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Monday, January 3, 2022

| January 3, 2022

Monday Memo: CES, Carefully. Like most conventions a year ago, CES2021 settled for virtual. But this week, it’s game-on in Las Vegas. And there – vax’d, boosted, tested, masked, and toting the jug-handle-size bottle of hand sanitizer – is Holland Cooke. Read more here.

 

Pending Business: A New Year’s Lesson. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says a holiday chat with a former associate recalled a memorable case of a radio seller who transitioned from newspapers and the switch was not smooth sailing at first. But persistence and management support saved the day. Read more here.

Ratings Takeaways from Nielsen’s December PPM Survey. Last week, Nielsen Audio released December 2021 ratings data for all 48 PPM markets. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from those markets for the period that covered November 11 to December 8. Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was the top spoken-word station in New York, adding two-tenths for a 3.8 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) good for the #8 rank. In Los Angeles, although it shed four-tenths, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI posted a 3.1 share and rose to the #7 rank. Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago fell out of first place to the #2 rank though it remained steady with a 5.7 share, while Nexstar Media’s crosstown news/talk WGN-AM was flat with a 3.7 share but rose to the #8 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta lost 2.7 shares, finishing with a 6.6 share and falling from #1 to #4. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM added two-tenths for a 3.7 share and inched up to the #11 rank while Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM dipped nine-tenths for a 6.8 share good for the #4 rank. Even though Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle added one-tenth, its 6.6 share was only good enough for the #2 rank. The news/talk battle in Salt Lake City flipped as iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-AM/FM remained ranked #2 after slipping one-tenth to a 7.1 share while Bonneville’s crosstown KSL-AM/FM lost 1.5 shares for a 6.0 share finish causing it to fall from #1 to #5. The news/talk wars in Milwaukee showed some separation as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM remained ranked #1,  posting its second consecutive 10.3 share while Good Karma Brands‘ crosstown WTMJ-AM fell five-tenths to a 7.1 share and finished ranked #4. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from all 48 PPM markets here.

Salem’s WIND-AM, Chicago Adds to News and Traffic Operations. Changes in the news and traffic departments are taking place at Salem Media Group’s Chicago news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” Long time morning news anchor Mike Scott – who has anchored newscasts on the station between 5:00 am and 12:00 noon each weekday for the past 17 years – will join Salem as full-time news director and continue anchoring news and traffic. Scott had appeared on the station through an agreement between Salem, Total Traffic and Weather Network, and NBC News Radio. That agreement is not being renewed.  Scott says, “I’m incredibly gratified to be able to continue in my role on the air with AM 560 and Salem Media. We have some of the best listeners in all of Chicago radio and some of the best on-air talent. I look forward to providing the first look at the day’s news for our audience.” Scott will also assume anchoring duties for the Salem Podcast Network’s “Daybreak Insider Podcast,” which launched in September of 2021. Additionally, JoAnn Genette will join WIND as an afternoon news anchor through an agreement with Remote News Service. She will anchor weekday afternoon newscasts through 6:30 pm. Also, longtime Chicago traffic reporter Jill Urchak will begin handling afternoon traffic reports for the station. Urchak has spent close to 25 years as a traffic reporter in Chicago, including at WGN-AM, WBBM-AM, WSCR-AM, and WLUP-FM, as well as WBBM-TV. Salem regional VP and WIND general manager Jeff Reisman says, “News and traffic are cornerstone elements for our format and for our radio station. Keeping Mike Scott on our team while also adding JoAnn and Jill solidifies our commitment to serve our audience. We have a team of veteran broadcasters with experience and insight that our listeners can trust.”

