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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

| November 2, 2021

Bongino Off the Radio This Week; Still Hosting Podcast. This may be the week that the rift between Westwood One parent company Cumulus Media and nationally syndication talk host Dan Bongino is settled – one way or the other. Bongino’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET show is being guest hosted this week after the syndicator ran best-of shows last week during his absence. At issue here is Bongino’s stand against the company’s vaccine mandates and his publicly calling out the company and demanding it rescind the requirement that all employees get vaccinated. He is still producing his daily, one-hour podcast for the iHeartRadio platform this week and on it he’s addressing vaccine mandates and his belief that they are ultimately doing the nation more harm than good. As far as Cumulus Media is concerned, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the company retreats on its vaccine mandate and since Bongino is obviously serious about his ultimatum, it looks like the two parties are likely headed for a separation.

Interep Radio Founder Ralph Guild Passes at 93. Legendary radio sales figure Ralph Guild – long credited with creating what is now the standard operating structure for television and radio rep companies, passed away yesterday (11/1) in Palm Beach, Florida at the age of 93. Guild launched Interep Radio in 1981 to offer the communications and marketing expertise he believed radio stations would come to expect from their representatives. Created as a holding company, Interep brought independent rep firms together under a single corporate umbrella and grew to over $1 billion in sales. In 1986, under Guild’s stewardship, Interep launched Group W Radio Sales, which ultimately became CBS Radio Sales. Other dedicated rep companies created by Interep included ABC Radio Sales. Guild began his radio representation career in 1957 as a young executive at McGavren Radio – a San Francisco-based firm devoted to representing radio advertising. The company sent him to New York to open their first east coast office, and by 1967 McGavren Radio had become McGavren Guild. In 1973, Guild had become the company’s president and chief operating officer, and later its chairman. Guild’s son Marc, who was also a well-known radio industry executive, passed away in 2020. Guild is survived by his children, Gale, Lynn, Sharon, and Adam, his 16 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

Townsquare Media 2021 Third Quarter Net Revenue Up 17%. The company reveals the results of its 2021 third quarter financial report and says net revenue was $111.3 million, up 16.7% compared to the same period in 2020 and just 1% shy of the net revenue in Q3 of 2019 – just prior to the pandemic. Net income for the quarter was $12.9 million, up from $1.3 million in Q3 of 2020. Townsquare Media reports its business in three segments: Townsquare Interactive, the company’s digital marketing solutions subscription business; Advertising, which includes broadcast and digital advertising products and solutions; and Live Events, which is comprised of the company’s live events, including concerts, expositions and other experiential events. Townsquare Interactive net subscription revenue increased $2.9 million, or 16.2%, to $21.1 million, Advertising net revenue increased $10.3 million, or 13.3%, to $87.4 million, and Live Events net revenue increased $2.7 million to $2.7 million, each as compared to the third quarter of 2020. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “Townsquare’s strong performance continued in the third quarter of 2021, highlighted by robust year-over-year net revenue, Adjusted EBITDA, and net income growth.  Adjusted EBITDA surpassed 2019 levels for the fourth consecutive quarter, and net revenue was at 99% of 2019 levels… As a Digital First Company with approximately 47% of total net revenue (excluding political) coming from our digital platform and solutions, we continue to separate ourselves from the local competition. In the third quarter, total digital revenue increased 20% year-over-year (+29% vs. Q3 2019), and we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue, fueling the growth of our digital platform from $188 million of revenue (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of September 30, 2021) to $250 million in just three short years. Our digital revenue growth, combined with strong profit growth, allowed us to reduce net leverage to 4.9x as of September 30, a meaningful reduction of 2.9x year over year. I am incredibly proud of the Townsquare Team and the results we have delivered to date, which sets us up to noticeably exceed 2019’s Adjusted EBITDA in FY 2021, marking a record profit level for our company. Although COVID is far from over, we have been able to achieve our revenue and EBITDA targets faster than we had initially planned for while gaining market share. As such, we are quickly moving towards our ultimate goal of being the number one local media company in each of our 67 markets.”

Beasley Media Group Q3 Net Revenue Up 26.7%. For the third quarter of 2021, Beasley Media Group reports net revenue of $62.9 million, an increase of 26.7% over the same period in 2020. The company reports a net loss of $1.6 million, down from the $2.7 million net loss reported in Q3 of 2020. Station operating income rose to $11.7 million, up 36% from the $8.1 million reported in the third quarter of 2020. Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley’s strong third quarter financial results reflect the operating and financial benefits of our digital transformation and revenue diversification initiatives, which are becoming more visible as we move deeper into the post-pandemic economic recovery. Accelerating demand from consumers and advertisers for our premium content and multi-platform marketing solutions drove third quarter net revenue of $62.9 million, marking a 6% increase over second quarter 2021 levels and a 27% increase over the comparable prior year period. Top line growth, combined with the meaningful actions we have taken over the past year to permanently reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies, resulted in a significant 45% year-over-year increase in SOI to $11.7 million, as well as positive free cash flow of approximately $1.7 million. While the Delta variant impacted some markets during the quarter, strong growth in core radio advertising and digital advertising revenue resulted in year-over-year total revenue increases across nearly all of our markets, with healthy double-digit growth in Atlanta, Boca Raton, Boston, Detroit, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Tampa and Wilmington. The growth was primarily driven by a significant increase in sports betting revenue. Beasley continues to generate positive results from strategic investments in our digital and esports infrastructure and content production capabilities, which are further strengthening the long-term competitive position of our diversified media platform. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 67% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for 13% of total third quarter revenue. With our ongoing focus on premium audio and digital content, Beasley’s digital network delivered record digital audience impressions for the second consecutive quarter, with total digital impressions growing 13% over the prior year period, including a 17% year-over-year increase in our total digital streaming audience. On the esports front, we recently launched AXLE-R8, our first expansion team marking our entry into the Rocket League Championship series, which attracts a highly engaged and growing young audience. As we continue to build our esports portfolio, we remain focused on looking for new, innovative ways to monetize this content to drive profitable long-term revenue growth. In summary, we continue to make significant progress on our near-term goal of returning all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels, as we integrate our leading broadcast platform with our fast-growing digital solutions while maintaining deep local connections and reach within our markets.”

Duke Brooks Exits Resort Broadcasting’s WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach. Talk show host Duke Brooks tells TALKERS magazine that he left his position as host of the afternoon drive program at Resort Broadcasting’s news/talk WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on October 15. He says, “I’ve been honored to have the company of thousands of Delmarvans every weekday afternoon for over six years, but WGMD plans a new programming direction in which I have no experience. That, among several other reasons, meant that it was time for me to depart Resort Broadcasting, LLC.” Brooks first joined WGMD in the fall of 2009 as evening talk show host but, along with several other staffers, was let go on February 2, 2011. He then worked as communication director for the Sussex County GOP and then for Kevin Wade’s (R-DE) campaigns for the U.S. Senate. He returned to WGMD on March 13, 2015.

