Monday Memo: Listeners’ Mindset, Advertisers’ Message. Notwithstanding the president’s hope that “pandemic fatigue” will buoy his message that “we’ve turned the corner,” survey data presented at the NAB/New York virtual convention – now underway and available on-demand – describes how Americans really feel, and how our advertisers can relate. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke’s conference notes, and specific tips for improving results from endorsement spots. Read it here.
Pending Business: A Secret of Success. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in his column today, “Every dominant business understands how important it is to set a standard, stick to it, improve it, own it and infuse it into the culture of the organization. Does your radio station strive to set industry-leading sales standards? You don’t need the highest-rated radio station to set a standard for sales performance and service. You don’t need the highest rates, or the most revenue. You need commitment, and the relentless pursuit of setting and improving standard-setting performance.” Read more here.
Nexstar Media Group’s Operational Realignment Ups Sean Compton to President, Networks. On Thursday (10/22), Nexstar Media Group announced a combination of its two primary subsidiaries – Nexstar Digital LLC and Nexstar Broadcasting into a new subsidiary called Nexstar Inc. In this new alignment, Karen Brophy becomes president, digital; Timothy Busch is now president, broadcasting; and Sean Compton rises from executive vice president to president, networks in which he’ll oversee WGN America, Antenna TV, and WGN Radio. All three will answer to Nexstar Media Group president, COO and CFO Thomas Carter. He says, “The operational realignment we are announcing today will accelerate Nexstar’s growth by leveraging our leading local content and positioning the company to become an even more nimble and competitive organization, thereby creating new value for shareholders… We completed the highly accretive acquisition of Tribune Media a year ago and quickly and efficiently integrated their assets, resulting in first year operating synergies exceeding $185 million. At the same time, we converted the Tribune enterprise to Nexstar’s operating, sales and other protocols and successfully and cost-effectively launched ‘News Nation’ on WGN America. As a result, we are leveraging our industry leading scale, diversified business model and solid operating execution to deliver record 2020 financial results as we dynamically manage the business to offset the impacts of the pandemic, reduce leverage and return capital to shareholders through quarterly cash dividends and share repurchases. Our decision to reorganize the business’ operating structure at this time reflects our view that there remains tremendous upside to be realized by maximizing the value of our assets, content and strong consumer engagement with our digital properties.”
iHeartMedia Birmingham Launches ‘BIN 92.7.’ The Birmingham, Alabama market joins the growing number of iHeartMedia markets airing the BIN: Black Information Network format as the company unveils “BIN 92.7” on FM translator WW224CK, Vestavia Hills. The company says “BIN 92.7” will broadcast 24/7 national and local news focused on serving the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding. The station will feature top national on-air anchors and correspondents including award-winning broadcaster Ed Gordon and renowned journalist Roland Martin. Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is, of course, to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Birmingham and provide listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”
TALKERS News Notes. The FCC issues a Public Notice announcing the Access to Capital Working Group of its Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment and the FCC’s Media Bureau will co-host a virtual symposium titled “Path to Media Ownership and Sustainability” on November 6, 2020 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. The symposium will examine access to capital for small and diverse broadcasters. The event will be convened virtually via WebEx and will be available to the public streaming via the Internet at www.fcc.gov/live. It will feature broadcasters and lenders discussing how to obtain financing for broadcast station transactions in today’s challenging financial circumstances, as well as experts discussing the history of the previous broadcast tax certificate policy and the potential for a new tax certificate policy to increase broadcast ownership diversity. The symposium will also include presentations from Nielsen Global Media on ratings measurements for multi-ethnic broadcast stations, and a discussion of how small and diverse broadcasters can attract increased advertising revenue. Finally, congressional staff members will provide updates on pending legislation intended to increase diverse media ownership…..Talk media personality Tom Donahue announces he has returned to Tom Donahue Reports to produce his program as a podcast in which he’ll no longer conform to a formatted show, thereby allowing him “greater versatility and creativity in producing audio content.” He continues to stream his show on Talk Stream Live. Also, Donahue is launching a commentaries service in the form of capsules made available to stations as one- or two-minute episodes. “America’s First News with Matt Ray” recently added the reports to his show twice weekly…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network syndicated talk radio personality Sebastian Gorka (center) with SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) and Breitbart Washington political editor Matt Boyle (right) at a celebration of Gorka’s birthday in Alexandria, Virginia. Among the guests were: Salem executives David Santrella and Phil Boyce; former White House press secretary (and Newsmax TV personality) Sean Spicer; WMAL-FM, Washington talk host Larry O’Connor; and KABC, Los Angeles radio and political commentator Joseph DiGenova.
