California.  Stone will also host the ‘Start Here’ podcast on Thursday and Friday morning from Los Angeles with a heavy focus on the wildfires…..The content creators at public media organization WHYY-FM in Philadelphia voted overwhelmingly to recognize SAG-AFTRA as their union with 99% voting in support.  The election was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.  The move allows the unit to proceed with negotiating a first contract.  The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including radio, television and digital.  It also covers those working in the news department, on the digital team, on podcasts, in the production departments and on “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” “The Pulse,” “Billy Penn,” “PlanPhilly,” and “Radio Times.”…..iHeartMedia announces the premiere of “Second Oil Age,” a new, scripted sci-fi podcast set in a deep-sea adventure in a post-energy crisis world.  The first three episodes are available on the iHeartPodcast Network and new episodes debut every Tuesday and Thursday.  The podcast is written by host Robert Lamb and follows Synøve Pan, voiced by Angèle Masters, a specially conditioned agent of the UDEX Oil Corporation as she investigates the disappearance of an oil executive on the deep-sea Atlas Station.  iHM says, “The 10-episode scripted podcast will have true sci-fi fans not only hooked but left with their blood pumping.”

Al Herskovitz Honored by the Media Roundtable in Sarasota.  TALKERS marketing director Al Herskovitz was honored yesterday (10/30) at the monthly luncheon gathering of the Media Roundtable, a Sarasota, FL-based, 300-plus member organization of active and retired media professionals.  Herskovitz (right) pictured with the organization’s chairman Dick Miller (left) was honored for his “years of success in the media and great service to the Media Roundtable.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “We are so proud of Al and indeed lucky to have his knowledge and wisdom to draw upon.  At 88, he is still going strong and brings a wealth of career experience to our ‘table’ that spans the decades and centuries.  He is indeed an industry treasure and we love him.”

Impeachment Inquiry, California Wildfires, Twitter Bans Political Ads, 2020 Presidential Race, APEC Summit Canceled/U.S.-China Trade Deal, and Nationals Win World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30). The testimony for the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the millions affected by the California wildfires and the PG&E power blackouts; social media platform Twitter announces a ban on political ads; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Chile cancels the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit due to civil unrest and the related U.S.-China trade deal; and the Washington Nationals upset the Houston Astros to win the World Series 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. Programming pro Jake Thomson rises to program director at Dick Broadcasting’s country WUBB, Savannah-Hilton Head “BOB 106.9,” taking over for Hunter Meyer, who exited the station back in May.  Thomson will continue to host the PM drive daypart…..Air personality Isaac Wenzel exits iHeartMedia’s Madison country outlet WMAD “96.3 Star Country.  He was also in charge of promotions for the company’s Madison station group.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

| April 7, 2016

nielsen logoPPM Reliability Issue Re-Surfaces at Philadelphia Conference.  Last year’s intense debate over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM technology and the promise by 25-Seven Systems that its Voltair processing unit can improve detection of a station’s PPM encoding is being renewed.  The issue came to the fore at yesterday’s 2016 New Radio Conference in Philadelphia presented byvoltair image Jerry Del CollianoPremiere Networks star Sean Hannity and Harker Research’s Richard Harker presented a session titled, “Nielsen – Getting Around a Rigged Ratings System,” during which Harker presented his own study hannityshowing how talk radio suffers under the PPM methodology.  Nielsen’s John Snyder was there and took the stage to argue Harker’s and Hannity’s points.  But the most newsworthy moment took place when Hannity told Snyder he would sign an affidavit promising not to take part in a class action suit against Nielsen if the company would agree to meet with them on the matter.  Snyder agreed.  This issue will be addressed at the 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 when TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison conducts a “Fireside Chat” with Sean Hannity.

