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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

| December 10, 2019

PPM Analysis: News/TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk.  Compared to the October survey, 37% of news/talk stations saw their 6+ weekly AQH share go up, 34% were down and 29% were flat.  A year-over-year comparison indicates 53% of news/talk stations were down, with 39% seeing a ratings increase.  Just two news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets during the November survey: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.  iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati ranked #2 in November, as did Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  See the entire report here.

Impeachment Proceedings, Inspector General’s Report, Afghanistan Report, Czech Hospital Slayings, Golden Globe Nominations, and New Zealand Volcano Eruption Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The Democrats’ plans to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump today; the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation; the report detailing the opinions of numerous government and military officials kept from the American people that the Afghanistan war was unwinnable; the deadly rampage of a gunman in a Czech hospital that took the lives of six patients; the Golden Globe nominations and the controversy over the absence of female director nominees; and the eruption of a volcano in New Zealand that killed at least six tourists were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Brendan Walsh Joins Cumulus Media and Westwood One in New Sales Role. Sales pro Brendan Walsh joins Cumulus Media to serve in the newly created role of SVP, feature sales and marketing, in which he’ll manage Cumulus’ local and national features and Westwood One’s FYI Network.  Walsh has served with iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic Weather Network, Charter Media, and KPLR-TV, St. Louis.  He’ll be based in St. Louis.  Cumulus/WWO president, national and network sales Bryan Forbes says, “Brendan is the perfect fit for this revenue growth initiative.  He has a stellar track record of revenue generation, understanding a customer’s needs, building solutions that deliver ROI, and knows what it takes to win in a competitive marketplace.”  Walsh comments, “I am honored to join the team and am excited for the opportunity to build a mass scale business at an organization as dynamic as Cumulus Media and its 428 radio stations and Westwood One, the largest audio network in the US.”

Westwood One to Distribute and Rep Associated Press Podcasts. A deal between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and The Associated Press will see the former exclusively distributing and handling ad representation for three of the AP’s podcasts.  The three programs are: “The All New Ground Game” with AP Washington bureau chief Julie Pace that explores the top issues in American politics; “AP’s Top 25 College Football” with host Ralph Russo; and “AP’s Get Outta Here” with Warren Levinson designed for the causal or veteran traveler.  Cumulus EVP marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “The Associated Press is an incredibly strong brand, showcasing talented hosts with a fresh point-of-view.  From Julie’s energetic and engaging news coverage, to Ralph’s experience, and Warren’s amazingly creative way with words, these shows will drive discussions and discovery in politics, sports, and travel today.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports a couple of notes TALKERS readers may find interesting.  First, Feder says Chicago broadcaster Bob Sirott – who, along with his wife Marianne Murciano, exited Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM two years ago – is in talks with Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago for a possible role there.  Second, Feder reports on the dual remote broadcast taking place Friday morning with WSCR, Chicago and WSSP, Milwaukee personalities at The Brat Stop in Kenosha, Wisconsin in advance of Sunday’s Packers-Bears game in Green Bay.  Entercom programmer Mitch Rosen, who serves as program director for both stations, is calling it “Brat Bowl 1.”…..The Desert Sun reports that KNWQ-AM/K232CX, Palm Springs, California “K-News 94.3 FM” morning personality Bill Feingold returned to the air yesterday (12/9) after taking a medical leave in August to battle stage four liver cancer.  Feingold re-joined co-host Kevin Holmes and told his listeners he’s still undergoing chemotherapy.  “For the time being, I’ve really beaten down the cancer, but it’s still there and active.  I have a whole new outlook.  My outlook is that I have cancer and as long as I can do the show, I’m going to do the show.  It keeps me going.”…..The podcast “22 Hours: An American Nightmare” – a collaboration from Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington and PodcastOne – scored the #2 rank on The Associated Press’ Top 10 Podcasts of the Year list.  The show is reported, written, and produced by award-winning WTOP journalists Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore and recounts the brutal torture and murder of three family members and their housekeeper in Washington, D.C. in 2015.  The victims were held hostage inside the family’s home for 22 hours before they were murdered and the house set on fire.  The Associated Press called the podcast “superior” and said it made its list because it “carefully, respectfully, and responsibly reported about a horrific crime and sets an example for how true crime should be handled.”…..WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77” personalities Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg of the “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” show and Curtis Sliwa and Juliet Huddy from the midday “Curtis & Juliet” show will host a holiday “Radiothon for the Kids” live from Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York on Friday, December 13.  Funds raised during the radiothon will be used to improve life-saving patient care and equipment, pediatric research, Child Life services and charitable cases.  All money raised during the radiothon will go directly to Cohen Children’s Medical Center and will be used to benefit the children and families of their community…..Radio software firm Mr. Master announces it is promoting Maria Laing to senior vice president and Roger Nadel joins the company as executive director of affiliate sales.  In these newly created positions, Laing will play a key role in Mr. Master’s overall growth, driving innovative initiatives and business opportunities for the company, while Nadel will be responsible for enhancing the affiliation strategy for Mr. Master’s Automation Import Manager software and servicing its 3500 affiliates…..WBUR, Boston launches its new podcast, “Food, We Need To Talk,” on Monday, December 23.  In this 10-part series, show host Juna Gjata undertakes a journey toward redefining her relationship with food. She’s guided by noted Harvard Medical School lifestyle medicine expert Dr. Eddie Phillips, using solid science, clinical knowledge, and common sense.  Along with her, listeners learn how to eat better, and most importantly, how to feel better about their food choices.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Legendary radio personality Tom Joyner is celebrating 25 years as a leader in the entertainment industry as he prepares to retire from broadcasting this Friday (12/13).  All week long, Joyner is being joined by surprise guests calling in that include: Arsenio Hall, Bill Clinton, Magic Johnson, Emmitt Smith, April Ryan, and Lionel Richie…..Cox Media Group announces that Reach Media nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” will replace “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”  Smiley’s show will air on all of CMG’s urban AC brands in Florida – including the Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville markets.  CMG vice president of content and audience Tim Clarke says, “We are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with Reach Media to bring Rickey Smiley’s new show to listeners in Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville markets.  Rickey has been a fantastic partner to Cox Media Group for many years and we are so excited to see him begin this new chapter.”…..Hubbard Radio Seattle announces Jeff Dubow is named the new executive producer for the “Brooke & Jubal in The Morning” show on KQMV “MOViN 92.”  Dubow has been with the station for nine years and moved into the assistant producer position seven years ago.  He says, “I am extremely grateful to everyone at Hubbard to be given this incredible opportunity with the ‘Brooke & Jubal’ morning show.  It’s an honor to be able to work alongside such a talented group of unique and dynamic personalities, both on the air and behind the scenes. We will continue to push ourselves to find new and creative ways to make our listeners laugh, and bring a little wackiness and entertainment to the mornings.”…..iHeartMedia announces that adult contemporary KKCW, Portland “K103” morning personalities John Erickson and Bruce Murdock are retiring as on-air hosts of the “K103 Morning Show,” effective December 20.  In celebration of their last day on the air, ‘K103’ will air a special live Christmas themed broadcast from the iHeartRadio Theater in Portland on December 20.  The event will feature a live studio audience and an array of special guests.  Murdock has hosted the “K103 Morning Show” since 2004 and Erickson has been delivering news and information to Portland radio listeners on K103 since 1985…..Premiere Networks nationally syndicated personality Delilah returned to the Dr. Oz television show on Friday (12/6).  During the program, Delilah and Dr. Oz (pictured below) shared a powerful conversation about life, love, loss, faith, and resilience, including how Delilah found the strength to carry on after the tragic loss of two sons.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