Zederman Named Director of Content for ‘ESPN 1000’ in Chicago. At Chicago sports talk outlet WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000,” Good Karma Brands names Danny Zederman director of content. Zederman joins the leadership team as a 15-year veteran of “ESPN 1000.” Zederman has been serving as executive producer of the “Kap & J.Hood” show. He says, “I’m grateful to Good Karma Brands for the opportunity and am excited to work alongside ESPN 1000’s market manager Keith Williams, to lead and collaborate with our talented teammates and partners. My goal is to continue entertaining our fans, grow the ESPN Chicago brand on all platforms and add value to the community.” Williams says, “We’re excited to announce Danny Zederman as ESPN Chicago’s director of content.  Danny’s strategy and vision for our team in the future will allow us to grow to serve our partners, fans and teammates.”

Jimmy Failla Featured on FOX News’ New Year’s Celebration. Pictured above in Times Square prior to Friday’s New Year’s celebration is FOX News Radio host Jimmy Failla (right). With him is FOX News Radio manager of affiliate sales & marketing Tamara Karcev (left) and KTTH, Seattle talk host Jason Rantz (center). Failla was featured as one of the FOX personalities on the “All American New Year Live from Nashville” special that aired on New Year’s Eve.

TALKERS News Notes. Over the New Year’s holiday weekend, Ric Edelman debuted his new, nationally syndicated radio program, “The Truth About Your Future with Ric Edelman,” on 26 affiliates around the country. Edelman hosted AgeWave founder Dr. Ken Dychtwald on the program. Edelman says, “If you’re alive in 2030, you will likely live to age 100 or beyond. We need to make sure that your money lasts as long as you do, and that’s why I’m focusing on the topics that matter to investors today. The investments of the past 40 years won’t deliver the results you need in the future, so I’ll be sharing the ideas and strategies you need to achieve success in the 21st century.”…..The Independent Broadcasters Association’s board of directors elects officers for the 2022-2023 term. Ron Stone was re-elected for a second term as president and executive director of the IBA. Two of the other officers were also re-elected, Darrell Calton, chairman and assistant secretary and Allen Dick, VP and treasurer. Tony Renda was elected as secretary and assistant treasurer, replacing Mike Flood. Stone says, “I am pleased that the board has re-elected three of the founding officers for an additional term. I am very excited to have Tony Renda as one of our leaders in the next term. Tony has been instrumental in helping the IBA with many of the initiatives we took on in our first two years.  The IBA has succeeded in its first 18 months delivering many new ways for its members to save on operational costs, create new revenues, and benefit from all the professionals in the industry that are working with us. We have said from the beginning that a large independent membership provides scale and with scale we can deliver many great things for independent broadcasters.  I am looking forward to working with our management team to establish new goals for the IBA for 2022 and 2023.”

COVID-19, New Year’s Holiday, Twitter Boots MTG, January 6 Investigation, Colorado Wildfires, NASCAR ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Issue, Betty White Dies, Antonio Brown Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The exploding rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Omicron variant, and vaccine mandates; the New Year’s holiday, 2021 retrospectives, and predictions for 2022; Twitter permanently cancels account of Marjorie Taylor Greene; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the wildfires that devastated the Boulder, Colorado area; criticism over NASCAR for “reviewing” Brandon Brown’s crypto sponsorship and the “Let’s Go, Brandon” slogan; entertainment icon Betty White dies at 99; and Antonio Brown’s bizarre exit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of Sunday’s game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

| November 3, 2021

iHeartMedia and DraftKings Enter into Multiplatform Deal. This new relationship between iHeartMedia and DraftKings is a “multi-year strategic relationship, making DraftKings the official odds supplier for iHeartMedia’s broadcast, digital, podcast and social platforms.” As part of this deal, DraftKings is now able to co-create and distribute longform content with iHeartMedia and will receive preferred access to iHeartMedia’s full roster of diverse personalities. Furthermore, DraftKings and iHeartMedia will collaborate around a wide range of possible content development opportunities, including the distribution of shows and segments across the media giant’s radio and digital properties and integrations within iHeartMedia’s live sports broadcasts. DraftKings and iHeartMedia will also collaborate on a number of possible experiential opportunities for listeners and fans including providing cross platform interactive games. iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group CEO Greg Ashlock says, “Even though we are number one in audio sports programming, we continue to build new sports content and DraftKings is an ideal partner as we expand and innovate. DraftKings is a premier sports technology and entertainment company that provides millions of customers with the best in real-money gaming products along with exceptional safety and security through various responsible gaming measures. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership everywhere sports betting is permissible.”

