Monday Memo: Got Local News? Guard it. Now more than ever – with the pandemic upending the life we were accustomed to – consultant Holland Cooke says “you will continue to distinguish your product from your robotic audio competition, and what’s-left-of the newspaper, by telling listeners something useful that nobody else is telling them.” In this week’s column, some simple tips. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Mail-In Voting, Fatal Denver Rally Shooting, VP Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Trump’s COVID Case, New Stimulus Negotiations, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, Hurricane Delta-California Wildfires, and NFL COVID Concerns Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the matter of mail-in voting; the fatal shooting at a Denver political protest gathering and tensions in the city; Wednesday’s vice presidential debate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for future cases, and President Trump‘s bout with the disease; negotiations for a new federal stimulus package; the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Hurricane Delta drenches Louisiana and the ongoing California wildfires; and the positive COVID-19 cases popping up in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Take It or Leave It. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about selling news/talk radio in a time when your sales planning priorities can shift as quickly as the news cycle changes. He says that “organizing chaos is part of our new sales world” and offers some strategies to keep sellers on track during these unpredictable times. Read it here.
Carmean Joins Entercom Sacto As GSM. The market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Boise (Idaho) cluster – Rick Carmean – is named general sales manager of Entercom Sacramento. According to Entercom Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Stacey Kauffman, “Because of the rich history and success of Entercom Sacramento’s portfolio of brands and assets, expectations are high for this team. Rick’s vast experience in audio, sports, and digital – coupled with his track record of producing winning results – make him an excellent and valuable addition to our strong leadership team. We are excited to welcome Rick to Entercom and Sacramento.” Carmean adds, “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to represent the top-rated radio stations in the market and work with a talented team of sales professionals and on-air talent.” Carmean previously was Red Zebra Broadcasting’s president and chief executive officer and held digital advertising leadership roles at AOL and Source Media. In addition to sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” Entercom Sacramento consists of rhythmic CHR KSFM; CHR KUDL “106.5 The End”; classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; and alternative KKDO “Alt 94-7.”
More Than 2,100 “Attend” NAB’s Online Radio Show. The week-long digital experience began one week ago (Monday, 10/5) and continued through this past Friday afternoon (10/9) at RadioShowWeb.com. According to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Radio Show in-person attendance has recently been averaging 2,000, while this year’s online event attracted 2,143 registrants. NAB president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith comments, “Although we regret not being able to meet in person, this [past] week’s Radio Show digital experience provided a welcome opportunity to connect and gain valuable insight on how to prevail during this difficult time and move forward as an industry.” RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber remarks, “The Radio Show is an industry favorite. Having the opportunity to gather virtually and connect with broadcasters, advertisers, thought leaders, and partners has been tremendously valuable. The good news is all Radio Show content will continue to be made available for on-demand viewing should anyone want to re-watch a specific session or may have missed any of the sessions or presentations.” Among the highlights were a keynote by Dave Ramsey, and a “CEO Town Hall” with Mary Berner (Cumulus Media); David Field (Entercom); and Bob Pittman (iHeartMedia). The Town Hall was moderated by NBC News senior business correspondent/MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle. Next year’s Radio Show will co-locate with the NAB Show, which has been rescheduled for October 9-13 (2021) in Las Vegas.
KBA Honors Talbott. Bluegrass native Julie Talbott will be presented with the Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association at today’s (Monday, 10/12) 2:00 pm virtual Excellence in Broadcasting Awards event. Fifteen years after joining Premiere Networks, Talbott was named president of the company in January 2014 ; she oversees operation of Premiere Networks’ more than 100 radio programs and services. In addition, she manages business partnerships with talent, as well as leading/maintaining affiliate relationships to sell/service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network, and the 24/7 News Network. Talbott previously was chief operating officer of MJI Broadcasting, which was acquired by Premiere’s parent company Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). Talbott began her career at BBDO Advertising. The Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” is presented in recognition of achievements and accomplishments of former Kentuckians who have earned fame or acclaim in their respected field.
AWMF and ESPN Launch Scholarship For Black Females. The mission of the partnership between the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) and ESPN is to provide black women a path into careers in sports media. ESPN’s donation of $10,000 will provide two educational scholarships to assist black females pursuing such career paths. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks remarks, “It has been wonderful to collaborate with ESPN to conceptualize this scholarship. Through this strong partnership, we’re proud to continue our work in pursuing greater diversity in the sports journalism work force.” ESPN vice president of corporate communications/AWMF board member Katina Arnold notes, “Diversity and inclusion is ESPN’s #1 focus. We want to support and create concrete ways to grow the pipeline of black talent in the sports industry. The ESPN and AWMF scholarship is the perfect way to fulfill ESPN’s mission of supporting black and African-American women pursuing careers in media.” Selection of student winners will be based on applicants developing an essay of 750 – 1,000 words, highlighting the importance of black women in sports media. Applications are due in less than six weeks (11/20). AWMF and ESPN will select one black female undergraduate student winner and one black female graduate student to receive the scholarships payable to each winning student’s educational institution.