| May 8, 2018

Entercom Reports 2018 Q1 Financial Data; Same-Station Net Revenue Down 7.7%. This is the first full quarter that Entercom is reporting since closing on the CBS RADIO merger back on November 17 of last year.  As a result, the company’s net revenue jumped from $99 million in Q1 of 2017 to $300.6 million in Q1 of this year.  However, on a same-station basis, net revenue for the quarter dipped 7.7%, from $324.9 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $300.6 in the first quarter of this year. Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “Since closing on our merger in November, we have moved quickly to implement rapid change and have made good progress on our various integration, synergy and transformation goals.  We have built a terrific leadership team and are driving strong ratings growth and launching a number of revenue-driving initiatives to capitalize on our scale and compete far more effectively against other media for a larger share of ad spending.  Earlier today, we announced the launch of the Entercom Audio Network, which will enable us to use our scale to participate directly in the $1 billion network radio market.  Our first quarter financial results were adversely affected by soft general local advertising conditions and a number of temporary factors, most notably the exclusion of $12 million in revenue due to financial issues at USTN.  As these temporary factors abate and our growth initiatives take hold, we look forward to driving meaningful sustainable growth as we capitalize on the compelling brands, assets and capabilities of this exciting, emerging company.”

Entercom Audio Network to Launch in July. As mentioned by Entercom president and CEO David Field in the story above, the company is introducing its new ad sales network dubbed, Entercom Audio Network, on July 1.  The company says, “The national network will allow advertisers to leverage Entercom’s scale with targeted offerings across its portfolio of 235 top-rated radio stations reaching over 112 million listeners monthly.” Company chief revenue officer Bob Phillips states, “Entercom now offers brands the national scale they need, including seamless activation and superior ROI. We are the country’s unrivaled leader in news and sports radio and #1 or #2 in virtually all music formats. Our connection to consumers is coveted by many national brands.”  Field adds, “As one of the two largest radio broadcasters in the country, Entercom has the scale and reach to offer national brands a very compelling and effective unwired network with our premier collection of leading radio brands across the country.”

Townsquare Media’s Q1 2018 Net Revenue Up 5.9%.  That figure represents the net revenue for Townsquare Media’s Local Marketing Solutions division – the broadcast and digital operations – and not the live events-oriented Entertainment division.  Combining both divisions, the company’s net revenue was up 6.6% over the same period in 2017.  Townsquare co-CEO Bill Wilson comments, “Once again, our Local Marketing Solutions segment drove the Company’s growth, with net revenue growth of 5.9%, or 5.6% excluding political revenue.  First quarter growth in this segment was driven by continued strength across our local broadcast and digital product offerings, which culminated in our 17th consecutive quarter of positive, organic revenue growth.”  Net revenue in the Local Marketing Solutions in the first quarter was $80.6 million.  The company also reports that it paid off $9.5 million in long-term debt.

Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Rises 7.1%.  Michigan-based Saga Communications reports 2018 first quarter net revenue was $28 million – an increase of 7.1% over the same period a year ago.  Operating income from continuing operations increased 17.5% to $2.3 million and station operating expense increased 9.6% to $23.4 million for the quarter.  The company notes that its quarterly results were affected by the sale of its Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina TV stations last September.  On a same-station basis, net revenue increased 0.3% to $26.2 million and operating income from continuing operations increased 26.3% to $2.5 million.  Saga reports having $47.8 million in cash on hand as of March 31 and $49.8 million as of May 1.  The company’s total long-term debt was $25 million as of March 31.

Scripps Radio Division to Be Sold in Pieces.  During yesterday’s conference call with investors, there was just a brief mention of E.W. Scripps’ plans to sell its radio division.  Local Media division president Brian Lawlor responded to a question about the status of the radio stations, saying, “Yes. The radio sale, the process continues. We’ve made a decision in order to maximize the value of the assets to sell the division in several pieces instead of one big bang. I think that’s where we see the greatest value for the company and for shareholders. And so, it’s just a little bit more complicated, I would say, than if it were just a singular transaction.”  That’s not surprising since the company owns two signals in Milwaukee – news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI – and stations in much smaller markets including: Omaha, Boise, Tucson, Knoxville, Wichita, and Tulsa.  As we reported yesterday, there’s an unconfirmed rumor that Entercom is talking with Scripps about the Milwaukee stations.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference transcript.  Members can read it all here.

Greg Neft Named Program Director at ‘PowerTalk 96.7’ in Fresno. Talk radio pro Greg Neft joins iHeartMedia as program director for news/talk KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM, Fresno “PowerTalk 96.7.”  Neft previously worked in the market as a news anchor and reporter.  He has served as morning news anchor at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and as an NFL reporter for SiriusXM.  Most recently, he was corporate director of news and content programming for Cherry Creek Media.  iHM Fresno SVP of programming Steve Weed comments, “Greg joins us at a very opportune time, heading into a crucial election season for our region and our state.  I look forward to his skills and experience elevating our breaking news coverage.”

Former Seahawk Cliff Avril to Co-Host KJR-AM, Seattle Sports Talk Show. Seattle sports talk outlet KJR-AM “Sports Radio 950” announces that former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril is partnering with the station’s Jason Puckett for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show, effective July 9. Puckett is a 15-year veteran of the iHeartMedia station and Avril retired from the NFL after being released by the Seahawks after a five-year stint.  Avril says, “I’m excited to join the KJR team!  Seattle is home and I can’t wait to cover the best sports city in the world.”

TALKERS News Notes. WNBC-TV, New York is reporting the former Port Authority police superintendent may have violated policy by providing a “lights-and-sirens” escort from the Newark airport into Manhattan for Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh.  The station says Michael Fedorko announced his retirement suddenly, about a week after it became known WNBC-TV reporters were investigating the allegation.  The report says the escort was to get Limbaugh to a charity dinner at which he was a “last-minute” speaker.  It also says Limbaugh talked about it on his radio show, saying, “So they sent the superintendent of the Port Authority to Newark to meet me for lights and sirens into Manhattan to make sure I got there in time.  And we did.”…..Radio sales pro Tim Robisch is named director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN.  He most recently served with Great Plains Media in suburban Kansas City.  He’s also held positions with Cox Media GroupEntercom Communications, Susquehanna Radio Corporation, and Katz Radio (at which he was served as regional vice president)…..New affiliate stations sign up for the John Kruse-hosted outdoors radio programs “America Outdoors Radio” and “Northwestern Outdoors Radio.”  Both shows focus on fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation.  KDZR, Portland and KBOI, Boise recently added both shows to their program schedules…..Patrick Communications managing partner Larry Patrick is delivering the 2018 Commencement Speech for the College of Communications and Information at the University of Tennessee this Saturday (5/12).  Patrick is a 1973 graduate of UT.

