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.
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.
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.
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.
Cumulus Assumes Operation of Entercom’s Indy Stations; Initial Staff Cuts Take Place. The recent deal that will see Cumulus Media take over ownership of three of Entercom’s Indianapolis stations enters the LMA phase. Cumulus took over operations at 12:01 am (3/1) and staff being let go were told of their dismissal. According to Blaine Thompson of Indiana Radio Watch, gone from sports talk WXNT is program director and afternoon drive host Kent Sterling. He’d been with the station since 2014. Also exiting their posts are social media coordinator Chelsie Nickell and adult contemporary WNTR-FM afternoon personality and APD Kari “KJ” Johll.
‘Big Al’ Williams Exits ‘104.3 The Fan’ in Denver. Sports talk personality Alfred Williams, a.k.a. Big Al, leaves his role with Bonneville’s KKFN-FM, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The station says via social media that “Alfred ‘Big Al’ Williams has chosen to leave the station effective today. We thank Alfred for his many contributions during his years with The Fan and wish him the best in his future endeavors.” He hosted “The Drive” with Darren McKee. Unknown at this time is who will join McKee on KKFN’s afternoon show and whether or not former Broncos linebacker Williams is soon to pop up on another Denver sports talk station.
Armstrong & Getty Out Front on Call for Firing of UC Davis Prof. The story of University of California Davis professor Joshua Clover’s statement, “Police officers need to be killed,” is making national news but it’s happening right in the backyard of KSTE, Sacramento-based, nationally syndicated talk hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty. The University has condemned the words of Clover, but Armstrong & Getty are calling for his dismissal from the school. The duo hosted the school paper’s associate opinion editor Nick Irvin on their radio show for a discussion about the story that you can hear here.
WLS-AM, Chicago Adds Jenniffer Weigel to Mancow Morning Show. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, Windy City media personality Jenniffer Weigel is joining WLS-AM’s morning show alongside host Erich Mancow Muller as sidekick and traffic reporter. Weigel is an author, broadcaster, and journalist who most recently was serving with the Chicago Sun-Times as director of community development and a content contributor. Another accomplished Chicago media personality – former WGN-AM news anchor Judy Pielach – sat in with Mancow in late January auditioning for a contributor role on the program. It’s unclear if Weigel’s position (she begins on Monday, March 4) is the same one for which Pielach auditioned.
WABC, New York/Westwood One’s John Batchelor Battles Cancer While Continuing His On-Air Work. Late night radio host John Batchelor has been handling his duties at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York and Westwood One‘s affiliate stations while dealing with the effects of surgery and radiation treatments for oropharyngeal cancer that affected his tongue and, consequently, his ability to speak without effort. Batchelor’s ordeal is the focus of a piece in the current edition of the publication Princeton Alumni Weekly. Batchelor is a 1970 graduate of the Ivy League school. He had surgery back in early November and that was followed by six weeks of radiation treatments that took a toll on his voice. All the while, Batchelor was determined not to let it affect his work at WABC. He intends to follow through on the plan to take his show on the road to Azerbaijan this month.
Entercom Responds to SAG-AFTRA’s Public Statement. On Wednesday, TALKERS magazine reported a statement from the SAG-AFTRA union that its members working for Entercom in the Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco markets are disappointed with the company’s proposals for new union contracts. Specifically, the union says they are unhappy the company is “seeking to dramatically slash severance benefits and eliminate jobs with the expanded use of pre-recorded and non-local shows.” Entercom has replied with the following public statement it shared with TALKERS magazine. “We are incredibly proud of the award-winning work of our on-air teams and value their contributions to the company and the communities we serve. We have been negotiating with SAG-AFTRA in good faith to reach fair agreements. These discussions include contracts that had been open for years prior to our merger with CBS Radio, as well as more recently expired agreements. We prefer to negotiate directly with SAG-AFTRA and our employees, not publicly, and do not intend to comment further.”
Sean Hannity Airs Exclusive Trump Interview. Nationally syndicated radio star and FOX News Channel personality Sean Hannity traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam to cover President Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Hannity was able to meet with the president for an exclusive interview and a portion of that was broadcast during his Premiere Networks radio program yesterday with additional coverage airing on his FNC program last night (2/28). Hannity also broadcast from Singapore during last year’s first summit between the two leaders.
