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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

| July 28, 2020

WIND-AM, Chicago’s Steve Cortes Takes Leave to Work for Trump Campaign. WIND-AM Chicago afternoon drive talk host Steve Cortes is taking leave of his program on the Salem Media Group station to join the Donald Trump re-election campaign as senior advisor of communications. Cortes – who served on the 2016 Trump campaign’s Hispanic Advisory Council in addition to acting as a surrogate for Trump – became the host of the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program in January of this year. Salem Chicago regional vice president and WIND-AM general manager Jeff Reisman says, “While we wish Steve could stay on the air with us during these next few critical months before the election, we also understand the pull that Steve feels to help President Trump. Steve will have a front row seat to history between now and the election, and we look forward to welcoming him back in November and having him share his firsthand account of how this campaign unfolded with our audience.” In the interim, WIND’s afternoon drive will feature a fill-in host to be announced.

Lotus Broadcasting Announces Re-Brand of KRLV-AM, Las Vegas as ‘Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.’ In partnership with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, Lotus Broadcasting reveals that its rock KOMP-FM, Las Vegas “92.3 The Rock Station” will serve as the Raiders’ flagship radio station for play-by-pay and that it is re-launching KRLV-AM as “Raider Nation Radio 920AM.”  Beginning August 3, “Raider Nation Radio 920AM” will feature a lineup that includes: “Pritch & Clay” – Mike Pritchard and Clay Baker – in morning drive; ESPN’s Mike Greenberg Show from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; JT the Brick from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; “Silver & Black Today” with host Scott Gulbransen; and “In the Huddle with Vincent Bonsignore” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Lotus general manager Natalie Marsh says, “We are incredibly excited to partner with the Las Vegas Raiders and broadcast their games to a sports craved Las Vegas fanbase. Launching ‘Raider Nation Radio 920AM’ will give Raiders and NFL fans unparalleled access to the Raiders and the league as a whole.” Lotus says that with Clay Baker joining Mike Pritchard in morning drive, air personality Tyler Bischoff is moving to the company’s sports talk KWWN “ESPN Las Vegas” alongside longtime Review Journal columnist Ed Graney for mornings.

Entercom Names Danny Freisinger Brand Manager for ‘ESPN 1320’ in Sacramento. Sports talk pro Danny Freisinger adds the brand manager role for KIFM-AM, Sacramento “ESPN 1320” to his duties with Entercom. Freisinger serves as assistant brand manager for KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” and will continue in that position as well. Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “For the last four years, Danny has consistently given ‘95.7 The Game’ listeners a reliable home for premier coverage of their favorite teams and we’re excited to expand his role with ‘ESPN 1320. With a fair amount of Bay Area fans rooted in Sacramento, Danny will lead the way in reshaping how we cover sports in Northern California and better serve fans.”

Nielsen Audio Exits Nine Small Markets. Ratings giant Nielsen Audio announces it is exiting the radio ratings business in nine small U.S. markets: Battle Creek, Michigan; Bend, Oregon; Billings, Montana; Grand Junction, Colorado; New Bedford-Fall River, Massachusetts; Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas; Richland-Kennewick-Pasco, Washington; Twin Falls-Sun Valley, Idaho; and Yakima, Washington. The company says in a press statement, “Like most commercial businesses, Nielsen Audio continually reviews the economic viability of doing business in all markets. If the audio marketplace in select markets cannot financially support measurement, we discontinue producing our syndicated market report in those markets. That is just business as usual, the typical expansion and contraction of our rated audio market list, which is the case with these nine markets.”

PPM Analysis: Cume Part 4 – The #1 Club. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps up his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey and the four-part dive into station cume with a review of the outlets that finished tops in cume in their respective markets. In this report you’ll find charts detailing #1 cume stations by market size, #1 cume stations by format, cume rank versus AQH share rank, and more. See it all here.

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announces to WXYT-FM, Detroit listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer for the past two years. Mlive.com reports that Samuelsen made the announcement on Monday’s “Jamie & Stoney” program (7/27), telling listeners, “Each morning since my diagnosis, I got up, turned on the radio mic, and got to talk sports. I needed the escape from cancer, just like so many of our listeners who face hardships, grief and illness, too, they turned to us in the morning for some levity in this crazy world. So, I wanted to continue to have fun and not let cancer get in the way of doing what I loved. Connecting with listeners, laughing, teasing Stoney, all of it, it helped me be normal, while continuing to fight this disease.” He added, “It’s a battle. It goes on. I don’t want to make it sound like this is any sort of goodbye, because it’s not.”.…..The Bubba The Love Sponge program adds two new affiliate stations as Birach Broadcasting adds the show to WCXI, Detroit and WWCS, Pittsburgh. The program is based at Genesis Communications’ WWBA-AM, Tampa and is syndicated via United Cities Productions…..Gow Media announces that the new SportsMap Radio Network has officially launched with the talent lineup including: Scott Ferrall, Tony Bruno, Jake Asman, Scott Wetzel, Matt Perrault, Anthony Pepe, Gabe Morency, and Eytan Shander. SportsMap program director and Gow Media COO Craig Larson comments, “We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous response to this exciting endeavor. With a solid infrastructure in place, and led by a dynamic innovator in David Gow, SportsMap Radio is well positioned to be an industry leader for many years to come.”