Iran Nuclear Deal, Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Schneiderman Allegations, John McCain Illness/Book, W.VA Senate Race, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  The looming decision by President Trump whether the U.S. will remain in the Iran nuclear deal; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Stormy Daniels payoff, Rudy Giuliani’s role representing President Trump, and the “Saturday Night Live” sketch lampooning the issue; New York attorney general – and Donald Trump critic – Eric Schneiderman resigns amid allegations of abusing four women; terminally ill Senator John McCain’s HBO documentary and new book; the U.S. Senate Republican primary race in West Virginia and President Trump’s urging voters to reject controversial GOP candidate Don Blankenship; Major League Baseball action, and the NBA playoffs 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. CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 KISS FM” announces that on-air pro Zann is the iHeartMedia station’s new afternoon drive personality.  She was most recently with Cumulus Media’s KLIF-FM, Dallas as midday personality. She was also heard on Westwood One’s Hot AC and Hits Now 24/7 formats. At the same time, Zach “Mayhem” Wellsandt is the new midday personality who will also serve as APD and music director.  He moves to Seattle from the company’s Central Texas Region where he was director of CHR…..Programming pro Matt Johnson is appointed program director for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis CHR KSLZ-FM “Z107.7.”  iHM SVP of programming Jules Riley comments, “Matt is a solid addition to the KSLZ and iHeart St. Louis team.  We look forward to watching him grow this heritage CHR brand.  We spoke with a number of talented programmers, but Matt’s drive, creativity, and talent development made him our ideal candidate.”…..Cumulus Media announces that radio and television marketing pro Marty Wall is joining the Detroit cluster as director of marketing for country duo WDRQ “NASH FM 93.1” and WDRQ-HD2 “NASH Icon” and hot AC WDVD.  Cumulus Detroit director of FM programming Robby Bridges says, “Marty’s work at ‘Z100’ in New York is legendary.  That, paired with his experience across the media landscape during his years in L.A., gives him the unique ability to connect audiences to station brands and brands to clients.  He’s a relentless competitor whom I believe will be a game changer for our Detroit cluster.  I’m looking forward to his working with me, promotion manager Rochelle Burk, and promo director/street team captain Adam Ficorelli.”…..There are two appointments in the sales department at iHeartMedia Chicago.  First, Khatija Mohiuddin is named general sales manager for hip hop WGCI and CHR WKSC “103.5 KISS FM.”  Also, Brian McGhee is the new general sales manager for urban contemporary WVAZ “V103” and Gospel WGRB-AM “Inspiration 1390.”  iHeartMedia Chicago Region president Matt Scarano states, “We put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities and these two staff promotions are true testaments to Khatija’s and Brian’s leadership skills and ability to form strong client relationships.”  Mohiuddin most recently served as local sales manager for WGCI and WGRB-AM.  McGhee most recently served as sales manager for the company’s St. Louis cluster.

Monday, December 11, 2017

| December 11, 2017

WBUR, Boston Talk Personality Tom Ashbrook Suspended During Investigation.  “On Point” is a public radio talk show produced by WBUR, Boston – owned and operated by Boston University – and syndicated to almost 300 NPR affiliate stations.  As reported by WBUR.org, host Tom Ashbrook has been suspended while the school and the station conduct an investigation into allegations, the details of which are not being specified by the station.  It released this statement on Friday (12/8): “Yesterday, Boston University and WBUR received some allegations against Tom Ashbrook.  Tom will be on leave from his duties at WBUR while an outside organization hired by Boston University examines these allegations.  We will decide a course of action after getting the results of this investigation.”  In the WBUR.org story, Ashbrook says he’s “stunned at the situation” and says he respects the process the school must go through in this situation.

Mark Kaye Hosting New Daily Talk Show on WOKV, Jacksonville.  CHR radio pro Mark Kaye is now hosting a daily talk show on Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville.  Kaye is the morning drive host on the company’s sister CHR WAPE.  His new talk show airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, in between the Herman Cain show and Rush Limbaugh on the program schedule.   Kaye has worked for WOKV in the past, hosting a weekend show.

Former Nevada Broadcasters Association Founding President Admits to Improper Behavior.  Radio personality and former Nevada Broadcasters Association president Bob Fisher admits to engaging in “improper behavior” with teenage boys back in the 1980s.  This was reported in a piece in Jewish Week that reveals the details of allegations by two men who were 18 and 16 at the time Fisher was a leader of the Pacific Southwest Region of United Synagogue Youth.  In the story, Fisher admits to the allegations and says he is ashamed of his behavior, though he says he never forced himself on anyone.  He also tells the paper of his dysfunctional childhood and being raped as a child and as a college student.

Nielsen and Cumulus Renew Deal for Ratings Services.  The ratings giant is owed approximately $6.65 million by Cumulus Media – that figure was released by Cumulus as part of its Chapter 11 filing.  But, Nielsen Audio knows that Cumulus needs its services to help sell its radio stations and national programming on Westwood One.  This renewal means Cumulus continues to use the ratings service but will also have access to data from Nielsen Scarborough, enhanced talent analytics from Nielsen N-Score and national networks ratings from Nielsen RADAR.  Cumulus EVP of operations Bob Walker comments, “Despite the abundance of media options, radio continues to lead the way in reach and ROI.  We are excited to extend our agreement with Nielsen so that we can continue to leverage their vast datasets and analytical insights to provide the proof that we do indeed deliver the highest ROI of any local media to our advertisers.”

