Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Provide News for ‘Me-TV FM’ as Part of Partnership. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story on this interesting partnership between Tribune news/talker WGN and the Weigel Broadcasting-operated soft AC-oldies format airing on low-power analog VHF TV signal at 87.7 FM (WRME-LP). Under the terms of the deal, WGN news staffers will provide two one-minute news/weather/sports updates per hour during morning drive for “Me-TV FM.” Additionally, the two companies will enter into a joint sales agreement with WGN selling time on “Me-TV FM.” The unique music format – programmed by Rick O’Dell – is surprising some industry watchers as it recently pulled a 2.0 share in the August Nielsen PPM survey with a cume of 684,000. Read Feder’s piece here.
Cumulus Media Providence Promotes Paras to VP/MM. Ten-year Cumulus Media Providence director of sales Holly Paras is elevated to vice president and market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in that Rhode Island metro. Cumulus Media senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Holly’s fingerprints are on many of the successes that our cluster in Providence has enjoyed over the years. She is the first to tell you that those wins are due to our very talented, market-leading team. She is the leader and the team is fired up to follow her.” Paras states, “I am excited and humbled to be asked to lead such a talented team of people and the tremendous radio brands at Cumulus Providence.” Before her director of sales tenure, Paras was national sales manager for three Cumulus Media Providence outlets, and was a Katz Radio Group New York City account executive. Fourteen (14) stations are listed in Nielsen Audio‘s August 2016 PPM report for Providence. With their August 2016 6+- market rank and 6+-share in parentheses, Cumulus Media Providence’s five station cluster consists of adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” (#1, 9.7); CHR WPRO-FM “Today’s Hit Music” (#2, 8.5); talk WPRO-AM (#7, 4.6); rhythmic CHR WWKX “Hot 106” (#8, third successive 2.6); and talk WPRV (#13, .5).
PodcastOne to Launch Virtual Reality Programming. Stating that it will be the first company to “enter the virtual reality space,” PodcastOne announces a partnership with Mandt VR to launch its new PodcastOne 360 platform. Mandt VR was founded by multi-Emmy Award winning producer Neil Mandt. The firms report they plan to produce more than 200 original 360-video experiences and expect to become the largest producers of high-quality, serialized virtual reality content in the world. They also intend to develop a proprietary camera system, specifically for PodcastOne’s high-volume production. PodcastOne says the potential of providing the virtual reality experience to its listeners, who deliver more than 400 million monthly impressions, and Mandt VR’s unique ability to activate large quantities of captivating content, will create a robust catalogue of compelling, serialized content. “The Adam Carolla Show” will be the first podcast available to listeners on PodcastOne 360. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz states, “Virtual reality is the future of entertainment and Mandt VR’s leading technology delivers quality video, and in large quantities. This is key when you churn out about 350 podcast episodes weekly. This provides the next dimension in consuming our on-demand audio programming. It’s especially germane to an audience that wants to consume PodcastOne’s content on an ever-more connected basis. This is exactly the kind of partnership and cutting-edge direction that floats our collective boats.” Pictured above are (from l-r): PodcastOne CEO Jim Berk, Mandt, Pattiz, and Mandt VR chief strategy officer Chadwick Turner.
Zac Davis Appointed SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Richmond. This move keeps programming pro Zac Davis in the iHeartMedia family. He’s been serving as program director for the company’s CHR outlets WKSS, Hartford “Kiss 95-7” and WKCI, New Haven “KC101.” Now, he moves south to Richmond, Virginia to take on the SVP of programming position for the eight-station cluster that includes: CHR WRVQ “Q94,” CHR W241AP “96.1 The Planet,” adult contemporary WTVR “Mix 98.1,” AC W253BI “BIG 98.5,” alternative WRXL “XL 102,” hip hop WBTJ “106.5 The Beat,” sport talk WRNL “FOX Sports 910” and news/talk WRVA “News Radio 1140.” Market president Rick Green comments, “I’m thrilled that Zac is joining our great programming team. Zac is a proven leader with great success in a diversity of formats which makes him a great fit for our eight-station cluster in Richmond.”