TALKERS News Notes. Former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert Buck Sexton debuts his Premiere Networks’ three-hour show in Tampa Bay tonight (Monday, 10/12, 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) on iHeartMedia’s WFLA “News Radio 970.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tampa/Sarasota Tommy Chuck comments, “We are excited to have Buck Sexton join our on-air lineup of strong local and national personalities. His life experience gives him unique perspective that our audience will be very interested to hear.” Sexton adds, “I’m honored to have my show join WFLA, [one of] the greatest heritage stations in the country. I can’t wait to begin speaking every night to listeners in the Tampa Bay area, one of the best talk radio audiences there is.” WFLA’s revised weekday lineup is: “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am); “AM Tampa Bay” (5:00 am – 9:00 am); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Rush Limbaugh (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Sean Hannity (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman” (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Buck Sexton (9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Also in the iHeartMedia Tampa Bay cluster, personal finance host Dave Ramsey moves his daily talk show to news/talk WHNZ “1250 Impact Radio” from cross-town Beasley Media Group’s WHFS “Money Talk 1010.” According to iHeartMedia market president Chris Soechtig, “We’re excited to add ‘The Dave Ramsey Show to our [2:00 pm – 5:00 pm] line-up. [Dave] brings a new group of listeners to 1250 WHNZ who pay attention to what’s coming out of their speakers and applying what they hear.” ….. Designed to encourage eligible voters to cast ballots in next month’s election, Beasley Media Group’s “Your Vote – Your Voice” initiative will include recorded fifteen- and thirty-second PSAs, as well as custom content that will be featured on the chain’s 64 radio station websites. Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase notes, “This initiative is a great reminder that no matter who you choose, it’s important to make sure your voice is heard at the polls.” Customized messaging encouraging listeners to vote will be displayed using Quu RDS technology across the company’s in-car dash platforms ….. Technology entrepreneur Matt Moog is named interim chief operating officer of Chicago Public Media, which includes public radio news/talk WBEZ. Moog succeeds Steve Edwards, who performed those duties on an interim basis as well, but segues back to his vice president and chief content officer responsibilities. Chicago Public Media’s CEO role opened up a year ago when Goli Sheikholeslami exited to join New York Public Radio. Earlier this year, American University Washington, DC public radio news/talk WAMU “The Medium Is The Message” chief content officer Andi McDaniel was appointed CPM’s chief executive officer, but departed. The search for a permanent Chicago Public Media CEO is expected to resume next year ….. During a Washington State gubernatorial debate last week, governor Jay Inslee remarked that, “We follow science in Washington.” Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM host Dori Monson tweeted, “The state where I could go to Olympia and change my ‘birth cert’ to say I was a girl on 10/2/61 HAHAHAHAHA.” That tweet has led to Monson’s indefinite suspension from his KIRO-FM duties, as well as his pre-game and post-game hosting chores for Seattle Seahawks football games ….. An integral cog of the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine,” Joe Morgan, has died at his Danville, California home. After his playing career, Morgan became a baseball analyst on television and radio. The former second baseman did color for games of the Reds (1985); San Francisco Giants (1986 – 1994); and Oakland A’s (1995). Morgan attained national exposure on ABC-TV’s baseball telecasts and had a 20-year run (1990 – 2010) as Jon Miller’s analyst on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” During that stretch, he was in the ESPN Radio booth for post-season and World Series contests. In 2011, he hosted a daily syndicated radio show for Sports USA Radio Network. In addition to the Reds, Morgan played for San Francisco, Oakland, Houston, and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Hall of Famer was 77 years old.
Midwest Communications Taps Villarreal As Wausau VP/MM. Eight-year Laredo, Texas-based International Business & Marketing consultant Milko Villarreal, Jr. is appointed vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ five-station Wausau, Wisconsin cluster. Midwest Communications president and chief executive officer Duke Wright comments, “We welcome Milko to the family and look forward to many successful and prosperous years to come. His passion and desire to win are a great fit for our already positive Wausau operation.” Villarreal, who begins his new assignment in three weeks (11/2), remarks, “I am thrilled to join Midwest. The Wright family has a long-standing tradition of excellence in broadcasting. Ideologically, and operationally, I believe we are a very good fit; I look forward to making a positive contribution.” The former NAB radio board member succeeds Brett Lucht, who passed away three months ago. In addition to news/talk WSAU and sports talk WRIG, Midwest Communications’ Wausau cluster consists of country WDEZ, CHR WIFC, and rock WOZZ.
NEP & Edison Research To Implement COVID-19-Related Protocols. The exit poll conducted by Edison Research on behalf of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, will begin interviewing voters at early voting locations around the country starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/13). Edison Research co-founder and executive vice president Joe Lenski states that, “More Americans are expected to vote before Election Day this year than any other election in history. The member networks of the National Election Pool (NEP) and Edison Research have developed innovative new techniques to account for that in our long-standing exit poll. In 2018, Edison and the NEP pioneered the technique of conducting interviews at in-person early voting sites, and today, we’re using that valuable experience to expand those efforts for 2020. It’s simply a matter of taking our time-tested models and applying them to the ways people vote today.” In addition to adapting to the changing ways that voters cast their ballots, the NEP is taking precautions to ensure that voters participating in the in-person exit polls remain safe. Exit polls will be conducted by interviewers wearing masks, who will remain six feet away from respondents and will have single-use pencils available for each voter filling out the exit poll questionnaire. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available for voters to use before and after completing their exit polls. As it has since 2004, the NEP exit poll will include extensive telephone surveys of those planning to vote by mail to ensure that all voters are represented in Election Night coverage across the pool’s member networks and subscribers. This year, those polls will reach more than 25,000 voters casting ballots before Election Day.
“WTMJ 2021” Airs Tomorrow. The nine-hour broadcast (9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Tuesday, 10/13) on Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee news/talk WMTJ “News Radio 620” looks at events and issues that will shape the year ahead. It will feature interviews with Wisconsin’s most influential names such as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers; senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson; Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin; Medical College of Wisconsin chief executive officer Dr. John Raymond; and community activist Frank Sensabaugh. Good Karma Brands Milwaukee vice president and market manager Steve Wexler explains, “Every year, WTMJ brings our listeners an all-day look at the issues shaping our future. Little did we know how tumultuous a year 2020 would turn out to be when we gathered last year.” Presidential politics is the leadoff topic at 9:00 am. It will be followed by public safety (10:00 am); sports in the age of COVID-19 (11:00 am); business and the economy (12:00 noon); healthcare (1:00 pm); entertainment (2:00 pm); education (3:00 pm); local and state government (4:00 pm); and the racial divide (5:00 pm).
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting today (Monday, 10/12), Mz Shyneka takes over in afternoon drive on Core Radio Group Atlanta urban contemporary WWSZ “Streetz 94.5.” Core Radio Group president and chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “It is my pleasure to sign Mz Shyneka to afternoons. Her addition to our great team keeps us at the forefront of this competitive Atlanta market.” According to Mz Shyneka, “I am overwhelmed with joy to be back on the radio in my hometown. I can’t wait to continue making history at the only black-owned station in Atlanta.” She most recently did afternoons for Radio One’s cross-town similarly-formatted WHTA “Hot 107.9” ….. Elsewhere in Atlanta, after an approximately 20-year tenure at Cox Media Group urban AC WALR “Kiss 104,” Saturday morning “Spotlight Gold” host “Youngblood” exits ….. Under a new one-year deal, all Villanova football and basketball games for the 2020 – 2021 season will be carried on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM.” Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president and market manager Joe Bell comments, “Our motto at ‘Ben’ is ‘Playing Anything We Feel Like,’ and we feel like playing some Villanova games. It will be a great season for Villanova sports.” Program director Chuck Damico notes, “We’re thrilled to add Villanova football and basketball to ‘95.7 Ben FM’ this year. It’s an honor to deliver these games to their passionate fans and alumni.” Meanwhile, Villanova Sports Properties vice president and general manager Drew Young adds, “The affiliation with ‘Ben FM’ expands our reach in the Delaware Valley and gives the ‘Nova Nation’ a prominent new home on the FM dial.” ….. The former 15-year afternoon personality/music director at Bahakel Communications Colorado Springs rocker KILO, Jack Wilson, has died from coronavirus. Wilson left KILO in 2015 and did weekends in Phoenix for Hubbard Radio’s similarly-programmed KUPD. KILO’s Facebook page notes, “It is with deep regret that we share this news with the KILO Nation. He was and will always be a big part of the KILO family. We send our love and condolences to his family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time.” The 38-year-old Wilson is survived by his mother (Pattie Ray); a 17-year-old daughter (Bella); and a six-year-old son (Jack Jr.) ….. “The Quick Silva Show with Dominique Da Diva” moves to Reach Media for distribution and syndication. Reach Media and Radio One chief executive officer David Kantor comments, “I’ve had the opportunity to see this show grow tremendously. Quick Silva and Dominque Da Diva are two very strong radio talents who have an authentic connection to their audience. I am confident that the show will continue to be a huge draw for the listening audience. The beauty of this is that this is one of few syndicated afternoon shows.” The program will be carried from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm by Radio One stations in Washington, DC (WKYS); Philadelphia (WPHI “Hip-Hop 103.9”); Baltimore (WERQ “92-Q Jams”); Cincinnati (WIZF “101.1 The Wiz”); and Columbus (WCKX “Power 107.5”).