Skyview Networks’ Virtual Sales Conference Taking Place This Week. The annual sales conference hosted by Skyview Networks is virtual this year and got underway yesterday (7/27). Among the presenters are: Erica Farber, CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau; Stacia Deshishku, vice president and general manager of ABC Audio; and Skyview Networks’ CEO Ken Thiele, president and COO Steve Jones, and executive vice president and general manager, Jeanne-Marie Condo. Skyview announced that it will reveal new network partnerships this week “that will expand its business further through the acquisition of the audiences that advertisers desire and, in doing so, create greater financial benefit for its partner networks.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Vaccine Tests Begin, Fall School Opening Debate, BLM Protests/Federal Troop Deployment, GOP Stimulus Bill, Big Tech CEOs Before Congress, MLB’s Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the first Phase 3 vaccine trial begins the in U.S.; the ongoing debate over whether to and how to open schools this fall; the Black Lives Matter protests taking place in various cities and controversy over the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; Senate Republicans announce their new stimulus package – the HEALS Act; Wednesday’s testimony by big tech CEOs before the House Judiciary Committee; and Major League Baseball’s season opens 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. The Premiere Networks-syndicated alternative morning program “The Woody Show” gets its first Canadian affiliate as My Broadcasting Company’s CJMB-FM, Peterborough, Ontario adds the program for morning drive. Host Woody says, “A big thank you to Rob Mise and Jon Pole at MBC Radio for believing in us even after they spent endless hours listening to our show. We have been workshopping some new jokes for our big Canadian debut on ‘FREQ 90.5,’ and we’re confident that we’ll at least get a smirk from five out of 10 of them. We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to being part of the chaos.”

Thursday, July 16, 2020

| July 16, 2020

Newsmax TV Shows Impressive Audience Gains. The Newsmax TV service has been rolling out new programming and has seen ratings triple over the last six months, becoming one of if not the fastest-growing cable news channel in the U.S. In a piece published by TALKERS magazine today (7/16), executive editor Kevin Casey writes that “the service from multi-platform news organization Newsmax Media has shown notable growth in the first half of 2020 in terms of audience increase and programming development in the highly competitive OTT [over-the-top] arena.” As Newsmax TV’s ratings show impressive increases, the company tells TALKERS its insurgent news channel is on course to overtake FOX Business Network (FBN) in viewership by the end of this year. Newsmax TV has already surpassed established brands like C-SPAN and Bloomberg TV and is closing in on FBN, which sits at 6.5 million in weekly reach. The network’s weekly household reach went from less than one million in 2019 to more than 3.5 million households, according to most recent Comscore data. Read the whole story here.

Report: DOJ Allows Liberty Media to Increase Stake in iHeartMedia. According to a story in Politico, the Department of Justice is agreeing to let Liberty Media add to its current 5% stake in iHeartMedia, allowing it to acquire up to 50% of its shares. The piece notes that Liberty Media also owns a controlling stake in SiriusXM Satellite Radio (which recently acquired Pandora) as well as a 33% stake in Live Nation Entertainment. A number of consumer advocate groups had opposed the deal saying it would be “likely catastrophic” on radio markets.

Rico Beard Joins Mike Valenti on WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports media pro Rico Beard is joining Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit for the afternoon drive program. The station says Beard will be heard alongside Mike Valenti on “The Mike Valenti Show with Rico,” weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, beginning August 3. Mike Sullivan has been a producer and on-air contributor for the program since 2014. His last day at the station will be July 31. Entercom Detroit president and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Rico’s immeasurable experience covering all avenues of the Detroit sports scene has granted him a front row ticket to some of the biggest stages in sports. Rico has been on our wish list of talent to join our team for quite some time and we look forward to him joining Mike Valenti in offering a dynamic afternoon show for our listeners. We thank Mike Sullivan for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.” During his career, Beard has served as a host of “The Spartan Beat” podcast as well as a co-host of “The Ryan and Rico Show” for ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ He also worked on air at WJBK-TV, Detroit and WSYM-TV, Lansing.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Without live sports since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports talk format has suffered in the monthly PPM ratings. Compared to the May 2020 survey, just 16% of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers go up while 73% were down. The starkest comparison is June 2019 to June 2020 in which 19% of stations managed to improve while 75% of sports talk stations declined. In this case, iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis is the outlier posting a gain of 1.5 shares to finish June with a 5.6 share and climbs from the #12 rank to #7. Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia is the highest-ranked sports talker in the PPM markets during the June survey, posting a 4.7 share good for the #6 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

NPR Acknowledges Audience Hit from COVID-19 Pandemic. In a story by David Folkenflik at NPR.org, the extent of the ratings hit that NPR programming has taken since commuters largely vanished back in March is revealed. The story indicates that broadcast ratings for the network’s radio programs show they lost nearly 25% of their listeners. NPR senior director of audience insights Lori Kaplan says, “We anticipated these changes. This kind of change was going to take place over the next decade. But the pandemic has shown us what our future is now.” She says research shows the NPR audience is disproportionately made up of professionals who are working from home and appear to want to continue to do so after the pandemic is over.

