Pending Business: What Would Maslow Do? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that motivation – a stop on Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs – is something that can be challenging in times like these. But, he says, “We are in a motivation transition that can solve the long-term need to stay in the game and give you the control to move the performance bar as high as you need it.” Read his piece here.
COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Fall Schools Opening Debate, Portland Protests, Presidential Race, Trump Commutes Roger Stone Sentence, Violent Crime Surge, Washington Redskins to Change Name Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future infections; the debate over re-opening schools in the fall; the violent BLM protests taking place in Portland, Oregon; the November presidential election, plans for a Florida Republican National Convention, and Joe Biden’s polling numbers; President Trump commutes the sentence of former “fixer” Roger Stone; the surge in violent crime statistics in a number of American cities; and the NFL’s Washington Redskins announce they will change the team’s nickname were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Broadcasters, Podcasting? Radio was late to this party and is scrambling to follow listeners to the digital platform. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke describes an opportunity in broadcasters’ dilemma. Read it here.
New Hampshire Talk Host’s Relationship with WSMN-AM, Nashua Ends After Video Post Goes Viral. New Hampshire talk host Dianna Ploss is no longer hosting her program on Bartis-Russell Broadcasting’s WSMN-AM, Nashua, New Hampshire after posting a video of herself verbally assaulting a landscaping crew with racist language for speaking Spanish while doing their jobs. The station carries a lot of brokered programming and it’s believed that Ploss also brokered her program. Apparently, Ploss became incensed when she heard a white crew leader speaking Spanish to his staff. After the video went viral, the radio station severed ties with her and posted the following on its website. “Dianna Ploss is no longer associated or affiliated in any way with WSMN or Bartis-Russell Broadcasting, LLC. We at WSMN value freedom of speech, freedom of expression and assembly. We will not tolerate discrimination, racism or hatred. We continue to present and offer on air opportunities for discussion, education and the exchange of opinions and ideas.”
Round Four of June PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station performances in his “Ratings Takeaways” for this group of markets. Regarding the news/talk format, Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin stays in the #3 rank in the market after repeating the 5.5 share it posted in May. iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh sheds four-tenths, finishing the June survey with a 6.2 share good for the #6 rank. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis drops 1.5 shares to a 7.4 share and falls back to the #5 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN falls to #2 after losing 1.2 shares and posting a 7.2 share. Across town, Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ drops six-tenths for a 5.5 share finish good for the #6 rank. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville falls to the #2 rank after losing a half share and finishing the June survey with a 9.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” report here.
It’s Official: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher from E.W. Scripps for $325 Million. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal between E.W. Scripps and SiriusXM for the latter to acquire the podcast platform Stitcher was imminent. Now, Scripps announces that deal is done and it’s getting $325 million for the unit that includes: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including the comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform. The press release states, “Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $4.5 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at a compound annual growth rate of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $72.5 million.” The deal includes $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; and earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022. It is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
Cumulus Media Cuts 3% of Workforce. Atlanta-based Cumulus Media has permanently removed 3% of its staffers from the payroll. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that 94 staffers have been affected by the move. The company put the cuts into effect the same day it announced to affiliate stations that the Westwood One News service would be shut down at the end of August due to the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the radio industry.
TALKERS News Notes. According to a tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mike Golic will remain with ESPN after ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” program ends on July 31. Schefter says Golic will work for the sports giant as a college football analyst – a position he held for 10 years before launching the “Mike & Mike” morning radio show with Mike Greenberg. The status of Golic’s co-host Trey Wingo – whose contract with ESPN is ending – is still unknown at this time…..Bonneville Denver announces that it is hiring Nate Jackson to serve as an air personality on sports talk KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The station says Jackson will be heard across all of the station’s programs as a contributor and fill-in host, in addition to contributing digital content to 1043TheFan.com. KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nate is a fascinating person with an incredible perspective on sports and life based on his experiences. While he’s obviously a talented writer, Nate also has a very entertaining and warm personality that we look forward to developing as one of our on-air talents.”