Nunn Boosted to YEA Networks President. Three-year YEA Networks executive vice president of sales Shawn Nunn is elevated to the newly- created position of president at the independent radio and podcast company. Chief executive officer George Laughlin notes, “I’ve had the privilege of working with Shawn for more than 20 years. He is a trusted advisor and a highly-effective leader, who has been essential to the incredible growth and expansion of the company over the past three years. Under his leadership, YEA Networks will continue to deliver the highest quality products and services to the audio industry.” Nunn adds, “I am more than grateful to George for this opportunity. I have worked with many on the YEA team for much of my career and I am honored to take the lead. George’s vision and passion for this industry is immeasurable and I look forward to continuing this journey with him.” Texas native/Texas State University alum Nunn previously spent five years as Townsquare Media’s vice president of national sales; four years as GAP Broadcasting’s vice president of sales; and has held media industry positions in Dallas, Seattle, and Colorado Springs. YEA Networks’ syndicated programs include: various Kiddnation podcasts, “The Hollywood 5,” “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” and “Tino Cochino Radio.
WCMC-FM Shifts “SportsChannel8: The Radio Show” to Weekdays. Saturday morning’s 10:00 am -12:00 noon “SportsChannel8” will begin airing weekdays in the same slot on Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh sports talk WCMC-FM, starting next Thursday (8/15). As a result, “FM 99.9 The Fan” will have nine consecutive hours of local sports talk programming each weekday. WCMC program/operations director Dennis Glasgow states, “We couldn’t be more excited to add the ‘SportsChannel8’ brand to our weekday lineup. Not only do we add another two hours a day of outstanding local content, we’ll also be offering probably one of the most engaging, entertaining, and hyper-local shows I have ever heard in my six years in ‘The Triangle.’” The show is hosted by longtime North Carolinian Hayes Permar, along with Josh Goodson and Brian Geisinger. Permar remarks, “We are incredibly excited and humbled to be part of the already outstanding lineup that ‘99.9 The Fan’ offers listeners every weekday. Our crew is made up of guys who all grew up and became sports fans in North Carolina; our show has and will continue to reflect that.” Coinciding with the change, ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard will transition from WCMC to co-owned/similarly formatted WCMC-HD2 “Buzz Sports Radio” and add an extra hour (10:00 am – 1:00 pm).
TALKERS News Notes. Exiting Total Traffic & Weather Network, owing to restructuring, are senior vice president of affiliate services Roger Nadel; vice president of affiliate sales for the southeast Christopher Leonard; and head of operations for the southwest John Winder ….. After an 18-year career as an NFL QB (the first seven with the Philadelphia Eagles and the last 11 with the Washington Redskins), Sonny Jurgensen hung up the helmet and spikes in 1974. The soon-to-be (8/23) 85-year-old Hall of Famer is now hanging up the headsets as the longtime Redskins’ radio analyst. He made the announcement before last night’s (Thursday, 8/8) pre-season, pre-game show. Jurgensen commented, “I’ve had so many wonderful memories of teammates I’ve played with and talked about during my years in radio and television. The relationships with coaches and executives over the 50 years have been special. My broadcast partners such as Sam Huff, Frank Herzog, Doc Walker, and George Michael lived through the glory years together – all great memories. My good friend Andy Ockershausen was responsible for bringing together the original broadcast team of ‘Sonny, Sam, and Frank.’ After 62 years in professional football, I still have my health and wonderful family; a special thanks to my beautiful wife, Margo, for letting me work the weekends for all those years. I’ll always be a fan of professional football and appreciative of all that it has done for me, my family, and our city” ….. KTUL-TV, Tulsa marketing consultant Jessica Foster joins Stephens Media Group Tulsa as director of sales. SMG owner David Stephens notes, “Jessica has the well-rounded media experience we need to maximize revenue. Her ties to the local advertising community and reputation for excellence adds to the strength of our cluster.” Senior vice president of radio and digital sales Summer Kirkland comments, “Having worked alongside Jessica for several years, I have witnessed the way she incorporates her vast media knowledge with a passion for people to achieve success.” Prior to KTUL-TV, Foster worked at Interep/D&R; Entercom St. Louis news/talk KMOX; and several stations in Atlanta and Springfield, Missouri. The Stephens Media Group Tulsa cluster includes news/talk KCFO “AM 970 Talk You Can Trust,” sports talk KYAL “97.1 The Sports Animal,” contemporary Christian KXOJ and KXOJ-HD2, alternative KMYZ “Z-104.5 The Edge,” and KTSO “Totally Awesome 80s” ….. Part of next Monday’s (8/12) debut of iHeartMedia Reading, Pennsylvania’s news/talk WRAW “News Radio 1340” will be the return of Rush Limbaugh to the market. Regional senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Allentown and Harrisburg Jeff Hurley comments, “We’re thrilled to bring an all-star lineup of talk radio programs to Reading. We’re confident that WRAW will become a favorite source for compelling news, talk, and entertainment.” The station’s weekday lineup will include: “The RJ Harris Breakfast Show” (5:00 am – 9:00 am); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Limbaugh (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Sean Hannity (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Buck Sexton (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace” (9:00 pm – 10:00 pm) ….. As part of an extended relationship with NRG Media Omaha, all hockey, and men’s and women’s basketball games of the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks will air on sports talk KZOT “1180 AM – The Zone 2.” In the event of a hockey conflict, any and all basketball games will be heard on sports talk KOZN “1620 AM – The Zone” or KOIL “News Talk 1290.” NRG Radio Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle remarks, “We are extremely excited to continue our partnership with UNO. As the sports leader in Omaha, it is important that we associate our stations with great sports programs like UNO. We look forward to broadcasting UNO sports on our stations this upcoming year, and many years to come.” UNO vice chancellor of athletics Trev Alberts notes, “NRG Media has provided our hockey and basketball teams with a reliable radio home for many years; we are pleased to continue this mutually beneficial relationship. NRG Media is a recognized leader in sports broadcasting in Omaha, and its stations allow our fans to follow the Mavericks, both over-the-air and through live streaming.” Gary Sharp will be back for his seventh season calling UNO men’s basketball. He will work with former Maverick Kyler Erickson who will begin his first season as analyst for all home games. Likewise, Donny Baarns enters his first year of lead play-by-play announcer for UNO hockey broadcasts. He will work alongside Terry Leahy who has provided color commentary for all 22 seasons of UNO hockey. Lester St. James will return for his 10th season as the rink-side reporter for all home games. Meanwhile, Jon Schriner replaces Baarns as play-by-play voice of Omaha women’s basketball ….. The Wall Street Journal is among the first to report that Facebook is offering news outlets millions of dollars for the rights to put their content in a news section that the company hopes to launch later this year. The project involves the social network striking deals potentially worth millions of dollars to publishers including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Dow Jones, parent company of The Wall Street Journal, among others. The Journal reported yesterday (Thursday, 8/8) that Facebook representatives had told news executives that they’d pay as much as $3 million a year to license stories, headlines and other material. Publishers could pick between putting the stories directly on Facebook’s tab or putting previews in that go back to the original site. These arrangements would last for three years. Thus far though, it’s unclear if any publishers have signed on yet.
