Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC. This new episode titled “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).
PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”
TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).
Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.