Round Two of October PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s October 2021 survey period covered September 16 – October 13. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM adds a full share to finish the survey with a 4.2 share (6+, weekly AQH share) and rises to the #8 rank in the market. At Bonneville’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM, the station dips two-tenths for an 8.3 share and falls back to the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston tacks on two-tenths for a 4.1 share and the #8 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM dips four-tenths for a 6.2 share but remains ranked #3. But, the winner in Boston is Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” which adds six-tenths for an 8.0 share finish good for #1. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM continues in the #1 position even though it shed three-tenths and wrapped the survey with a 6.8 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round) here.

Former President Trump Featured in New Starnes Book. Pictured above is nationally syndicated talk radio host and author Todd Starnes (right) with former President Donald Trump (left) at Mar-a-Lago in in Florida where the two sat down for a 90-minute interview that will be the centerpiece of Starnes’ new book about American culture set to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2022.

Jake Query Partners with Kevin Bowen for Mornings on Emmis’ ‘The Fan 93.5 & 107.7.’ Indianapolis sports talk personality Jake Query is joining Emmis Communications’ Indy sports talker “The Fan 93.5 & 107.5” (WIBC-HD2/W228CX/W298BB) to co-host the morning drive program with current morning personality Kevin Bowen. Query was most recently with iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talk WNDE-AM as co-host of the “Query and Schultz Show.” The new “Kevin & Query” show will air weekdays from 7:00 am to 10:0 am beginning Monday (11/8). Emmis Indianapolis VP of programming David Wood says, “Jake is an Indianapolis sports lifer and a gifted storyteller. It was clear that Kevin and Jake had an instant and interesting chemistry when they did several shows together in October. They are going to give Indy sports fans a consistently fun and informative show.” Query says, “During the last 22 months, I’ve been fortunate to gain many valuable, and previously overlooked, personal perspectives. One thing that needed no further solidification was my love for the city of Indianapolis. To be given the privilege to again speak to and with people from all corners and backgrounds of this town means the world to me. I’m grateful for the opportunity and am excited to be part of the trajectory of the morning show on ‘The Fan.’ It’s a great honor.”

Paul Windisch Named GSM for SummitMedia Springfield, Missouri. Radio sales pro Paul Windisch joins SummitMedia as general sales manager for the company’s Springfield, Missouri station group that includes news/talk KSGF-AM/FM and three music brands. Prior to joining SummitMedia, Windisch owned Freedom Consulting LLC, in which he helped companies grow through marketing consulting, sales training, recruitment, and operational strategy. Windisch says, “I believe we all should strive to bring out the best in others, whether that is the people I work with, peers, or clients. It’s clear Summit Media embodies these same principles, recognizing their people are their most important asset. I feel incredibly blessed and excited to join this company.”

Jerry Butler Upped to Market Manager for MARC Radio in Gainesville. Radio pro Jerry Butler is promoted to market manager for MARC Radio’s Gainesville, Florida that includes Christian teaching/talk WTMN/WRZN/WIWA and five music brands. Butler joined the company 14 months ago and has been leading the group’s local sales efforts. MARC Radio executive vice president Dave Cobb says, “Jerry Butler is an impressive mix of on-air talent, industry knowledge, experience and most importantly, results. Despite the economic challenges of the past year, Jerry has navigated our stations and inspired our local sales team to record-breaking sales. He’s earned this promotion and we can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next at MARC.” Butler adds, “My cause has always been economic empowerment. MARC Radio has assembled a team of passionate broadcasters who share our commitment to quality and growth. It’s an honor to grow with this incredible company.”