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, will be posted this afternoon (Friday 8/9) on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “The Nation Grieves and Argues!” looks back at this past week of August 5-9, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Mike Siegel, syndicated talk show host, GCN; Harry Hurley, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Rick Ungar, syndicated talk show host, “The Rick Ungar Show”/former CEO Marvel Entertainment; and Renee Kohanski, M.D., forensic psychiatrist and medical profession podcaster. The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.
Cool Job Opportunity. There are actually three of them to share – all at Fox News. A freelance writer is needed for the Fox News Headlines team. You will write news for the national news network, conceptualize, write, compile enterprise stories, fact check, and build show content newscasts. This is a shift-based role, including overnight and weekend shifts. You will work some holidays and must be available off-hours in the event of major breaking news. Among the responsibilities are writing fast-paced newscasts; generating creative and innovative ideas for writing news segments; and communicating daily story development with producers and editors. A degree in journalism or related field is preferred. Click here to apply. In addition, Fox News Radio D.C./New York is seeking an overnight freelance anchor. The person in this position will work under tight deadlines, must have a passion for breaking news, and be flexible to work on a days’ notice. In order to be considered for this role, a link or MP3 file of a demo reel/air check is needed. Among responsibilities are writing for a one-hour live national newscast; writing five-minute and one-minute newscasts; and handling live breaking news coverage during national newscasts. Requirements include strong writing skills; ability to work under tight deadlines; flexibility to work primarily weekend shifts; and at least five years’ experience as a news anchor. Network or major market experience is preferred. Click here to apply. Needed as well is a freelance producer/news editor to supervise the staff for the network radio news operation. This person will work with news anchors to craft content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. Responsibilities include: formatting, programming, coordinating, and producing a live news program; producing segments and reporter hits; handling staffing issues when managers are not present; and working on developing stories as the day progresses. Candidates must: be highly skilled in writing and copy editing; have familiarity with social media; be able to handle breaking news situations; have strong editorial judgment; and be able to interact with high-profile talent. Click here to apply.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Director of sales for Townsquare Media’s four-station Cedar Rapids (Iowa) cluster, Brian Sines, transfers to Texarkana (Texas/Arkansas) to become market president/chief revenue officer of the company’s five stations there. Townsquare senior vice president Todd Lawley notes, “I have worked with Brian the past five years and watched him build Cedar Rapids into one of the top performing clusters at Townsquare. The Cedar Rapids market hasn’t missed a budget in three years and holds a dominant position with both their broadcast and digital performance. I’m confident that Brian will quickly build upon the high performing team that serves the community, our listeners, and the clients of Texarkana. It is extremely rewarding to again have the ability to promote from within, which is a direct reflection to the level of talent we have at Townsquare.” Sines remarks, “I am excited to join the team in Texarkana. Townsquare is fortunate to have such a long-tenured team in place that truly cares about our clients, our listeners, and super serves the community. I look forward to working with the number one media team in the market and starting a budget-busting streak of our own.” Sines formerly held market manager, GSM, and director of sales positions in Des Moines, Madison (Wisconsin), and Burlington (Iowa) at stations owned by the then-Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). Townsquare Media’s five Texarkana stations are country KKYR “Kicker 102.5”; CHR KPWW “Power 95.9”; classic rock KYGL “Eagle 106.3”; urban AC KMJI “Magic 93.3”; and gospel KOSY “790 AM.” ….. Program director Al Payne has left Cumulus Media Kansas City urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3.” Prior to his KC tenure, Payne programmed in Dallas (KRNB); Washington, DC (WKYS); Detroit (WMGC, WGPR, WDMK); Baltimore (WERQ, WWIN); and Greensboro (WQMG) ….. WLXX “92.9 Nash FM,” Lexington (Kentucky) promotes on-air talent Deidre Ransdell to program director of the Cumulus Media country outlet. Cumulus Lexington general manager Scott Frazier opines, “Having Deidre Ransdell as WLXX program director is like naming [Houston Astros RHP] Justin Verlander as your starter in game one of the World Series. She brings talent, experience, drive, and the will-to-win to the station. I’m very much looking forward to working with her.” Operations manager Anthony “Twitch” Longo comments, “It’s a great day when we get to promote someone as talented and hardworking as Deidre. She is a force to be reckoned with; to say I am excited to have her at the helm of “92.9 Nash FM” is an understatement.” After a 15-year career in education, Ransdell has been a Lexington on-air talent the past 18 years. She joined WLXX’s morning show in 2001 and has been heard in various other day-parts on the station. Last year, Ransdell added overnights at Nashville’s co-owned/similarly formatted WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon” and is heard on various other country stations on Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Radio Network …. As voted by the Academy of Country Music membership, the ACM announces its officers for the 2019 – 2020 term. They are: Ed Warm (chair); Lori Badgett (president); Chuck Aly (vice president); Carmen Romano (treasurer); Gayle Holcomb (sergeant-at-arms); Paul Moore (parliamentarian); and Tommy Moore (secretary). Outgoing chair Duane Clark comments, “The Academy’s history is one of continually building upon its successes and supporting the artists we love, and the music they create that shapes our culture. I am grateful for – and proud of – the hard work and dedication of the Academy’s board, our partners, and our passionate staff. With Ed [Warm] stepping in as chair, I am confident we are in the best hands to guide our organization to new heights.” Warm remarks, “I have greatly enjoyed my involvement with the Academy and am looking forward to carrying the torch from Duane. I’m proud to work with the many talented industry people who volunteer their time for our artists, industry, and fans.” ….. Adult contemporary WLDR “101.9 – Northern Michigan’s Music Leader,” Traverse City joins Blarney Stone Broadcasting rock sibling WQON “Q-100,” Grayling (Michigan) as an affiliate on the Detroit Lions radio network. Blarney Stone Broadcasting president/chief executive officer Sheryl Coyne notes, “We know how important Detroit Lions football is to their passionate fan base in Northern Michigan; we’re proud to be able to deliver all the games in such professional broadcasts.”