Sandy Beach to Retire from WBEN-AM, Buffalo. Longtime Buffalo talk radio personality Sandy Beach is retiring from the station at the end of this month. The Buffalo News reports that Beach is wrapping his 23-year stint hosting the late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo at the end of this month. Sandy Beach’s career in Buffalo goes back to 1968 when he became part of the lineup at legendary CHR outlet WWKB-AM (then WKBW-AM). It’s also notable that Beach is enshrined in three halls of fame: the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

SportsGrid Radio’s Scott Ferrall to Air on ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. When XEPRS-AM, San Diego returns talk programming to its signal at “The Mightier 1090” – operated by advertising executive Bill Hagen – sports talk personality Scott Ferrall will be part of the station’s talent pool. Ferrall – part of the Elvis Duran Group’s specialized talent roster – is being syndicated by SportsGrid Radio Network (formerly the Fantasy Sports Radio Network). When the station begins the new format, it will air “Ferrall Coast to Coast” live from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Ferrall on the Bench” live from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Ferrall comments, “Returning to XEPRS is an amazing opportunity for me to reconnect with my loyal Southern California fans, many of whom have become friends through the years. Sun, fun and sports are my passion and I jumped at the opportunity to work with the Southern California flagship station to create a dynamic experience for our fans. I’m honored to bring back my gnarly, irritating, annoying, old leather voice to 1090 AM for many years to come. Shake it up!!”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in Politico, President Trump has appointed Salem Media Group talk radio host (and former Trump aide) Sebastian Gorka to a four-year term on the National Security Education Board – which oversees the National Security Education Program that Politico reports “was created in 1991 to promote a pool of U.S. citizens fluent in foreign languages and skilled in international affairs.” Gorka worked in the White House for eight months, leaving in August of 2017…..According to a report published by Breitbart, the San Francisco police department has opened an investigation into death threats against Westwood One syndicated talk show host Michael Savage. The story says Savage received “two threats in the last seven days — one by postcard to his San Francisco home on July 10 and the second via Guerrilla Mail, an email address service where received emails are deleted after one hour.”…..Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that Midway Broadcasting’s news/talk WVON will be incorporating content from iHeartMedia’s new BIN: Black Information Network into its news programming. BIN programming is currently airing on WVAZ-HD2 in Chicago. Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is hyperlocal, but what impacts Black America impacts us here in Chicago, where we represent one-third of the city’s population. Enhanced news is needed and iHeart’s timing is perfect.”…..ESPN reports that its ESPN Podcasts experienced 42.7 million downloads during the month of June, the eighth month in the last nine with a total of 40 million or more. The figure represents a 31% increase over June 2019. ESPN also says that according to The Podtrac Podcast Category Audience Rankings, in the sports podcast category ESPN has 11 of the top 30 podcasts, with “The Dan LeBatard Show” finishing as the third ranked podcast in the sports category…..Virtual News Center announces that Camellia City Communications’ WTHO, Thomson, Georgia is now using its services. WTHO now features the work of reporter Darrell Moody in its daily newscasts.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Navarro-Fauci Spat, Fall School Debate, Twitter Hack, Trump Tax Returns, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, Washington Redskins Name Change, and Sports Leagues Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The spiking COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the sparring between White House trade official Peter Navarro and Dr. Tony Fauci; the ongoing debate over opening schools this fall; the hack of Twitter accounts belonging to high-profile users Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and others; lawyers for President Trump continue to fight the SCOTUS ruling he must turn his tax returns over to the Manhattan district attorney; the presidential race and this week’s primary races in Alabama, Maine, and Texas; the NFL’s Washington Redskins agree to change their name; and the various U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to begin playing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Groundbreaking Talk Radio Consultant and Talent Coach Bill McMahon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  TALKERS magazine will celebrate its 30th anniversary on July 23 and talent coach Bill McMahon, who was featured as “The TALKERS Interview” in its first (print) issue, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” McMahon was one of the most influential talk radio consultants in the early years of the format’s modern era – which many historians credit as beginning with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the subsequent rise of Rush Limbaugh. McMahon, founder and CEO of The Authentic Personality Biz based in Boise, Idaho, started out as a radio salesman in the 1970s and then rose through the ranks to manage and set the programming vision for highly successful personality-oriented talk stations KIRO, Seattle and KSDO, San Diego. He went on to provide programming consulting services to many of America’s most successful talk radio stations and personalities.  In 1988, he created the first formal training system for radio air personalities and program directors (also titled The Authentic Personality™ ) which is a method that identifies the common elements of great radio performances regardless of style or content. Over the years, nearly 1,000 air personalities and program directors from stations owned by the most successful broadcasting companies in the United States and Great Britain have participated in Authentic Personality™ seminars/workshops. McMahon has personally conducted hundreds of individual coaching sessions with great (and not so great) radio air personalities using his training concepts and methods.  These include Rush LimbaughDr. Laura SchlessingerKidd KraddickJeff ElliottMichael Harrison and Johnny Vaughan just to name a handful. In this podcast, Harrison and McMahon take a deep dive into the 14 basic traits possessed by successful radio talk show hosts and provide a panoramic view of radio’s past, present, and future.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the aftermath of Nick Cannon’s anti-Semitic remarks on his podcast, his firing from his MTV show by ViacomCBS, and his subsequent apology, he’s taking time away from his radio shows. He says via Facebook: “Morning radio family. I have decided to take some time away from my radio show so I can commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education. I will use this time to establish an action plan towards real, impactful change and advocacy aimed at bringing people together. I continue to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders, and institutions who have reached out to me to help enlighten me. Their input and friendship will help me as I further commit myself to more profound learning and towards strengthening the bond between the Black and Jewish cultures every day going forward.” Cannon hosts mornings on Muerelo Media’s KPWR, Los Angeles as well as a syndicated afternoon show. Syndicator Skyview Networks says, “Nick Cannon has begun a period of self-reflection to address the pain he caused, and while we recognize his apology, this time is needed to establish an action plan towards real change and advocacy.  During this period, production of the ‘Nick Cannon Radio’ show will pause. Skyview Networks values all communities and faiths and we expect all programs and personalities we syndicate to adhere to these principles.” While Skyview syndicates the program, Cannon is the executive producer in collaboration with Ncredible Productions and Meruelo Media…..iHeartMedia promotes Carson to program director for country WNCB-FM, Raleigh “B93.9.” She has been serving as music director and midday host and she takes over the PD role from Carletta Blake, who moved to the PD position at the company’s country WGAR-FM, Cleveland…..iHeartMedia Memphis Gospel outlet WHAL-FM “95.7 Hallelujah FM” is hosting its Virtual Hallelujah Summer Jam tomorrow (7/17) at 7:00 pm. The station says the event will bring together the top gospel artists in the industry for a night of praise and fellowship on-air via “95.7 Hallelujah FM,” HallelujahFM.com and on Facebook Live. The event is made possible with support from Cricket Wireless, MidSouth Transplant Foundation, and Plummer Financial.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

