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Monday, July 6, 2020

| July 6, 2020

Monday Memo: 1,000 True Fans. “Broadcasters know things podcasters don’t,” but consultant Holland Cooke explains that “podcasters have an opportunity to grow audience that broadcasters don’t.” And in this week’s column, HC points to a podcasting business strategy he’s recommended for years. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Fourth of July Holiday, Trump Mt. Rushmore Rally/Presidential Race, BLM Movement/Confederate and Colonial-Era Monuments, U.S.-China Tensions, Ghislaine Maxwell Case, and Sports Leagues Plan Re-Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spiking of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future infections; the Fourth of July holiday and concerns about large gatherings; President Trump’s rally at Mt. Rushmore and the November presidential election; the Black Lives Matter protests and the movement to remove Confederate and colonial-era monuments; the U.S. and Chinese military tensions in the South China Sea; Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged former madam Ghislaine Maxwell is indicted; and the plans to re-open pro sports leagues in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Updating Your Unique Value. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column about the changing “unique” value that your news/talk radio station has. He says that since radio is no longer the preeminent free utility that it once was, salespeople should take time to re-evaluate what makes their station “unique.” Read it here.

iHeartMedia Gets KGB-AM Calls for San Diego News/Talker. The acquisition of San Diego news/talk outlet KFMB-AM by iHeartMedia from Local Media San Diego is complete and the station has received permission from the FCC to change the call letters to KGB-AM. As part of the deal in which Tegna sold KFMB-AM and KFMB-FM to Local Media San Diego for $5 million, Tegna required the stations give up the KFMB calls. LMSD in turn sold KFMB-AM to iHeartMedia for $1.2 million. iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest says, “The KGB call letters are legendary in San Diego and we’re excited to make them a part of AM 760’s next chapter as San Diego’s talk station.” iHeartMedia has kept the program lineup largely intact with local hosts Mark Larson (10:00 am to 12:00 noon) and Mike Slater (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) in the mix among syndicated programs. Former station talk host Brett Winterble exited the station earlier this year and is now afternoon drive host at Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Presents Next Event in Town Hall Series. On Wednesday (7/8) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the next in its series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey residents and businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The station says that according to a survey by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, nearly 40% of New Jersey business owners are depleting their personal savings to survive pandemic closures. New Jersey 101.5 VP and head of news and digital content Eric Scott adds, “Businesses are still hurting, and we will connect them with the help they need. But we also want to celebrate their unique innovations that are allowing them to operate in these challenging times.” Experts on this week’s panel include: Michele Siekerka, president & CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association; Marilou Halvorsen, president & CEO, New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association; Kristin Fitzgerald, communications manager, Six Flags Great Adventure; and Dr. Ronald Nahass, epidemiologist, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Scott and his guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.

Herman Cain Being Treated for COVID-19. Former WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta talk host Herman Cain announces via Twitter that he’s been diagnosed with COVID-19 and that symptoms were severe enough that he’s been hospitalized. The message notes that Cain has not been put on a respirator. It also says there is no way of knowing how or where Cain contracted the illness. It’s being noted in numerous reports that Cain was hospitalized on July 1, the same day he sent a tweet saying masks will not be required at Donald Trump’s Mt. Rushmore rally and that “people are fed up.” Cain was present at Trump’s Tulsa rally and had traveled before and after that event, including to current hot spot Arizona. Cain hosts a talk show on his website and hosts a weekend talk program on Newsmax TV.

WPHT, Philadelphia Presented Major Homegrown Two-Hour Independence Day Weekend Special.  Located in the birthplace of America, it was only apt for news/talk giant WPHT, Philadelphia to present a homegrown two-hour holiday special celebrating the 244th birthday of the nation that aired twice over the weekend.  The program titled “Independence Day 2020: Hope and Inspiration for America at the Halfway Point of a Very Tough Year” focused on American heroes – local as well as national officials and military figures – telling their stories and talking about the comeback of our great nation.  The special was written and hosted by WPHT mid-morning personality Dom Giordano who tells TALKERS, “We got a great response from our listeners and sponsors who enjoyed the information and ‘feel good’ aspect of the program that although recognizing the difficulty of these tough times, approached the issues in a much-needed uplifting and inspirational manner.”

AJ Punjabi Named Market President for iHeartMedia’s Charleston, SC Cluster. Media sales pro AJ Punjabi is named market president for iHeartMedia’s Charleston, South Carolina station group that includes news/talk WSC “News Radio 94.3” and five music brands. He was most recently general sales manager for Cox Media Group in Miami. iHeartMedia Carolina’s area president Ron Hill says, “We’re excited to have AJ join iHeartMedia as our market president in Charleston. He’s a dynamic leader with a proven track record of building strong relationships and success for his company and their clients. AJ’s experience and leadership skills make him one of the best executives in our business, and he’ll be an excellent addition to our team serving the Low Country.”