Rasberry Receives MIW “Airblazer Award.” Longtime co-host of YEA Networks’ syndicated “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” Kellie Rasberry, was honored with the 2019 MIW “Airblazer Award” during the 31st annual Talentmasters Morning Show Bootcamp (MSBC). Radio Advertising Board president/chief executive officer Erica Farber made the presentation. Now in its fifth year, the MIW “Airblazer Award” stems from an alliance formed between the MIW Group and MSBC and honors a deserving on-air radio personality. In addition to her work as co-host of “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” Rasberry co-hosts (with her husband, Allen Evans) the weekly podcast, “A Sandwich and Some Lovin.’” She is on the board of directors of Kidd’s Kids, a non-profit organization that takes children with life-altering conditions to all-expenses paid trips to Disney World with their family. After more than two decades in radio, Rasberry has won several “Favorite Female Radio Personality of the Year” awards. She was a co-host on Fox Television’s “Dish Nation,” “Love Letters with Matthew & Kellie,” and webcast of the “Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.” During “Women of Radio Week,” she co-hosted “Live! With Regis.” Pictured (left to right) are Farber, Rasberry, and 2018 MIW “Airblazer Award” honoree Mercedes Martinez of Entercom Las Vegas hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.”
July 2019 PPM Data. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for Boston, Miami, and Seattle. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.
Spoken-Word Formats – Winning ways continue for iHeartMedia news/talk WRKO, which nets +1.5 via seven successive positive or neutral trends (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.6, 6+). Moreover, July’s impressive +.9 propels “AM 680 – The Voice of Boston” all the way into the top ten (#12 to #8), with 3.6 (6+) surpassing November 2014’s 3.3. Up one-tenth in consecutive sweeps (.4 – .5 – .6, June and July, 6+), co-owned WXKS-AM “Talk 1200” repeats at #26.
The combined sports talk share of this sports crazy market’s two high-powered FMs deflates by -2.4 (June 2019 – July 2019, 6+) with Beasley Media Group-owned WBZ-FM absorbing 75% of that hit (5.6 – 3.8, fourth to seventh, 6+). Nine recent shifts for “98.5 The Sports Hub” include: +.9 (October 2018); +.8 (November); -1.0 (December); +.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.6 (January 2019); -.8 (February); +.8 (May); -1.4 (June); and July’s whopping -1.8. “The Sports Hub” is the lead station of the Stanley Cup runner-up Bruins; Super Bowl champion New England Patriots; and the Celtics. The month-to-month drop-off for Entercom-owned sports talk WEEI-FM is one-third that of “The Sports Hub” (3.9 – 3.3, -.6, 6+); the flagship of the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox flagship slips from eighth to tenth. Sample shifts for WEEI-FM include: -.5 (September 2018); +.5 (October); +.6 (November); -2.0 (December); -.7 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.7 (January 2019); -1.0 (February); -.5 (March); +.6 (April); and -.6 (July).
WBZ-AM is truly locked on 5.0 (6+), as that is what “News Radio 1030” logs for the fifth successive month. The iHeartMedia-owned news-talk hybrid progresses from sixth to fifth; it was +1.3 in January/February (4.3 – 5.5 – 5.6, 6+).
By regaining the one-tenth it lost in June (3.5 – 3.4 – 3.5, 6+), Boston University news/talk WBUR returns to the top ten (#11 to #9, 6+), while WGBH Educational Foundation news/talk WGBH repeats June’s 6+ AQH share (2.2) and market rank (#16).
Boston Music Formats – Not only does Beasley Media Group classic hits-oldies WROR replicate June’s increase of six-tenths (7.6 – 8.2 – 8.8, 6+), “105.7 – 80s & More” is #1 for the fourth month in a row. When WROR dropped two-tenths in May, it snapped at four a consecutive string of up or flat trends that netted a +2.2 (5.6 – 6.2 – 6.8 – 7.8 – 7.8, 6+). Boston’s (6+) pacesetters thus far this calendar year have been: iHeartMedia-owned CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108 – Boston’s #1 Hit Music Station” (January, 7.3, and February, 7.4, 6+); WROR (March and April, 7.8 – both times, 6+); WROR and WXKS-FM (May, 7.6, 6+); WROR (June, 8.2 and July, 8.8, 6+). At the same time that iHeartMedia-owned WBWL “101.7 The Bull Boston’s #1 For New Hit Country” improves by six-tenths (2.1 – 2.7, #17 to #13, 6+), Beasley Media Group’s WKLB “Country 102.5” regresses by seven-tenths (4.7 – 4.0, seventh to sixth, 6+). A June loss of three-tenths by “The Bull” ended six successive sweeps without a loss that netted six-tenths (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.2 – 2.4, 6+). This is the highest 6+-share for “The Bull” since August 2017 (2.7, as well). “Country 102.5, meanwhile was a cumulative +1.3 in four straight “Holiday 2018 through April 2019 bumps (3.5 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.2 – 4.8, 6+). In four consecutive positive spikes, Northeast Broadcasting triple A WXRV gained a collective nine-tenths (1.8 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.7, 6+), but “92.5 The River – Boston’s Independent Radio” forfeits six-tenths to 2.1 (#12 to #17, 6+). Up a combined-eight-tenths in May/June (6.1 – 6.2 – 6.9, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary WMJX “Magic 106.7 – Today’s Hits/Yesterday’s Favorites” forfeits one-half share to 6.4 (6+) but continues in third-place. June’s 6.9 was its highest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2018’s 14.5. Albeit a collective -1.2 in six straight down or flat moves (3.1 – 2.8 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR WJMN “Jam’n 94.5” improves from #19 to #18. In the market’s CHR arena, iHeartMedia’s aforementioned WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” is a combined -.7 in June/July (7.6 – 7.2 – 6.9, 6+) but repeats in the runner-up slot. A one-half share increase in May took “Kiss 108” to 7.6, its strongest 6+-performance since August 2018’s 7.8. Meanwhile, Entercom’s similarly-formatted WODS “103.3 Amp Radio” is down or flat the sixth straight time for a net loss of four-tenths (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.1, #17 to #16, 6+).
