WSB-AM & WSBB To Host Its 21st Annual Care-A-Thon. Beginning tomorrow (Thursday, 7/29) at 5:00 am and extending through 6:00 pm Friday (7/30), Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB’s 37-hour event benefits the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The “Care-A-Thon” helps fund family support services and research at the facility’s fellowship program. It will feature stories of hope and inspiration from patients, families and staff from throughout Georgia. WSB-AM & WSBB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen comments, “Community service is at the heart of what we do at WSB-AM & WSBB. Our entire team looks forward to this event year after year because of the uplifting and emotional positivity it generates in all of us – including our generous listeners.” On-air talents including Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Erick Erickson, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, and Brian Kilmeade will focus on the positive impact the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has on patients and their families. Listeners can donate by phone (888-750-2772); texting WSB-AM & WSBB “Atlanta’s News & Talk” (24587); or online (wsbradio.com/careathon/).
WKXW’s “Help Wanted, Help Needed” Airs Tomorrow Night. That’s the title of the latest in a series of town hall broadcasts by Townsquare Media Middlesex-Somerset-Union news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5.” The one-hour program begins tomorrow (Thursday, 7/29) at 7:00 pm and is presented to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing pandemic. Eric Scott – who hosts WKXW’s early-morning news show “New Jersey’s First News With Eric Scott,” as well as its monthly “Ask the Governor” – will lead the conversation in helping New Jersey businesses and workers navigate the ongoing labor shortage. He states, “The economic recovery is underway, yet many businesses are struggling to hire; many workers face challenges reentering the workforce.” Scott and his guests will explore what can be done to help both businesses and workers who are struggling in a post-pandemic world. The program’s on-air expert panel will feature: Rutgers University professor/economist Dr. James W. Hughes; New Jersey Business & Industry Association chief government affairs officer Chrissy Buteas; and New Jersey Policy Perspective senior policy analyst Peter Chen. In addition, the program will feature experts from New Jersey’s struggling restaurant, hospitality, and daycare industries. Scott and his guests will answer call-in questions throughout the hour.
NPR Boosts Lara To CCO. Executive director/media relations Isabel Lara is elevated to NPR’s chief communications officer. NPR president/chief executive officer John Lansing comments “[Lara] is known across the organization for her deep commitment to NPR’s staff and mission. Her tenure at NPR is evidence of a communications expert who understands the unique needs of a media organization. She is always ready to take on a complex communications challenge and find strategic solutions that will benefit our brand and future.” Lara notes, “NPR and its member stations bring millions of listeners the news they need about the world and their communities, as well as art, music and science stories that enrich and give meaning to their lives. It is a privilege to support the people who work around the clock to ensure this. Transparent, accurate, and timely messaging is vital in a media organization. I am eager to continue working with our very strong and effective internal and external communications teams in this new role.” With NPR since 2014, Lara previously worked at The National Education Association; Smithsonian; and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation/Univision.
UNC Football and Men’s Basketball Shifting To WPTF. Under a multi-year agreement with Learfield’s Tar Heel Sports Properties, Curtis Media Group Raleigh news/talk WPTF “AM 680 – FM 98.5” will become the flagship for the University of North Carolina radio network. Curtis Media Group president/chief operating officer Trip Savery remarks, “As the largest privately-owned radio group in North Carolina, we understand the power of the Carolina brand. We are very pleased to welcome Carolina alumni and fans to listen to Tar Heel football and basketball on WPTF this fall.” UNC associate athletic director for external communications Robbi Pickeral Evans adds, “We are excited about this partnership with Curtis Media Group, which will help us tell the great stories of Carolina athletics in the Triangle area and across the state. We know that Carolina fans are excited about the year to come; Curtis Media’s wide reach will help us connect and stay connected with our supporters.” The first gameday broadcast on WPTF will be September 3, when UNC plays Virginia Tech. The station will broadcast coaches’ shows for football and men’s basketball, and the weekly show “Primetime in the ACC.” Longtime Tar Heels radio voice Jones Angell will return to call the games. WPTF takes over as UNC’s flagship from iHeartMedia-owned crosstown news/talk WTKK “106.1 FM Talk.”