Talkers2016 logo lgSalem to Present Special Luncheon Discussion at TALKERS 2016 on the Relationship Between News/Talk Radio and the Conservative Movement in America.  The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to announce the addition of a very special presentation sponsored and produced by Salem Radio Network that will take place during the 1:00 pm luncheon at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations on Friday Mayhewitthugh 20th on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  It will explore the ongoing, complex relationship between the news/talk radio format and the evolving state of the conservative political movement in America.  Moderated by Salem Media Group SVP Phil gallaghermikeBoyce, the speakers will include Salem syndicated stars (in alphabetical order) Larry Elder, Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt.  Speaking on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is very exciting!  Phil Boyce is one of the acknowledged programming gurus in the talk media space and the star power and intellectual mass of Elder, Gallagher and Hewitt on one panel will be extremely informative and dynamic.  This is a subject that is widely misunderstood andelderlarry misrepresented in the mainstream press.  It should prove quite interesting indeed.”  The agenda for this event – the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – continues to grow providing an impressive who’s who of the field’s most notable figures from all ends of the spectrum in programming, sales and technology.  However it is nearing a sellout, so register now.  For registration, sponsorship, hotel and agenda information, click here.

kuseliaserikErik Kuselias to Host Mornings on WHOO, Orlando.  Sports media personality Erik Kuselias is launching his new morning show on Genesis Communications-owned sports talk outlet WHOO, Orlando “Sports Talk 1080 The Team,” on Monday (4/11).  During his career, Kuselias has worked at ESPN, The Golf Channel, and, most recently, as a personality with NBC Sports Radio.  In addition to airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on WHOO, the program will be streamed on its SportsTalkFlorida.com platform.

spoonerjgFormer WKRK, Cleveland Personality Charged with Money Laundering.  According to a report from Cleveland.com, former WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” producer and personality Joseph Gerard Spooner, a.k.a. J.G. Spooner, is facing a charge of money laundering after allegedly shifting $7,300 from a GoFundMe account to his personal bank account.  The GoFundMe account had been set up by Spooner to collect donations to help a childhood friend of his — Allyson Thadeus-Zappe – who was suffering from cystic fibrosis.  She died in 2015.  Her family reports that Spooner offered to use his name recognition in the market to help raise funds for Allyson.  The family never saw any of the money donated to the account.  A subsequent investigation by police led to the charges.  CBS RADIO told Cleveland.com that Spooner had recently been terminated from his position.  Read the story here.

The Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, U.S. Immigration Policy/European Migrant Troubles, Miss. Religious Freedom Law, and Merle Haggard Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6).  The activities of the candidates for president and the aftermath of the Wisconsin primary; the ongoing fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; debate over the immigration and refugee policies in the U.S. and the related migrant problems Europeans are dealing with; the new Mississippi law that allows businesses to refuse to serve gays based on religious reasons; and the death of country legend Merle Haggard were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

| October 22, 2015

ktar-fmKTAR-FM, Phoenix Names Sharpe, West New ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ Hosts.  The Bonneville-owed news/talk station is bidding Ned Foster a happy retirement after a 27-year stint with the station.  News anchor Connie Weber recently left the morningsharpejim program after a 10-year term.  So, effective November 30, longtime Valley news personality Jim Sharpe and award-winning news anchor Jayme West will be the new hosts of KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News.”  Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “With more than 40 years of combined local news experience, Jim and Jayme are the perfect pair to move the ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ product westjaymeforward on air, online and on social media.  We think their natural chemistry, insatiable curiosity and passion for our community will be warmly received by our audience, which counts on ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ to keep them informed and connected.”  Bonneville notes that Sharpe is a 2006 Associated Press Arizona Reporter of the Year and a war correspondent who most recently hosted a nationally syndicated news talk program on USA Radio Networks.  He’s also hosted the “Sharpe in the Morning” program on crosstown news/talk KFYI.  West is a five-time Arizona Associated Press Reporter of the Year winner and 19-year KTAR veteran who will move to mornings after previously anchoring the news in afternoon drive and hosting “Arizona’s Evening News.”

kogo 15KOGO, San Diego Announces New Programming Lineup: Hannity Joins for Middays, DeMaio to PM Drive.  San Diego news/talk outlet KOGO “Newshannity Radio 600” adjusts its program schedule, “with extended news programming, a new timeslot for Carl DeMaio and the addition of top-rated, nationally syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity,” effective Monday, October 26.  iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are extremely excited about demaiocarlour new lineup and the addition of Sean Hannity to our team.  ‘News Radio 600’ has experienced tremendous ratings growth in the past year and we anticipate these new changes will help evolve our programming to the next level.”  A year ago, the station launched new programming with an emphasis on news in morning and afternoon drive and reports the ratings indicate the audience is responding.  The daily lineup is: “San Diego Morning News with Ted Garcia & LaDona Harvey,” Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, “DeMaio Report,” and “KOGO Evening News with Ernie Brown.”