Odds & Sods. A new podcast series from PodcastOne launches titled, “How I Got Here.” It’s the work of recently graduated college roommates Tim Barnicle and Harry Hill who started wondering how to “make it” in the world, then decided to ask those who have “made it” to share their inspiring stories. The series kicks off September 20 with Emmy Award winner Tom Brokaw. This will be followed by Peabody Award winner and legendary interviewer Larry King in week two. New episodes will be available every Tuesday…..DGital Media and Learfield Sports are working together on a podcast project that will create original, non-event audio content for fans by the familiar, hometown radio voices associated with some of the nation’s most recognizable collegiate athletic programs, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys, with additional programs to be added soon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Show” is added to the program schedule at WTNW, Jasper, Tennessee…..NBC Sports Radio announces sports media personality Mike Tirico is joining the network as an NFL commentator this football season. Tirico is host of NBC’s “Football Night in America” and will be a featured contributor across NBC Sports Radio programming. He’ll also do interviews with affiliated stations……Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) is pictured here with Eric Trump (right) during a meeting at the World Bar of the Trump World Tower in Manhattan. Gallagher, along with SRN hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager (plus actor Jon Voight) stopped in NYC on the network’s “Decision 2016” tour that stops today (9/14) in Washington, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio.
Client Story. The photo above shows WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3 FM” personality Brian Joyce (left), Peachtree Auto Painting & Collision owner Bobby Socol, and Joyce’s beloved 1964 Chevy Impala. Joyce tells TALKERS that when he decided his car needed a new paint job, the station contacted Peachtree in Chattanooga and came up with an endorsement deal he casually referred to as “Pimp Brian’s Ride!” “They put a beautiful new two-tone paint job on the car, I talked it up on the air and social media (Facebook and Instagram, primarily), and the results were fantastic. Peachtree says their phones have been ringing off the hook since we started the campaign, and they’ve generated a ton of phone calls and inquiries, not to mention, new business!” Joyce says Peachtree has continued to advertise with the station.
Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Israel. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar (and Fox News Channel prime time personality) Sean Hannity broadcasts his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program from a radio station in Tel Aviv (left) while touring Israel to report on the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hannity will host his show from Israel again today (8/5) before returning to the United States. Premiere reports that on his program Hannity has been reporting on numerous aspects of the conflict including “the Iron Dome anti-missile technology protecting the country from militant rockets, the Hamas tunnels used to capture and kill Israelis, what life is like there under constant threat, and more.” At right, Hannity (center, in denim) is pictured standing on a military-style bulldozer interviewing Israeli troops near the Gaza border.
Dr. Joy Browne Returns to the Air in NYC. Formerly based at crosstown WOR, New York (and syndicated from Buckley Broadcasting’s old WOR Radio Network for many years), Dr. Joy Browne is now heard in New York again via Salem Communications WNYM, “AM 970 The Answer.” WNYM VP and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “Joy is a consummate radio pro. Her show was consistently one of the most talked about shows on WOR. Her voice was prematurely silenced across the street, as was John Gambling’s, and it is my pleasure to allow her many fans to find her again.” Browne’s show is currently syndicated via Radio America. She comments, “I am beyond thrilled to be back on the air in New York and working with John Gambling and Jerry Crowley and Lou Dobbs again makes it feel like coming home. We have been besieged by listeners who wanted to know where I went and how to find me, and now they will know.” Salem Communications market VP Phil Boyce adds, “The talk radio format is nothing without superstars who have built that unique bond with their audience. Not all stations understand that anymore, so we are able to make that happen on our New York stations. The addition of Joy Browne proves that.”
Trimmer to Program WRVA and WRNL, Richmond. Moving from Clear Channel’s Rochester, New York cluster where he programmed news/talk WHAM and sports talker WHTK “Sports 1280,” is Aaron Trimmer who heads south to the company’s Richmond, Virginia station group to serve as director of programming for news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL-AM. Trimmer – a Richmond native – takes over for PD Jimmy Barrett who now focuses on his WRVA morning drive hosting responsibilities.
Entercom Q2 Revenue Dips 1%. Considering the recent Q2 financial reports by some other broadcasters, the 1% drop in net revenue could be considered a plus. Entercom’s revenue was $100.2 million during the second quarter of 2014. The company reported that free cash flow decreased 21% to $15 million. Entercom CEO David Field states, “Revenue declined 1% from the prior year as results were impacted by sluggish business conditions during the quarter. Operationally, we continue to focus on developing our powerful local brands, content and digital capabilities and building our new SmartReach Digital division. These efforts are enhancing our value to listeners and customers and raising our growth potential. Broadcast radio fundamentals are strong with growing, massive audience reach and a superior ROI to competitive forms of media.” Entercom reduced its outstanding debt by $4.1 million (net of cash) during the quarter. As of June 30, 2014, the company had $7.1 million in cash and $489.8 million of senior debt and senior notes.
