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Thursday, May 12, 2016

| May 12, 2016

Talkers2016 logo lgGOING, GOING… TALKERS Convention Registrations Close Today.  The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention is on the verge of being an early sellout.  Registrations will not be taken after 5:00 pm ET today.  The event – TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations – will take place one week from tomorrow on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  TALKERS EVP Kevin Casey states, “This installment of the historical and colorful conference will be extremely contemporary in its focus in terms of talk media’s need to open the tent to younger demos, expand its menu options, become indispensable to the public and strategically integrate both its old and new media platforms into an effective, symbiotic system.”  Casey will personally moderate the panel, “The Millennials and the Media.”  The conference will feature a power-packed day of non-stop panels, presentations, addresses, live broadcasts, technology exhibits and tremendous networking opportunities at the “Breakfast with Hannity,”  “Salem Luncheon” and “Radio Hofstra University Closing Reception.”  More than 65 industry leaders from programming, sales, technology, research, management and ownership will be participating in speaking roles.  Registrations ($299 per person and open only to media industry professionals) can only be taken over the phone with credit card by calling 413-565-5413 before 5:00 pm ET today.  For complete agenda, hotel, sponsorship and travel information, please click here.

latzerjonAlpha Media Appoints Latzer Regional Interactive Sales Manager.  Media sales pro Jon Latzer is named to the regional interactive sales director position with Alpha Media.  The company’s VP of business development, Lindi Glasgow, says, “We are excited about this new position to better serve our Alpha markets and clients.  Digital and mobile are key to our 360 approach to drive ROI for our customers.  Jon’s radio, digital and start-up experience make him the perfect fit for the job and Alpha culture.”  Latzer has served in sales and management capacities at media firms including CBS, iHeartMedia, Katz Radio Group, TuneIn and Rovi.

The Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Deal, MIT Islamophobia-Global Warming Lecture, Facebook Anti-Conservative Allegations, Brazil President Impeachment/Looming Summer Olympics,  and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11).  The activities of the candidates for president and Donald Trump’s scheduled meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan; the fallout over former Obama Administration staffer Ben Rhodes’ comments that it purposely mislead the media in order to secure a nuclear deal with Iran; controversy over Australian professor’s MIT lecture suggesting a connection between Islamophobia and global warming; the charge that Facebook’s trending topics are manipulated by people averse to conservative topics; the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the related concerns over public safety at the this summer’s Olympic Games; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Third Round of April 2016 PPM Data.  The third of four rounds of April 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The April 2016 survey period covered March 24 to April 20.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

drasaProfile: America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiles talk show host and “America’s Health Coach” Dr. Asa in a piece published today (5/12).  Ten years ago, Dr. Asa Andrews hosted a one-hour, late Sunday evening show in Nashville.  Now, Dr. Asa is preparing to celebrate the decade mark and his show is heard nightly from 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight.  In addition, he hosts a daily 10:30 am – 11:00 am syndicated television program that is seen in 300 markets.  Dr. Asa comments, “I have always been a big believer that, if you serve people, and give them hope and practical help, you can impact their lives.  Ratings and revenue will come if you do that with great programming.  It is through a very conscious effort that we do not ‘hawk’ products or become an info-mercial.  We have been successful because the show’s focus is our desire to help people, stations, and communities thrive.”  Read more here.

ramseySalt16Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Stops in Salt Lake City.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey brought his Smart Money event to Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall (home of the Utah Symphony!) on Wednesday (5/11).  The program, focusing on how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future, was promoted with the help of local affiliate KNRS “Talk Radio 105.9.”  KNRS general manager Joyce Wirthlin says, “Another Dave Ramsey Salt Lake event created a tremendous opportunity for us.  In addition to generating sponsorship revenue, it provided an opportunity for our current and potential endorsement clients to see firsthand the powerful influence of the Ramsey brand.  Listeners of the show are incredibly engaged and loyal and there is nothing more telling of that connection Dave has than looking around a room full of thousands of people that are a part of his tribe.”  On Tuesday (5/10), Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day event along with best-selling author Chris Hogan and Ramsey personality Christy Wright.  Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia regional vice president Stu Stanek, KNRS program director and personality Rod Arquette, Rachel Cruz, Wirthlin, and Ramsey.