Atlanta’s Black-Targeted Radio Stations to Unite for Voter Registration Effort. This initiative involves Black-targeted radio stations in Atlanta owned by Cox Media Group (WALR “KISS 104.1”; Entercom (WVEE “V103” and WAOK-AM “1380 News/Talk); Radio One (WAMJ/WUMJ “Majic,” WHTA “Hot 107.9,” and WPZE “Praise 102.5”) and Core Radio Group (WWSZ) teaming up “with the common goals of voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization in advance of the November 2020 election.” The goal of “Black Radio United For The Vote” is to register black voters across metro Atlanta, and to get them to the polls in the coming election on November 3, as well as encouraging them to participate in the 2020 Census. Black Radio United For The Vote is partnering with the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and its affiliates to make these goals a reality. Each month through September, beginning on July 23, the participating radio stations will dedicate a full day of on-air programming to educate, inform and inspire Atlanta’s black community to register to vote, check their current registration status, and participate in the 2020 Census.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the death of former Windy City radio executive and station group owner Seth Mason. He passed away on Saturday (7/11) after a battle with pancreatic cancer at age 71. Mason was the general manager for legendary rock outlet WXRT in the 1970s and was managing WSCR for Infinity when the company debuted the sports format on WSCR at its original dial position at 1160 AM. Mason retired from radio management and ownership in 1998…..Programming pro Laura Lee is named interim program director for Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting’s alternative WWCD-FM, Columbus “CD102.5.” Lee will also host the midday program, taking over for Rachael Gordon, who recently resigned from the station. Lee was most recently program director and afternoon host at alternative WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7.”
Judge Puts Three Ed Stolz Stations into Receivership; Larry Patrick to Sell Them. The result of a 2016 complaint against Ed Stolz’s Royce International Broadcasting Group by Warner Music Group and other music companies alleging KREV, San Francisco; KFRH, Las Vegas; and KRCK, Palm Springs played music for which it did not have the rights, was a $1.2 million award for the plaintiffs in the copyright infringement portion of the complaint. Stolz appealed that decision, to no avail, and later agreed to sell the stations to pay the award. However, after it appeared to the plaintiffs that Stolz was not really trying to sell the stations, they asked the court to appoint a receiver to sell the stations in order to receive their award. The court agreed and moved to put the stations into receivership to force the matter. Larry Patrick of media brokerage firm Patrick Communications – who is charged with operating the stations and selling them – estimates that the three stations are worth a somewhat less than half of the jury’s $1.2 million award.
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, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Jennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital Talk; Jamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; 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; 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; 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.
Westwood One News to Cease Operations on August 30. TALKERS magazine has learned that Westwood One News affiliates have been notified that the company will cease operations of the Westwood One News service after the 11:30 pm newscast on Sunday, August 30 due to “extraordinary circumstances in the current marketplace.” In the memo, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “As you can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult decision not only given the strength and quality of our award-winning news product, but also the depth and experience of the impeccable Westwood One News team.” Westwood One EVP Bart Tessler adds, “Thank you to our 962 stations and the Westwood One affiliate sales team. It has been a pleasure leading this division of great broadcast journalists. In just 5 and ½ years, Westwood One News went from launch to winners of leading industry honors, including Edward R Murrow, Sigma Del Chi, National Headliner, New York Radio Festivals, and Golden Mike awards. We are very proud of the coverage and programming we provided, as well as your support and participation in our success.” The memo further adds that “Westwood One remains enthusiastically committed to our strong portfolio of talk personalities including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Michael Savage, Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, Clark Howard, and Red Eye Radio.”