Top News/Talk Radio Story for Tuesday July 27: January 6 Congressional Committee Hearings. The launch of the January 6 Congressional Hearings dominated conversation on the nation’s news/talk radio stations yesterday (7/27), followed by the COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccine Hesitancy/Denial, and debate over mask mandates. This was followed by conversation about the Olympics and U.S.- China Relations. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. Per Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com), changes at Salem Media Group Chicago news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer” as of August 16 include Charlie Kirk (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); Sebastian Gorka (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Shaun Thompson (4:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Sean Hannity (moves from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and Sebastian Gorka (12:00 midnight – 2:00 am) … To recognize unique circumstances, the Radio Mercury Awards is presenting two new categories: “Purpose-Driven Spot” or campaign to celebrate efforts that advance cause-related and societal issues, and “Insightful Voices Spots” that portray the values, culture, and lifestyle of specific audiences in an authentic voice. Call-for-entry deadline for all categories is (Monday) August 23; the awards ceremony takes place (Wednesday) November 17 … To be streamed on August 25, “All Audio Is Not Alike: What Each Type Brings To Listeners And Advertisers” is the next webinar in the Radio Advertising Bureau‘s “Business Accelerated” program. To be presented by Signal Hill Insights president Jeff Vidler, the webinar will offer data from the company’s “Radio On The Move 2021 Update” survey of Canadian listeners … Welcoming seven new affiliates, Robert & Mary Carey-hosted “RMWorldTravel” now airs weekly on over 480 stations across the country. As part of its “Let’s Go America Tour,” the show will soon do remote broadcasts from Chicago for the 150th anniversary of the Palmer House Hotel; Washington, DC; and from the Four Seasons Maui. There will be ten stops on the tour through late-February 2022 … Added to the affiliate roster of Radio America’s “The Dana Show” are: WMBD, Peoria, Illinois; WRTA AM & FM, Altoona, Pennsylvania; WNWS, Jackson, Tennessee; WTIB, Williamston, North Carolina; WRHT, Morehead City, North Carolina; and WKST, New Castle, Pennsylvania. She replaces Rush Limbaugh in three Pennsylvania markets: WPSN, Honesdale; WNTI, Somerset; and WNTJ, Johnstown … Former WFSU, Tallahassee state government reporter Blaise Gainey will join Nashville Public Radio news/talk WPLN, Nashville on August 16 as political reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner comments, “Blaise’s experience covering the Florida legislature, and his reporting interests outside of that, will be a huge asset to WPLN News listeners.” Gainey notes, “I can’t wait to become fully immersed in Tennessee government and start relaying news to Middle Tennessee listeners about what’s taking place at the Capitol.”
Cumulus Media, WynnBET Agree To Multi-Platform Sponsorship Deal. The multi-year advertising and sponsorship pact includes broadcast, podcast, digital, social, and on-site elements. It will enable Wynn Resorts to promote its WynnBET sports betting app on Cumulus Media radio stations and Westwood One. Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “With Wynn’s focus on exceptional quality and high-touch customer experiences, we believe WynnBET will be a leader among the sports betting apps. We are excited to deploy our unique assets to grow its business. The sports betting market is now the fastest-growing advertising category – this innovative partnership solidifies Cumulus’ position in this exciting arena.” Wynn Interactive chief executive officer Craig Billings remarks, “This partnership with Cumulus Media provides WynnBET the ability to deliver specific, customized messaging to targeted markets throughout Cumulus’ network of hundreds of stations. In addition, WynnBET will have a significant advertising presence on Westwood One’s nationally syndicated programming, including football pre-game and play-by-play. We will work with Cumulus to create some exciting, branded content over the life of the partnership.” Under the terms of the deal, WynnBET becomes one of Cumulus Media’s largest advertising and marketing partners.