Fisher House Radio Special Available for Veterans Day Weekend. In time for this year’s recognition of Veteran’s Day, Fisher House Foundation announces that The Jeff Wyatt Group has a free, fresh edition of “The Fisher House Story” for 2021 NOW available for download. You can hear the demo, register, and download today here. “The Fisher House Story – Peace of Mind and a Place to Heal” is a radio special provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations as well as a 30-minute public affairs show for ALL formats in the U.S. and around the world. Fisher House Foundation provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis because “A Family’s LOVE is Good Medicine.” The 3-hour, 1-hour, 25 and 30-minute radio specials are hosted by long-time radio personality Jeff Wyatt and features stories of our nation’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. This informational talk show will leave listeners feeling inspired during Veterans Day weekend (Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11) and through the holiday season, sharing stories of amazing service members, veterans, and their families.

Biden Spending Bills, Election Day, COVID-19, SCOTUS Abortion Law Case, COP26, and Kyle Rittenhouse Trial to Begin Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/1). The status of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $1.75 trillion economic plan and Congress likely to act on them this week; today’s tight gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine mandates, and vaccine approval for children; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of Texas’ restrictive abortion law; the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow; and the beginning of the trial of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 29, 2021

| October 29, 2021

WTAM, Cleveland Legend Mike Trivisonno Passes at 74. The Cleveland operations of iHeartMedia announce that longtime WTAM-AM talk host Mike Trivisonno has died. A statement from the company says: “It is with heavy hearts that WTAM 1100 announces the passing of radio legend and current talk show host, Mike Trivisonno. He was 74 years old. Trivisonno, a Cleveland native, began his talk radio career in 1986. Since his days as ‘Mr. Know-it-All,’ Triv has been voted ‘Best Talk Show Host’ by Scene Magazine and The Achievement in Radio Awards. The Cleveland Plain Dealer named him the ‘Voice of Cleveland,’ Cleveland Magazine named him ‘One of Cleveland’s Fifty Most Interesting People,’ and he was a 2003 NAB Marconi finalist for ‘Personality of the Year.’ Triv proudly raised over $5 million dollars for local charities during his career, including Coats for Kids, whom he hosted his annual ‘Vegas Show Benefit’ in support of. Although ‘The Voice of Cleveland’ has been silenced, his impact on Cleveland will be felt and heard for years to come. All of us here at WTAM send our love and support to his family during this difficult time. We will bring you more details as we receive them, including information on memorials.”

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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. This new episode titled, “War of the Words,” looks back at this past week of 10/25 – 10/29. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyArmstrong & Getty, talk show co-hosts, independently syndicated; Glenn Jacobs, mayor of Knox County, TN/former world heavyweight champion wrestler (Kane), WWE. The 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, 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.

SiriusXM Q3 Revenue Rises 9%. Satellite and digital broadcaster SiriusXM revealed its financial results for the third quarter of 2021 and reports revenue of $2.2 billion, an increase of 9% compared to the prior year period. The company recorded net income of $343 million in the third quarter of 2021, compared to $272 million in the same period a year ago. SiriusXM CEO Jennifer Witz says, “By adding a record 616,000 net new SiriusXM self-pay subscribers in the third quarter, we attained our prior full-year guidance of approximately 1.1 million net additions in just nine months. We are increasing all of our financial guidance for 2021 and expect to add more than 1.1 million net new self-pay SiriusXM subscribers this year, making 2021 our best for self-pay subscriber growth since 2018. During the quarter, we saw continued low monthly churn and outstanding ARPU performance in the SiriusXM business, and we are also making important progress driving advertising growth at Pandora.”

Nielsen Revenue Increases 5.5% in Q3 of 2021. Reporting its financial data for the third quarter of 2021, Nielsen Holdings Plc says revenue increased 5.5% to $882 million on a reported basis. Net income from continuing operations attributable to Nielsen shareholders increased 18.2% to $117 million, compared to $99 million in the third quarter of 2020. Nielsen CEO David Kenny comments, “We are pleased with our strong third quarter results, building on our track record of execution and demonstrating continued progress on our strategic growth plan. In Audience Measurement, clients see the value in our enhanced and expanded products, and it is driving strong performance across national media and digital-first clients. In Outcomes and Content, growth was driven, in part, by improving trends post-COVID, and we are continuing to build on our global leadership position. Our updated guidance today reflects our strong performance year to date and confidence in our ability to deliver on our objectives.”

iHeartMedia Executive Tony Coles Joins Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Radio executive Tony Coles is joining the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The press release says Coles – who serves iHeartMedia as division president of Metro Markets and president of Black Information Network – brings “expertise in media and a passion for mentorship, especially in reaching communities of color, to BBBSA to increase equity and make a lasting impact on the lives of young people.” He most recently worked with BBBSA in securing music artists Blanco Brown and Parmalee as special guests for the organization’s virtual national conference, to bring awareness about the need for more mentors. Coles says, “When I think about the impact mentors have played in my life, I am grateful for those who poured into me and encouraged me to achieve the goals I set for myself — personally and professionally. I am excited to join a powerful board of committed individuals who are focused on making sure the next generation is equipped and prepared for life.”

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Wraps Up ‘Talktoberfest.’ The second annual “WBT Talktoberfest” wrapped up last night (10/28) at Radio One’s “News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT” in Charlotte. WBT program director Mike Schaefer says this year’s “Talktoberfest” expanded on the 2020 event in which WBT host and former Governor Pat McCrory chatted virtually with Key Networks syndicated talk icon Bill O’Reilly. This year, each Thursday in “Talktober” two of WBT’s personalities met virtually for an hour or so with listeners in a fun “ask us anything” forum on the station’s Facebook Live, Twitter and YouTube platforms. The first episode brought together morning drive host Bo Thompson and the newest member of the team, 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm host Pete Kaliner, discussing everything from their local roots to Pete’s return to WBT to host in the daypart formerly held by Rush Limbaugh, to pizza. The second edition was more news focused as WBT news reporters Mark Garrison and “Breaking” Brett Jensen broke down the biggest local news stories in Charlotte and North Carolina. Week three featured late morning and afternoon drive hosts Vince Coakley and Brett Winterble with a discussion that leaned heavily towards national politics, with discussions of Vince’s previous run for Congress and Brett’s time as a member of the Rush Limbaugh show team. The “Talktoberfest” finale featured an extended version of the station’s twice-daily “AM/PM” discussions with Bo Thompson and Brett Winterble.  Schaefer says, “WBT’s Talktoberfest 2021 was a fun, unpredictable series driven largely by the participation of our loyal listeners! We’re excited to see how the event will evolve in 2022!”

Nielsen and SCBA: The Power of Impressions for the Radio Industry. A recent study by Nielsen – commissioned by the Southern California Broadcasters Association – shows the power of impressions-based buying for the radio industry, according to the SCBA. The study reveals that agencies are increasingly using impressions to evaluate media, and the usefulness of impressions to evaluate radio and digital using a common metric. According to the study, the benefits of impressions-based buying (how many times an ad was heard) offers increased granularity over ratings (how many people were listening during a given time period) and adds value to more dayparts and easier comparison across markets. It also gives audio and digital platforms the ability to capture all of their audiences no matter where content is consumed.  Additionally, the study showed that impressions also provide a brand safe environment for advertisers looking for premium impressions at the local level. Other highlights include: 1) The shift to buying on impressions is accelerating. In fact, 54% of agency professionals are now buying on impressions; 2) Buying on CPM levels the playing field, where supply and demand determine pricing rather than market size; and 3) The line between radio and digital is starting to blur, and impressions are key to evaluating radio station app and website audiences. SCBA president Miles Sexton says, “The importance of combining radio and digital advertising effectively cannot be overstated, and impressions are clearly where the industry is headed. As radio continues to evolve within the digital ecosystem, the building blocks of a successful cross-platform campaign will include impressions.” See more here.