| April 28, 2020

Hannity Attorneys Demand Retraction from New York Times. Attorneys for FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity have sent a request to The New York Times that it issue an apology to Hannity and retract its coverage of Hannity’s work at FOX covering the coronavirus pandemic.  Hannity’s lawyers are saying if the paper does not act within 24 hours, Hannity will have no choice but to file suit.  According to a FOX News story, at issue are “three separate pieces by columnist Ginia Bellafante, contributing writer Kara Swisher and media columnist Ben Smith which they said all showed ‘an outrageous disregard for the truth.’” The paper responded that its reporting is accurate and there is no need for an apology.  Hannity attorney Charles Harder says the issue is the Times’ “blatant and outrageous disregard for the truth in mischaracterizing Mr. Hannity’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and blaming him for the tragic death of Joe Joyce,” referring to a 74-year-old who contracted the coronavirus on a cruise. Joyce’s children warned him and his wife not to take the cruise but, according to Bellafante’s column, Joyce watched FOX News Channel and believed the virus was under control.

Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes Launch Sports Talk Show on SB Nation Radio on May 11. Sports talk personalities Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes are returning to terrestrial radio on May 11 as SB Nation Radio and JAKIB Media Partners announce the program “Into the Night” will be made available to radio stations via the SB Nation Radio network.  The program feeds to affiliates from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  Bruno says, “I continue in amazement that at a time when there are no sports to talk about, my partner Harry and I keep getting hired to talk sports.”  Bruno and Mayes reunited — they worked together at WPEN-FM, Philadelphia — for a daily sports talk show on April 6 when they joined the Dan Patrick Radio channel on SiriusXM for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart.  The “Into the Night” program SB Nation is presenting is mostly a re-broadcast of the SiriusXM show, however Bruno will customize some segments for the late-night show and there’s also the possibility that Bruno and Mayes will broadcast live for special events and remotes, according to SB Nation’s Brian Schaible.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  The thirst for news during the coronavirus pandemic has lifted public radio news/talk stations as 79% of those on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares rise from the February 2020 survey.  KOPB-FM, Portland and KQED-FM, San Francisco led the group of gainers with increases of 1.7 shares and 1.5 shares, respectively.  Year-over-year comparisons were not quite as impressive with 59% of stations improving.  KNOW-FM, Minneapolis stands out as it added 3.4 shares from the March 2019 survey to the March 2020 survey and climbed from the #9 rank in the market to #1. In addition to KNOW-FM, four other public radio news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their markets in March: WAMU-FM, Washington; KCFR-FM, Denver; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