SiriusXM’s NFL Training Camp Tour Kicks Off Today. The annual SiriusXM series will feature 32 two-hour shows, one for each of the NFL’s 32 teams. SiriusXM hosts will interview players, coaches and franchise executives as they deliver breakdowns of every roster. The tour commences today (Wednesday, 7/28) with a visit to New York Jets training camp. Hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan broadcast from Florham Park, New Jersey (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET). Tomorrow, Miller and Kirwan will be in Flowery Branch, Georgia for an update from the training facility of the Atlanta Falcons. This Saturday (7/31) at 1:00 pm (ET), the satcaster will air a special edition of “Training Camp Today: Back Together Saturday.” Hosted by Bill Lekas, it will feature appearances by NFL Network talent and guests from team camps across the country. The show will lead into James Lofton and Alex Marvez broadcasting from the Los Angeles Chargers camp in Costa Mesa, California (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET). Meanwhile, SiriusXM NFL Radio will broadcast induction ceremonies of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Classes of 2020 (Saturday, 8/7) and 2021 (Sunday, 8/8) from Canton, Ohio. Coverage of the Centennial Class of 2020 Enshrinement was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; an historic class of 20 will be enshrined. Eight more of football’s finest will be inducted in the Class of 2021 ceremony.
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Weekly Reach, Average Audience Post Highest Levels In 14 Months. As the nation continues to reopen and returns to pre-pandemic routines, the industry experiences another month of radio listening gains. According to results from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey period, radio’s weekly reach is at its highest level since March 2020 and has grown each of the past four months. In the latest sweep (May 2021), radio’s reach surpassed 122 million weekly listeners, which is within two million of where it was before lockdown precautions took effect last year. In May 2021, radio’s Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience also scored its highest level since March 2020. Coinciding with vaccination rollouts and more normal commutes, AQH audience levels have increased 11% since January. PPM’s year-over-year (May 2020 – May 2021) weekly reach and AQH comparisons stand at a 108 index and 120 index, respectively. From a weekly reach perspective, May 2021’s radio audience is 8% larger than this time last year, while the AQH audience is 20% larger versus May 2020. May 2021 listening gains were widespread, with all major dayparts at or near AQH peaks since COVID-19 began. Weekday morning drive and weekends hit their highest audience levels in 15 months. May 2021’s weekend AQH (6.6 million) is 300,00 higher than March 2020’s 6.3 million, before the peak of the lockdown. Even though news/talk is lower than in prior months (12.6% in May 2021, compared to May 2020’s 13.6%), it does remain the most-listened to format in PPM markets. Registering its third gain in a row (4.1% – 4.2% – 4.4% – 4.6%), sports talk posts its highest AQH share since COVID-19 began, surpassing October’s high point (4.5%) when football season was in full swing.
Round One of May 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). In presenting his “Ratings Takeaways” from this round of markets, Mike Kinosian notes that, while it erodes by one full-share from April 2021 (9.6 – 8.6, 6+), Cox Media Group Atlanta’s WSB-AM & WSBB is the only mainstream news/talk outlet to reach #1 (24th consecutive month, 6+). Meanwhile, the lone news/talk stations from the aforementioned metros that finished in the top 20 (6+) and posted an April 2021 – May 2021 increase are Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas (3.2 – 3.4, 6+) and Townsquare Media-owned WKXW, Middlesex (3.8 – 4.1, +.3, 6+). Off one-half share and three-tenths, respectively are Audacy NYC news siblings WINS (3.2 – 2.7, #11 to #14, 6+) and Mets key station WCBS-AM (2.7 – 2.4, #15 to #16, 6+). Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk KNBR (Giants) improves by eight-tenths (4.3 – 5.1, 6+) to progress from fourth to third. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.
IBA/Vipology Technology Contest Creates Nearly $1 Million In Local Sponsorships. During an eight-week “Key Word Contest” (April 19 – June 11), participating Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) member stations collectively generated approximately one million dollars of revenue from local sponsors. IBA president/Adams Radio Group chief executive officer Ron Stone notes, “Hundreds of our member stations were able to generate new revenue from our group contesting. “Vipology’s technology, member execution/management, and data follow-up was nothing short of spectacular. We are planning a second contest for the fall; many participating groups have already indicated their interest in participating again.” Vipology CEO Chris Peaslee adds, “From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Pittsburg, Kansas, I’m proud of our team for building the technology and supporting hundreds of stations across the country in their effort to sound big on-air and powerful in their markets.” Participating stations’ on-air personalities gave three key words throughout the day. Listeners were then encouraged to enter the words on the IBA “contest widget” on that station’s website. Listeners correctly identifying the day’s ‘Winning Key Word” became eligible for that day’s random drawing to win $1,000.