Radio Hall of Fame Inducts Class of 2021. The 2021 Radio Hall of Fame inductees were honored at last night’s ceremony held at Chicago’s Wintrust Grand Banking Hall. Eight radio professionals were inducted, including talk personalities Kim Komando (pictured here with Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin) and sports talk host Dan Patrick. Additionally, 33 late broadcasters were inducted as part of the Legends Class of 2021 that included: Dr. Joy Browne, Barry Gray, and Dr. Toni Grant. Last night’s program was hosted by Jonathon Brandmeier with Hall of Famer Jim Bohannon also doing announcing duties throughout the show. Photo: David Kindler Photography.

Federal Budget Negotiations Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 25 – 29. The negotiations over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and social spending bills was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy, the supply chain disruption, inflation, and labor issues. Following at #3 was COVID-19 vaccines, masks & mandates, and the politics and school board issues surrounding the pandemic. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Saturday, October 30 Marks the 83rd Anniversary of Historic ‘War of the Worlds’ Radio Broadcast. With concerns over so-called fake news, “deepfakes,” and algorithm manipulation in the zeitgeist, this Saturday (10/30) marks the anniversary of the original “deepfake of 1938,” when more than eight decades ago, “War of The Worlds,” Orson Wells’ radio drama about an alien invasion theatrically presented as “breaking news,” reportedly scared the daylights out of the nation (and many claim that even the level of hyperbole surrounding those reports were fake news about fake news). The story about this event is extremely well-covered in today’s (10/28) posting of the premiere episode of Season 2 of the hit podcast series, “We Interrupt This Broadcast.” ATTENTION PROGRAMMERS: this is a great, last minute Halloween radio special in a bottle. The show’s producers are offering news/talk radio stations and broadcasters who read TALKERS free access to the podcast and use of any or all of its production elements to tie in with the event’s connection to Halloween. Here is a link to the “War of The Worlds” episode: The War of The Worlds: The Original Deep Fake of 1938. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact the podcast’s producer Joe Garner at jgarner@garnercreative.com or 818-439-6771.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

| October 22, 2019

Tegna Putting San Diego’s KFMB-AM and KFMB-FM Up for Sale. According to Ken Leighton’s report in the San Diego ReaderTegna has put news/talk KFMB-AM and classic hits KFMB-FM up for sale and intends to announce a potential new owner by November 15.  The story indicates radio station staffers learned about Tegna’s plans in a memo last week.  Tegna bought the two radio stations as part of its acquisition of two San Diego television outlets – KFMB-TV and KFMB-DT2 – back in December of 2018.  The piece reports that iHeartMedia is rumored to be interested and goes on to speculate that KFMB-AM could become a sports talk station, with programming from iHeartMedia’s crosstown KLSD moving to KFMB-AM’s better signal.  However, such an acquisition would put iHeartMedia over the ownership cap in the market and require divestitures.

Hofstra’s WRHU-FM Wins Third Marconi Award. At this year’s Marconi Awards at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas, Hofstra University’s WRHU, Hempstead, New York took home its third Marconi Award.  The school’s station won the Noncommercial Station of the Year in 2014 and 2017.  This year, the station won the inaugural College Station of the Year honor.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a feature-length look at Hofstra’s WRHU.  Kinosian writes that several things make WRHU unique.  “Operated primarily by a roughly 250-member student staff, which in itself is fairly mind-blowing, the noncommercial, educational, community-oriented facility has another 20 or so ‘community volunteers.’”  Read the entire piece here.

TALKERS News Notes. Indianapolis sports talk host Dan Dakich is serving a one-week suspension from his show on Emmis Communications’ WFNI-AM “The Fan” for “a failure last year on Dan’s part to adhere to the journalistic principles valued by Emmis,” according to a report in the Indianapolis Star.  However, neither Emmis nor Dakich are responding to inquiries about the specifics of his transgression.  Former Indiana Pacers player Scot Pollard is sitting in as host of Dakich’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show…..Entercom sports talk personality Christian Fauria is doing a marathon radio broadcast on WEEI, Boston to raise awareness of diabetes and raise funds for the American Diabetes Association.  “Christian Fauria’s 25 for 25k” entails Fauria broadcasting live for 25 hours straight from 2:00 pm on November 13 to 3:00 pm on November 14 in an effort to raise $25,000.  Fauria’s son was recently diagnosed with diabetes and during the broadcast, he’ll discuss his family’s journey with diabetes and welcome special guests, including New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, diabetes patients, medical professionals, and Susan Sarro, executive director of the American Diabetes Association in New England…..This week’s Westwood One blog looks at the levels of awareness, usage, and enrollment in their rewards programs for Uber and Lyft among AM/FM radio listeners.  According to a national MARU/Matchbox study commissioned by Westwood One, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are big users of ridesharing.  60% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners used Uber in the past year compared to 37% of light AM/FM radio listeners.  A greater proportion of heavy AM/FM radio listeners used Lyft in the last year (49%) versus only 21% of light AM/FM radio listeners.  See more here…..ESPN Radio is reporting that its summer ratings (June 20-September 11) with men 25-54 in PPM markets were up 4% over the same period in 2018 (6a-6p).  The upward trend was aided by an increase in time spent listening of 6%.  The morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show was up 5% year-over-year with men 25-54 and enjoyed a 17% increase in TSL for the same period.

Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Tells TALKERS, “We live in a time of journalism by clickbait.”  Criticism of today’s media and journalism is not the exclusive domain of President Donald Trump.  Nor is the observation that the national party committees are above putting their thumbs on the scale to help certain candidates of their own choosing.  Interestingly, a candidate who is ideologically as far from the president as anyone in the race – Marianne Williamson – shares his view that both today’s media journalism and political party machinery can use improvement when it comes to honesty, integrity, and competency.  Although Williamson has not qualified for inclusion in the last two debates, her candidacy remains very much alive.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison caught up with Williamson last week shortly after the Democratic debate on CNN.  To listen to the conversation, please click here.

John McConnell to be Honored by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.  Radio industry veteran programmer, executive, and talent agent John McConnell has been named the 2019 recipient of prestigious Arnold Schneider Visionary Award by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for his work on behalf the organization’s mission to improve quality of life and speed the development of treatments for paralysis and breakthroughs in spinal cord research.  The award will be presented at the Foundation’s annual Gala dinner in the Big Apple in November.  McConnell is executive vice president of Workhouse Media and runs the talent agency’s New York office.  One of his clients, the legendary Scott Shannon of WCBS-FM, New York tells TALKERS, “Since the moment he first joined the ranks as a fundraiser and now vice chair, John has left an indelible mark as a leader.  He fractured his neck in 2005 after flipping over his bike.  While he recovered, this experience ignited a passion and purpose to help the Foundation accelerate its mission.  A year to the day after the injury, John ran the New York City Marathon.  He’s since completed multiple marathons, raising millions under the Reeve banner.”  Shannon continues, “I’ve known John for 30 years.  Our love of radio brought us together and we have a wonderful friendship.  And I’m proud to call him my agent.”  This year’s Gala is titled “A Magical Evening” and it is set for Thursday, November 14 at Cipriani South Street located at 10 South Street in New York City.  Those interested in attending or making a contribution may contact the Gala office at 973-933-7114 or events@christopherreeve.org for reservations.