TeleSouth Closes on Biloxi Station Group. The deal that transfers ownership of six Biloxi, Mississippi radio stations from Alpha Media to TeleSouth Communications for $2.5 million has closed. The stations are: sports talk duo WANG-AM/WTNI-AM, rock WCPR-FM, hip hop WGBL-FM, adult hits WQBB-FM, and CHR WXYK-FM. As noted back in December when the sale was first announced, TeleSouth already owns news/talk WOSM-FM that airs the company’s “SuperTalk” format heard on 11 other stations across the state. To comply with FCC ownership caps, TeleSouth will divest of WXYK-FM. Kalil & Co., Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.
Lineup Changes Announced at WKRD, Louisville. Sports talk WKRD, Louisville “Cards Radio 790” announces that “The Red Zone with Nick Coffey” moves from the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot to mornings, airing from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, effective immediately. Taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart is FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”
WGY, Albany Launches ‘Upstate Unsolved’ Podcast. The new iHeartRadio Original Podcast “Upstate Unsolved” is hosted by iHeartMedia’s WGY, Albany reporter Phoebe LaFave. It investigates the March 2, 1998 disappearance of University of Albany student Suzanne Lyall that remains unsolved. The debut episode is airing on WGY at 5:00 pm on March 2 with new episodes posting every Thursday on iHeartRadio.
Bill Clark to Be Honored with Lowry Mays Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The 2019 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award will be given to Bill Clark – the previous president of Shamrock Broadcasting and chairman of Chancellor Broadcasting – at the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 10 in the Brahms Room of the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas, during the NAB Show. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation. As president of Shamrock Broadcasting’s radio division, Clark created one of the first ‘super groups,’ decades before consolidation. Under his leadership, Shamrock grew from nine radio stations to 21, with outlets in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. When the company was sold to Chancellor Broadcasting, Clark was named its chairman with responsibilities for both radio and television.
Michael Cohen Testimony Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 25 – March 1. The congressional testimony of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Coming in at #3 was the status of the Trump-Russia investigation, followed by the trade war with China at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
A Powerful Conversation Connecting the Dots Between Robert Kraft, Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Huawei, 5G and the Chinese Communist Party’s Unrestricted War to Control the World. The story about New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s ensnarement in a Florida police sting busting a prostitution ring prompted TALKERS publisher and Pats fan Michael Harrison to produce a special installment of his weekly podcast inspired by the event. Harrison states, “I annually spend a few months during the winter at my home and office in the small beachside town of Jupiter, Florida. That’s where I was on Friday, February 22 – the day a local news story of national interest rocked the community…Robert Kraft getting busted for patronizing an allegedly illicit massage parlor operating under the seemingly innocent name, Orchids of Asia Day Spa, just one mile from my home here. At first, the story seemed like another celebrity gossip story…a rich, powerful man gets in trouble for breaking the law regarding the victimless crime of prostitution – fodder for snickers and sports talk show speculation. But it didn’t take long before the underlying seriousness of the story began to surface – the issue of sex trafficking and the broader issue of human trafficking. It seems this so-called day spa was suspected of employing the services of female sex slaves – some possibly underage. Whether Robert Kraft understood or cared about the connection of his activity to this nasty subject is to be determined at another time and another place. My thoughts on it, however, immediately turned to the China connection on human trafficking and its broader implications in the ongoing story of US/China relations – the Donald Trump trade war, the tariffs, the meeting this past week between US and Chinese leaders working toward a trade agreement, the impact of the giant Chinese telecom company Huawei at the recent MWC Barcelona in Spain, the world’s leading mobile electronics trade show, and the role of that murky technological innovation called 5G in determining who will in fact control the world going forward into the 21st century.” Harrison turned to his “go-to” guy on US/China affairs, Joshua Philipp, to be his guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Philipp is a senior investigative reporter at the New York-based, multi-language, international news organization The Epoch Times that specializes in keeping tabs on the Chinese Communist Party. The result is a fascinating and remarkably informative conversation that is a must-listen for talk show hosts and reporters seeking to gain a better understanding of a complex web of intrigue that significantly threatens United States national security. 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 every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Suzi Hanks exits her role on Houston classic rocker KGLK where she was a cast member on “The Dean and Rog Show.” Hanks spent 17 years with the Cox Media Group station in a number of programming capacities.….The “BOB FM” format returns to the Panama City, Florida market after last October’s Hurricane Michael damaged Powell Broadcasting’s WASJ-FM, knocking it off the air. Powell sold the station to Gulf Coast Broadcasting who is returning the Envision Networks-repped format to the station’s air. Gulf Coast owner Sam Rogatinsky says, “We faced multiple hurdles getting these stations back up, but we are now ready to have fun and we invite the local community to call us with feedback.”…..Westwood One announces that Country Radio Hall of Famer Steve Harmon is the new morning host on its 24/7 Mainstream Country format, effective on Monday (3/4). Harmon has served with KPLX, Dallas; WXTU, Philadelphia; KNIX, Phoenix and earned a CMA “Major Market Personality of the Year” award…..Pictured below is WAY-FM Mid-South regional manager & Dallas/Ft. Worth general manager Tim Dukes and his wife Susan posing for a photo with former President George W. Bush at a recent fundraiser held in Austin, Texas.
PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHR. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM survey, today focusing on rhythmic CHR. See how stations performed (6+) compared to the Holiday 2018 survey, compared to January 2017, and where stations ranked in their respective markets here.
Cool Morning Radio Opportunity. There’s a full-time morning show opportunity at Connoisseur Media’s rock WPLR, New Haven on the “Chaz and AJ” show. The company seeks a passionate, open, digital savvy, connected talent as the third voice, traffic reporter, and guest booker for “Chaz and AJ.” This morning show personality must be a creative thinker and have the ability to be topical, relevant, connected, and authentic in their on-air work and connected to the demographics of PLR. This candidate will also be expected to book guests, stay on top of current events, pitch topics/stunts and show arcs as well as build a relationship with the major players in the Connecticut political, entertainment, and news world. Qualifications include: a minimum of 3 years on-air (TV or radio) experience; deliver traffic reports; an understanding of all aspects of social media; interact with the public at major events and an ability to demonstrate a professional appearance and demeanor in/outside of the radio station; and more. If you are a qualified candidate, send a 3-minute demo with your resume and salary requirements to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “CHAZ AND AJ” in the subject line.
‘The Financial Exchange’ Adds Five New England Affiliates. The WRKO, Boston-based program “The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong (right) and Kim Carrigan (left) announces it is adding five New England affiliate stations so far this month. This build-out of the Barry Armstrong brand in the region is the next step in creating a larger radio platform. The program – which airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET – starts today on WELI, New Haven; WGIR, Manchester and WHYN, Springfield. Later this month, the show will also air on WTAG, Worcester and WQSO, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
WEEI-FM, Boston Morning Show Remains Intact as John Dennis Inks New Deal. According to a report in the Boston Globe by Chad Finn, morning personality John Dennis has signed a new contract with Entercom to remain in part of sports talk WEEI-FM’s morning show. Co-host Gerry Callahan reportedly signed an extension in August. Though the terms of the deal are not being released, Finn reports that sources say the new contract will not pay Dennis or Callahan the same kind of money they had been receiving from their last contract signed in 2007. Sports media personality Kirk Minihane joined the program 18 months ago and his arrival has breathed new life into the show that has been challenged by CBS RADIO’s crosstown WBZ-FM and its Toucher and Rich morning program in the ratings. As Finn reports, the Dennis & Callahan show beat Toucher and Rich in the Nielsen Audio PPM ratings in July. August PPM data is being released this week.
Baltimore’s “Fan” Adds La Canfora to Afternoons. Starting today (9/2), the afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) Scott Garceau Show with Jeremy Conn on CBS RADIO Baltimore all-sports WJZ-FM “The Fan” expands to include CBS Sports “NFL Insider” and analyst Jason La Canfora. Vice president of programming Dave Labrozzi believes, “It is only natural that one of the country’s premier sports analysts would join Baltimore’s premier sports talk station. Jason will bring an even greater depth to our coverage of sports in general, and football in particular. It is great to have someone of Jason’s caliber and national notoriety joining our team.” La Canfora reflects, “As a kid who fell asleep every night listening to Baltimore sports talk radio with a radio under my pillow, and who grew up taking the number 22 bus to Memorial Stadium, this is truly a dream come true. I am always listening to Scott and Jeremy when I’m in the carpool line at my kid’s school or taking them to practices, so I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to join the team at ‘The Fan’ and talk about all of local sports.” Baltimore native La Canfora joined CBS Sports as the NFL Insider for “The NFL Today” on the CBS Sports Network and CBSSports.com in 2012.
Fennell Named SVP and CFO for Cox Media Group. Taking over for Charles Odom, who was promoted recently to vice president and treasurer for Cox Enterprises, is Brett Fennell who assumes the SVP and chief financial officer role for Cox Media Group. Fennell comes to CMG from Manheim where he was VP of financial planning and analysis. CMG president Bill Hoffman states, “Brett is a proven Cox leader and a perfect addition to CMG’s executive team. Additionally, his appointment is a great example of how Cox professionals can grow their careers across all Cox companies.” In this role, Fennell will be responsible for all financial accounting and reporting, financial planning and analysis, financial systems and finance process improvement for CMG’s broadcasting, publishing and digital companies, as well as for Cox Reps and Cox Target Media.