‘myTalk 107.1’ Twin Cities Raises Almost $150,000 for Neighborhood Rebuilding Fund. The Hubbard Radio talk station says that “in an effort to lift up and rebuild minority-owned businesses on Lake Street and on the Northside of Minneapolis, as well as in St. Paul’s Midway and Frogtown neighborhoods, ‘myTalk 107.1’ [KTMY] on-air personalities poured out their hearts, sharing stories of the business owners whose lives were negatively impacted with their thousands of listeners.” In partnership with the Neighborhood Development Center, the two-week awareness and fundraising campaign “myTalk Neighborhood Rebuilding Fund” raised $149,515. The station says that its four programs – Jason & Alexis, Donna & Steve, Colleen & Bradley, and Lori & Julia – encouraged their listeners to contribute to the Neighborhood Rebuilding Fund. The Jason & Alexis morning show featured “10 stories in 10 days” – allowing an entrepreneur whose business was destroyed or negatively impacted during the unrest to share their story with ‘myTalk’ listeners. KTMY program director Amy Daniels says, “This is what community looks like in the Twin Cities. ‘myTalk 107.1’ listeners and 20 of our advertising partners joined together to rebuild our neighborhoods, uplift businesses, and bring hope. The Neighborhood Development Center was the perfect partner to tell small business stories and distribute the money to all who need it.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sales pro Jessica Schwartz is named director of sales for Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” and WPST-FM, Princeton. She was most recently VP of sales & marketing at iPlay America. She begins her new role on August 10. She says, “I am beyond excited to join the team at Townsquare Media. With a strong and diverse portfolio of broadcast and digital solutions, positive work environment, and the best team in the market, I know we will continue to grow these two fantastic stations.”…..BIA Advisory Services is presenting a webinar on July 14 at 11:00 am ET called “U.S. Local Radio: State of the Industry Now and in 2021.” BIA estimates U.S. local radio advertising will be $12.8 billion in 2020, comprised of $11.4 billion for over-the-air revenue and $1.4 billion for digital revenue. Although this estimate is lower than its earlier expectations, BIA says there are bright spots for the industry and opportunities for a strong rebound from the effects of this pandemic. Register for the webinar here…..NuVoodoo Media Services is offering a free webinar on Wednesday (7/8) at 1:00 pm ET called “Marketing in the New Abnormal.” The company will share the latest findings of its Ratings Prospects Study XVI and “important insights for marketing radio brands during uncertain times.” You can register here…..The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame board of directors announces it is postponing its 9th Annual Induction Ceremony scheduled for Saturday, August 8. For now, the organization is hoping to reschedule this year and says tickets for the August 8 date will be honored for the new date…..Former longtime producer of the Neil Rogers show, Jorge Rodriguez has died at the age of 55. A post on the Neil Rogers Tribute Facebook page by former cast member Boca Britany (formerly Boca Brian) lauds Rodriguez but offers no cause of death. Rodriguez produced the Neil Rogers show during its time airing on WIOD and WQAM in Miami. He leaves behind two daughters, Sabrina and Arabella.

Blanquita Cullum Named to The Texas Radio Hall of Fame and Awarded Prestigious Sammy Award.  Legendary talk radio personality and broadcast industry figure Blanquita Cullum has been named to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2020 and is the recipient of this year’s Sammy Award.  The Sammy Award is presented each year to a “trailblazing” female broadcaster. In a statement made at the presentation, Josh Holstead, operations manager of the Texas Hall of Fame said, “Each year, the Texas Radio Hall of Fame recognizes the outstanding contributions and achievements of a trailblazing female broadcaster. Named for legendary female personality Mary “Sam” Stoddard, this year our Board of Directors bestow this honor on San Antonio’s Blanquita Cullum.  From humble beginnings as a copywriter at K-BUC, Blanquita became one of the most recognized and respected women in Alamo City radio, and eventually a nationally recognized figure after taking her talents to Washington, DC.  It gives me great pride to see a person so deserving receive this accolade.” Cullum achieved success with her program “The BQ View” in national syndication on the Radio America network in the 1990s and as a pioneer of the modern era of talk radio while serving as the executive director of the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts. She also received a presidential appointment by George W. Bush to United States Broadcasting Board of Governors (now the US Agency for Global Media) where she served from 2002 to 2010.  She was also the founder of the Young American Broadcasters Program which helped identify upcoming radio talent and provided them with scholarships. She is a veteran of San Antonio radio stations KITE, KTSA, and KSJL, as well as KENS-TV.   She served as White House liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and executive assistant to the deputy director of FEMA during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Commenting on Cullum receiving the Sammy Award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “Ms. Cullum’s contributions to the growth of talk radio’s modern era both on air and behind the scenes are indeed worthy of this great honor.”  At present, Cullum hosts a daily program “The Hard Question” on WCGO, Chicago which is syndicated on the SmartTalk Radio Network.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dave Hill joins Cumulus Media’s classic rock KCFX, Kansas City “101 The Fox” as program director. Hill was most recently with iHeartMedia Indianapolis where he was SVP of programming. Cumulus EVP of content & audience Brian Philips says, “Dave Hill impressed us with his pure programming creativity and vivid imagination. ‘The Fox’ rules classic rock in KC, but we don’t take our legacy for granted. Dave’s fresh perspective and rich experience will help keep us on top.”…..iHeartMedia flips WAKZ, Youngstown, Ohio from CHR to hip hop as “Real 95.9.” It will feature Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club” in morning drive. iHeartMedia market president and VP of programming Keith Kennedy says, “Top 40 has evolved and ‘Real 95.9’ is the only station you’ll hear everywhere in The Mahoning Valley, playing today’s biggest hip hop and R&B hit songs.”