Egan Named GSM for Alpha Media Portland. The Alpha Media Portland station group that includes news/talk KXL-FM, talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” and sports talk KXTG-AM “750 The Game,” and four music brands names Michael Egan its new general sales manager, effective November 4.  Egan was most recently general manager at Pitt Learfield/IMG College Sports Marketing in Pittsburgh.  Prior to his six-year stint at Learfield/IMG, Egan held senior roles in corporate sponsorship sales for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Portland Trail Blazers.  Alpha Media Portland director of sales Cressy Walton says, “We are very excited to have Mike join us and look forward to the ideas, relationships, and experience he is bringing to our team.  His knowledge, sense of humor, leadership, work ethic, and Oregon roots are a perfect fit.”

Impeachment Inquiry Delay, Syria Withdrawal, 2020 Presidential Race/Gabbard-Clinton Clash, Trudeau Ekes Victory in Canada, Netanyahu Fails to Form Government, and Brexit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The Democrats delay the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; debate over the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Northeastern Syria; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Hillary Clinton’s calling Tulsi Gabbard a “Russian asset”; Justin Trudeau wins Canada’s prime minister race but will lead a minority government; Benjamin Netanyahu fails to form a government in Israel; and Boris Johnson’s asking Parliament to approve his Brexit deal 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. Changes are taking place on air at Connoisseur Media’s Connecticut operations.  Air personality Allan Lamberti is moving from mornings on classic rock WFOX, Southport “95.9 The Fox” to sister adult contemporary WEBE, Westport for afternoons, taking over for Jay Michaels, who is stepping down this week.  Charlie Padgett will assume morning duties on WFOX.  Lamberti says, “I grew up in Trumbull, live in Bridgeport, and have long listened to and admired WEBE108.  I’m extremely excited to take over in my new role on afternoons on such a legendary signal.”…..iHeartMedia’s hip hop KMEL, San Francisco announces the lineup for its 2019 “Holiday House of Soul” taking place on Saturday, December 14 at The Masonic in San Francisco.  The event will feature live performances from artists including Layton Greene, SiR and DVSN.  iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker says, “The KMEL ‘Holiday House of Soul’ is a Bay Area tradition and frequently showcases some of the biggest new stars in R&B.  Previous shows have included talent such as SZA and The Weeknd, just as their careers were in their earliest stages. We’re proud to again feature several of today’s freshest R&B artists who’ve all had a breakout year in 2019 with big things to come in the years ahead.”

Thursday, August 8, 2019

| August 8, 2019

Cumulus Media Q2 Assessment: “Making Great Progress.”  According to second-quarter results, Cumulus Media’s net revenue fell 2% year-to-year to $279.6 million from $285.2 million in 2018. Net income was down to $42.9 million, owing mostly to a net corporate loss, offsetting gains on the radio group side. Adjusted EBITDA was down 6.8% to $61.8 million. President and chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “We continued to make great progress against the goals we set when we emerged from bankruptcy a little over a year ago. We delivered a solid financial performance, with same-station revenue and Adjusted EBITDA up 1.8% and 3.7%, respectively, on an ex-political basis, driven by continued growth in national and network revenue, as well as industry-leading digital growth. We have now closed several strategic portfolio optimization transactions and announced one more. The $146.5 million of gross proceeds from the closed transactions, along with cash from operations, allowed us to prepay $165 million of debt since our last earnings announcement. [That reduces] our total post-bankruptcy debt by approximately $250 million. Given the results of the past year, I am more confident than ever that the company will continue to deliver significant value to our investors, employees, listeners, and advertisers.”

Media-Savvy McAfee Adds Daily Syndicated Radio Show. Definitively proving there is life in the media after being an eight-year Indianapolis Colts punter, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) analyst Pat McAfee will host a daily sports talk show syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and streamed on the DAZN video network. The program will air weekdays from 10:00 am -12:00 noon (ET), starting in just over four weeks (9/9). Among the 40 stations already clearing “The Pat McAfee Show” are Cumulus Media’s San Mateo-licensed KTCT, which simulcasts KNBR, San Francisco; and Cumulus Media Indianapolis’ WXNT “CBS Sports 1430 AM.” In addition, 2017 – 2018 Barstool podcaster McAfee recently signed a deal to serve as a college football analyst for ESPN. Last year, he did similar NFL duties at Fox Sports. As part of his DAZN arrangement, the 32-year old McAfee will appear on its nightly MLB “Changeup” show and will create football segments for the video network’s outlets in Canada and Germany.

Stayin’ Classy: “The Ron Burgundy Podcast” Returns. California Senator/Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is the guest on the season two opener of iHeartRadio’s hilarious, tongue-in-cheek “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” co-produced with Funny Or Die. Channeling his Ron Burgundy persona and remaining completely in character, Will Ferrell emphatically states, “My podcast, quite simply, can only be described as a raging success. I’ll admit that when I first started in this rodeo, it was my first rodeo, and I had no idea what a podcast even was. But through diligent research and persistence, I quickly climbed my way up to the top. Now, it is not my first rodeo – it is literally, my second rodeo. Word on the street is that I am already the best rodeo rider that has ever lived … and podcaster, too. This is a fact, folks.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “When Ron first started trying to force us to make this podcast with him, we resisted, as it’s clear he’s an unhinged man; however, people are actually listening. I have no idea why. Doubly baffling, and for reasons beyond my grasp, they actually want more. Seriously? We have to go through this whole thing again? Fine. Season two. Whatever.” The podcast’s initial season debuted with 12 episodes in December 2018. In addition to Senator Harris, Ron Burgundy’s guests this season will include actress Brooke Shields, historian/political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin, and feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Approximately 270 iHeartMedia broadcast stations in virtually every format are scheduling Sunday Night Podcasts, which begins this Sunday (8/11) with “The Ron Burgundy Podcast.” Sunday Night Podcasts is part of iHeartMedia’s “Podcast, Meet Broadcast” initiative that utilizes the company’s consumer reach to introduce the rapidly growing podcast sector to iHeartMedia’s quarter of a billion monthly broadcast listeners. A much more serious Byrne states, “We’re thrilled to bring some of the world’s best and most popular podcasts to our broadcast listeners every Sunday. We are uniquely able to provide the scale critical to introducing podcasts to the millions of Americans who aren’t yet familiar with them. Research shows that more than two-thirds of the population still are not dedicated podcast listeners – many have never even heard a podcast. Sunday Night Podcasts will help introduce different audio series from a variety of genres to a whole new audience.” In October 2017, Mark Ramsey’s “Inside Psycho” aired as a one-hour special on more than 70 iHeartMedia news/talk outlets. Episodes of “Family Secrets” and “Monster: The Zodiac Killer” aired on iHeartMedia stations before they were available anywhere else.