Key Networks to Rep Radio’s Fresh Eyes. Syndication firm Key Networks announces it has inked a deal with Radio’s Fresh Eyes to represent the radio culture and leadership consultancy’s services to stations for cash or barter. Radio’s Fresh Eyes is led by radio industry pros Dave Paulus and John Shomby whose goal is to work with radio groups of all sizes “to create a dominant and unparalleled employee culture, giving stations actionable steps to a winning culture.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “When we started Key Networks, the goal was to be associated with the biggest brands and best in class product and people. Radio’s Fresh Eyes checks all the boxes, and I couldn’t be happier to be working with Dave and John on this project. They are consummate professionals who know all facets of the business and provide the leadership your station needs to win. That is Radio’s Fresh Eyes. They get it because they lived it. That’s all you need to know.”

NuVoodoo Names Andrea Parikh to Lead OOH Media-Trading Unit. Joining NuVoodoo Media Services to lead the firm’s new Out-of-Home Media-Trading unit is Andrea Parikh, whose title is digital OOH product developer and team leader. Parikh spent 16 years with Clear Channel Outdoor and in her new role will help NuVoodoo clients “leverage the intersection of mobile, social and digital media with billboards, transit shelters, street furniture and venue signage to reach consumers and in particular, the people most likely to participate in radio ratings.” NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert says, “We couldn’t be happier that the person who led the rollout of digital Out-of-Home, mobile and data products at one of the world’s leading Out-of-Home media companies is now available exclusively to NuVoodoo clients in the radio industry. We welcome Andrea to the NuVoodoo team and look forward to doing even more for our clients through her extensive relationships and deep expertise.”

VA and NJ Governor’s Races, COP26 Summit, Biden Spending Bills, COVID-19, SCOTUS Texas Abortion Case, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/2). Tuesday’s elections that saw Republican Glenn Youngkin defeat Democrat Terry McAuliffe for the Virginia governor’s seat and the still-too-close-to-call New Jersey gubernatorial race; the COP26 Summit in Glasgow and the issue of climate change; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $1.75 trillion economic plan; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the controversy over vaccine mandates, and vaccines approved for kids; the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Texas abortion law case; and the Atlanta Braves’ victory over the Houston Astros in the 2021 World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

| August 11, 2021

Phil Valentine Update: Doctors Focusing on Lungs. The latest update on the status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive host Phil Valentine published by Newsweek indicates that doctors “are focusing on treating the lungs of conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine, in what his family has described as a ‘critical issue.’” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and as the viral infection got worse, he was hospitalized and eventually put on a ventilator. Dan Mandis is the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm host on the station and has been communicating with Valentine’s listeners on behalf of his family. He wrote on Monday, “They are working on his lungs, that’s the critical issue right now. Other problems will come along but right now the focus is on his lungs. I’m hoping to have another update soon. #PrayForPhil.” The day before, Mandis posted, “Phil remains in critical condition this morning. There isn’t much new to report, but your continued prayers and support are appreciated. #PrayforPhil,” and later added that Valentine’s atrial fibrillation had improved, as well as his blood pressure. “The hope now is that his dependence on the vent will decrease and his lungs will improve.” The Newsweek piece also quotes Valentine’s longtime producer Johnny B saying, “I know I’d be emotional about this, but not to the point that I have. It’s been a very dark period, actually. I’ve really had to talk to myself, and my wife has helped me tremendously, my family’s helped me, and it’s not been easy. And my co-workers too have been very wonderful,” adding that Valentine is “just the nicest guy and loves to help people out.”

Round Two of July 2021 PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s July 2021 survey period covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM remains ranked #11 after tacking on one-tenth for a 3.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish. Meanwhile, Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM rises to #1 on the strength of a 1.1 share uptick and an 8.8 share finish. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston stays in the #9 position after dropping two-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 3.5 share. Sister all-news WBZ-AM is also steady at #5 after adding two-tenths for a 5.9 share finish. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM takes over the #1 rank after climbing 1.9 shares to a 7.8 share while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM drops from #1 to #4 after falling two-tenths to a 6.3 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the first round) here.