Outer Banks Rocker WZPR-FM Flips to Talk. WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina will flip from classic rock to news/talk, effective July 13. Station owner Jam Media Solutions says the station will feature a live and local morning drive show called “The OBX Today” hosted by Sam Walker. He says, “I’m excited to be able to bring to the Outer Banks a news-oriented radio show every morning that will be able to expand on our coverage at OBXToday.com of what’s happening not only locally, but across all of North Carolina.” The rest of the lineup includes: FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Westwood One’s Chris Plante and Ben Shapiro, The Dave Ramsey Show, Ramsey Solutions’ Ken Coleman, and WWO’s “Red Eye Radio.” Jam Media Solutions owner Jonathan Mason adds, “We are very excited to introduce the all-new, news/talk WZPR to the Outer Banks. We believe it is exactly what the market needs. Our on air lineup will be informative and engaging from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.”
Midway Broadcasting Announces Launch of VON-tv. The acquisition of an OTT digital streaming platform by Midway Broadcasting Corporation gives the company a video component when it launches VON-tv in August. Midway says VON-tv “will deliver culturally relevant content to its new television audience. With the launch of VON-tv, the company will conduct a nationwide search for a new morning host. The newly designed live morning show will originate from Chicago and will be simulcast on VON-tv and WVON Radio.” Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper comments, “We are excited to be in the digital space, originating from our hometown of Chicago. Having earned a reputation for cultivating nationally recognized programs and talent, Midway Broadcasting Company will continue to use its expanding platforms to showcase the many voices throughout Black America.”
Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.
Talk Host Jay Severin Dead at 69. TheBlaze reports that longtime conservative talk radio personality and Republican operative Jay Severin has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer. After years of working as a Republican political consultant, Severin began his talk radio career in the mid-1990s filling in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, eventually becoming the afternoon drive host, calling himself the “rock ‘n’ roll Republican.” He briefly hosted evenings at WRKO, Boston before joining crosstown news/talk WTKK-FM, where he would work hosting afternoons until 2011. In 2012, he joined Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network where he would host a program until 2016.
TALKERS News Notes. After a 14-hour fundraiser for the families of a fallen officer and a second injured officer Cox Media Group Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa Police Department Foundation announce they raised more than $515,000 dollars for the Johnson-Zarkeshan Family Fund. Cox Tulsa’s news/talk KRMG, its four music-formatted sister radio stations and sister TV station KOKI-TV “FOX23” broadcast live from LaFortune Park on Wednesday to encourage donations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting Company has hired former KADN-TV, Lafayette, Louisiana reporter Hannah Neely as the new morning news anchor for news/talk WVON, Chicago. Neely is a Chicago native who is taking over for Annette Flournoy, who resigned from the position…..ABC Audio announces that in the aftermath of the arrest and charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, it is releasing a bonus episode of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” featuring details about Maxwell’s arrest and charges. The podcast is hosted by ABC News’ Mark Remillard.
IBA Says It Will Be Active Within Two Weeks. Broadcasters spearheading the foundation of Independent Broadcasters Association say they will officially form the organization within the next two weeks. Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone has been leading the movement to form the IBA. He says that there will be a conference call scheduled for all members in the next few weeks with him and the initial board to discuss the mission and goals. Issues that have already been broached are revenue generation, digital services, shared resources, proprietary systems and services, and group employee benefits. Stone says, “We have 496 owners/operators representing just under 3,000 stations that have signed up supporting the idea of the organization. The next step is the actual formation of the IBA into a legal entity, forming an initial board and getting to work on all the elements we have been discussing that will benefit independent operators choosing to be members of the IBA.” Cromwell Group president Bud Walters says, “Independent broadcasters outside the major markets have a lot in common as we seem to be in a different business than large market broadcasters. There is good reason to explore this idea of working more closely together.” Interested owners/operators can sign up here.
COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 6-10. The spiking cases of COVID-19 in many states and projections for future infections remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask debate and the search for COVID-19 meds. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s school opening order and the CDC’s guidelines, followed by the economy and the re-opening of America 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. See this week’s complete chart here.
NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.