New Orleans Talk Radio Pioneer Keith Rush Dead at 89. WWL-TV, New Orleans reports that Keith Rush, a conservative talk radio icon who worked in the market for 60 years, died last Thursday (10/22) at age 89. According to WWL-TV, Rush was best known for his talk radio program on WSMB-AM that aired during the 1970s and 1980s. Local politician Lawrence E. Chehardy is quoted in the piece saying of Rush’s program, “It was a great forum because you could go on and discuss the issues with him and take phone calls from listeners. It was a way for elected officials to be able to converse with their constituents, long before the days of social media.” Rush began his radio career in the mid 1950s as a disc jockey. He transitioned to talk in the 1970s.
The Presidential Election/‘60 Minutes’ Interviews, Early/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Pence Office Outbreak, Hunter Biden Emails Case, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, California Power Outages and Wildfire Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November 3 presidential election and Sunday night’s appearances by Donald Trump and Joe Biden on “60 Minutes”; reports of record numbers of early and mail-in votes; the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world and projections for the fall/winter seasons, as well as the outbreak among the staff of Vice President Mike Pence; the leaked emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop; allegations by conservatives that Twitter and Facebook are censoring their political messages; the confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; and the power outages in California as high winds threaten more wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Phoenix, Entercom promotes Chris Hernandez to operations manager for the cluster. In this role, Hernandez will lead operations efforts for classic hits KOOL-FM, country KMLE-FM, and CHR KALV-FM “LIVE 101.5.” At the same time, the company ups Daniel Valentine to music director for “LIVE 101.5.” Entercom Phoenix SVP and market manager Dave Pugh says, “Chris Hernandez has consistently shown amazing drive that leads to substantial results and I’m confident in his ability to take our collection of stations to higher levels. Daniel Valentine has proven his extensive music expertise over the years and I’m looking forward to watching his career grow as he leads LIVE’s music operations. Both are veterans in our company, and I’m honored to elevate two hard working individuals.”…..The programming lineup for iHeartMedia’s “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio” is taking place on November 12. It will include Angela Yee, co-host of the morning show “The Breakfast Club,” and special guests exploring female entrepreneurship and the art of brand building as the modern-day self-CEO as part of the iHeartRadio Beautiful Possibilities presented by Ulta Beauty. During the discussion, the panel participants will share their personal stories of success and explore how they rise above challenges to define their careers. The panel aims to uplift, inspire and pave the way for the next generation of Black women leaders and will be followed by a performance by singer and songwriter H.E.R. “Breakfast Club” co-host DJ Envy will emcee the iHeartRadio HBCU Homecoming Party on the Yard, presented by McDonald’s. The virtual event will include celebrity guest and McDonald’s owner/operator interviews, legendary HBCU Homecoming highlights, and several special surprise moments. The event will culminate with a performance from global superstar Khalid across all iHeartMedia hip hop and R&B stations…..Legendary Chicago jock Ron Britain, a.k.a. Ron Magel, has died in his hometown of Louisville at the age of 86. Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the career of the man who was known as King B on the radio. During his more than 50 year radio career, Britain worked at some 21 stations but achieved the peak of his fame at former CHR outlet WCFL-AM which he joined in 1965.
Big Day for All-News at Marconi Awards: WBBM-AM, Chicago Wins Legendary Station Award. The NAB/RAB Radio Show is the site of the annual Marconi Awards and this year, CBS Radio’s WBBM-AM, Chicago took home the Legendary Station Award. Other news and talk-related winners included: Cox Media Group’s KRMG-FM, Tulsa taking home Medium Market Station of the Year; CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston winning News/Talk Station of the Year; Brian Byers of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois winning Medium Market Personality of the Year; and KTCK, Dallas taking home Sports Station of the Year. This year’s “NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show” was hosted by “Shotgun Tom” Kelly of CBS Radio’s KRTH-FM in Los Angeles. The show also featured a performance by Grammy Award-Winning band The Mavericks from Big Machine Label Group.