Monday, June 29, 2020

| June 29, 2020

Monday Memo: Curing the Radio Advertising Pandemic. “Local-Local-Local” has been the desperate plea of programmers, as corporate bloodletting whacked station staffs. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke debriefs an independent station owner – in the eye of the storm in Texas – who weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than absentee-owned competitors, with a grassroots sales strategy focused on the service retailers deemed “essential” during the shutdown. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Russia-Taliban Bounties Allegation, Presidential Race/Trump ‘White Power’ Tweet, Black Lives Matter Movement, Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues/Mississippi Flag Change, BET Awards, and Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spike in COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt states, the total cases around the globe, and projections for future cases; the report that Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters for killing American soldiers; the November presidential election and President Trump’s tweet including a supporter shouting, “White power!”; the protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement; the controversy over the status of Confederate and Colonial-era statues and Mississippi’s state flag change; Sunday’s BET Awards show; and the state of professional and college sports leagues as they attempt to launch or re-start their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: The Great Ones Have This Trait. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that more important than product knowledge, planning & organizational skills, and a “Rolodex” of contacts, is one trait that the best salespeople share: Enthusiasm. So, how do you stay enthusiastic during these challenging times? Lapa offers three tips in his column you can read here.

FOX News Channel Welcomes Will Cain. As had been predicted, Will Cain’s exit from ESPN and his ESPN Radio show on Friday (6/26) is being followed by his joining FOX News Channel as co-host of “FOX & Friends Weekend” (Saturdays & Sundays 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET). Cain will make his official debut on Saturday, August 15 alongside co-hosts Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth. FNC VP of morning programming Gavin Hadden says, “Will has a unique ability to connect with an audience on a wide variety of topics and will make an excellent addition to the ‘FOX & Friends’ franchise.” Cain, who was a political analyst for CNN and co-hosted “In the Arena” with Eliot Spitzer prior to joining ESPN, says, “I am excited to join the team at ‘FOX & Friends Weekend’ and look forward to building upon my experience in sports, news, and politics on the number one morning show in the country.”

Eric Johnson Named Program Director at AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington. Programming pro Eric “EJ” Johnson is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s Wilmington, Delaware adult contemporary WJBR-FM. Johnson was most recently PD at the company’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic,” a position he left last November. Prior to that he spent almost 20 years programming news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” In his new role, Johnson will be in charge of content for WJBR-FM’s on-air and digital platforms as well as hosting the afternoon drive show. He says, “Thank you to Joe Bell, Justin Chase, and Bruce Beasley for bringing me back to the family. I’m looking forward to working with the Beasley management team and the talented staff at ‘Mix 99.5’ WJBR in serving our listeners and the community! The station has such a rich heritage in Wilmington and the tri-state area and has a tremendous signal. We will make it shine!”

Newsmax TV Live on fuboTV. Cable television news channel Newsmax TV joins the channel lineup on fubo Standard – the basic package of live streaming TV platform fuboTV. The package offers subscribers more than 100 sports, news, and entertainment channels. Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “fuboTV is offering TV viewers an exciting and growing platform for watching content across genres — news, sports, and entertainment. Newsmax is happy to bring a fresh voice to their subscribers, especially when demand for news is so strong.” fuboTV’s Mihir Shah comments, “Adding Newsmax to the fuboTV platform will give our users access to even more news programming, which is critical during these times as cord-cutters are looking for a variety of both national and local news to stay informed.”