WFAN Splits Simulcast For Certain Yankees, Giants Games. When your station is the flagship of two major sports franchises, it helps to have two signals to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Entercom New York’s sports talk simulcast of WFAN-AM & WFAN-FM will take advantage of that situation three times this month and four times next month: WFAN is the flagship of both the (MLB) Yankees and (NFL) Giants. When both teams are playing on the same date, the Giants will shift to WFAN-AM (660), while the Yankees will continue on WFAN-FM (101.9). Senior vice president of Entercom New York Mark Chernoff explains, “August marks the beginning of another exciting start to football season and WFAN remains at the forefront of New York Giants coverage while remaining the home for New York Yankees baseball. Splitting the WFAN signal will allow the station to super serve fans of both iconic teams.” August dates involved for the simulcast split are tonight, Thursday, 8/8 (Giants-Jets/Yankees-Blue Jays); the 16th (Giants-Bears/Yankees-Indians); and the 22nd (Giants-Bengals/Yankees-A’s). In September, the simulcast will be suspended on the 8th (Giants-Cowboys/Yankees-Red Sox); 15th (Giants-Bills/Yankees-Blue Jays); 22nd (Giants-Buccaneers/Yankees-Blue Jays); and 29th (Giants-Redskins/Yankees-Rangers).

United Stations Names Janoff Chief Revenue Officer. In that role, Greg Janoff will oversee all of United Stations Radio Networks’ advertising sales efforts. USRN chair/chief executive officer Nick Verbitsky comments, “We are beyond thrilled that we now have Greg Janoff overseeing our revenue streams. Greg is passionate about our medium, knows radio inside and out, and will absolutely be a tremendous asset for our company. The next decade is around the corner and we have landed the right executive to lead our current successes forward into the future.” For the past 24 years, Janoff has held several upper management posts in New York City for Entercom and the former CBS Radio. His titles there have included vice president and general manager for all-news WINS; vice president and director of sales for WINS, co-owned all-news WCBS-AM and sports talk sibling WFAN “The Fan”; and station manager for WINS. As Townsquare Media’s regional vice president, Janoff was in charge of the company’s Michigan and New Jersey markets for three years, following two years as executive vice president of revenue for Merlin Media’s five stations in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Janoff succeeds Jim Higgins, who exited USRN last week.

iHeart Set To Debut Podcasts in Native Languages. By the first quarter of next year, iHeartMedia will translate/distribute a number of its podcasts around the world, marking what it says is “a significant step in internationally available, regionally targeted content for the podcast industry.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Our goal is to deliver exceptional content to listeners anywhere and everywhere in the way they’d like to hear it. By expanding some of our most popular podcast content into new languages, we see a major opportunity to introduce podcast listening at scale to whole new audiences abroad. What has always set podcasting apart is the engagement of the audiences – the ‘superfans.’ It makes sense to engage international audiences further and to super-serve them with content in their own languages to build their relationship with the content.” In the first round, the iHeartPodcast Network will translate six podcasts series into the most- spoken languages in the world. To be made available in Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, German and other languages will be “Stuff You Should Know,” “Stuff You Missed in History Class, “Stuff Mom Never Taught You,” “Stuff To Blow Your Mind,” “BrainStuff,” and “TeachStuff.” Through these new translations, iHeartPodcasts will be available in the native language of more than a billion people worldwide.

TALKERS News Notes. In a South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WGTK “94.5 The Answer,” Salem Media Group Greenville-Spartanburg appoints Pat Kelley general manager. Salem Media Group regional vice president Val Carolin comments, “I have known Pat for many, many years and am excited to have a person of such high character and ability leading the terrific team in ‘The Upstate.’ Pat is a strong leader, and a person of great integrity, creativity, and skill. He will drive our operation to greater success and will be a true asset to Salem as a whole.” Kelly, who began his new duties earlier this week, adds, “I am thrilled to be leading the charge in upstate South Carolina as part of Salem Media’s local market leadership team. Great things are ahead.” Kelley spent over 25 years in Chicago and has held management positions for iHeartMedia, Townsquare Media, and Viacom Media …..Affiliates of Fox News Radio’s five-minute news service will be able to download two, one-hour Labor Day weekend specials in three weeks (8/28). Jessica Rosenthal-hosted “Securing America: Cyber Threats,” looks at data theft and manipulation from personal information to elections, while “The Wise Guys: A Fox Nation Special” features Bill Bennett, Gordon Chang, Charles Hurt, Mark Penn, and Solomon Wisenberg in a multi-topic roundtable discussion.  

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications 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, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Infestation and Other Fighting Words!,” looks back at this past week of July 29 – August 2, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, host, WSBA, York, PA; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; Scott Masteller, program director, WBAL, Baltimore; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.   The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis.  For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran programmer Rob Roberts is named director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group San Antonio classic hits-oldies KONO “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” and hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3 Today’s Best Music.” Cox Media Group San Antonio director of operations Jeff Garrison comments, “Rob is an experienced broadcast professional with a proven track record for achieving great success for high-performing brands. His vision and leadership will be key to the future of KONO and KSMG. We are excited to add his talents to the CMG San Antonio team and welcome him back to the great state of Texas.” Vice president of audience and content Tim Clarke notes, “Rob is one of the industry’s great programmers; I am so thrilled he is now on our San Antonio team. We will benefit greatly from his experience and leadership.” Roberts adds, “I’m excited for the opportunity to become part of the Cox Media Group team in a city I love. It’s the job I’ve always wanted – programming two highly-rated legacy stations is a dream come true.” Most recently, Roberts was vice president of programming for Cumulus Media Washington, DC hot AC WRQX, which – on May 31 – flipped to contemporary Christian under new owners Educational Media Foundation. Elsewhere in his 27-year radio career, he has programmed Dallas hot AC KDMX; Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q-99.7”; Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100”; and Denver classic hits-oldies KXKL “Kool 105.” ….. The nine-year tenure of Entercom Washington, DC vice president of programming Steve Davis will come to an end on October 4. That’s when he will leave the cluster where he programs rhythmic CHR WPGC and classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” ….. One week from today (Thursday, 8/15), Carrie Neuman will take over afternoon drive duties at Towson University triple A WTMD, Baltimore. WTMD general manager/program director Scott Mullins comments, “Carrie has a lifelong passion for music, and she brings the excitement and enthusiasm of a fan who can’t wait to share new music discoveries with her friends. She is energetic, knowledgeable, fun to listen to and will be a great asset to WTMD.” Neuman notes, “I am more than just thrilled to be coming to Baltimore. I humbly join a legendary, music-centric staff that prides itself on discovering and sharing an unprecedented array of music. I am honored for the opportunity to work at WTMD. It’s the musical heartbeat of the city I so love.” Neuman formerly did mid-days at Annapolis, Maryland’s similarly-formatted WRNR ….. Speaking of Empire Broadcasting System triple A WRNR, Jeff Boden is appointed president/general manager there. Empire president Steve Kingston states, “Jeff has an extensive background in station management and sales. He spent many years working for ABC, Citadel, and then Cumulus Media in positions ranging from sales manager, director of sales, and president/general manager of [Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk] WMAL and [its then hot AC cluster-mate] WRQX. He most recently was president of Delmarva Broadcasting, which owned stations in Wilmington [Delaware] and other markets in the region. Much to our benefit, Delmarva was recently sold to Forever Broadcasting, allowing Jeff to bring his vast knowledge and experience of the business, his winning track record, and winning strategies to WRNR.” ….. Elsewhere in Maryland, college student Hunter Landon joins Adams Radio Group of Delmarva (Salisbury-Ocean City) as news director. Adams Radio vice president and general manager Lisa Layne comments, “Once again, we have struck gold with the addition of Hunter Landon. The news format will be timely, local, and live across all our brands. I am thrilled to add Hunter to the ‘dream team.’” Landon adds, “As a lifelong Delmarva resident, it is a career highlight to be running the newsroom for a first-class radio operation like Adams Radio of Delmarva. I am ecstatic to be delivering the news to the people of Delmarva on radio and digital for the market’s best stations and launching a fresh and revamped news department focused on the local community.” Working on a degree in broadcast journalism, Landon formerly was a reporter for WGMD “News Radio,” Lewes (Delaware). Adams Radio Group of Delmarva is comprised of WGBG “Big 107.7 Delmarva’s Classic Rock”; CHR WOCQ “OC-104 Today’s Hits”; WOCQ-HD2 “Kool Oldies”; WUSX “US-98.5 Everything Country”; and WZBH “93.5 The Beach – Delmarva’s Rock Station.