Odds & Sods.  Chicago radio legend Garry Meier is launching a daily podcast that will feature interviews with “ameiergarry wide range of guests from authors to Academy Award winners and everyone in between.”  Meier states, “All of the growth in broadcasting appears to be in the digital arena.  As that migration happens more and more every day, week, month and year, I’m happy to be riding that wave.”  Meier says that Howard Stern, Richard Lewis and Chicago Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough will be among his first guests…..Radio personality and XtreMedia founder Kevin McCullough reports that his weekend talk show “Radio Night ‘Live’” – a talk radio/television simulcast – has acquired its 300th affiliate station with the addition of KOTK, Omaha “AM 1420 The Answer.”  “Radio Night ‘Live’” is a show that was launched with an adjusted format after McCullough’s eight-year run with former radio partner Stephen Baldwin.  McCullough says the show’s current success is the result of work with “amazing partners like Salem Media Group, depetroRaimondorally16GCN, and BizTV/Radio.”…..WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro (pictured here with mic) joined Rhode Island State Representative Patricia Morgan in a recent rally at the Rhode Island State House against Governor Gina Raimondo.  Critics of the governor say her efforts to market Rhode Island by going outside the state to a New York design shop indicates she is “out of touch” with Rhode Islanders.  Interestingly, the rally drew supporters ofgravelineShanghai16 both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders who are critical of Raimondo.  See a video news report about the rally here…..Checking in with TALKERS magazine from Shanghai is “Into Tomorrow” host Dave Graveline, pictured here with the city’s iconic skyline behind him.  Graveline has been reporting from the giant CES Asia ellerFM16show but says he’ll be back in the states in time to join fellow broadcasters at the TALKERS 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on Friday, May 20…..Local, independent station owner Anne Eller announces the addition of an FM translator signal to her station, WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina.  She says she was blown away by the response to the addition of the 98.5 FM signal.  “It is fantastic.  Of course the signal goes further and doesn’t drop off in the evening.  Businesses are calling me!”

Friday, February 26, 2016

| February 26, 2016

AlphaAlpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.

CBS Radio LogoWFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radioBrooklyn Nets Logo flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).

hyde, coreyHyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and Entercom_Communications_logohe brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”

baldwin, stephenBaldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.”  Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will mccullough, kevinimmediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”

WGN LogoFour More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio presidentNorthwestern Wildcats and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).

walter, maryLouisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on aWKRD regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).

Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than Cumulus Media Dallastwo weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.

BTC LogoBTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.

talkersten logoPresidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26.  Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.  At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View this week’s entire chart here.

fritts, eddieBFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognitionBroadcasters Foundation of America includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.

Cumulus 2Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.

cbsradio-logoCool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles.  TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070:  news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.

union edgeOdds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

| March 13, 2015

Laurie Cantillo

WTOP PD Cantillo Departs. Late Friday afternoon (3/13), WTOP, Washington, DC program director (and co-author of “Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World,” 1998) Laurie Cantillo teased her social media followers with this post: “Spring is a time of new beginnings … excited for the future.” That message is actually a follow-up to what was shared earlier in the day with the staff at the Hubbard all-news operation. “The decision has been made to not renew Laurie Cantillo’s contract,” general manager Joel Oxley writes. “The decision was reached mutually by Laurie and me.” In another internal memo, Cantillo states, “Our anchors and reporters have never sounded better and page views for WTOP.com are off the charts. Morale is as high as the International Space Station, where we conducted a historic live interview this morning. We are on ‘TOP’ in every respect, which makes this the right time for me to pursue my next adventure. There is no finer multimedia newsroom in America and I will miss seeing you every day. My immediate plan is to co-create a screenplay and finally get around to writing my next best seller.” Although she notes, “Radio and digital media innovation will continue to be a big part of my life,” she did not indicate if there is a particular station in her future. WTOP news director Mitchell Miller, senior news and sports director Mike McMearty, and managing editor Darci Marchese will share in assuming Cantillo’s duties. WTOP chalked up a mammoth +3.1 to 9.2 (Nielsen Audio PPM, January 2015, 6+) as it progresses from third to first. It is the station’s best mark in exactly one year, equaling the 9.2 it logged in January 2014. WTOP was #1 (6+) for 11 straight monthlies before iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH took the top spot in December and “Holiday” 2014. Simultaneous with graduating from the University of Colorado, Cantillo landed a full-time reporting job in Boulder and she had a 13-year tenure at Denver’s KOA. She was selected to program KTAR, Phoenix in 1997 and was later recruited by cross-town KFYI in a similar capacity. The former WABC, New York programmer joined WTOP in 2011 and officially became program director there upon the retirement of vice president of news and programming Jim Farley.