Chris Jones Promoted to SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Atlanta. Rising from his general sales manager post at iHeartMedia’s Atlanta cluster to senior vice president of sales is Chris Jones. He’ll oversee all sales operations for the Atlanta market and report to iHeartMedia Atlanta market president Justin Schaflander. Jones states, “Atlanta has been my home for 38 years, having grown up in Lithonia, attending UGA and residing in Marietta with my beautiful bride, Shell, and my two amazing daughters, Maggie and Kate Belle. I am blessed to have called Atlanta home. I love everything that is Atlanta — the energy, excitement, and diversity. I am excited to lead the charge for iHeartMedia Atlanta and the incredibly talented group of sellers, support, talent, and leadership I get to work alongside.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former University of South Carolina and NFL player Rick Sanford announces he’s leaving the South Carolina syndicated radio program “SportsTalk” due to worsening effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The State reports that Sanford addressed his listeners on Friday (6/26) saying he’s leaving the talk program he co-hosts with Phil Kornblut and Matt Smith because the neurocognitive disorder from which he suffers makes it difficult to perform his duties on the radio. “I struggle with keeping my train of thought, finding the right words, and remembering how to do things. My fuse has gotten shorter and my filter has lessened… This is a progressive condition and the time has now come for me to step away from the (microphone).”…..Red Apple Media’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC in New York is partnering with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to present the “All American Weekend” on Saturday, July 4, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (and replayed on 7/5 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm). WABC says, “The show harkens back to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll when 77 WABC was a music station and its catchy jingle was known to every New Yorker.” The show is being hosted by DJ Vinnie Medugno and will feature former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani conducting special interviews with Tunnel to Towers heroes…..Entercom says that its Podcast Network is the “top commercial network for the second month in a row, according to Triton. From May 11 through June 7, the network had more than 22.6 million average weekly downloads… In addition, Triton’s latest four-week ranker featured 22 shows from Entercom’s Podcast Network in the Top 100, the most of any publisher for the third month in a row despite new networks joining the report.” Entercom notes that “Pod Save America” was its highest-ranking show at #9.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Over the weekend, Vuolo Video’s Art Vuolo alerted TALKERS magazine that legendary Boston disc jockey Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg passed away at the age of 93. Vuolo says Ginsburg was a broadcast engineer at both WBOS and WBCN but he is best known for his work as night jock on WRKO and WMEX. Ginsburg’s show was called “The Night Train” and the train whistle sound effect gave him his nickname, “Woo Woo.” Later in his career he was EVP of Pyramid Broadcasting, which owned WXKS-FM “Kiss 108 FM.” Vuolo archived the WRKO reunion that took place in 2017. You can see that video here…..iHeartMedia moves WZEE, Madison “Z104” afternoon host, MD and APD Sean Strife to the company’s Detroit cluster to serve as afternoon host and APD/MD at CHR WKQI “Channel 95.5.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

| June 9, 2020

Round One of May PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey have 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). Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and so far, it appears the weekly, 6+ AQH shares for news/talk stations has leveled off after enjoying ratings spikes during the April survey. In New York, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR went from a 3.0 share in April to a 2.6 share in May. In Los Angeles, iHM news/talk KFI dropped nine-tenths to finish May with a 4.6 share and the #2 rank in the market. Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago forfeits four-tenths for a 5.2 share but remains in the #3 slot. Entercom all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago loses 1.4 shares but stays at #1 with a 7.0 share. In San Francisco, Entercom’s KCBS-AM gives back 1.4 shares for an 8.5 share finish and the #2 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta relinquishes 2.8 shares but stays in the #1 spot for the 11th straight sweep. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” adds one-tenth to finish May with a 6.8 share and the #3 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

New Podcast from Pollster Scott Rasmussen Debuts on Just the News. The Just the News multiplatform news network announces a new, daily podcast called “Number of the Day” from pollster, political analyst, and author Scott Rasmussen.  The “Number of the Day” has been a long-running feature at Rasmussen’s Ballotpedia.org that now becomes the newest show on the Just the News podcast platform. Just the News founder John Solomon says, “Scott has been conducting our widely quoted daily poll and now he will give our listeners a podcast that makes sense of the numbers that define what Americans are thinking. He is one of the most respected barometers of American sentiment. The context and insights he brings to politics are a must-listen opportunity as we head into the 2020 fall election.” Ron Hartenbaum is managing member of Crossover Media Group, which handles ad sales for Just the News as well as produces, sells and distributes audio and video programming for the platform. He says, “Scott has earned his place among America’s premier pollsters and political analysts. He gets it right more often than most and his insights can be essential to understanding the 2020 races.” The podcast will be published each morning at 8:00 am ET.