 

 

July 2019 PPM Data. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for Washington (DC), Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.

Washington, DC

 Spoken-Word Formats – The wild ride continues for WMAL which chalks up a July +.9 to 5.3 (seventh to sixth, 6+), thus applying the brakes to three successive March through June decreases that accounted for an overall 2.4 (6.8 – 5.5 – 5.2 – 4.4, 6+). Immediately before that streak, the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet amassed three straight “Holiday” 2018 through March 2019 improvements for a collective +2.5 (4.3 – 5.7 – 6.6 – 6.8, 6+). March’s 6.8 was WMAL’s best 6+-stat in the PPM-era. After posting a .2 (6+) in August 2018, Radio One’s WOL “News Talk – Where Information Is Power” is unlisted for the 12th sweep in succession.

Entercom sports talk WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan” repeats June’s 6+ AQH share (3.4) and market rank (#13). In June, the Nationals flagship recaptured nearly half (three-tenths) of the eight-tenths dissipated in May. After nearly doubling (+.4) its 6+ AQH share via four straight sweeps without a loss (.5 – .7 – .8 – .8 – .9, 6+), Radio One’s similarly-formatted WTEM “980 The Team” surrenders two-tenths to .7 and departs the top twenty (#20 to #21, 6+). Roughly halfway through the July 2019 sweep (7/1), Cumulus Media ended its news/talk simulcast of WMAL-AM & WMAL-FM. WMAL-AM became sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol,” which checks in with a .1 (#29, 6+).

Following six straight months at #1, Hubbard Broadcasting all-news WTOP segues to the runner-up slot. Moreover, it falters the sixth month in a row and is an overall -2.5 in that January 2019 through July 2019 stretch (10.4 – 9.8 – 9.7 – 8.7 – 8.7 – 8.2 – 7.9, 6+). January 2019’s 10.4 was its best 6+-performance since March 2018 (10.4, as well). The March 2019 through July 2019 topline for Entercom business news WDCH is: .4 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .6 (flat at #24, 6+).

Not only does American University-owned news/talk WAMU post a gain of four-tenths to 8.4 (6+) thus curtailing three successive slips that accounted for a loss of nine-tenths (8.9 – 8.7 – 8.4 – 8.0, 6+), “The Mind Is Our Medium” shifts from the runner-up slot to #1. It supplants WTOP (see above). Immediately prior to gaining three-tenths in March, WAMU was -2.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +2.5 (January 2019); and -1.2 (February).

Washington, DC Music Formats – A positive spike of six-tenths to 2.7 (#18 to #17, 6+) by Radio One gospel WPRS “Praise 104.1” all but erases its May/June loss of seven-tenths (2.8 – 2.2 – 2.1, 6+). Steady in fifth-place, iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH “97.1 – Washington’s Variety” logs its fourth straight sweep without a loss for a collective full-share gain (4.4 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 5.3 – 5.4, 6+). WASH has its best 6+-performance (5.4) since “Holiday” 2018 (10.4). On the final day of May (2019), Cumulus Media’s WRQX pulled the plug on its hot AC format. Under new owner Educational Media Foundation, “Mix 107.3 More Music – More Variety” became contemporary Christian WLVW “Positive & Encouraging K-Love.” May 2019 marked the final sweep before the format transition and “Mix” added six-tenths (3.5 – 4.1, 6+) to exit as a top ten station (#11 to #8). Its January 2019 through May 2019 topline was 3.5 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 4.1 (6+). In its new format, however, WLVW erodes by roughly 78% (-3.2) in June/July (4.1 – 2.2 – .9, 6+), plummeting from #8 (May) to #17 (June) to #19 (July). An overall +1.4 through three gains in succession (3.2 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.6, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WIHT “Hot 99.5” forfeits nine-tenths to 3.7 (sixth to tenth, 6+). June’s 4.6 was its best 6+-showing in nearly two years (4.6, as well in August 2017). There is a similar scenario for cluster-mate WMZQ, which was +1.3 through four consecutive improvements (2.8 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 4.1, 6+). In July, however, “98.7 Today’s Best Country” falters by one-half share to 3.6 (6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #11). Up a cumulative seven-tenths via four straight gains (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.6 – 3.7, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WPGC regresses by three-tenths to 3.4 (6+) and leaves the top ten (#10 to #13). There isn’t much movement in the market’s urban AC contest, although a gain of two-tenths to 7.7 (6+) by WMMJ “Majic” is enough to halt three consecutive dips that resulted in a cumulative loss of seven-tenths (8.2 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 7.5, 6+). Immediately prior to the just-concluded skid, “Majic” put together six successive increases that netted a +1.8 (6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.4 – 7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2, 6+). Having dropped four-tenths in June (6.5 – 6.1, 6+), Howard University’s similarly-programmed WHUR levels off at 6.1 (6+). Down one-tenth in back-to-back reports (6.5 – 6.4 – 6.3, 6+), WHUR regained that deficit with a May pickup of two-tenths. Its March loss of one-tenth suspended three successive increases that accounted for a +1.2 (5.3 – 6.2 – 6.4 – 6.5, 6+). WMMJ is anchored in third-place for the eighth time in a row while WHUR is has been in fourth-place in May, June, and July.

Atlanta

Spoken-Word Formats – In three straight sweeps without an increase, WSB-AM was down an overall eight-tenths (7.1 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), but the Cox Media Group news/talker bounces back with a +.3 to 6.6 (steady at #2, 6+). Following three straight months at #1, WSB-AM slipped to the runner-up slot in April. Entercom’s WAOK “1380 The Voice of the Community” is down or flat the third time in a row (.4 – .3 – .2 – .2, 6+) but climbs from #29 to #28. Tied at #32 are Salem Media Group-owned WGKA “AM 920 The Answer” (.3 – .2 – .1, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WGST “Talk Radio 640,” which has lost three-tenths via eleven straight down or flat trends (.4 – .3 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, #34 to #32, 6+).

Even though it is an overall -1.2 in five straight negative or neutral sweeps (4.0 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+), Entercom sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” moves from #15 to #14. At the same time, Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN “Sports Radio The Fan” is up a cumulative six-tenths in five consecutive monthlies without a loss (1.6 – 1.7 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2, 6+), as the AM flagship of the Atlanta Braves carries on at #17.