Nielsen’s Audio Today 2021 Study Says AM/FM Listening Hits Highest Level in Over a Year. The just released Audio Today 2021 study from Nielsen Audio – from June 2021 online survey data based on a weighted sample of 1,000 among persons 18-plus – indicates “nine in 10 now feel life is becoming more normal, and they’re resuming pre-pandemic activities, spending and listening.” The study also finds that, “among the employed, two thirds are now working outside the home, up more than 70% since the height of lock-down in the spring of 2020. As a result, the AM/FM radio audience just recorded its highest levels in over a year across Nielsen’s PPM markets.” Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly adds, “Listening may have migrated into the home during the past year via smart speaker or mobile device, but now we’re tracking the audience shift back to pre-pandemic habits with in-car and out-of-home consumption increasing. All the while, radio’s value proposition for marketers hasn’t budged: it specializes in reaching consumers who are ready to spend right now, while they’re in the marketplace, and does so in a controlled environment which protects the advertiser’s reputation… Elsewhere in the audio universe, podcast usage — which flat-lined last year — is also growing again as millions of new listeners are engaging with the hottest new audio marketing opportunity. We’re approaching one million available podcasts, with something literally for everyone including radio broadcasters who are nimbly using on-demand audio as an extension of their on-air brands. The question now is how can advertisers reach the right audience in the right podcast?”

Gow Media’s SportsMap Radio Network Adds Three New Shows. The SportsMap Radio Network announces the launch of three new programs to its weekday lineup. They are: “Just Sayin It with Cole Thompson” (5:00 am to 7:00 am ET), “In My Opinion with Denton Day” (9:00 am to 11:00 am ET), and “High Frequency with Kevin Dziepak” (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET). Thompson, who covers the NFL and college football for Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation, says, “This is the start of something special. I just can’t thank the staff here at SportsMap enough for giving me the chance. Not everyone is lucky enough for this opportunity, but I will certainly make the most of it.” Day states, “I’m extremely thankful for the chance to host a weekday show. I started at the company nearly three years ago doing one live hour on Sunday mornings. Craig Larson and David Gow allowed me the creative freedom to grow and it’s very rewarding to have all that hard work lead to this exciting opportunity.” Dziepak, who spent the last eight years with WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score,” comments, “My goal is really simple: just have fun and try to provide an entertaining and enjoyable product for those listening. I want to widen the scope of the show beyond sports as well, integrating pop culture, TV, music and whatever else can spark conversation; sort of a cosmic gumbo.” Gow Media CEO David Gow states, “We have a number of partners who produce fabulous content for our network. I’m very excited about each of these new shows. The opportunity to produce original, informative and entertaining programs will always be an indispensable part of our core business model.”

Paul Mason to Lead Titans Radio for Cumulus Nashville. Programming pro Paul Mason is appointed to lead programming operations for Titans Radio for Cumulus Media Nashville. The company says that Mason will continue to serve as program director for sports talk WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” and Middle Tennessee sports audio. The appointment comes after Cumulus and the NFL club extended their multi-year partnership for WGFX to serve as the official radio broadcasting home of the Tennessee Titans and Titans Radio. Longtime executive producer Rhett Bryan remains in his role with Titans Radio. Cumulus Nashville vice president and market manager Allison Warren comments, “From the beginning, we were seeking a creative visionary with a passion for sports entertainment to lead ‘104.5 The Zone,’ the dominant sports destination in Middle Tennessee. Clearly, Paul has stepped into that role and done exceptional work. Adding programming operations oversight to Titans Radio is a natural next step for Paul and we are confident he’ll continue to deliver the best live and local sports content to fans on both WGFX and Titans Radio.” Mason states, “I am excited to work with this amazing group of broadcasters. Mike Keith, coach Dave McGinnis, executive producer Rhett Bryan, and the entire Titans Radio team are among the best in sports, and I’m humbled to be a part of it. I also want to thank Allison Warren and [VP of programming operations] Charlie Cook for their confidence in me.”