BLM Protests, De-Fund Police Movement/Police Reform, U.S. in Recession, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Prince Andrew & Jeffrey Epstein Case, and Fate of MLB Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the country; the movement in several cities to de-fund police departments and New York’s discussion about reforming its police department; economists determine the U.S. officially entered a recession in February; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and concerns about rising numbers in the wake of re-openings and protest activities; the U.S. Justice Department’s interest in Prince Andrew in connection with the case of the late Jeffrey Epstein who was charged with sex trafficking; and the fate of the 2020 baseball season as players and the league continue to negotiate were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new content deal between FOX News Media and SiriusXM to report. FOX News Audio president John Sylvester announces that all of FOX News Podcasts’ original programming is now available to Pandora users across all tiers of the service. Also, the daily news digest “The FOX News Rundown” is now airing weekday mornings on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel. Sylvester says, “We are thrilled to expand our longstanding partnership, ensuring SiriusXM and Pandora’s combined over 100 million listeners continued access to our cutting-edge news coverage, as well as our best-in-class lifestyle and opinion programming.”…..iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee sports talker WRNW-FM “97.3 The Game” adds a new, Saturday evening show called, “On Your T’s and Q’s,” co-hosted by Milwaukee natives, Grady “Trey” Crosby III and Quinton “Q” Miller. Each Saturday evening from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm the duo will share their intense and passionate views on a variety of sports and discuss a multitude of topics within the Milwaukee community and worldwide…..According to May 2020 data from the London-based financial publication Learnbonds.com, just 10 podcast publishers accounted for 893.78 million streams and downloads. in May 2020. Learnbonds says, “iHeartRadio podcasts attracted the highest downloads and streams at 216.15 million, followed by NPR with 208.92 million. Among the top 10 podcast publishers, iHeartRadio and NPR accounted for 47.6% of the streams and downloads. In the third spot, there is New York Times podcasts which attracted 130.28 million streams and downloads. In the fourth spot, there is PRX which had 82.87 million streams and downloads while Barstool Sports closed the top five categories with 55.46 million streams.” Learnbonds says other publishers with top podcast streams and downloads include Wondery (53.64 million), NBC News (41.97 million), Cumulus/Westwood One (37.74 million), WNYC Studios (35.91 million) and Kast Media (30.74 million)…..SportsGrid announces its 24/7 linear video gaming network is launching on The Roku Channel. SportsGrid says its live video original programming will be available to Roku users “delivering insightful analysis with extensive team, player, pre- and post-game data and statistical intelligence. SportsGrid features a team of experienced anchors and analysts providing the network’s comprehensive signature programming coverage including “Ferrall Coast to Coast” hosted by Scott Ferrall, “Game Time Decisions” with Gabe Morency and “In-Game Live.”…..Beasley Media Group Philadelphia announces details about the Beasley Small Business Advertising Grant Program presented by PECO in which the company is giving away $250,000 in advertising grants to businesses located in the Philadelphia Metropolitan market. A total of five $10,000 advertising grants per Philadelphia station will be awarded. The stations include: country WXTU-FM, rock WMMR-FM, adult hits WBEN-FM, sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” and classic rock WMGK-FM and the initiative takes place June 8 – 21. A total of five $10,000 advertising grants will be awarded per station. Interested local businesses are encouraged to submit a 300-word essay on why they should be chosen to receive the advertising grant. Consideration will be based upon the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as community service, business culture, and employee loyalty.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Nate Reed is promoted to operations director for Cox Media Group’s Tampa station group. Reed has been serving as director of branding and programming for adult contemporary outlets WDUV “105.5 The Dove” and WWRM “Magic 94.9,” roles he will continue. His new position also gives him programming oversight for CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5,” classic hits WXGL “107.3 The Eagle,” and talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone.” CMG Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless says, “Nate is a brilliant programmer, thoughtful leader, and an all-around great person. The entire CMG Tampa team is fortunate to have Nate leading the future of our content.”…..The Wichita Eagle reports that SummitMedia’s country KFDI, Wichita laid off staffers recently and among the casualties are midday host, APD and music director Carol Hughes and assignment editor Wil Day. Former KFDI news director Dan Dillon is quoted by the paper saying, “I have never seen a better ambassador for that radio station than Carol Hughes. Listeners loved her. Her contacts in the country music industry were unbelievable. They still are.”…..Beasley Media Group announces rock WDHA-FM, Dover, New Jersey air personality Curtis Kay has died after a three-and-a-half-year battle with lung cancer. Kay had been with the New Jersey rock station for 40 years. He launched his radio career in 1980 when he was hired by Howard Stern at WRNW in Westchester, New York. Beasley Media New Jersey SVP and regional market manager Dan Finn says, “Besides being an enormous and passionate talent, Curtis was the salt of the earth. He was such a kind person with an incredible disposition. I’m proud to have had the honor to work with him.”…..As the state of Connecticut continues to adjust guidelines related to graduation, Connoisseur Media’s rock WPLR, New Haven is helping one area high school with its graduation ceremony. Tomorrow (6/10) at 5:00 pm, the station will stop regular programming and air, commercial free, the full graduation ceremony of Amity Regional High School. The school is too big to comply with the state’s social distancing guidelines for an in-person graduation ceremony. Connoisseur VP of programming Keith Dakin says, “We have felt incredibly bad for our local high school seniors and we thought this was a great way to honor them. They won’t be able to walk across the graduation stage, but they will be able to hear their name over 50,000 watts throughout the state. Who else can say that?”

Friday, May 29, 2020

| May 29, 2020

Cox Media Group Names Daniel York President and CEO. The board of directors of Cox Media Group announces Daniel York is the company’s new president and chief executive officer, effective today. York most recently served as senior executive vice president and chief content officer of AT&T and its subsidiary, DirecTV. York assumes the role previously held by Kim Guthrie, who left the company last month. Executive chairman Steve Pruett says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to welcome Dan as the president and CEO of Cox Media Group. He has a background of success in media, content, distribution, operations, and successfully leading large organizations. Most importantly, he embraces contemporary thinking as the media landscape continues to evolve. We have full confidence he is the right person to lead CMG in the next phase of the company’s growth.” York says, “I am excited to lead Cox Media Group, a company that has the most talented team and leadership in the industry. I have always admired and respected the unparalleled quality of CMG’s 90+ TV and radio stations, digital and advertising platforms, and the company’s unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity. The past few months have underscored that there is no substitute for the most important and valuable content in the ecosystem, market-leading local news and entertainment. I look forward to working with the board and the CMG team as we continue to enhance our partnerships with our advertisers, content providers and distribution outlets to best serve our communities and millions of viewers and listeners.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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.  The new episode titled, “Aside From That Mrs. Lincoln, How Was The Beach?” looks back at this past week of May 25-29, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / webmaster, Scamicide.com; Lars Larson, talk show host, KXL, Portland / Compass Media Networks; Dr. Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; and Peter King, correspondent, CBS News Radio, Kennedy Space Center.  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; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer 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.

