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.
Talk Radio Plays Role in Build-Up to Jersey Shore Trump Rally. Local talk radio has been front and center during the two days leading up to President Trump’s rally tonight (1/28) in Wildwood, New Jersey. Pictured above is WNTP, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer” morning drive personality Chris Stigall – who broadcast his Tuesday morning show from Wildwood – posing for a selfie with some members of the large crowd gathered near the convention center hoping to get tickets to attend tonight’s event. WPGG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley hosted Lara Trump – wife of Eric Trump – on Monday’s program to talk about the president’s rally and the intense demand for tickets. Hurley also had the opportunity to interview “Duke” – the man with the unique designation of being the first person in line at the convention center to get a ticket. Hear that interview here. WPHT, Philadelphia late morning talk host Dom Giordano says, “Due to Wildwood being a small resort town, this became Trumpstock. This became a town taken over by Trump supporters. On air, there was a feeling that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event that resulted in huge crowds in Wildwood.”
Senator Sherrod Brown Seeks Answers About iHeartMedia Layoffs. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) penned a letter to iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman last week asking for information about the recent “employee dislocation.” In the letter, Brown tells Pittman – after pointing to Pittman’s $9 million bonus in 2017 and $9.3 million incentive bonus in 2018 – “It is difficult enough to understand the decision to continue the hollowing out of local media outlets by laying off disc jockeys in smaller communities. But it is particularly difficult to make sense of this decision given that it came after a significant increase in the company’s executive compensation over the last few years.” Pittman is not bound by law to answer Brown’s questions, but TALKERS suspects he’ll do Brown the courtesy of a reply of some sort. Here are the four questions he’d like answered by February 14: 1) How many workers were affected by iHeartMedia’s recent layoff announcement? Of those workers, how many are in Ohio? 2) The company is reportedly giving severance to the affected workers. Please provide details about the severance provided, including whether it includes severance pay and if so, how much and whether it includes health care benefits, and if so for how long. 3) Is the company giving affected workers priority consideration in the hiring process for any currently open positions in the company? Is the company going to give affected workers priority consideration in the hiring process for any positions that become open in the future? If so, for how long will affected workers be given hiring preference? 4) Is the company offering or paying for any training affected workers might seek to help them find new employment? If so, please provide details about the training offered or paid for, including the type of training, the length of time a worker can pursue such training, and, in the case of training paid for by iHeartMedia, the amount the company will pay for the worker to obtain such training.
FCC Close to Dismissing Renewal Applications for Entertainment Media Trust’s St. Louis Market Stations. An FCC administrative law judge is giving Entertainment Media Trust’s Dennis J. Watkins, trustee, until February 18 to comply with a request for information and an order to show cause why the applications for license renewal for four AM stations and an FM translator construction permit should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. In an Order to Show Cause, Judge Jane Hinckley Halprin outlines the numerous failures to comply with FCC requests on the part of Trustee Watkins – including not showing up for a December 5, 2019 prehearing conference. This comes almost eight years after petitioner Mark Kern challenged the license renewals of KFTK-AM, East St. Louis; WQQW, Highland, Illinois; KZQZ, St. Louis; and KQQZ, DeSoto, Missouri alleging that Robert Romanik – a convicted felon – is illegally controlling the stations. Kern alleges that Romanik – who operates the stations d/b/a Insane Broadcasting Company – helped fund the Trust’s acquisition of the stations although he’s not part of any FCC applications. Romanik hosts a daily show on KQQZ from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The website says of his show, “‘The Grim Reaper of Radio’ is not politically correct or politically incorrect, he’s politically insane!!”
Round Four of Holiday PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was December 5 through January 1. Perhaps on the strength of the Green Bay Packers playoff run and the performance of the first-place Milwaukee Bucks, flagship WTMJ – owned by Good Karma Brands – adds two-tenths to its 6+ weekly AQH share for a 5.9 share and the #4 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville halts a three-survey slide with a two-tenths increase to finish the Holiday survey at an 8.3 share and the #2 rank. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.
Impeachment/Bolton Manuscript, Presidential Race, Pompeo-NPR Spat, Coronavirus, Kobe Bryant Death, SCOTUS Immigration Ruling, and Grammy Awards/Race Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and the manuscript penned by former national security adviser John Bolton; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s anger with NPR over Ukraine line of questioning; concerns over the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus; the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others in a helicopter crash; the Supreme Court overrules a lower court’s stay on the Trump Administration’s “public charge” rule for low income immigrants; and Sunday’s Grammy Awards and allegations of bias against black artists 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. On-air pro Jayn is promoted to the role of music supervisor for Entercom’s hot AC KLLC “Alice @ 97.3” and alternative KITS “ALT 105.3.” She continues as afternoon drive personality and APD for KLLC. Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Greg Nemitz says, “Besides being the musical muse behind ‘Alice’ for the past 16 years, Jayn has been an integral part of the ‘ALT 105.3’ music team alongside APD and music director Aaron Axelsen. Jayn and Aaron together are an unstoppable force and will continue to make these two stations leaders in this market.” Jayn joined “Alice @ 97.3” in 2004 as assistant program director and music director. She expanded her role to midday host in 2006 before transitioning to afternoon drive in 2014…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces six new affiliate stations for the nationally syndicated urban AC show “Rick and Sasha.” They include: WGNU-AM/FM, St. Louis; WMXU-FM, Columbus/Starkville, Mississippi; WKZJ-FM, Columbus, Georgia; KVMA-FM, Shreveport; WQVE-FM, Albany, Georgia; and WBXB-FM, Edenton, North Carolina…..On-air pro Kathy Vogel is moving from Rubber City Radio’s classic rock WONE-FM, Akron where she hosted middays to the company’s new adult contemporary WNWV, Cleveland “107.3 JenY FM” as morning drive personality…..Air personality Tim Burger announces via a Facebook post that he’s exited SummitMedia’s country KFDI-FM, Wichita after three years as part of the morning show. He says, “I am so grateful I was able to be part of a heritage radio station that the people in Wichita have turned to for over 50 years.”…..In the Scranton/Wilkes Barre market, Mark Hoover is promoted to program director for Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WEZX “Rock 107.” Hoover has been serving as afternoon host and promotions coordinator. He’ll continue to handle the afternoon shift and manage the promotions department.