journalbroadcastgroupPositive 2014 Q4 for Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Sector.  With the merger with E.W. Scripps expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, Journal Communications reports a positive fourth quarter of 2014 – up 13.6% on revenue of $122 million.  For the radio sector, the fourth quarter saw revenue rise to $22.1 million – an increase of 7.7% (excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 5.5%).  The company reports that radio political and issue revenue was $0.7 million compared to $0.1 million.  Excluding political and issue, total revenue increased 4.9%, local revenue increased 6.5%, though national revenue decreased 0.9%. Automotive revenue, up 13%, was a driver of local growth.  For the full year, radio revenue increased 3.0% to $79.1 million.  Excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 2.4%.  Radio political and issue revenue was $1.3 million compared to $0.4 million.  Excluding political and issue revenue, total revenue increased 1.8%, local revenue increased 2.6%, though national revenue, a small component of our revenue, decreased 6.6%.  When the merger deal closes next quarter, Journal and E.W. Scripps will merge their broadcast and digital media assets under a company retaining the E.W. Scripps name and be based in Cincinnati.  Their newspapers and community publications and related digital products will comprise a firm to be called Journal Media Group, based in Milwaukee.

levymitch

KJR, Seattle Re-Ups Levy; Adds Powell for Middays.  Morning drive personality Mitch Levy — with iHeartMedia’s sports talker KJR-AM, Seattle for the past 20 years – will continue in his morningpowellchuck drive role after inking a new contract.  At the same time, the station announces the arrival of Chuck Powell to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  He most recently was with Bonneville in Phoenix at both sports talk KTAR-AM and the former adult hits KPKX.  Former Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is also returning to the station this NFL season to serve as NFL expert and contributor.

stocknspca15NSPCA Honors KDWN’s Alan Stock.  For the past 10 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has been featuring the Pet Pick of the Week in an effort to get local pets adopted.  Earlier this week, the Nevada SPCA surprised Stock with special recognition for his work.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Master Magician Lance Burton (former headliner at the Monte Carlo), Stock, and NSPCA president Kathy Jung.  She’s holding Keno, who was in this year’s Puppy Bowl before the Big Game.

XtreMedialogoKevin McCullough’s XtreMEDIA to Present Holy Week-Themed Radio Drama Across U.S. and International Radio Networks.  The audio drama is based on the one-man play being performed in Chicago by actor and radio personality Stephen Baldwin titled, “Heaven, How I Got Here: A Night with the Thief on the Cross.”  McCullough says, “Easter weekend on five  American radio networks and the biggest networks in the United Kingdom (our first jaunt into international broadcasting) a compelling ‘audio drama’ of the same role Stephen is portraying on stage, will be aired on both religious and mainstream spoken word stations across Europe and America.  Thus far 1500-plus stations have signed on and in some clusters/markets like Salem NYC the drama will air nine times from Good Friday evening through end of Easter Sunday. There is no cost to take the broadcast.  We commissioned the Grammy and Dove award winning composer Dick Tunney for an original soundtrack, we created a completely digital sound design, and Stephen re-created the character he will portray on stage to give voice to the ‘thief’ to whom Jesus historically said, ‘This day you will be with me in paradise.'” McCullough says stations wishing to take the radio special can email him at kmc@x3media.net and he’ll be glad to add them to the growing surge of stations gobbling it up.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is now heardfreemanedge on Iredell Broadcasting’s WSIC-AM/FM/TV, Statesville, North Carolina, which includes transmission on over-the-air digital TV channel 21.2…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” delaneykatewith Kate Delaney adds affiliate stations in: WSMN, Nashua; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; KIXW, Victorville, California; KTFL, Higley, Arizona and KLOE, Goodland, Kansas…..Syndication Networks-syndicated “Those Weekend Golf Guys” joins the weekend lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..“Business Rockstars” is added to the program schedule at KTMS, Santa Barbara and KTVA, Oxnard/Ventura.