English-Language Spoken-Word Formats – In three straight sweeps without an increase, iHeartMedia news/talk WIOD “News Radio 620 – Miami’s News, Traffic, & Weather Station” has lost just two-tenths and carries on at #18 (2.7 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+).
Seven successive sweeps without a loss yielded three-tenths for Entercom’s WAXY (.6 – .6 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .8 – .9 – .9, 6+), but “Sports Talk 790 The Ticket” is off one-tenth in July to .8 (#25 to #26, 6+). Co-owned WQAM – which recently rebranded from “Sports Radio 560” to “560 The Joe” – has a January 2019 through July 2019 topline of .6 – .5 – .7 – .5 – .6 – .5 – 6 (#29 to #30, 6+).
While it remains at #20, Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN falters by four-tenths to 1.9 (6+), thus snapping four straight up or flat reports that produced a net gain of two-tenths (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.3, 6+).
Miami Music Formats – Without an increase the last three ratings periods and down three-tenths in that March through June stretch (2.9 – 2.9 – 2.6 – 2.6, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned urban contemporary WMIB “103.5 The Beat” ends the slide with a +.6 to 3.2 (6+) and jumps from #16 to #12. This is its best 6+-showing since December 2018 (3.2, as well). In four straight drops, Spanish contemporary sibling WZTU was a collective -1.7 (5.1 – 4.8 – 4.7 – 4.1 – 3.4, 6+). “Tu 94.9” pulls the plug in July though by picking up three tenths to 3.7 (6+) and returns to the top ten (#12 to #10). June’s 3.4 was its weakest 6+-stat since October 2017 (3.4, as well). Flat at #15, Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish contemporary WRMA “Ritmo 95.7,” which had faltered by seven-tenths in four consecutive sweeps without an increase (3.4 – 3.3 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.7, 6+), gains one-tenth to 2.8 (6+). Miami’s pacesetter the seventh consecutive ratings period (including a three-way tie at #1 in February), Cox Media Group-owned adult contemporary WFEZ “Easy 93.1,” follows June’s increase of eight-tenths with a July loss of three-tenths (6.8 – 7.6 – 7.3, 6+). Eight-tenths has been a common fluctuation recently for “Easy” as it was down eight-tenths in February; up by that magnitude in March; and up again by eight-tenths in June. Entering the “Holiday” 2018 sweep, “Easy 93.1” finished on top seven straight times. Following three up or flat trends in succession that netted nine-tenths (2.9 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.8, 6+), CHR cluster-mate WFLC returns roughly half that increase with a one-half share decline to 3.3 (6+). As a result, “Hits 97.3” exits the top ten (#9 to #11); June’s 3.8 was its highest 6+-share since December 2017’s 4.0. “Hits 97.3” responded to March’s one-tenth loss with an April increase of six-tenths. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia-owned/similarly-formatted WHYI “Y-100 Miami’s #1 Hit Music Station” recaptures half of June’s loss of four-tenths (2.6 – 2.8, +.2, 6+) and advances from #16 to #15. When “Y-100” added one-tenth in March, it curtailed five straight reports without an increase for a collective setback of nine-tenths (3.4 – 3.3 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.5, 6+). WHYI posted a half-share increase in May. Even though Entercom’s similarly-formatted WLYF picks up one-tenth to 5.5 (6+), thus suspending four straight sweeps without an increase that led to an overall -1.2 (6.6 – 6.2 – 6.2 – 6.1 – 5.4, 6+), “101.5 Lite FM” slips to #4. It had been in third-place the past four months. Anchored at #7, Cox Media Group urban contemporary WEDR “99 Jamz” is a collective -1.1 through six straight negative or neutral moves (5.2 – 4.7 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.1, 6+). Spanish Broadcasting System-owned Spanish tropical WXDJ is -1.1 in five straight down or flat trends (4.9 – 4.8 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.0 – 3.8, 6+) as “El Zol 106.7” falls from eighth to ninth.
Spoken-Word Formats – Recapturing the three-tenths it dropped in June (4.9 – 4.6 – 4.9, 6+), Bonneville news/talk KIRO-FM remains in fifth-place. Co-owned KTTH “Conservative Talk Radio” is up a cumulative one-half share in three straight sweeps without a loss (1.2 – 1.2, 1.4 – 1.7, flat at #22, 6+). This comes directly after losing roughly 43% (-.9) of its 6+-stat due to three straight down or flat trends (2.1 – 1.4 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+). In five successive negative or neutral reports, Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned KVI “Talk Radio 570” has lost more than half (-.9) of its 6+ AQH share since February (1.6 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.1 – .7, #24 to #26, 6+).
Bonneville sports talk/Mariners’ flagship KIRO-AM “ESPN 710” is a collective -1.3 in three straight drops (4.3 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.0, #13 to #14, 6+). With its 6+ stat sliced by more than 60% (-.9) via four consecutive slips (1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – .6 – .5, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned KJR-AM “Seattle’s Sports Radio 950” falls from #27 to #28.
For the third time in the last four sweeps, Sinclair Broadcast Group all-news KOMO logs a 2.8 (2.8 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 2.8, #16 to #15, 6+).
This calendar year, Northwest Public Radio news/talk KUOW has ranked #1 (January, February, and March); #2 (April); #1 (May); #3 (June); and now #2 (5.6 – 5.5, -.1, July 2019, 6+).