Steady at #12, City of Atlanta Board of Education news/talk WABE is up one-tenth (3.4 – 3.5, 6+). Gaining one-tenth as well is Georgia State University news/talk WRAS (.6, flat at #25, 6+), which suspends three down or flat moves in succession that resulted in a collective loss of three-tenths (.8 – .6 – .5 – .5, #25, 6+).

Atlanta Music Formats – After improving by two-tenths in May and then spiraling -1.1 in June (6.3 – 5.2, 6+), Radio One’s WAMJ “Majic” answers with a July boost of six-tenths to 5.8 (unchanged at #6, 6+). “Majic” was +2.5 via three successive increases (4.4 – 5.4 – 6.3 – 6.9, 6+) but faltered by eight-tenths in April. Even though urban contemporary sibling WHTA is an overall -1.6 through five consecutive negative or neutral moves (5.2 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.6, 6+) “Hot 107.9” returns to the top ten (#11 to #10). One streak continues for Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFSH but another ends. On the plus side, “104.7 The Fish” is #1 the fourth month in a row; however, it loses three-tenths to (8.5, 6+), snapping at five its consecutive string of upticks that netted an overall +3.9 (4.9 – 5.4 – 5.7 – 7.0 – 7.9 – 8.8, 6+). Even though it falters by two-tenths (3.9 – 3.7, 6+) iHeartMedia CHR WWPW “Power 96.1 Atlanta’s #1 Hit Music Station” advances from tenth and ninth and overtakes Cumulus Media-owned format rival, WWWQ “Q-100 Atlanta’s New Hits.” The latter returns the four-tenths it gained in June (3.6 – 4.0 – 3.6, 6+) and shifts from eighth to tenth. Ironically, June’s +.4 enabled “Q-100” to leapfrog “Power,” which dropped three-tenths in June (4.2 – 3.9, 6+). “Q-100” logged a +.7 in January; relinquished six-tenths in February; and had a February 2019 through May 2019 topline of 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.6. Frozen on 3.4 (6+) in “Holiday” 2018 and January 2019 before dropping to 3.0 (6+) in February, “Power” gained seven-tenths in March; was down one-tenth in April; and dialed up a +.6 in May. The same two owners are involved in the market’s country tussle. As iHeartMedia’s WUBL “94.9 The Bull” picks up one-tenth (4.0 – 4.1, 6+) Cumulus Media’s WKHX “Kicks 101.5 – Atlanta’s #1 For Country Hits” stumbles by that same margin in consecutive sweeps and is actually off six-tenths through three straight dips (3.1 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+). “The Bull” and “Kicks” continue at #8 and #16, respectively. When “The Bull” dropped one-tenth in June, it interrupted three straight increases that produced a +.8 (3.3 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.1, 6+). “Kicks” faltered by four-tenths in May, after being off three-tenths in March.

Philadelphia

Spoken-Word Formats – It is a bit of a mixed bag for Entercom’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” which is down a combined half-share in June/July (2.2 – 1.8 – 1.7, 6+) and has its weakest 6+-showing since June 2018 (1.7, as well) but climbs from #22 to #21. In five consecutive decreases, Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” has lost roughly half (-.8) its 6+ AQH-share (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0 – .7, #24 to #25, 6+).

Down seven-tenths in May, Entercom sports talk/Phillies flagship WIP “Sports Radio 94.1” repeats June’s 6+ share (5.9) and market rank (fourth). Rebounding from June’s loss of six-tenths with an increase one-third that magnitude (2.1 – 2.3, +.2, 6+) Beasley Media Group-owned WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” advances from #20 to #17; June’s 2.1 was its lowest 6+-stat since September 2018’s 1.8.  

This marks the sixth sweep in succession that Entercom’s KYW “News Radio 1060” hasn’t shown an increase for an overall -1.3 (5.0 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.7, flat at #10, 6+).

For the third time in the last five reports, public news/talk WHYY logs a 2.6 (2.6 – 2.2 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.6, #16 to #14, 6+).

Philadelphia Music Formats – Four straight down or flat sweeps by Entercom classic hits-oldies WOGL  produced a -1.2 (7.1 – 6.8 – 6.0 – 6.0 – 5.9, 6+), but “98.1 – Nobody Plays More 80s” erases two-thirds of that deficit with a +.8 to 6.7 (fourth to second, 6+). WOGL was a combined +2.1 in January/February (5.0 – 6.3 – 7.1, 6+). Somewhat similarly, iHeartMedia urban AC WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks,” which lost eight-tenths since March via three consecutive negative or neutral moves (6.1 – 6.1 – 5.9 – 5.3, 6+), posts a half-share uptick to 5.8 (seventh to fifth, 6+). Stuck on 6.6 (6+) in May and June, Beasley Media Group classic rock WMGK records an increase of four-tenths to 7.0 (6+), enabling it to march from second to first. This (7.0) is its highest 6+-stat since February 2018’s 7.1. Owing to its July -1.5 (7.0 – 5.5, 6+), Entercom-owned adult contemporary WBEB “Today’s 101.1 More FM” is displaced from the top spot and drifts all the way to seventh. The last time “Today’s 101.1” fell below a six-share (6+) was more than four years ago (5.8, May 2015). WBEB was +10.1 (6.5 – 10.4 – 16.6, 6+) just prior to January 2019’s -10.3 (16.3 – 6.3, 6+); it gained one-half share in March. Co-owned sports talk WIP was on top in January; classic hits-oldies sibling WOGL in February; WBEB in March; WMGK set the pace in April; WBEB did so in May and June; and now WMGK is back at #1 in July. Four successive up or flat trends by iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUSL yielded eight-tenths (3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.5, 6+), but “Power 99” surrenders one-half share to 4.0 (6+) and continues in ninth-place. After nearly quadrupling (+2.2) its 6+ AQH share in nine straight sweeps without a loss (.8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.7 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 2.5 – 3.0, 6+), Radio One-owned WPPZ “107.9 – Philly’s Classic R&B” falters by one-tenth to 2.9 (flat at #12, 6+). WPPZ transitioned from gospel in mid-December 2018. Entercom-owned WTDY “Today’s Hits 96.5 TDY” is off the fourth time in a row for a collective full-share loss (3.3 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 2.4 – 2.3, unchanged at #17, 6+).

Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.” During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

| February 20, 2018

Brian Wilson New Morning Host at WWTN-FM, Nashville.  His exit from on-air work with Cumulus Media was short-lived as former WMAL-AM/FM, Washington personality Brian Wilson is named the host of the morning show on the company’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7.”   Wilson left his co-host role at WMAL in May of 2017.  WWTN program director Dan Mandis says, “Brian has spent decades telling stories, whether covering the White House in Washington, DC or local stories from America’s heartland and he’s seen it all.  As Brian has been covering ‘Nashville’s Morning News’ on WWTN, listeners have already been responding to his perspective and insights.  I’m thrilled that he’s committed to moving to Nashville and hosting ‘Nashville’s Morning News’ full time.  He’s a great addition to an already outstanding radio station.”  Wilson previously served as a senior correspondent and anchor for the FOX News Channel.  He also co-anchored the Emmy Award-winning “FOX 5 Morning News” on WTTG-TV, Washington.