‘Bogey’ Exits WXYT-FM, Detroit. Evening sports talk personality Kyle Bogenschutz – a.k.a. Bogey, has exited Entercom’s Detroit sports talk outlet WXYT-FM where he co-hosted the evening show with Bob Wojnowski.  According to the Detroit Newsreport, Bogey’s exit was the result of stalled contract talks, not cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Bogey had been with the station since 2014 and had been co-hosting the evening show with Wojo since June of 2017.  His agent tells the News that he’s in conversations with “a couple of people” and believes Bogey will land somewhere soon.

States Begin ‘Re-Opening’ Economy, U.S. Coronavirus Statistics & Projections, Health Care System/Testing Capabilities, China’s Role in Pandemic, Presidential Race/Biden Accusation, and Kim Jong Un Health Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). A handful of states court controversy as they begin to ease social distancing restrictions; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll and projections for future cases; the state of the U.S. health care system and the capabilities for testing for COVID-19; the U.S. begins investigating China’s role in the pandemic; the November presidential election and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; and questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM First Quarter Revenue Up 5% Pro Forma. Today (4/28), SiriusXM reported its first quarter 2020 operating and financial results.  It says revenue rose 5% (pro forma) to $2 billion.  Net income for the quarter was $293 million, up from $162 million in the first quarter of 2019.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “In the face of the economy hitting the brakes hard in March, SiriusXM’s first quarter results were very strong.  Auto sales, advertising, and customer responses to marketing campaigns all fell swiftly in the second half of March, yet we delivered increasing subscribers, solid revenue growth and 13% adjusted EBITDA growth to a first quarter record of $639 million.  Just as it was a little over a decade ago during the global financial crisis, SiriusXM’s subscriber-based business model is resilient.  We do not know what the shape of a recovery from this current crisis will look like, however, we are confident that our business will continue to generate substantial positive free cash flow.  Once we have a better view of how and when the economy will restart, we plan to resume providing guidance.”

TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix talk show host Larry Gaydos announced to his listeners on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix yesterday that his mother – already suffering from cancer – succumbed to COVID-19 over the weekend.  Gaydos said she tested positive several weeks ago and suffered no effects until last week when she began to decline quickly…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand speculates about possible changes to take place at ESPN Radio in the near future in a column. In it, Marchand wonders about the futures of Dan LeBatard on the radio (his cable TV show is popular), Trey Wingo’s role on the Golic & Wingo morning show, and says Will Cain is all but destined to leave for a gig with FOX News very soon…..Yankees Radio Network play-by-play voice John Sterling is honored with the 2020 Governors’ Award, presented by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The Governors’ Award recognizes Sterling’s 60th anniversary as a broadcaster and his 31 years as the radio voice of the New York Yankees.  Sterling says, “Whenever you get an award, it’s wonderful. But when you get an award from your peers, it is even better. I’m very humbled and appreciative to be the recipient of the 2020 Governors’ Award.  I’m thankful to the board for their recognition of my longtime work with the New York Yankees, which is nothing short of a labor of love for me.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it will hold its investors conference call to discuss first quarter 2020 operating results on May 11 at 4:30 pm ET.  Cumulus is the second publicly traded audio company to announce its Q1 call that is expected to address how the coronavirus pandemic – that had fully affected the country by mid-March – impacted its operations.  iHeartMedia will hold a Q1 conference call on May 7.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.   A new three-hour program starring Roula Christie is being launched by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One on May 2.  Titled, “Weekends with Roula,” it is designed for hot AC and CHR stations and targets women 25-54.  Westwood One says the show is “upbeat and motivational as she helps listeners find fun in the madness of juggling work and family.  Roula mixes pop culture and entertainment news with hilarious conversations between her kids and her mom.”  She comments, “I am over the moon at the opportunity to be nationally syndicated with Westwood One for ‘Weekends with Roula!’ I hope to connect with the rest of America the way I have been able to connect with my Greater Houston-area audience. I’m so grateful to my husband, Tasos, and children for providing me with material! I’m so excited!”…..Programming pro Scott Gaines is named operations manager for Alpha Media’s Amarillo, Texas cluster that includes country KGNC-FM, rhythmic CHR KVWE, classic hits KXGL “Eagle 100.5,” and news/talk KGNC-AM.  Gaines will also program KGNC-FM and serve as afternoon drive host.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media in Atlanta as APD and afternoon host at WKHX “New Country 101.5.”