PPM Analysis:  NBA FlagshipsTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations that serve as flagship stations for play-by-play broadcasts for NBA teams.  Note that this isn’t a review of PPM ratings for game broadcasts, but for weekly 6+ AQH shares for stations that serve as flagships.  A number of these stations serve as flagships for NFL and MLB franchises, as well.  In addition to charts comparing stations’ ratings in numerous ways, Kinosian reports the station ranks for the Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey and the five previous surveys.  At the top of the heap, WBZ-FM, Boston ranked #3 (6+) in November.  WTMJ, Milwaukee ranked #4 and WFAN, New York and WXYT-FM, Detroit ranked #5 in their respective markets.  See the whole report here.

News Pro Chuck Rich Dead at 65.  News pro Charles “Chuck” Rich died suddenly on Friday (12/8) at the age of 65.  Chuck Rich was married to Washington, DC public relations pro Rita Rich.  During his career, he held positions with WTOP-TV (WUSA), WTOP Radio, AP Radio and for well over 25 years, Westwood One Radio Networks. He also spent many years with Voice of America. He also was a contributing editor for Washingtonian Magazine.

Trump Jerusalem Recognition Reactions, California Wildfires, Iraq’s ISIS Liberation, Roy Moore Campaign, North Korea Nuclear Program, Trump-Russia Probe, Bitcoin Activity, Sunday’s NFL Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The violent protests in the Middle East over President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; the raging California wildfires and authorities’ concerns there’s no end in sight to the Santa Ana winds; Iraq declares the country liberated from the ISIS forces that had held control over numerous Iraqi cities; the U.S. Senate campaign of former Alabama judge Roy Moore and allegations of his history of sexual predation; the North Korea nuclear program and the war of words between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the volatility of Bitcoin; Sunday’s NFL games and attendance figures; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Radio’s Greatest Storytellers.  Pictured above at the Entercom broadcast center in Philadelphia are some of radio’s “greatest storytellers” gathered to appear on the Westwood One-syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” program starring Walter M. Sterling.  From left to right are: Douglas Henderson Jr., Michael Tearson, Denny Somach, Gary R’Nel, Tommy McCarthy, Rasa Kaye, AJ Essington, Lee Harris, Ross Brittain, Sterling, and Allen Shaw.  (Not pictured but on the broadcast were Tommy Woods and Dick Summer.) On the couch is Judy Anderson and Neil Pohl who had a major announcement: He asked her to marry him live on the air and she said “yes.”  Sterling tells TALKERS that listeners heard how album rock radio was really invented by Allen Shaw.  Michael Tearson revealed the early days of prog rock.  Ross Brittain explained that HE was responsible for “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”  Doug Henderson described the work of his dad Jocko which aired on a Philly station and a New York City station thanks to a daily train commute.  You can hear and download the show on www.waltermsterling.com Tuesday (12/12).

TALKERS News Notes.  Radio executive Charlie Ferguson is retiring from Saga Communications where he’s been the VP and general manager at its Springfield, Illinois station group for the past three years.  The 65-year-old Ferguson tells the State Journal-Register, “It occurred to me that I have not seen any of my seven grandchildren more than once a year for the last several years.  This is probably the right time.”  Saga operates news/talk WTAX and six other music formatted signals in the market…..CNN Money is reporting that SiriusXM is getting some “celebrity backlash” from Stephen K. Bannon’s return to the satcaster’s airwaves.  As TALKERS reported last week, Bannon is back on the “Breitbart News Daily” morning program that’s part of the Patriot channel lineup and that has some celebs, including musician Melissa Etheridge, vowing not to appear on the radio service.  Etheridge says she’s no longer going to do her “Melissa’s Basement” interview show that aired on the Volume channel.  Actors Seth Rogan and John Leguizamo have also said they’ll not appear on SiriusXM anymore…..In Columbus, Ohio, sports talk host (and former NFL linebacker) Bobby Carpenter renews with RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan” for a multi-year deal to continue co-hosting the midday “Carpenter and Rothman” show with Anthony Rothman.

Howie Carr Hosts NH Toy Drive.  Regionally syndicated New England talk radio superstar Howie Carr held a special toy drive event in partnership with Two International Group in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Friday (12/8).  Carr broadcast his program from the lobby of Two International Group and collected toys for the Toys For Tots program.  Carr is pictured here with four New Hampshire State Police Troopers who came by to donate toys. Howie Carr’s show is heard on more than 25 affiliate stations in New England and is seen nationwide on Newsmax TV.

Mitch Albom Radiothon Raises Record Dough for Detroit Charities.  Pictured above, WJR, Detroit afternoon drive host Mitch Albom (second from right) celebrates the announcement of the record $1.25 million raised during last Thursday’s radiothon event to benefit Mitch Albom Charities (which benefits other Detroit charities).  Post-radiothon donations have boosted that total to more than $1.8 million!  The 15-hour show was hosted by Albom, with dozens of celebrity guests appearing, including: Dr. Phil, Hugh Jackman, Hank Azaria, Matthew Stafford and more.

Beasley NYC Holiday Bash.  Last Friday (12/8), Beasley Media Group held its Holiday Soiree at the Park Central Hotel in New York City.  The festivities included performances by SEAL and Brothers Osborne.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Bruce Beasley, SEAL, Caroline Beasley and Brian Beasley.