More TALKERS Career Moves. Sports talk personality and programmer Kent Sterling moves across town from Emmis-owned sports outlet WFNI, Indianapolis to Entercom’s WXNT “CBS Sports 1430” where he’s now hosting the afternoon drive show, bumping the network’s Doug Gottlieb…..Weekend talk show host Lisa Ann Walter exits Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles. Walter had been hosting the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on Saturdays and Sundays for the past three years…..Mark Willard leaves ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles where he’d been hosting the daily “ESPNLA Now” program from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. He’d been with the station since 2008.
’99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh Holds Hurricanes Town Hall. Sports talk outlet WCMC-FM, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” is holding its second “Fan Town Hall,” this time featuring the Carolina Hurricanes and with three of the most influential people in the team’s organization. The event takes place tomorrow (9/3) at WRAL-TV. The 90-minute, commercial-free program will be moderated by “The Buzz” morning drive host and Hurricanes pre/post-game host, Mike Maniscalco. Hurricanes panelists will include: president Don Waddell, executive VP/GM Ron Francis and head coach Bill Peters. “99.9 The Fan” OM and program director Dennis Glasgow states, “Capitol Broadcasting is the first media outlet to have this unprecedented access with the newly formed Canes management team of Waddell, Francis and Peters, so we look forward to hearing their vision for the first time ever in a very unique setting. We know how passionate Caniacs are in North Carolina. It’s important to us for the fan base to have social media access so that they can ask questions about their team directly to the decision makers.”
Talking IRS on WFED, Washington. Afternoon drive personality Francis Rose (left) sits down for an exclusive interview with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen (right) on his “In Depth” program heard on Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio.” Rose tells TALKERS Koskinen discussed the IRS side of the Lois Lerner email controversy; the six different investigations focused on the agency; his experience testifying about the agency’s operations; the antiquated state of the agency’s information technology; how the pressure from Congress on Lerner, and other issues, is hurting taxpayers; and his trips to the 25 largest IRS locations outside DC.
Odds & Sods. After a summer stint hosting a radio show for SiriusXM, actress, author and comic Jenny McCarthy is signing with the satcaster to host a daily show on the service called, “Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy.” The program will debut this fall and air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET…..Northwestern University football play-by-play voice Dave Eanet (and WGN, Chicago sports anchor) was honored at Saturday’s home opener as the radio booth at Ryan Field was officially named the Dave Eanet Broadcast Booth. Eanet has been the voice of Northwestern football (heard on WGN) since 1990…..Public radio outlet WUSF, Tampa wins five distinct journalism awards at the 2014 Society of Professional Journalists’ recent Sunshine State Awards. The station received recognition for best newscast, general coverage, feature reporting and public affairs. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, WUSF Public Media received a total of 26 state, regional and national journalism awards in 2014.
Bill Bennett Hosts Paul Ryan at Reagan Presidential Library. Nationally syndicated talk show host Bill Bennett (left) sits down with former protégé Paul Ryan for a Q&A at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California over the weekend. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee and was touring to promote his book The Way Forward (Twelve 2014). Ryan worked for Bennett at the latter’s Washington think tank Empower America. Salem Radio Network says that Bennett and the late Jack Kemp inspired Ryan to run for a seat in Congress.
Fox News Radio’s Mike Majchrowitz Dies at 51. Condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of Fox News Radio White House correspondent Mike Majchrowitz, who died at age 51 after a long battle with cancer. Fox News Radio VP Mitch Davis comments, “Mike was an original — a solidly tenacious reporter, a thoughtful anchor and a good man. He earned the respect of his colleagues for many things, not the least of which was his kindness. From our earliest days he helped Fox News Radio grow into what we are now. His voice was unique, as was his courage. Throughout his struggle, he remained positive and was an inspiration to us all. We will miss him.”
Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, ISIS Violence/Obama ‘No Strategy’ Comment, U.S. Strikes al-Shabaab in Somalia, Al Qaeda Jihad Threat, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Michael Sam Cut/NFL Season to Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). The coming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race, including talk of Mitt Romney running; the ongoing ISIS campaign in Iraq and President Obama’s statement the U.S. has “no strategy” regarding ISIS; U.S. drones strike al-Shabaab in Somalia; the threat by Al Qaeda of a jihad against America; Russia’s continuing aggression in Ukraine; and openly gay football player Michael Sam is cut by St. Louis as the NFL season opener to take place Thursday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.