Report: KFNS-AM, St. Louis Morning Host McKernan Leading Group to Acquire the Station. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that KFNS-AM, St. Louis sports talk personality Tim McKernan is leading a group of potential investors to buy KFNS from current owner Randy Markel. Earlier this year, Markel announced he was on track to sell 50% interest in the station to two local businessmen. But the coronavirus pandemic has put that deal on hold. Now, sources tell Caesar that Markel and McKernan have signed a letter of intent for the sale. McKernan hosts the morning drive program “The Morning After” on the station. The report indicates McKernan’s investor group includes former St. Louis Blues player Pat Maroon. Markel tells Caesar he’s in the process of selling the station for “seven figures” but he can’t reveal to whom – just that the deal will happen, or not, by July 1.

POTUS Appears on Buck Sexton Show. Several days after Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Buck Sexton visited the Oval Office for “private, exclusive conversation” with President Trump, the president made good on his promise to appear on Sexton’s radio program. The two discussed America’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic and why we have to move forward before it’s too late; how “Russia Gate” makes Watergate look like small potatoes; why his executive order curtailing the power of social media platforms was necessary; what his administration has accomplished the last three and a half years; what he thinks about running against Joe Biden, and more. Photo by Shealah Craighead

Urban One Reports Q1 Net Revenue Down 3.6%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, revealed net revenue for the quarter was $94.9 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $37.6 million, an increase of approximately $4.3 million from the same period in 2019. Urban One is reporting an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million compared to operating income of approximately $14.8 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III says, “We got off to a great start to the year, with robust political advertising pushing same station revenues to +3.2% and +13.2% for January and February respectively. Then the impact of COVID-19 hit our radio markets and March rapidly turned from positive to finish -14.1%. Despite this, we were able to post double digit Adjusted EBITDA growth for the quarter, and this is a testament to both our diversified mix of assets and the dedication and skill of our employees. On a same station basis, radio advertising for April was down 58.3%, and Q2 is pacing -58.1%. Both local and national advertising is impacted by broadly similar percentages. Like many other businesses, we were forced to reduce fixed costs by means of furloughs, layoffs, significant salary cuts, and reduction of all discretionary expenditure. Our diverse mix of assets will help us through this crisis; in particular our cable TV and digital segments are not impacted to the same extent as radio, and due to a combination of strong ratings, deferred programming and marketing expenses plus other cost cuts, we expect the TV segment to deliver incremental EBITDA to help offset some of the declines in radio.  Liquidity remains strong, and I believe we have seen a floor in the revenue declines. As markets begin to re-open state by state, we intend to partner with our clients using all of our platforms to help them re-start their businesses and serve their communities in these unprecedented times.”

TALKERS News Notes. After announcing her retirement from Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago several weeks ago, morning news anchor Felicia Middlebrooks did her last shift at the all-news station today (5/29). WBBM gave her a “proper send-off” by airing a compilation of audio looking back at her time with the station as well as colleagues saying “good-bye.” Morning editor Zac Weber said, “The news can be ugly and scary and overwhelming sometimes, but you, more than anyone else, served as a constant reminder that we can always be hopeful, and always expect the best from you.”…..Three honors from the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter were bestowed upon Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” over the Memorial Day weekend. The awards were for work done in 2019. “New Jersey 101.5” deputy digital editor Sergio Bichao and reporter David Matthau won The Spotlight Award for their entry on how judges minimized sexual assault in New Jersey. Afternoon drive host Jeff Deminski won first place in the Blog category for a portfolio of opinion pieces. The team of Eric Scott, director of special projects; Patrick Lavery, afternoon anchor; Louis C. Hochman, digital managing editor; and Dan Alexander, digital news reporter won second place for Web Use, for the station’s on-air and online town hall event focusing on opioid abuse…..Entercom New York all-news outlets WCBS-AM and WINS-AM were honored with 10 2019 New York State Associated Press Association News and Broadcast Contest Awards. The two stations were jointly honored with a first-place award in the Podcast category for their collaboration on “The Breakdown,” a deep-dive into America’s infrastructure crisis. WCBS-AM took home nine other first place awards, including for Outstanding News Operation, Spot News Coverage, and Newscast…..SiriusXM announces that comedian Adam Carolla will host a special, virtual edition of his popular tour show “Adam Corolla Is Unprepared” on Monday, June 1 at 10:00 pm ET. This one-hour special video broadcast will feature Carolla hosting via Zoom. In this “Unprepared” show, Carolla – while sheltering in place from his home – improvises stand-up based on one-word suggestions from audience members pulled at random. Additionally, SiriusXM will also air a separate, exclusive two-hour “Unprepared” special featuring previously recorded comedy club shows from last year…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network News White House correspondent Greg Clugston at Joint Base Andrews preparing to board Air Force Two for Vice President Mike Pence’s flight to Atlanta for a memorial service honoring evangelist and best-selling author Ravi Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, who died on May 19.