KSFO, San Francisco Morning Host Brian Sussman is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the nation’s hottest local morning radio talk show hosts, Brian Sussman of Cumulus Media O&O KSFO, San Francisco, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Sussman discusses the challenges of doing competitive morning news/talk radio which requires finding the correct balance between hard political issues and more general interest areas of pop culture and fun. He also talks about his fascinating transition from being one of the most popular TV meteorologists in the Bay Area for many years to becoming a radio talker. Don’t miss this interesting and informative conversation! To listen to the entire podcast 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  St. Louis CHR KSLZ “Z107.7” names Jordan host of the morning drive program.  The iHeartMedia SVP of programming for St. Louis A.J. says, “Jordan is one of the best radio talents in the industry.  Moving him to mornings will help write the next chapter in ‘Z107.7’ history.  During his time in St. Louis, Jordan has had tremendous success with afternoons and we are very excited for him to host a fun, compelling and local morning show for St. Louis.”…..In iHeartMedia’s Denver Region, changes take place in its rock radio formats.  Effective today, KBPI, Denver “Rocks the Rockies” programming is being simulcast on KPAW, Fort Collins and KDZA, Colorado Springs.  The station’s programming includes “Your Morning Show with Willie B” and air personalities Beardo and Colfax. At the same time, the KPAW, Fort Collins format will replace the adult contemporary format on KYWY, Warren AFB, Wyoming.

Former Radio Exec Perry Ury Passes at 91.  Retired radio executive Perry Ury passed away at his home in Sarasota, Florida a week shy of his 92nd birthday.  Ury led WRKO, Boston “Big 68” during its CHR days.  He went on to manage all of the RKO radio stations.  After serving with RKO, he managed WTIC-AM and WTIC-FM in Hartford until his retirement.

Friday, September 22, 2017

| September 22, 2017

Industry Mourns Passing of Gary Fries.  Former Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Gary Fries has died.  Details of his passing are few but current RAB president and CEO Erica Farber issued the following statement about the man who led the organization from 1991 through 2006: “It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Gary Fries.  Gary served the RAB and industry for 14 years and during his tenure as radio’s leading advocate he provided tremendous leadership and guidance.  Under his direction, the RAB increased its membership and introduced and advanced numerous sales training programs. He spearheaded radio to the forefront in media accountability, playing a dominant role in the development of RAEL working with advertisers, agencies and broadcasters to further the industry’s understanding of how radio advertising works. He also encouraged radio to embrace electronic data interchange, urging the industry to adopt electronic invoicing.  Upon his departure from the RAB, he left with the title of president emeritus and continued to hold a seat on the RAB Board to his very last day.  With a large physical presence and a strong personality, he always made his presence known.  On a personal note, Gary and I partnered together on many initiatives and I always found a welcoming partner and friend.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”

Senator Nelson Gets Behind FM Chip Activation. According to a story from WBBH-TV, Fort Myers, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is serious about pushing the government to require that smart phone manufacturers activate the FM chips in their devices.  The story says Nelson is citing the recent hurricanes that hit Florida and the public’s need to get emergency information in his efforts to see that action is taken.  Though no legal avenue to force manufacturers to activate the chips has been explained, Nelson wants to get the FCC involved.  Currently, Samsung, AT&T and T-mobile are agreeing to activate the chips but Apple has not been interested in conversations about the matter.  See the WBBH-TV story here.

CMG Names Two to Market Manager Posts.  This week, Cox Media Group named two radio management pros to new market manager positions.  Cathy Gunther assumes the market vice president position for the converged Tulsa operations that includes “FOX 23 News,” “My41,” and “MeTV” television stations and radio stations news/talk KRMG “News102.3 AM740,” classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle,” hot AC KRAV “Mix 96.5,” country KWEN “K95.5,” and Christian contemporary “Spirit 105.7.”  She was previously VP/GM for the TV stations.  In Jacksonville, Dan Lawrie takes on the market vice president position for the converged cluster that includes: “Action News Jax FOX30” and “CBS47” TV stations and radio stations news/talk WOKV “News 104.5,” urban contemporary W258CN “Hot 99.5,” adult contemporary WEZI “Easy 106.5,” CHR WAPE, classic hits WJGL :The Eagle 96.9,” hip hop W291CI/WJGL-HD2 “Power 106.1,” and alternative rock WXXJ “X102.9.”  CMG EVP Bill Hendrich comments, “Both Dan and Cathy are successful media veterans and proven leaders on the Cox Media Group leadership team.  We are fortunate to have great leadership within CMG to promote from within for these two new critical roles as we converge our Jacksonville and Tulsa media markets. They will work with our teams in these markets to take our award-winning brands to new heights.”