thompsonmikeESPN Layoffs Claim KSPN, Los Angeles PD Mike Thompson.  The layoffs at sports entertainment giant ESPN – confirmed yesterday by the company – have hit the radio ranks with ‘ESPNkspnlogo LA’ program director Mike Thompson learning that his position is being eliminated.  He stated in an email to the Los Angeles Metro Bugle, “It’s been a wonderful 12 years with the Walt Disney Company.  I am honored to have worked alongside talented broadcasters to build a record ratings winner among contemporary males never seen before in the format and AM radio in the No. 2 market.”  The company is laying off some 300 staffers across all company departments.  Although on-air talent is not expected to be affected, it’s unclear how many more behind-the-scenes radio people will be affected.

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Q3 Earnings; Net Revenue Up 11%.  Satcaster SiriusXM reports its third quarter 2015 financial numbers announcing that revenue was up 11% year-over-year and net revenue was $167 million, compared to $136 million during the same period a year ago.  In a statement, Jim Meyer says, “With subscribers at an all-time high of nearly 29 million and record adjusted EBITDA and adjustedsternhoward EBITDA margin, our third quarter was one of the strongest performances in our company’s history.  We are confident of our continued success in the fourth quarter, and we are increasing our guidance for self-pay and total net subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.”  The burning question before SiriusXM is will Howard Stern renew or leave the platform he’s been on for the past 10 years?  Meyer would only say in an investors’ conference, “I hope so.”  He went on to say, “You should assume we speak quite often and stay tuned for updates.  And of course, the best way to hear any news regarding its renewal is to tune into Howard’s show every morning, heck, that’s what I do.”

cookehollandFAQ: Is There a PD?  Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the changing/disappearing role of program director.  As he notes in his column published today (10/22) that radio stations are not programmed anymore, they are managed.  There are two primary reasons: “Debt service compromises Quality Control. VERY few managers are responsible for a single station.  At many talk stations, this manager also does an air shift, before or after Rush.  Stations think they can get-away-with-it because… most programming is now non-local.  Who’s left to direct?   Most talk programming comes off the bird.  Music stations are voicetracked or downlinked from the mother ship.  Directing is a lost art.”  For those managers seeking a real, live PD, read Holland Cooke’s take on what qualities he/she must possess here.

Odds & Sods.  The decision is not set in stone yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that CBSwscr logo RADIO will likely move Chicago Cubs play-by-play from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR “The Score.”  WSCR is losing Chicago White Sox play-by-play as Cumulus-owned crosstown news/talk WLS-AM will begin serving as that team’s flagship beginning next season…..John W. Pirkle-owned WNFZ-FM, Knoxville drops news/talk and goes alternative rock as “94Z.”  However, the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and Terry West remains on wilsonnickthe program schedule.  The station also aired a local afternoon show called “The Drive” with Russell Smith.  It’s not clear what his and producer Richard Daughtry’s fates are…..CBS RADIO gives Nick Wilson an evening sports talk show on WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan.”  Wilson has been a producer, part-time host and sports anchor at the station.  His rise to host of “The Nick Wilson Experiment” comeswspd logo after Ken Carman moved from that slot to co-host morning drive with Kevin Kiley…..Cumulus Media gives Toledo news/talker WSPD an FM presence in the market as the station is now simulcasting on new translator W221BG at 92.1 FM.  The translator is licensed to Rudolph, Ohio, about 25 miles south of downtown Toledo.

rekerbillKMOX, St. Louis’ Bill Reker Retires.  According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX, St. Louis news anchor Bill Reker is retiring from the station after a 20-year career there.  KMOX program director Steve Moore tells the paper, “He is a pro’s pro.  Whether it was severe weather or something going on in Ferguson, you knew you had a professional in the newsroom.  I’ll miss the level of calm he brought.”

Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, Joe Biden’s ‘Won’t Run’ Announcement, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Relationship, Paul Ryan House Speaker Bid, Chris Rock to Host Oscars, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB League Championships Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). Today’s Benghazi testimony by former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will not run for president; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016, notably Dr. Ben Carson’s poll-leading numbers in Iowa; the military relationship between Putin’s Russia and al-Assad’s Syria; Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s bid for the Speaker of the House post; comic Chris Rock set to host the next Academy Awards show; ongoing migrant problems in the European Union; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.