Pandora Eyeing Talk and Sports Formats. In an interview with Sonali Basak for Bloomberg, Pandora CFO Michael Herring hints the company is planning to add talk and sports talk content to its service, though the type of content and when it might appear on Pandora is not known at this time. Herring points to the popularity of talk and sports by commuters in autos as the reason for his company’s interest in the formats. “Music’s an important piece of radio listening in the car, but if there’s a place where spoken word is also equally, and more important really, it’s in the car…As the car becomes more important, thinking about other types of content that are important for the car becomes more critical. That’s why Sirius spends so much money on Howard Stern, sports and news.” Basak reports that Pandora is currently available in about 33% of cars while SiriusXM can be accessed in about 71% of autos. Usage by Pandora listeners in cars rose from about 2.5 million people during the second quarter of 2013 to about 7 million during the second quarter of 2014. Read the entire Bloomberg piece here.
Hofstra University’s WRHU Named College Station of the Year. The student-operated station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” has been named the best college station in the country, according to The Princeton Review. The publication rates colleges in America and, as part of that, also ranks college radio stations. Hofstra University’s WRHU came in #1 this year after being ranked #5 last year. The station is the flagship radio outlet for the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2010 and is the first and only college radio station to have an exclusive broadcasting agreement with a professional sports team. WRHU is a finalist for a prestigious 2014 Marconi Radio Award from the NAB as the top non-commercial station in the country. The station’s reporters have won top honors from the New York Associated Press Association, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and New York Women in Communications. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, who began his illustrious radio career on WRHU (when it was still using the call letters WVHC) and is a charter inductee of the WRHU Hall of Fame, states, “I am so proud of this great radio station’s progress and accomplishments over the years since I first broadcast there in 1967. This ranking is a tribute to the fantastic faculty staff running the operation and to the entire Communications Department at Hofstra which, in my opinion, is second to none in American academia.” Harrison sits on the Hofstra University Department of Communication advisory board.
KMG Networks’ Krantz to Work with Sun Broadcast Group. A new partnership struck by Sun Broadcast Group and Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks will have KMG president and CEO Gary Krantz joining SBG as strategic advisor. The companies say that “together, Sun and KMG will focus on new initiatives in content, digital, and services to superserve media partners in the audio entertainment sector. These exciting new opportunities will be separate initiatives from existing and planned partnerships that Sun and KMG are involved with, respectively.” SBG CEO Jason Bailey adds, “Gary and I have known each other for years and have always shared the same exciting vision for this industry. With all that’s going on in the network radio space there are countless opportunities to make a real difference with amazing program partners who share our passion for change. I’m stoked to work more closely with KMG on a professional basis in advancing our mission to make radio an experience for a whole new generation.”
Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Bradlee Dean, host of the “Sons of Liberty” syndicated radio series, has been honored with the Education Liberty Award from the Education Liberty Coalition for his appearances on their behalf at some 350 high schools in 24 states nationwide. Among the goals which Dean has been promoting is ELC’s campaign for students to study at their own instructional level and for parents to make school choices for their children. Dean’s most recent stop was in Marietta, Georgia…..Genesis Communications‘ sports platform – Sports Talk Florida – is providing “exclusive coverage” of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp complete with live practice updates, video interviews, and behind-the-scenes developments with reporters Jenna Laine and Amanda Borges. Genesis says that its digital platform, along with the affiliated radio stations WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa, are keeping Bucs fans informed. The company says, “With a plethora of exclusive photos, written articles and video content covering the Buccaneers, Sports Talk Florida leads the way in merging radio, web-based media, mobile sharing and social media.”
Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform/Southwest Border Crisis, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and James Brady Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; the threat of the Ebola virus as a possible pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; the battle in Washington over immigration policies and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s support of Ukrainian rebels and the probe of the downing of Flight 17; and the death of Reagan Administration Press Secretary and anti-gun crusader James Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.