TALKERS News Notes. Electronic voting firm Dominion Voting Systems is suing conservative video platforms OAN and Newsmax for defamation, alleging that they “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” about the company, relative to the presidential election of 2020. The complaint says they did so despite knowing the claims were false. Newsmax has issued the following statement regarding the suit: “While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the president, his advisors and members of Congress — Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press.”…..Focus360 announces that Forever Media is now a client as 29 Forever Media brands will be included in Focus360’s exclusive Jelli Plus networks including Jelli Male Plus, Jelli Female Plus and Jelli Music Plus. Focus360 CEO Phil Brown comments, “I’m elated to welcome such a storied media company to our Jelli Plus lineups. Forever Media covers some of the largest markets on the East Coast with incredible brands that super-serve their local audience. I’m honored that they have given us the opportunity to share that relationship with our advertising partners.”…..Edison Research unveils the results of its U.S. Top 50 Podcast chart for Q2 of 2021. The list ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report (which Edison says is the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads). The top three shows based on measurement from Q3 2020 – Q2 2021 are: “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “The Daily,” and “Crime Junkie.” You can see the rest of this Top 50 report here…..Public radio outlet WVXU, Cincinnati – operated by Cincinnati Public Radio – is dropping its music programming and will go all news/talk as of August 14, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The organization says its goal is to “bring a wider diversity of voices to Cincinnati airwaves.” It will use NPR, American Public Media, and other programming to fill its schedule.

Longtime Public Radio Broadcaster Neal Conan Dies at 71. The NPR website has Neal Conan’s obituary here. Conan passed away in Hawaii after a battle with glioblastoma. He was host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” for 11 years, until NPR cancelled the show in 2013. During his lifelong public radio career, he served with WBAI, New York and with NPR in numerous capacities, including as executive producer of “All Things Considered” and as news director.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Controversy, Cuomo Resigns, Infrastructure Bill/Dems’ Budget Resolution, Senate GOP Blocks Voting Bill, Social Media Suspensions, Dominion Lawsuit, and Prince Andrew Sued Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/10). The rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and the hotly debated mask policies for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns yet maintains innocence; the U.S. Senate passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution; Republicans in the Senate block Democrats’ attempts to revive the For the People voting act; Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene and YouTube suspends Rand Paul for “pandemic misinformation”; electronic voting firm Dominion sues OAN and Newsmax over “stolen election” broadcasts; and Britain’s Prince Andrew is sued by Virginia Giuffre for sexual abuse were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

| July 15, 2021

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s June 2021 survey period covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips four-tenths for a 3.6 share (6+ weekly AQH share) finish and the #11 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP also loses four-tenths, finishing the survey with a 7.7 share and falls to the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston sheds two-tenths for a 3.7 share but remains in the #9 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM also dips two-tenths for a 5.7 share and again finishes ranked #5 in the market. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM falls out of the #1 spot after losing seven-tenths and falling to a 5.9 share good for the #3 rank while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM adds 2.2 shares to climb to the #1 rank on the strength of a 6.5 share finish. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets here.

FCC Denies Petitions by Larry Wilson and Paul Stone to Nix Alpha Media Applications for Assignment of Licenses. Minority stake holders Larry Wilson and Paul Stone filed petitions with the FCC to deny the assignment of licenses for the stations that will comprise the new New Alpha, whose pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan has been approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In a ruling handed down on July 13, the FCC’s Audio Division, Media Bureau denied both petitions, paving the way for New Alpha to emerge as scheduled. Wilson argued two points: 1) that the FCC’s assigning the licenses would authorize the restructuring of the company thereby causing him economic injury as a minority stakeholder; and 2) that Alpha officers engaged in corporate misconduct by taking actions – including filing the prepackaged bankruptcy plan – without a vote of the board of directors. (Stone’s petition to deny centered around the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations.) In denying Wilson’s petition, the Media Bureau ruled that he (as well as Stone) has failed to show he has standing in the proceeding since his arguments center around his private interests and not the public interest with which the FCC in concerned. It adds that Wilson’s complaint about corporate governance is outside the Commission’s purview and belongs in a state court. You can read the ruling here.