Rush Limbaugh Tells Affiliates Taking Show to Satellite Radio Would Be a “Betrayal.” Speaking at a party in his honor to celebrate 25 years in national syndication hosted by syndicator Premiere Networks, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh told industry insiders – many of whom were station owners and programmers who carry his program – that “I can’t thank you all enough because without you and all of the people who run the radio stations I’m on, I wouldn’t be possible.” Speaking about the importance of the relationship between the personality and the radio station, Limbaugh said from his earliest days in radio, he’s always believed that “it takes the radio station to make the personality, the personality can’t make the radio station.” He said that at industry gatherings such as the Radio Show he is invariably asked if he would ever go to SiriusXM and he said, “The first moment the question was asked, I’ve always looked at that as a betrayal, if I were to do that because of the opportunity to be on your radio stations has provided me and I honestly believe it’s a lifetime commitment. I don’t think it’s a debt I can ever fully repay.” Limbaugh went on to allude to the controversial nature of talk radio – and his image in particular – when he added, “And Lord knows, I’ve put you through hell.” (The room responded with rousing laughter.) “Probably more times than even I know! I’m aware of the times I know. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that whatever the obstacle or controversy – whenever it pops up – that you all hang in there. One thing that’s such a blessing of freedom: I don’t have to worry when those things happen that you’re going to be affected by whatever the media is attempting or whatever detractors are attempting. The one thing that fuels me and gives me confidence and strength is I know I’m not going to lose you all…and I’m going to be forever grateful.”
KMOX, St. Louis Personality Charlie Brennan Celebrates 25 Years at CBS News/Talker. St. Louis talk show host Charlie Brennan (pictured here at left) celebrated his 25th anniversary on news/talk KMOX today (9/20) with a live broadcast in front of a packed audience at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten. Brennan first began broadcasting on KMOX on September 20, 1988. He was joined on the air this morning by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews – his very first guest on KMOX. Also calling in with kudos today were: Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Larry King, Morley Safer, Juan Williams, Jennifer Griffin, Senator John McCain, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, singers Ricky Skaggs and Michael McDonald, Tony La Russa, Joe Garagiola, Bob Pettit, Ted Koppel and George Vecsey. Through a proclamation, Mayor Francis Slay declared today “Charlie Brennan Day” in St. Louis.
Hill Joins WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Former WWL-TV, New Orleans news anchor Angela Hill will come out of her short-lived retirement September 30 to begin 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm duties on Entercom news/talk station WWL-AM/FM. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Entercom New Orleans vice president and general manager Chris Claus states.” Angela is one of the most respected, popular, and beloved personalities in New Orleans. Hill retired from WWL-TV earlier this year and comments that she was “always looking for the next chapter” of her life. “Radio allows you to connect with and engage people on a more personal level. When you add the power and reach of WWL radio, we can do great things. My show will be engaging, fun, and attract big-time guests – the sky’s the limit.” According to WWL operations/program director, Diane Newman, “Angela Hill is a trusted journalist, an amazing interviewer and a great listener.” Hill will succeed “Talk Gumbo with John ‘Spud’ McConnell,” but Claus points out McConnell, “isn’t going anywhere. We have big and exciting plans for him” that apparently will be announced on-air on Monday, September 23.
Premiere’s George Noory Appears on ‘The View’ with Whoopi Goldberg. On Thursday, September 19, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory made an appearance on ABC TV’s “The View” for the debut of a new segment called “Out of this World with Whoopi,” which showcases Whoopi Goldberg’s fascination with the paranormal. During the segment, Noory shared a few stories of ghost sightings and cursed objects, and told the audience how his fascination with the paranormal began as a child. Goldberg asked him about peoples’ fascination with the unexplained and Noory said, “People want to know why we are here, who we are, and is there life after death….and that’s what we do, we try to find answers.”
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio personality Mike Greenberg – co-host of the “Mike & Mike” morning drive program – is named grand marshall of Northwestern University’s Homecoming Parade. Greenberg is an alumnus of the school and will revisit the campus the weekend of October 4-5 and be an honored guest during the festivities…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean tonight (9/20, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET) on his Premiere Networks program “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett signs a deal to become an on-air personality on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago where he’ll make weekly appearances on the “Boers and Bernstein” show at 5:00 pm every Monday during football season, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
U.S.-Russia Tensions Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20. Scrutiny over the Obama Administration’s relationship with Russia and president Vladimir Putin relative to the Syria issue was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the deal for Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to Russia to avoid a U.S. strike. At #3 was the Washington Navy Yard slayings, and at #4 was the ongoing debate over the funding and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is posted every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.