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

| November 27, 2019

Round Two of November PPM’s Released. The second of four rounds of November 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The November 2019 rating period covered October 10 – November 6.  Some 6+ ratings gains of note for spoken-word stations during the November survey include: Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington adds 0.6 to its weekly, AQH share for 5.7 and #4 in the market; Entercom’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington adds a half share to its October increase for a 4.8 share and the #8 rank; Patriots football is good to Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” as it adds 2.5 shares over the last three surveys for a 6.2 share and the #3 rank in the market; Entercom’s sports WXYT-FM, Detroit adds 0.8 tenths in November to land at a 5.5 share and #6 in the market; and iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis “100.3 K-FAN” tacks a 0.5 share onto its six-month, 3.4 share surge to finish November with a 7.3 share and the #3 rank.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Takeaways” from these markets here.

John Shumway Leaves KDKA-AM to Focus on Television Role. Pittsburgh news pro John Shumway is giving up his role as co-host of the morning drive show on Entercom’s KDKA-AM in order to focus on his reporting position with KDKA-TV, effective today (11/27).  In a memo to staff, Entercom Pittsburgh market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “We have worked with John to determine it is best for him to relinquish his radio responsibilities and focus his time on his extraordinary work as a general assignment reporter at KDKA-TV.  John has been the cohost of the KDKA Radio morning news for over 15 years – his tireless work ethic and news judgment has been a cornerstone of KDKA Radio mornings.  His integrity is unquestionable. Simply put, John is one the most gifted, well-respected journalists in our city.  I want to personally thank John for his tireless work over the years with us, it has been an honor to work alongside him.”  Larry Richert remains host of the morning program.

Staskiewicz Promoted to Digital PD for Beasley Boston. At Beasley Media Group’s Boston station group, Tim Staskiewicz is promoted to digital program director.  He’d most recently been responsible for managing the digital programming efforts for sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” and WKLB “Country 102.5” for the past two years.  In his new role, he adds similar duties for urban contemporary WBQT “HOT 96.9,” classic hits WROR, and classic rock WBOS “ROCK 92.9.”  Prior to joining Beasley Media Group, Staskiewicz spent six years as the digital content director for CBS RADIO’s Boston operations.

COMING FRIDAY:  Holiday Weekend Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The Thanksgiving installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, will be posted Friday afternoon (11/29) on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled “Thanksgiving Weekend Edition!” will look back at the week of November 25-29, 2019 and feature guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSBrian Sussman, talk show host, KSFO, San Francisco; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media NetworkDoug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan MultimediaBrian Weigand, talk show host, WIQO, Lynchburg, VA; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/medical profession podcaster.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this weekend’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Grayson Headed to Full-Time KMBZ-FM, Kansas City Gig? Several radio trades are reporting that longtime St. Louis-based talk radio host Jon Grayson is soon to be co-hosting the midday show with Jayme Monacelli at Entercom’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City.  Grayson has been handling fill-in duties at the station since he exited CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis a year ago.  Prior to his work with KTRS, he hosted the overnight show at Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis that was, for a time nationally syndicated as “Overnight America.”  The KMBZ-FM website still lists Mike Wickett as co-host of the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm show.

Impeachment Hearings, 2020 Presidential Election, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Financial Markets Activity, UN Climate Change Report, Storms and Holiday Travel Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26). The testimony in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Democrat Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race; the on-again trade talks between the U.S. and China; the world’s financial markets react to the U.S.-China talks; the alarming conclusions in the latest UN climate change report; and the storms affecting Thanksgiving holiday travel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM personality Jenniffer Weigel is moving her late night show to the earlier 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot, bumping the Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin show to 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Weigel started working with the Cumulus Media station earlier this year contributing to the morning drive Mancow show…..The Long Island Nets and Hofstra University’s WRHU “Radio Hofstra University” are expanding their partnership to incorporate television production for the 2019-20 season.  The three-time Marconi Award winning station will continue as the team’s flagship radio station.  This is the first season that WRHU will partner with the Nets to produce the televised broadcasts of all 24 home games.  Students, led by WRHU’s director of operations John Mullen and general manager Bruce Avery, will work and learn as producers, audio engineers, 3-play/replay engineers, and graphics operators and coordinators.  Mark Lukasiewicz, Dean of Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, says, “The Long Island Nets have had a very fruitful relationship with Bruce Avery, John Mullen and the students of WRHU.  We look forward to working with Hofstra University on creating a best-in-league television production with our talented in-house production team.”…..In Charlotte, Entercom’s sports talk WFNZ is hosting “WFNZ’s 17th Annual Street Turkeys” – its annual food drive to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and Loaves & Fishes.  Today, WFNZ is broadcasting 13 hours of live programming and encouraging listeners to donate turkeys, canned food, monetary donations, and non-perishable items…..Entercom news/talk WCCO, Minneapolis produced its 17th annual Union Gospel Mission Hunger Radiothon on November 18, raising more than $342,000 to benefit Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities.  Since 2003, the station has raised more than $3 million.  Pictured below is WCCO morning personality Dave Lee (right) speaking with a guest resident of the Union Gospel Mission.