WCNN-AM, Atlanta Unveils New Program Lineup. From a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM “The Fan” has made changes to its program lineup. First, joining the morning drive team of Brian Finneran and John Michaels are three station personalities from other dayparts. “Hometeam” Brandon Leak, Joe Hamilton, and Hutson Mason are joining the morning show on Monday (7/19) as the show changes names from “The Front Row” to “The Locker Room.” Midday host Buck Belue – currently paired with Mason – will go solo from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The new midday show will air from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and star Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino. The afternoon drive show hosted by Chuck Oliver and Matt Chernoff moves to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and its producers, Brian Hoyt and Carlos Medina, will host a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show called “Fun Bag” when Atlanta Braves games are not airing. Owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “We’ve got the deepest bench in town with local, live talent. It’s not about how many people are in the room. It’s about the right chemistry. It’s about the right energy. It’s about having the right diversity of voices to reflect the modern conversation about sports.”

Report: Good Karma Brands Talking with ESPN About New York and LA Radio Stations. According to a piece by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles owner ESPN is in “serious talks” with Good Karma Brands to have the latter operate those two stations as GKB is currently doing with ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Marchand writes, “ESPN would make such a move to reduce the head count on Disney’s books, which is nearly 40 people. In New York, it would also alleviate some of the massive cost that ESPN pays to Emmis Communications to lease the 98.7 FM signal. That would effectively put the local business sales and marketing in Good Karma’s hands, while ESPN would retain oversight of the station’s content.” Marchand asserts that ESPN’s interest in radio is taking a back seat to its efforts in the podcast genre.

WGFX Adds ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ to ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’ The new podcast platform branded “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” from Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville announces a new program hosted by NFL analyst Greg Cosell called, “The Install with Greg Cosell.” The podcast is being co-hosted by WGFX-FM midday personality Buck Reising. The show promises to bring “a different approach and sound to how Cosell covers film, as Cosell and Reising go through NFL film that Cosell has watched, through a Tennessee Titans lens.” The show also covers the rest of the NFL. Cosell, a nephew of legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell, is the co-author of the book, The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays (ESPN 2011) with Ron Jaworski and David Plaut. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “I am thrilled that Greg Cosell is partnering with Buck Reising to host ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ as the latest piece to the expanding 104.5 The Zone Network. ‘The Install’ along with Cosell’s weekly appearance on the Zone with ‘3HL’ will allow him to take Titans fans to even more places.”

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast, Sort Of. One of the most colorful members of the radio industry’s endangered species list – the independent local radio station owner/operatorMichael Zwerling is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Zwerling (known to his friends, employees and station listeners as “MZ”) has owned the 10,000-watt Central California heritage news/talk flamethrower, KSCO AM 1080 for the past 30 years. He is widely known in the radio industry for his eccentric personality, tongue-in-cheek humor, prowess in NTR marketing and unwavering commitment to local, community-involved broadcasting. Zwerling, himself, hosts a weekly two-hour, Saturday morning, commercial-free program titled, “The Saturday Special,” in which he tackles a wide variety of issues while taking listener calls and interviewing guests. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison joined MZ as a guest on the show this past Saturday for a half hour segment that candidly addressed political correctness, the First Amendment, the state of media and the future of talk radio. The provocative conversation between Harrison and Zwerling recorded on that broadcast is the basis for this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” So, in a sense, Harrison actually serves as Zwerling’s guest on this week’s podcast. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Vaccines, Trump and the GOP/New Trump Book, January 6 Investigation, Senate Democrats’ Budget, Cuba Protests, Voting Legislation, Western Heat and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The surge of COVID-19 cases in several U.S. states and the stalling rate of vaccinations; former President Donald Trump’s relationship with the Republican Party and the new Trump book, I Alone Can Fix It; the House panel to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol; the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget; the protests taking place in Cuba and in Florida’s Cuban community; controversy over the new, stricter voting policies enacted in several states; and the Western heatwave and wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.