Seattle Music Formats – June’s first-place tie is broken with an exclamation point. Specifically, iHeartMedia-owned KZOK “102.5 Seattle’s Classic Rock Station” dials up a July uptick of nine-tenths and has the top spot all to itself. At the same time, Hubbard Broadcasting CHR KQMV “MOViN’ 92.5 – Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station” surrenders eight-tenths (6.1 – 5.3, 6+) and segues from that first-place tie to #3. Thus, the two stations that were locked together in June are now separated by nearly two full-shares. There’s much more to the story though as KZOK is an impressive +3.3 owing to eight straight bumps (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 4.8 – 5.6 – 6.0 – 6.1 – 7.0, 6+). Immediately in advance of this positive run, KZOK was -1.6 in four consecutive ratings periods without an increase (5.3 – 5.1 – 4.9 – 4.9 – 3.7, 6+). A collective -1.0 in four successive down or flat trends (7.0 – 6.8 – 6.8 – 6.6 – 6.0, 6+), KQMV applied the brakes in June with a gain of one-tenth. “MOViN’” made it to #1 in April, the first time it reached the lead spot since November 2018. Tacking on six-tenths to July’s boost of eight-tenths (3.7 – 4.5 – 5.1, 6+), iHeartMedia adult hits KJAQ “96.5 Jack FM Playing What We Want” jumps from sixth to fourth. Moreover, Seattle’s version of “Jack” reaches the five-share threshold (5.1, 6+) for the first time in nearly ten years (5.0, October 2009). Not only has Hubbard Broadcasting’s KNUC more than doubled (+2.2) its 6+ AQH share in eight successive up or flat sweeps (2.1 – 2.1 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.3, 6+), “New Country 98.9 The Bull” enters the top ten (#11 to #8). Furthermore, it leapfrogs Entercom’s KKWF “100.7 The Wolf – #1 For Country,” which erases May’s +.9 with June/July’s combined -.9 (5.0 – 4.5 – 4.1, 6+) and exits the top ten (#6 to #12). Prior to April, when it regressed by six-tenths, “The Wolf” was a cumulative +1.4 as a result of three straight upticks (3.3- 4.3 – 4.5 – 4.7, 6+). Bustos Media regional Mexican KDDS “99.3 La Gran D” pops on with a .7 (6+) and checks in at #26. Not only does a loss of six-tenths to 4.2 (6+) by Entercom’s KISW curtail three consecutive positive spikes that produced a +1.1 (3.7 – 4.0 – 4.5 4.8, 6+), “Rock 99.9” fades from the top ten (#4 to #11). This is the third month in a row that Entercom adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound” (4.5 – 4.4, -.1, flat at #6, 6+) and Hubbard Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted KRWM “Warm 106.9” (4.4 – 4.3, -.1, ninth to eighth, 6+) are separated by one-tenth. Prior to eroding by -1.1 in April, “The Sound” was an overall +1.5 through three consecutive increases (3.7 – 3.8 – 5.1 – 5.2, 6+). Entering the May sweep, “Warm 106.9” recorded a 4.8 (6+) in three of the previous four reports (4.8 – 4.0 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+) and was #1 in December and “Holiday” 2018. Without an increase the seventh time in a row for a collective -2.3 (5.1 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+), Sinclair Broadcast Group hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5 Today’s Best Mix” is now in a four-way tie at #15.
Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.” During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
CBS Reports Q4 2016 and Full-Year Financials; CBS Presented as Discontinued Operation. The latter is due to the pending merger of CBS Radio with Entercom and it means that CBS did not present any revenue information or operating income metrics for the radio division. Here’s what the company has to say about the Entercom deal: “In connection with the transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to CBS Corporation and its stockholders, the Company intends to split-off CBS Radio through an exchange offer immediately prior to the merger. The merger will create a well-capitalized company with a market cap in excess of $2 billion, a strong balance sheet, significant free cash flow, and the ability to pay an attractive dividend. The combined company is expected to generate meaningful cost synergies within 12-18 months after the merger. The Company expects to complete the transaction in the second half of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.” In a press statement, CBS Corporation chairman and CEO Les Moonves states, “2016 was a phenomenal year for the CBS Corporation, with all-time highs in revenue, operating income, and EPS [earnings per share] that came in above $4 for the first time in our Company’s history; and as we begin 2017, I couldn’t be more excited about our growth prospects in the years ahead.” During yesterday’s investor conference call, COO Joseph Ianniello addressed the radio deal, saying, “CBS shareholders who participate in this split-off will own 72% of the combined company which will have best-in-class assets and will clearly be the best capitalized radio company in the industry. The combined radio business will benefit from increased scale, stronger cash flow and real operational synergies which should drive higher profitability. The new company will also have the ability to pay an attractive dividend.”
Cumulus Extends Early Tender Date for Note Exchange. This is the third extension of Cumulus Media Inc’s offer for its previously announced private exchange offer for 7.75% Senior Notes due 2019 issued by Cumulus Media Holdings Inc. Obviously not satisfied with the number of takers, the company is extending the early tender date to March 6 (5:00 pm ET). The company explains that “Eligible Holders tendering their Outstanding Notes prior to the Early Tender Date, as extended that are accepted for exchange, will receive the ‘Total Exchange Consideration.’” That exchange includes “revolving loans, the participation interests, the trust certificates and the shares of Class A common stock (or warrants, if applicable), Class D common stock and Class E common stock.”