Statistics & Projections and 100,000 Deaths Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 25-29. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll of more than 100,000 and projections for future cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the re-opening process and the state of the economy. Coming in at #3 was health care, tied with antibodies, testing, and the wearing of masks, followed by President Trump vs NC over the Republican National Convention, the presidential race, and politics at #4. 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 published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

 

 

News Anchor. With the retirement of a 35-year morning drive veteran, Chicago’s top-rated station, WBBM Newsradio, has a rare opportunity for a talented news anchor. Solid skills as a journalist are a must, including writing and reporting, along with strong on-air delivery and ability to handle high-pressure, breaking news situations with ease and grace. Requirements and expectations along with an online application can be found here. Entercom is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

Great Talk Host Opportunity: WBAL-AM, Baltimore Seeks PM Drive Personality. The Hearst news/talk station says: “Meaningful live and local talk is very healthy at WBAL NewsRadio FM & AM in Baltimore. We have stayed true to our mission for 95 years: a 24/7 local connection and commitment to breaking news and captivating talk. We are also the home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football. This is a rigorous search for a dynamic individual, or team, to host PM drive. Beyond on-air responsibilities, our team is active on social media and in the community. Our presentation aims to be lively, fast, riveting and our hosts understand the pulse of Baltimore, Maryland and the country. We believe you can’t spell ‘Baltimore’ without B-A-L. Your mission is to create a daily PM drive program that transcends all formats as a ‘must listen.’ Be prepared to provide audio samples, but let’s start with your philosophy for local talk in 2020 and your background and life experiences. Your first step is to apply on-line at Hearst Television Careers here. Please know your interest will be held in strict confidence. Check us out at Hearst.com…a dynamic privately held organization with unmatched cable, television, radio, magazines and newspaper platforms.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” show joins the program schedule at Midwest Communications’ urban contemporary WQTX, Lansing, Michigan “Stacks 92.1.” The program is hosted by DeDe McGuire and is syndicated via a partnership between Dallas-based Service Broadcasting Group and Compass Media Networks. Station operations manager Terry Stevens says, “The playlist on ‘Stacks 92.1’ has a very fun, upbeat vibe. We needed a morning show that fits that vibe. All fun and no drama. After listening to ‘DeDe in the Morning’ and seeing the results she delivers in markets similar to ours we are 100% confident that DeDe and her team are the perfect fit for AM Drive on ‘Stacks 92.1!’”

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

| April 15, 2020

Alpha Media Makes Cost Saving Moves. In a press release, Alpha Media announces that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the radio industry’s advertising revenue, it “has taken painful steps similar to those of other media companies and announced temporary furloughs, the elimination of some positions, and a reduction of hours for certain employees. Prior to these actions, the members of Alpha’s executive leadership team proactively reduced their own compensation.”  Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt states, “Alpha Media continues to work through many difficult decisions to cope with the current challenges we all face brought about by COVID-19. We are positioning the company to weather this challenge while trying to keep our valued team members safe and be poised to recover quickly once the crisis has passed.”

RAB’s ‘Business Unusual’ Online Presentation to Feature Dave Ramsey. In a special, live presentation on Tuesday, April 21, the Radio Advertising Bureau, as part of its “Business Unusual” initiative, is hosting a live, online presentation called “Leading for Success During and After COVID-19” featuring nationally syndicated financial talk media superstar Dave Ramsey.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will speak with Ramsey for this leadership-through-unprecedented times session focused on what broadcasters need to be thinking about to weather the storm while serving their communities of listeners and advertisers.  The session starts at 1:00 pm EST and registration is free to RAB members.

Special Interest Groups Appeal to DOJ to Prevent Liberty Media Acquisition of iHeartMedia. Six special interest groups – American Economic Liberties Project, Artist Rights Alliance, Center for Digital Democracy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Open Markets Institute, and Public Citizen – have appealed to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim to reject a possible acquisition of iHeartMedia by Liberty Media.  Liberty has not made any offers to iHeartMedia but it’s been widely reported in recent months that Liberty – which has a controlling stake in SiriusXM and Pandora and a minority stake in Live Nation/Ticketmaster – is interested in adding iHeartMedia to its portfolio of media companies.  The artist rights and consumer groups say, “With just its current holdings, including Pandora and SiriusXM and a major stake in Ticketmaster/LiveNation, Liberty Media already has far too much control over the music ecosystem.  With artists, performers, and consumers already facing unprecedented uncertainty and risk, DOJ should put the brakes on this dangerous threat to creative livelihoods and consumer options.”