Ramsey Solutions Event Stops in Indy.  Pictured above is Ramsey Solutions personality Chris Hogan on stage at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis last night (9/21).  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money event took place there as Pilgrim Communications news/talk WFDM “Freedom 95” and WXLW “Freedom 950” joined forces with Ramsey Solutions to promote it.  Pilgrim Communications VP/GM Randy Tipmore says, “As usual, when Dave Ramsey or one of his team, such as Chris Hogan, comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm goes up as do station sales.  ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is the number one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’”

GOP Health Care Bill Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 18-22.  The Cassidy-Graham bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation, focusing on Paul Manafort’s role.  Coming in at #3 was North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the new sanctions placed on the hermit kingdom, followed by President Trump’s Tuesday speech before the UN General Assembly at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Programming pro Michael La Crosse is appointed to the program director position for iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KKCW “K103” and classic hits KLTH “106.7 The Eagle” in Portland.  La Crosse, who begins his new duties on October 9, was most recently with the company in Los Angeles programming ACs KOST and KHHT.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming Tim Herbster states, “Michael’s skillset is a natural match for taking the reins of KKCW and KLTH in Portland.  His vast experience in programming for these formats and working with top talent is second to none.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Federated Media classic hits outlet WFWI, Fort Wayne adds Cliff to the program schedule, hosting the afternoon drive show.  He also serves the company as production director for the cluster…..Cumulus Media names broadcasting executive Cheryl Salomone to the vice president/market manager position at its for its four-station cluster in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Salomone was most recently serving at Pamal Broadcasting’s White Plains, New York offices as director of NTR and local sales manager for WXPK…..Emmis Communications’ WQHT, New York is bringing its “HOT 97 Summer Jam” back to Tokyo in November for the second year in-a-row.  The company is working with Japan’s Avex Entertainment on the concert.  Emmis president Patrick Walsh comments, “We’re thrilled to bring ‘HOT 97’ and ‘Summer Jam’ back to Tokyo as we take the next step in growing these venerable brands for the passionate and growing global hip hop audience.  Our collaboration with our partners last year laid the foundation for an even larger event in November and further expansion in the coming years.”

The Occasional RadioInfo New Music Review.  RadioInfo music editor Duane Doobie Jr. writes: The group Cold Engines brings together some of the finest musicians on Boston’s north shore. Together, they deftly weave soul, new wave, rock, and dance into an instantly identifiable sound that really drives triple-A playlists.  Founder/frontman David Drouin paired with former band mate Aaron Zaroulis after ‘The Brew,’ a long-running band from the Boston area dissolved amicably.  Both Drouin and Zaroulis are seasoned indie musicians with previous stages at popular venues of Boston including The House of Blues and The Paradise Rock Club. Additional hand-picked bandmates include Eric Reingold (Jamantics, Black Light Ruckus), a journeyman musician who brings his passion for the thundering bass, and Casey Herlihy (Slipkey, Flake), an award-winning musician whose insane chops on guitar seem to only be matched the spirit of his vocals, and Geoff Pilkington (Soul Rebel Project, Mighty Mystic, and Left Over Wine), brings his infectious grooves with each performance behind the drums and percussion.  After exploding on the Northeast scene in 2015, and releasing three records inside of 18 months, the band garnered national attention, playing well over 150-plus shows a year supporting musicians such as Black Keys, Gregg Allman, Bruce Hornsby, Michael McDonald, moe., and The B-52s.  Cold Engines dropped their most ambitions album, Physical Education, this summer setting the bar even higher. The title track has found a place in my ears and should be considered for a place in your station’s playlist. To listen, click here.

 

 

Receptionist/Office Manager Opportunity.  WDST-FM, Woodstock, New York “Radio Woodstock” is looking for an outgoing, friendly and highly motivated receptionist/office manager who is well-organized with the ability to follow directives and complete projects.  Candidates need to be able to multi-task, and assist various departments including the sales team, business manager and promotions manager.  Customer service experience is a plus.  Working knowledge of Microsoft Office is necessary.  Mail cover letter and resume to: Cynthia V. Huggins, WDST-FM, PO Box 367, Woodstock, NY 12498 or email cynthiah@radiowoodstock.com.

Monday, July 24, 2017

| July 24, 2017

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the second of four format analyses of station performances based on data from the June 2017 Nielsen Audio PPM survey, focusing today on news/talk.  Kinosian notes that based on 6+ share numbers from subscribing stations, “nearly the same number of stations…improve between May 2017 – June 2017 (43%, 6+) as decline (46%), with the remaining 10% unchanged.”  Looking at year-over-year improvement, “well over half the stations on this news/talk panel improve…(57%) and 36% decline; the remaining 7% are flat.”  Big gainers here include Cox Media Group’s WOKV, Jacksonville (+1.9), iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego (+1.8), and iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+1.8).  Thirteen news/talk stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets in the June PPM survey.  CMG’s WSB-AM, Atlanta and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” ranked #1.  See the rest of the data here.

Smidt: PPM Sample Change Hypothesis. Broadcast advisor Clark Smidt writes today about the relationship between changes in the panels for Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey and movements – up or down – of more than a half-share for subscribing stations.  Smidt says he believes that during the April, May and June surveys there appears to have been significant shuffling of panelists in 21 markets that showed remarkable movement of a half-share or more.  Read his entire piece here.