Robert F.X. Sillerman Dead at 71. The former radio station owner passed away on Sunday (11/24) after suffering from respiratory illness.  Robert F.X. Sillerman is remembered in the radio business for the several radio companies he built and sold, starting with Sillerman-Morrow Broadcasting with partner “Cousin Brucie” Morrow.  He also built Capstar, partnered with Carl Hirsch’s Legacy Broadcasting, and built SFX Broadcasting, all of which he sold at considerable profits both before and during the era of consolidation.  He created SFX Entertainment after acquiring concert promotion businesses and sold it to then-Clear Channel which ultimately renamed it Live Nation.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After recently announcing their Las Vegas residency presented by SiriusXM and their 50th anniversary tour, The Doobie Brothers are taking over SiriusXM’s Classic Vinyl channel this Thanksgiving weekend. The band will share insight behind their biggest hits and play music from their own catalogue as well as other artists and friends…..Yesterday morning (11/26), Westwood One’s internationally syndicated “The Ty Bentli Show” hosted a ‘Family Invasion’ with ACM Artist of the Decade Jason Aldean.  The whole morning was spent with Ty, TJ, and Chuck Wicks sharing a behind-the-scenes look at Aldean’s personal and road life as he prepares to spend Thanksgiving at brother-in-law Chuck’s house! Pictured below are (from l-r): Wicks, Aldean, Bentli, and TJ.

Friday, November 16, 2018

| November 16, 2018

WDAE, Tampa Names ‘Ron & Ian’ Afternoon Drive Show.  Longtime Tampa Bay and WDAE sports talk personality Steve Duemig focuses on his health as he continues treatment for a brain tumor.  He’ll step aside as the station names Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles hosts of the afternoon drive “Ron & Ian” show, effective Monday, November 26.  This is a return to the station for the duo who exited three years ago in a programming reshuffle.  Producer Jay Recher remains in the afternoon slot as a “key part of the program.”  Diaz says, “The band is back together and it’s about time to rock.  During the year that the show first began, the Lightning won the Stanley Cup.  No pressure guys let’s do it again.”  Beckles adds, “I am super excited to reunite with Ron and Jay to create the Ron & Ian show 2.0.  Tampa Bay has been begging for its return, so I hope everyone is ready.”

WXYT-FM, Detroit Personality Mike Valenti to Launch Podcast on RADIO.COM. Motor City sports talk personality Mike Valenti – heard in afternoon drive on Entercom’s sports talker WXYT-FM – is the latest to launch a podcast on the company’s digital platform RADIO.COM.  Titled, “Always Aggravated,” the weekly program “is a chance for fans to go behind the scenes with Valenti and his cast of characters from his daily afternoon drive show.”  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon states, “Mike is an extraordinary talent who is loved by Detroit sports fans.  This podcast will be an extension of his show, giving fans access to an unfiltered Mike Valenti.”  Valenti comments, “This podcast is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. It gives us the chance to go beyond what we are able to discuss in our daily show. Nothing is off limits and I am very excited about the opportunity to appeal to listeners around the country.”

Tennessee Won’t Prosecute Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Talk Host Jeff Styles. The good news for former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning personality Jeff Styles is that the state won’t be prosecuting him on an aggravated assault charge; the bad news is the road rage incident from last June cost him his job at the Cumulus Media talk station. Styles testified that Nick Bullington was driving recklessly toward him and waving a gun before Styles got out of his car at a red light and attacked Bullington’s vehicle with a tomahawk.  Bullington fired his weapon and Styles was hit in the arm.  The case was bound to a grand jury but now the state is electing not to prosecute.  The Chattanoogan reports Styles’ attorney Lee Davis told the court, “Jeff Styles called 911 after he was shot.  He cooperated in the police investigation and testified in court.  Jeff has done everything possible to be fully accountable for his actions.  I appreciate the care and deliberation that District Attorney Neal Pinkston has taken in the review of this case. On behalf of Jeff Styles, I want to express my support and appreciation of the state’s decision after careful review to dismiss this matter.”

iHeartMedia Monthly Operating Report: September Revenue Up 9.6%. As it has been doing while working its way through Chapter 11 reorganization, iHeartMedia files another monthly operating report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  This report – for the month of September – notes that revenue was $325.9 million, an increase of 9.6% over August’s $299.4 million figure.  Operating income was down 20.6% to $62.4 million and net income was $11.9 million – down a dramatic 140% from August’s net income of $66.9 million. During September, iHeartMedia paid out $15.8 million to outside professionals assisting in the reorganization process.