Shattuck Set To Join WTIC-AM. Formerly the senior editor of Lowell Massachusetts’ “The Lowell Sun,” Tom Shattuck will become the mid-day host (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) on news/talk WTIC-AM “1080 News Talk” next Monday (6/21). The Audacy Hartford outlet will feature all-local programming from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Audacy Hartford senior vice president/market manager Stephanie Perl opines, “Radio is best when it is local, when we can discuss and look at the local issues affecting our listeners. Being able to expand our local weekday programming further separates WTIC-AM from other radio stations in the state and we look forward to unveiling this new slate of content to our audience.” According to Shattuck, “[WTIC-AM] has been serving the people of Connecticut for almost 100 years. I’m truly honored to be given the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of this great station. These are extraordinary times and I look forward to talking about our politics and culture with the thoughtful, astute WTIC-AM audience.” Shattuck previously was editorial page editor of The Boston Herald and executive producer of Boston Herald Radio. In addition, he spent four years at Boston’s WTKK as executive producer of the afternoon drive show and was a content manager, web designer, and executive producer at cross-town news/talk WRKO. In other WTIC-AM changes, morning show co-host Brian Shactman will add “Extra Time with Brian.” As of next Monday (6/21), the station’s revised 5:00 am – 6:00 pm lineup will be: “WTIC Sunrise Special” (5:00 am – 5:30 am); “Mornings with Ray and Brian” (5:30 am – 9:00 am); “Extra Time with Brian” (9:00 am – 10:00 am); “The Tom Shattuck Show” (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); and “The Todd Feinburg Show” (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm).
TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place last Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.
TALKERS News Notes. After a five-year run at KNBR “The Sports Leader” and KTCT “KNBR 1050,” program director Jeremiah Crowe is set to depart the Cumulus Media sports talk facilities the middle of next month. A new assignment has not been announced for Crowe, who is reportedly relocating to Las Vegas … Starting next Wednesday (6/23) at 9:00 am, Audacy Chicago sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” will air a 24-hour “What About Chicago?” radiothon. In partnership with former Chicago Bears player Sam Acho, the radiothon will benefit Athletes For Justice and the Austin Harvest program. WSCR afternoon talent Danny Parkins comments, “I hate when people who don’t care about our city ask ‘What about Chicago?’ in bad faith. The name ‘What About Chicago’ is a defiant response and this radiothon will hopefully highlight what Chicago is really about: A Chicago radio station partnering with a Chicago charity with a mission to help improve the lives of Chicago kids in a Chicago neighborhood.” … In acknowledgement for its protest coverage following the death of George Floyd, Audacy San Francisco all-news KCBS-AM & KFRC has won a national Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi award for “Best Radio Breaking News Reporting.” KCBS-AM & KFRC director of news & programming Jennifer Seelig comments, “I’m incredibly proud of my team’s thoughtful and compelling protest coverage. On behalf of everyone at KCBS-AM & KFRC, I’d like to thank SPJ for this prestigious honor. [We strive] to deliver comprehensive coverage of stories that resonate with our audience. This recognition underscores our unwavering commitment to our community.” KCBS-AM & KFRC was the only commercial station in the country to win in any category … Even though its officials have not released an official statement, Cox Media Group continues to rectify digital damage apparently caused by a ransomware attack. Those trying to stream a CMG station hear the following, “This stream is currently unavailable and we are working diligently to bring it back online. Our radio stations continue to broadcast 24/7; you can listen to us over the air – thanks for your patience.” Cox Media Group news/talk outlets include WSB-AM & WSBB, Atlanta; WHPT, Tampa, WDBO, Orlando; and WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.