TALKERS Editorial Board Tackling Freedom of Speech Award Decision. The TALKERS magazine editorial board has begun the sensitive and often-controversial task of deciding its annual roster of major award recipients in the categories of “Lifetime Achievement,” “Woman of the Year,” “Humanitarian of the Year,” and “Freedom of Speech” – the latter being the most potentially contentious of all – especially in today’s highly charged, politically polarized news/talk environment. In his weekly address to the editors, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This award is always a sensitive issue because freedom of speech is one of the most difficult concepts to explain and the award is doubly difficult to defend – especially when a significant percentage of people immediately assume that the organization presenting the honor necessarily endorses the political position of the recipient.” Harrison continued, “TALKERS has a distinguished history of non-partisanship in its editorial coverage of political news/talk media and this has been reflected in the diversity of positions held by the recipients of this prestigious award over the decades. The award is not a reward for saying something ‘controversial’ with which we necessarily agree but, rather, for conducting oneself as a broadcaster in a manner that clearly displays the tenets of the First Amendment in action, as well as showing the courage of one’s convictions in facing the negative blowback and consequences of one’s public stance.” Harrison cited Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and former WTMJ, Milwaukee host Charlie Sykes among worthy candidates to be considered for this year’s honor, stating, “Hannity showed amazing courage coming out early and unswervingly for Donald Trump when it was not clear which way his core audience would swing and what the outcome of the primary and general election would be. Medved, also a conservative, came out early against Trump and then stuck to his guns as an objective observer of the candidate and now-president’s pros and cons as he sees them – even against negative criticism from his listeners and even members of his own syndication company. Sykes actually let his cool job in Milwaukee slide away rather than back down from his perception of the truth.” Harrison concluded, “And there are many more examples of news/talk hosts having to take a principled stand with uncertain consequences as a result of this turbulent but exciting chapter of talk radio history in the making.” The TALKERS awards will be presented on Friday, June 2 at Talkers 2017: A New Era in New York City. For information about the 20th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest running and most important national convention, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Beginning with this year’s 2017 NFL season, Washington Redskins football play-by-play (including some pre- and post-game programming) will be heard on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. The games will continue to air on Red Zebra properties WTEM, Washington “ESPN980”; WWXT, Prince Frederick, Maryland; and WWXX, Buckland, Virginia. This is a homecoming of sorts for Redskins football; the team’s games have aired on WMAL-AM from time-to-time as far back as 1942. WMAL-AM/FM vice president and GM Jake McCann comments, “We are excited and honored to be working with the Redskins again. The Redskins and WMAL were partners during the team’s three glorious Super Bowl-winning seasons. We look forward to bringing the combined assets of WMAL to this exciting, renewed partnership.”…..NBA All-Star 2017 begins today and SiriusXM is offering coverage with special, live programming from New Orleans on its NBA Radio channel, in addition to the live broadcast of the 66th NBA All-Star Game. Coverage will be hosted by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jason Terry, former players Eddie Johnson and Tim Legler, as well as Frank Isola, Jason Jackson, Joel Meyers, Justin Termine and Brian Geltzeiler…..The Forbes on PodcastOne network premieres “The Forbes List” today (2/16), featuring an in-depth look at the world’s top billionaires. The show – hosted by Jordan Harbinger dives into the stories behind Forbes’ most famous lists, including the Forbes 400 list featuring the wealthiest Americans, as well as lists covering celebrities, music, sports, entrepreneurs, companies and the world’s most powerful people. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz comments, “This makes our third launch of a new Forbes podcast and points out the strong relationship between Forbes and PodcastOne. Jordan Harbinger has hosted “Art of Charm,” which consistently ranks in iTunes’ top 10. This provides a combination that’s tough to beat.”
Violent Tragedy Strikes Dominican Radio Station. Two radio journalists were shot dead and a third staffer was seriously wounded in a raid on a radio station in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Numerous news outlets are reporting that news presenter Luis Manuel Medina and station director Leonidas Martinez were killed when unidentified men entered the station and shot Medina while he read a newscast and Martinez as he sat in his office. Medina was streaming his newscast live on Facebook at the time of the attack. It took place at radio station 103.5 FM in San Pedro de Macoris, a town near Santo Domingo. The AFP reports that the organization Reporters without Borders states that journalists that investigate corruption and the drug business are often the victims of violent attacks.
Sports, Music, Politics and Talk Media. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined in a free-wheeling dialogue by his long-time friend, New York City radio broadcaster Richard Neer as his guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.” The two talk about the public’s and media’s obsession with Donald Trump, with an emphasis on the infiltration of sports and entertainment by political passions. Richard Neer brings his diverse background as a legendary Big Apple music radio host (WNEW-FM), sports talker (WFAN) and best-selling author of the landmark book FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) to the discussion which focuses on the rapid morphing of the traditional left/right talk media paradigm into a more complex resistance/revolution chess game. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Trump Campaign Russia Communications/Flynn Exit, Puzder Withdraws From Labor Secretary Nomination, Reince Preibus’ Status, Trump vs Intelligence Community, Fate of ObamaCare, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The controversy over the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and questions about the depth of communications between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian agents; Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder withdraws from consideration for the cabinet position; questions about the status of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus after unconfirmed reports President Trump is unhappy with his work; the contentious relationship between Trump and the intelligence community; the fate of the Affordable Care Act after Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told the Wall Street Journal the program is in a “death spiral”; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The performer and host lineups have been announced for the March 5 iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place at the Forum in Los Angeles. The evening will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and will air live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET will be broadcast on iHeartMedia-owned stations nationwide, as well as on the iHeartRadio. Performers will include: Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Shawn Mendes, Thomas Rhett, Noah Cyrus and Big Sean, in addition to the previously announced Bruno Mars…..Entercom San Diego is expanding the platform for its culinary audio feature, “Lick the Plate,” which has been airing on alternative KBZT “FM94/9,” adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1,” and country KSON. The David Boylan-hosted program will now be available in podcast format via the stations’ websites. The radio stations will continue to promote the show via on-air teaser segments. These changes take effect on February 27…..Radio programming for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards from Westwood One is being announced. Westwood One and Cumulus Media are the official national radio partners for the ACM Awards. There will be a three-hour ACM Nomination Special, hosted by Thomas Rhett, on March 25 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight as part of “NASH Nights Live.” The ACM Radio Row will take place on Friday, March 31 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm ET and Saturday, April 1 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. Then, the five-hour ACM Night Of Event Coverage will happen on Sunday, April 2 from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight…..Beasley Media Group’s adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia is announcing a new weekend program featuring Kathy Romano. The show is titled, “Her Story,” and will air Sundays at 7:30 am. Romano – who works for sister rock station WMMR as part of the “Preston & Steve” show – says, “I’m thrilled to be the host of ‘Her Story’ on 95.7 BEN FM! This is giving me the opportunity for some girl talk that just doesn’t make sense on WMMR’s ‘Preston & Steve’ show. There are so many amazing women with fascinating stories that we just don’t get to hear. Every Sunday morning I’m going to bring listeners the great stories these dynamic women have to tell!”…..Radio One hip hop outlet WKYS, Washington announces that Danni Starr is joining “The Fam in The Morning” as co-host alongside QuickSilva. Radio One DC SVP and general manager Jeff Wilson comments, “Danni is the full package. She’s amazingly smart, well versed in music and community activism. Danni is authentic and transparent about her struggles and victories. That kind of energy and wit will serve our listeners well on-air, in social media and on the street.” Starr has worked in radio for more than a decade and is the face of TLCme on the TLC network.
Midland Pays Valentine’s Day Visit to NASH Campus. New country act and Big Machine recording group Midland is pictured here with “NASH Nights Live” co-hosts Elaina Smith (second from left) and Shawn Parr (second from right).
PPM Analysis: Country. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the ratings performances of country-formatted stations based on Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2016 PPM survey. In this report, see charts detailing country stations’ (6+) numbers over the past six PPM surveys, fluctuations from December to the Holiday survey, comparisons to performances in the Holiday 2015 and Holiday 2016 surveys, station market ranks and more. Click here for more.