TALKERS News Notes.  There’s been no official communique from Entercom Minneapolis but after seven months with the cluster, operations manager Andy Bloom exits.  He’d been in charge of operations at heritage news/talk WCCO-AM, country KMNB “BUZ’N @ 102.9,” and adult hits KZJK “104.1 JACK FM.”  Previously, Bloom had been with CBS RADIO as operations manager for sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT in Philadelphia.  Bloom simply tells the Pioneer Press, “WCCO is a legendary station.  I wish them luck.”…..The Boston Beasley Media Group stations are taking part in the third official “Massachusetts Civility Day” proclaimed by Governor Charlie Baker.  National Civility Foundation executive director Judith Bowman says the purpose of tomorrow’s (11/17) event is “to have every person in every family, every company…consciously perform a random act of kindness.  Day of Civility is timely given our coarse global climate and particularly fitting as we enter the Thanksgiving holiday season.”…..Pictured at left are some of the staff members of Alpha Media Alaska posing with their “Goldie Awards” from the Alaska Broadcasters Association.  The cluster garnered four awards: KFDQ-AM, Anchorage’s “Big Alaska Show” for Best Radio Show; sports talk KHAR for Best Sports Play-By-Play; classic hits KEAG-FM, Anchorage for Best Radio Commercial (:30); and country KBRJ-FM for Best Radio Commercial (over :30).  Pictured here are (from l-r): “Big Alaska Show” host Steve Stripling, KBRJ-FM program director Joe Campbell, Lindsey Dailey, Steven Franklin, and John Miller.

Talkin’ Turkey.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (dressed as a turkey) is pictured here broadcasting from inside a Walmart in Nampa, Idaho where he’s been living to collect turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission.  This is Miller’s eighth year living at and broadcasting from the Walmart to help the cause.  With him in the photo are KTVB-TV, Boise’s Larry Gebert (left) and Boise Rescue Mission CEO Reverend Bill Roscoe (right).

CNN-White House Suit Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 12-16.  CNN’s suit against the White House for the pulling of reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was Florida election re-counts and the related allegations of voter fraud by President Trump.  Coming in at #3 was the status of the Trump-Russia investigation, followed by the migrant caravan and U.S. illegal immigration policy 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.

30th Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. In New York City last night (11/15), 10 radio broadcasters were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.  A number of talk personalities were enshrined, including longtime New York radio talk host Joan Hamburg, pictured above with actor Alan Alda, who introduced her, stating, “She has the ability to interview anybody with grace and good humor.” Other talk hosts enshrined were: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, SiriusXM personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Jonathon Brandmeier, Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin, WFAN legend Mike Francesa, and sports talker Nanci Donnellan, a.k.a., the Fabulous Sports Babe (who was unable to attend).  Music radio personalities inducted included WAXQ, New York morning host Jim Kerr and Kid Kelly, along with consultant Fred Jacobs.  Pictured below are (from l-r): Jacobs, Levin, Kerr, and Brandmeier.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country WQIK, Jacksonville promotes music director John Scott to program director, effective immediately.  Scott will report to iHeartMedia SVP of programming Gary “Geewiz” Christopher, who says, “We are thrilled to have John transition to program director for the number one country station in Jacksonville.  He understands our listeners and brings his passion and extensive knowledge of the market to this role and we know he will continue to contribute to our station’s ongoing success.”  Over the past 28 years, he has served WQIK as morning show host, midday personality, and afternoon drive jock…..Entercom’s rock KISW, Seattle is presenting the fourth annual “Live Day.”  This year’s event will feature broadcasts of the station’s morning show “BJ Migs” and afternoon show “The Mens Room” in front of a live audience with no recorded commercials, sound effects or music.  More than 100 performers and producers are involved in creating eight hours of completely live radio.  “Live Day” will emanate from Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom on Tuesday (11/20) and feature a cast of local musicians, Foley artists and comedians, and station on-air talent including “BJ & Migs,” Ryan Castle, Taryn Daly, and talent from The Mens Room.  KISW legacy talent Kathy Faulkner and Spike O’Neill will also be in attendance…..WWPR, New York-based morning show “The Breakfast Club” raised more than $200,000 during its second annual #Change4Change to benefit PROJECT 375, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness of mental health, ending the stigma and raising funds for treatment. The Breakfast Club personalities DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God worked in support of PROJECT 375, a charity co-founded by NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his wife Michi. PROJECT 375 offers several free community programs and resources addressing mental health such as Project Prevent, which provides technology-driven mental health first aid training for parents, teachers and anyone working closely with youth; and Mind Over Matter Talks, where members of the organization visit schools to speak with students, principals, community leaders and parents about mental health…..Bobby Bones show co-host Amy Brown is launching an iHeartRadio original podcast called “4 Things with Amy Brown,” focused on featuring “4 Things” listeners can do to promote healthy well-being and to “maintain an attitude of gratitude, while sprinkling joy and giving back in their daily lives.”   Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “Amy is an integral part of some of our most-popular Country radio programs.  We’ve seen firsthand how her loyal following of fans stays connected across any and every platform, so this podcast is a natural next step.”…..Sun Broadcast Group celebrates its 10th anniversary. The national radio network is now headquartered in New York City and Boca Raton and is home to “The Country Fried Mix with DJ Sinister,” multiple nationally syndicated shows hosted by “Fitz,” “The Woody & Wilcox Show,” and Sun Latino among many others.