Facebook Censors Harry Hurley’s “Heavy Hundred” Post. A post regarding Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM” morning host Harry Hurley being named to the TALKERS list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America (“Heavy Hundred”) has been censored by Facebook. In an article posted this morning on the “WPG Talk Radio” website, Hurley (pictured with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison at TALKERS 2021) says that his story about receiving the honor was taken down by the social media giant with the explanation that it does not meet Facebook’s community standards and that the URL to the feature is considered spam. To read the entire article, please click https://wpgtalkradio.com/facebook-censored-my-post-about-talkers-magazine-honor/.
Now Saluting “Kentucky Colonel” Roten. WVHU “News Radio 800” morning talk host Tom Roten was recently presented a plaque commissioning him as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions as Kentucky Colonels are presented for contributions to the community, state, or nation, and for special achievements of all kinds. The honor stunned Roten, who happened to be emceeing a grant award ceremony. Kentucky Colonels executive director Sherry Crose spoke of Roten’s commitment to the community and years of promoting charitable organizations and then made the surprise presentation. Having just marked his 20th anniversary at the iHeartMedia Huntington, West Virginia – Ashland, Kentucky station, Roten remarked, “This is such a tremendous honor – I am very grateful.” Roten has interviewed hundreds of guests from the region including many from the Commonwealth. He regularly talks to state and federal lawmakers from the Bluegrass State and speaks to representatives of many Kentucky charitable groups. For over 10 years, Roten served as public service director for iHeartRadio’s Huntington-Ashland cluster and has written/produced hundreds of PSAs for non-profit organizations. Approximately 30 Eastern Kentucky charities received a portion of $2.1 million in grants that the Kentucky Colonels will award this year. Kentucky Colonels are that state’s ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world.
Total Subscribers To Paid Audio Services Double in Six Years. According to data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear,” 47% of Americans 13+ now subscribe to at least one paid audio service. That’s just over double what it was in 2015, when 23% had a paid subscription. Edison Research president Larry Rosin comments, “While much of this doubling of the numbers is the redirection of money that was going to physical music formats to music streaming subscriptions, there is also the trend of more people paying to avoid commercials. I believe we’ll see more subscription efforts in the future, particularly from radio companies. Bauer Media in the U.K. recently launched a subscription radio service that offers commercial-free versions of their radio brands and other content. Such efforts are likely to be launched in the U.S. as well.” Growth has come across the board from SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Audible audiobook subscriptions to music streaming services such as Spotify Premium, Apple Music, and Pandora Premium or Plus.
KCUR Enlists Edgell As Midwest Newsroom Managing Editor. Effective July 6, public radio news/talk WFYI, Indianapolis project manager/assistant editor Holly Edgell will join University of Missouri-Kansas City’s similarly-programmed KCUR, Kansas City as managing editor of the Midwest Newsroom. KCUR general manager Sarah Morris states, “We are thrilled to have had such a strong pool of candidates and delighted that Holly will be joining the Midwest Newsroom as a KCUR employee. Holly has extensive leadership in working with newsrooms across the midwest and beyond. She will help form and create a highly functional and collaborative team for the hub.” NPR managing editor for collaborative journalism Kenya Young adds, “We’re excited to see Holly join our team of stellar managing editors leading the hub newsrooms across the country. Holly at the helm ensures our mission to plan shared coverage and create stories that reach local, regional, and national audiences. Holly will be an agent of change in the midwest region; I look forward to seeing how she shapes collaborative journalism within our network.” KCUR is lead partner in the NPR-formed Midwest Newsroom, a collaborative among Nebraska Public Media; Iowa Public Radio; St. Louis Public Radio; and NPR.
iHeartPodcast Network Adds Three True Crime Mysteries. The new entries include: “Missing On 9/11”; “After The Uprising: The Death Of Danye Dion Hones”; and “Algorithm.” From the producers of “Missing In Alaska,” “Missing On 9/11” traces the whereabouts of a woman living near the World Trade Center who disappeared on that horrific day. John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski-hosted “After The Uprising” is an 11-part series that examines the truth behind the hanging death of a St. Louis Black Lives Matter activist. From iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV, Ben Kuebrich-hosted “Algorithm” is an examination of a reporter’s algorithm he claims can detect serial killers.