Connoisseur Media Names Robin Faller VP Digital Sales.  Radio company Connoisseur Media acquires the Connecticut operations of Driven Local and names Robin Faller vice president digital sales.  Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw comments, “We are so excited to bolster our team and assets in this growing part of our business.  Robin is uniquely qualified to lead the charge, with her experience as a radio market manager and then the head of sales of a major digital company.  We will be putting her expertise to work in order to get the best possible results for our clients.”  Faller will be based at Connoisseur’s Westport, Connecticut offices.

Fox News Radio Seeks to Have Discrimination Suit Dismissed. Saying that plaintiff – former Fox News Radio correspondent – Jessica Golloher’s suit is not viable under the New York State Human Rights law because she’s not a resident of the state, Fox is seeking to have the suit dismissed.  Golloher is suing her former employer claiming gender discrimination and retaliation by superiors for her requesting to speak with the company’s independent investigator.  Fox News Radio adds in the petition to dismiss that Golloher’s contract requires arbitration in such cases.  It also says Golloher’s claim against former Fox VP Mitch Davis is a “petty grievance” that doesn’t rise to the level of gender discrimination.  Read the Hollywood Reporter account here.

WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton Celebrating ‘Nostalgia Week.’ Heritage Dayton, Ohio news/talk WHIO-AM/FM is celebrating its impact on the region as it presents “WHIO Radio’s Nostalgia Week.”  The Cox Media Group station aired a special program on Sunday (7/23) and broadcast a special edition of this morning’s “Miami Valley’s Morning News with Larry Hansgen.”  Throughout the week, listeners can hear “classic jingles, stories and voices from WHIO Radio’s past.”  Hansgen tells WHIO-TV, “I’ve had a blast revisiting with old friends and colleagues, hearing their stories about their experiences working here, as well as the impact WHIO Radio has, and continues to make, on the community.”  On Friday morning at 9:00, the station will open up the phones to listeners to share their WHIO stories.

TALKERS News Notes. At the Los Angeles operations of Salem Media Group, Chuck Tyler is promoted to director of programming for the entire cluster.  At the same time, Scott Valentine takes on the program director role at Christian contemporary KFSH, Los Angeles in addition to his work co-hosting the station’s morning program.   Salem Los Angeles general manager Terry Fahy comments, “Scott brings many years of experience not only as an on-air personality and syndicated host, but also 12 years of experience as program director at KCMS in Seattle.  This reassignment of responsibilities will allow Chuck to devote more time and energy to [Christian talk] KKLA, [news/talk] KRLA and KTIE programming.”…..Local Radio Networks announces the addition of three new staffers: Chris Reeves is the new EVP of programming and operations; Chris Hatton is now director of 24/7 Creative Services; and Jonathan Steele joins as director of programming operations.  All three most recently served with Westwood One…..Nine years after the program’s debut, show host John Hockenberry is leaving the WNYC-produced “The Takeaway,” after August 7.  According to TheCurrent.org, in a letter to client stations, Hockenberry stated, “Ultimately, in every challenging career, there comes a time when it is important to know when to move on.”  He also said he wants to “directly experience how the media, citizens, and people in power can come together in new ways to create the functioning democracies of the 21st century.”  TheCurrent reports that “The Takeaway” Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich will host while a search for Hockenberry’s replacement is underway.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/24) with Michael Berry, Tom Leykis and Scott Lakefield.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are:

–          The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).

–          The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).

–          The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).

–          The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).

–          The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan BearmanBold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein.  All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.

–          A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).

–          The first two in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.”  They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess (introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA  Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).

–          The first in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield).

–          TODAY (7/24) we posted the second in the above series of “one-on-one” dialogues “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry (again, facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield).

Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

Sean Spicer Exits White House-Scaramucci In, Future of ObamaCare-GOP Health Care Plan, Trump vs NYTimes on Baghdadi Issue, Trump-Russia Connections, Russia Sanctions Legislation, San Antonio Smuggling Deaths, McCain Health-Senate Seat, Dunkirk Film, ‘GoT’ Episode 2, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The resignation of White House press secretary Sean Spicer, the appointment of Sara Huckabee Sanders as his replacement and the naming of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director; speculation about the fate of the Affordable Care Act and whether the GOP can pass a new health care act; President Trump’s accusing The New York Times of publishing military intelligence that prevented the capture of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the paper’s refutation of the allegation; the investigation into connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Congress agrees to sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea; the deaths of nine in a semi-truck human trafficking incident in San Antonio; the health of Senator John McCain and his role in the GOP; the success of the new WWII film, Dunkirk; Sunday night’s episode two of this season’s “Game of Thrones”; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Record Hospital Transports at ‘HOT 93.7 Hot Jam.’  It’s not logical to place blame on CBS RADIO for the apparent record number of concertgoers taken to area hospitals in Hartford on Friday (7/21) from the “HOT 93.7 Hot Jam” concert at Xfinity Center, but the PR is not what the owner of hip hop WZMX was hoping for.  From a story in the Hartford Courant, public safety officials say at least 90 people were hospitalized and 50 arrested for underage drinking at the concert headlined by Chance the Rapper.  Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley says a typical concert requires 20 to 30 transports to hospitals, but Friday’s 90 transports put a heavy strain on the city’s resources.  Read the Courant story here.