Brian Lang to Lead Townsquare Media’s ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ With the departure of Ron deCastro from the president and chief revenue officer position at Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5,” the company promotes Brian Lang to the market president and chief revenue officer position.  Lang was most recently regional market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare’s Portland, Portsmouth, and Augusta, Maine operations.  Townsquare SVP of operations Rob Williams says, “Brian has distinguished himself as a leader since joining Townsquare in 2014.  By building a team of exceptional managers and talent, Brian’s markets have been among our top performers year after year.  When the opportunity arose, Brian was the natural choice to lead the exceptional team at ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ which represents the best in live and local media.” Local media chief operating officer Erik Hellum adds, “‘New Jersey 101.5’ is a very special and powerful news/talk station, keeping New Jersey informed and connected in a way that no other media outlet can.  A brand like ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ and the very talented team behind that brand, deserve a strong and experienced leader who can help protect, lead, and evolve it, and there is no one better prepared to do that than Brian.”  Meanwhile, back in Maine, the company promotes regional VP of sales Christine Sieks to regional market president of Northern New England.  She’ll continue her RVP of sales duties.

TALKERS News Notes. Former U.S. Congressman and former Chicago and syndicated talk show host Joe Walsh is promoting his new book, F*ck Silence: Calling Trump Out for the Cultish, Moronic, Authoritarian Con Man He Is (2020, Broadside Books).  Walsh, who hosted a local show at Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM, Chicago and was syndicated via the Salem Radio Network before he left radio to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, recently was a guest on former WGN-AM morning host Steve Cochran’s podcast…..As part of Beasley Media Group’s ongoing Community of Caring public service campaign, the Boston station group that includes sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 FM The Sports Hub” and four music brands is working in conjunction with Safety Insurance, RCN, and Sam Adams to raise $100,000 in support of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Covid-19 response efforts for Healthcare workers through the newly launched Healthcare Heroes initiative.  Beasley Boston vice president and market manager Mary Menna comments, “We wanted to provide our listeners with the opportunity to recognize and thank our Healthcare Heroes for the extraordinary sacrifices they are making during this crisis through this fund.”…..Entercom’s Pittsburgh station group that includes news/talk KDKA-AM raised funds to provide more than 1.5 million meals for people in need through Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.  Yesterday’s “Feed the Need Radiothon,” directly benefits displaced workers who are utilizing the emergency drive up distribution sites as well as food pantries in and around the Pittsburgh region…..Skyview Networks’ franchise partners are airing “best of” games to provide their affiliate networks with sports content for their listeners.  Skyview says it is important to them that they keep their loyal fans engaged and connected, and the company is proud to provide the distribution and inventory management for these games.  Franchises providing replays and “best of” content currently include: Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, and the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Minnesota Wild.

Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Trump Orders Halt to WHO Funding, Scrutiny of China’s Handling of the Outbreak, Trump vs Governors, CDC/FEMA Reopening Plan, Financial Markets Activity, and the Presidential Race and Voting by Mail Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14). The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., the death toll and projections about future cases; President Trump orders a suspension of funding to the World Health Organization, alleging it was slow to respond to the crisis; scrutiny of China’s handling of the initial outbreak of the coronavirus; President Trump’s claim that he had ultimate authority while governors of states form regional coalitions to coordinate actions; the CDC and FEMA reveal they are developing a plan to reopen the economy in the safest possible way; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; and the issue of voting by mail for the November elections were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales and management pro Ron deCastro joins MediaCo to serve as the market president for New York, in charge of the company’s hip hop WQHT “HOT97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  He was most recently market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  MediaCo president and chief operating officer Patrick Walsh comments, “Ron is the perfect choice to lead ‘HOT97’ and WBLS.  Our investment plans will enable these iconic brands to impact our audiences and clients in even more meaningful ways.  Ron’s deep experience in building winning digital and broadcast teams in and around New York will be invaluable as we deepen the relationship that our brands and personalities have with our audiences in the tristate area and around the world.”…..SupeRadio is syndicating the Atlanta-based morning show “The Streetz Morning Takeover” hosted by “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” reality show star and rapper Yung Joc, Shawty Shawty, and Sue Solo.  Program creator Steve Hegwood says, “This is America’s only authentic hip hop morning show and it is highly rated and battle-tested under one of the most difficult and competitive situations imaginable.  ‘The Streetz Morning Takeover’ is built to win in every possible scenario and in every market.  It has all the bells and whistles needed for great morning radio including tested and proven benchmarks backed by a great team who lives and appreciates the hip hop lifestyle.  I’m excited to be working with Eric Faison at SupeRadio, and Gary Bernstein of Oceanic Tradewinds in what we believe will be the birth of the next great urban syndicated product.”…..WAWZ, Zarephath, New Jersey “STAR 99.1” announces that current afternoon co-hosts Dave Moore and Kristen James are moving to morning drive on “STAR 99.1” beginning April 20.  Director of programming Matt Stockman says, “Great radio stations are built on the daily foundation created by an engaging, entertaining morning show and I believe that Dave and Kristen have the talent, experience, and desire to lay that foundation every day.”