Philly Radio Legend John DeBella Accused of Sexual Harassment.  Longtime Philadelphia morning radio personality John DeBella is being accused of sexual harassment and groping by former traffic reporter and show cast member Jennifer Neill.  Numerous Philadelphia media outlets are reporting the story. DeBella hosts the morning show at Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK.  Neill filed a suit in federal court alleging that over the course of her employment with WMGK that started in 2002, DeBella engaged in approximately 30 acts of unwanted sexual advancements.  According to the complaint, those incidents include physical groping and verbal requests for oral sex.  The account in the PhillyVoice states that Neill filed complaints with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on September 19, 2016.  “After filing the complaints, management told Neill she could continue working with DeBella or take a leave of absence, the lawsuit claims.  She returned to work for one day before taking a leave of absence.  Management also launched a six-week-long investigation into the situation, according to the lawsuit.  As part of that investigation, DeBella allegedly dismissed his conduct as ‘jokes’ and ‘mutual.’”

WECK, Buffalo Hires Local News Pro. The Radio One Buffalo-owned station is broadcasting a nostalgia/full service format and announces that it is bringing aboard native broadcaster and journalist Steve Cichon to serve as news director, effective February 26.  Cichon will be part of the morning drive “WECK Coffee Club” program with co-hosts Tom Donahue and Gail Ann Huber.  Cichon began his career at crosstown WBEN in 1993.  He’s also served with WIVB-TV/WNLO-TV and WNSA/Empire Sports Network.  Radio One Buffalo president and CEO Buddy Shula says, “We’re very fortunate to have a well-known and respected journalist like Steve at WECK.  He’s a true Buffalonian who is woven into the fabric of our community – and he’s an excellent broadcaster.”  The station simulcasts on WECK-AM and W275BB at 102.9 FM.

TALKERS News Notes.  Nationally syndicated talk host Walter Sterling announces the launch of his new podcast called, “Old Dad Secrets.”  Sterling tells TALKERS magazine, “I have created an authentic, original podcast that is not an edit of my Westwood One network show.”  He says a new episode drops every Wednesday.  “I am in fact the oldest Dad in three different public schools.  My basic position with the schools is, ‘Screw you with your stupid rules.’  I get to live out my revenge fantasies against dumb school rules.  What are they going to do me?  I’m too old to mess with.  Plus, I reveal secrets from my decades in business.  I share the challenges and success of running a successful consulting business that has worked up-close in the C-suite at NBC, ABC, CBS, RKO, Sirius, Conde Nast, National Geographic, AMC Theatres and the top investment banks in the world.  The business books have it ALL wrong, let me tell you stories that will shock even you.”  It’s available at iTunes.  Check it out here…..CBS Sports Radio and SiriusXM have struck a deal to make the radio network’s lineup available on the satellite radio service on its own channel, beginning tomorrow (2/21).  The full CBS Sports Radio slate includes: Jim Rome, Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney, Scott Ferrall, Amy Lawrence, Damon Amendolara, Bill Reiter, Taz and Marc Malusis, among others…..Hillsdale College has a booth on media row at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland starting tomorrow (2/21).  During the conference, Hillsdale students will conduct two-to-three-minute interviews with the speakers, personalities, and other CPAC attendees and will make those available for stations to upload and use in their broadcasts.  The FTP site from which to get the audio is here.  It will be updated every two hours throughout the day…..PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz made the grade in the Los Angeles Times.  In the paper, he’s pictured wildly gesturing at Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James at the NBA All-Star game as he lobbies James from his courtside seats to join the Los Angeles Lakers.  At the game on Sunday, Pattiz spent time hanging out with PodcastOne Sportsnet podcasters and partners, including Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, sports personality and actor Rob Riggle, sportscasters Rich Eisen and Suzy Shuster, longtime NBA photographer Andrew D. Bernstein and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.  See the LA Times story here.

Florida School Massacre Aftermath, Russian Election Meddling, Trump-Russia Investigation, Israel-Iran Tensions, Syrian Civil War Heats Up, Black Panther Film, and PyeongChang Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19).  The aftermath of the Florida school massacre, including protests, gun control measures, and FBI failures; the mounting evidence that Russia has been and still is attempting to meddle in U.S. elections; the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; tensions between Iran and Israel increase over evidence implicating Iran in providing weapons to the Palestinians; reports of a Syrian government attack on a Damascus suburb; the weekend success of the Black Panther film; and the PyeongChang Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Chatting it Up with the President.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) is pictured engaged in a conversation with President Trump (left) Sunday night (2/18) at a special Presidents Day Weekend dinner at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Harrison and his wife Bernadette Duncan were the guests of Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, a personal friend of the Trump family.  Trump was joined at the dinner by First Lady Melania Trump and his children Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr. as well as select friends and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.  Harrison reported back to TALKERS, “Trump was basically in a solemn mood, the weight of the Parkland shooting was obviously on his mind and the breaking story about the Russian election meddling operation was swirling in the air.  However, a lot of the conversation was purely social.  It was interesting seeing the President – amazingly relaxed and informal – among personal friends, associates and family…away from the press.  Up close, he has a snarky sense of humor, like a Millennial, that rivals the best of his comedic media critics.”  Harrison added, “It is clear that Chris Ruddy and Newsmax are held in extremely high regard by this administration.  If you recall, Newsmax was one of the earliest supporters of Trump.  They even ran a cover story speculating on the prospect of a Trump GOP candidacy more than a year before he announced his intentions to run.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Hartford, Connecticut radio personality David Fisch is named morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s adult hits WHCN “The River 105.9.”  Fisch is well known in the market for his work as morning drive co-host and APD at Red Wolf Broadcasting’s crosstown alternative WMRQ “Radio 104.”  iHeartMedia Hartford SVP of programming Dave Symonds states, “After a long national search to find the perfect host for ‘The River’ morning show, he’s right here in Hartford.  Fisch has years of experience entertaining the Hartford audience and being completely engaged in the local community.”  During his career Fisch has also served as the producer for “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” when it was on ESPN Radio…..Programming pro Lee Cagle is the new operations manager for SummitMedia’s four-station Louisville cluster that includes country WQNU “Q-103.1,” classic country WRKA “The Hawk 103.9 FM,” adult contemporary WVEZ “Play 106.9 FM,” and classic rock WSFR “Eagle 107.7.”   SummitMedia Louisville president Todd Pitt comments, “We chose Lee due to his extensive experience in New Orleans; Redding, California; Memphis; and Atlanta.  He is the right person to guide our four stations to their fullest potential.”…..On-air pro Kristy Knight is being named the new midday personality and APD at Cox Media Group’s adult contemporary WWRM, Tampa “Magic 94.9.”  She makes the move from iHeartMedia’s crosstown hot AC WTMX “Mix 100.7” where she’s been hosting the evening show.  WWRM programmer John Larson says, “We are so thrilled to have Kristy join our ‘Magic’ team.  Her experience and well-known name in the Tampa Bay market, along with her stellar reputation, will be an incredible addition to our ‘Magic’ team.”…..Advanced Media Partners announces it has hired Noah Sherwood to assume the program director and morning drive co-host role at triple A WWCT, Peoria.  He’d most recently been operations manager at Cumulus Media’s crosstown country WFYR and CHR WZPW.  About his new gig, Sherwood says, “The timing for this opportunity is incredible, joining Advanced Media Partners and programing WWCT is a huge blessing!  My wife and I really enjoy living in Central Illinois and are very excited to continue raising our family here.”  He takes over for Marc Alghini, who exited the station last month.