Iran Nuclear Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 9-13.  The controversy over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and the group of GOP senators who sent a letter to Iran contesting the president’s right to unilaterally make such deals was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  Coming in at #2 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business.  At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the amnesty/immigration issue 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

| September 23, 2014

mcmahonbillBill McMahon: Perhaps We Should Focus on What We are Good at and That Which the Public Still Wants and Needs.  In a new opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (9/23) by veteran radio consultant and talent coach Bill McMahon, the following questions are presented to radio broadcasters:  What business are you in?  Does your business have a future?  He says, “These seem like fundamental questions radio broadcasters should be asking themselves right now.”  In it McMahon adds his voice to the chorus of industry opinions supporting the preservation of audio-only media as one of — if not the — major products of “radio” in the emerging unified multi-media platform marketplace.  McMahon sarcastically says, “This vision for the future seems perfect for radio broadcasters who create precious little content of any kind. It makes total sense to go compete with everyone in the entertainment business.  Sure, why not? Go take on Disney and Live Nation.  You have all kinds of talent and experience creating video entertainment.  You’ll be great at creating and promoting massive concert events.  This is the kind of stuff your current customers have come to expect from you.  You have lots of resources ready to commit to these enterprises.  They’ll no doubt drive lots of additional listening to your AM and FM radio stations.  Like Nike says, you should ‘just do it!’”  He concludes on a serious note, “Yikes!  Let’s get real!  What’s wrong with the business you’re in right now?  What’s wrong with the audio entertainment business?  Doesn’t it have a future?  Audio entertainment is unique and powerful.  It involves the consumer in creating the experience it provides.  Sound generates pictures and emotions in minds and hearts.  The effect is deeper and more memorable than anything on a screen.  When you hear someone laughing or crying you don’t need to see them to fully experience their joy or sorrow.  Music can change your mood instantly.  The sound and the lyrics create a vibe.  Music is mind altering, heart penetrating, and memory making. Audio entertainment can be consumed while you’re doing other things like walking, running, driving, or making love.  Audio entertainment will never go out of style.  Americans spend more than four hours per day with audio entertainment according to the “Share of the Ear” study from Edison Research.  Audio entertainment has an enduring future as long as great audio entertainment is created.  Radio broadcasters are in the audio entertainment business.  Why not stay there?  Why not focus your limited resources on creating extraordinary audio entertainment? Why not be really good – even exceptional – at something, rather than average or mediocre at everything.  Your current consumers are predisposed to using and appreciating audio entertainment.  Why not concentrate on creating new audio entertainment content that surprises, amazes, and delights them.  Hire gifted artists who love creating content for the theater of the mind.  Create content in all shapes and sizes and distribute it on the platform that fits it best. That’s a future that makes sense for radio broadcasters.  To read Bill McMahon’s entire piece, please click here.

bloomberglogoiHeartMedia Goes Business Talk with Bloomberg on KNEW, San Francisco.  With the move of Premiere Networks talk shows Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck to Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO on Monday, September 29, the fate of the shows’ soon-to-be former affiliate station – KNEW, San Francisco – is now known.  The station will begin carrying Bloomberg Radio programming on Monday.  The station will also be simulcast on KOSF-FM’s HD2 channel.  Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers comments, “As part of Bloomberg’s new consumer media strategy, we’re excited about expanding Bloomberg Radio into the San Francisco Bay Area, a vital market for those who create, move global business and shape conversations about the innovations of tomorrow.”  iHeartMedia San Francisco market president Kathryn Wilcox adds, “Teaming up with Bloomberg was a natural fit.  It provides high-quality content and aligns nicely with the local business talk on KKSF 910.”

iheartmedia logoiHeartMedia Takes on More Debt.  The company formerly known as Clear Channel CommunicationsiHeartCommunications (and its radio-centric subsidiary iHeartMedia) – announces it is selling $250 million of 9.0% Priority Guarantee Notes (PGNs) that will come due in 2022.  Rating agency Fitch Ratings reports that the “notes are being issued as part of the same series as the $750 million of PGNs due 2022 that were issued on September 10, 2014, and rated ‘CCC/RR4’.  Proceeds from the offering are expected to be used to prepay $245.9 million in Term Loan B due 2016 and $4.1 million in Term Loan C due 2016 and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering.”  The iHeartCommunications debt stands at approximately $21.1 billion according to Fitch but the rating company reports it believes that the company has “adequate liquidity (including cash on hand, monetization of repurchased and outstanding notes, and asset sales) to meet its debt service obligations,” although it does foresee free cash flow to be negative over the next few years.

lionelLionel to Make Return Appearance at The Cutting Room in New York City.  Multimedia talker Lionel of LionelMedia.com has again been booked to play an evening of what he calls “Outspoken Word” sprinkled with bluegrass music at New York City’s famous nightclub, The Cutting Room.  The iconoclastic radio performer presents his difficult-to-categorize brand of stand-up commentary/observations along with several musical numbers by his Americana roots trio, Lock-n-Load in a program described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “fascinatingly original and intelligently eclectic to the core.”  The booking is set for Saturday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at the mega-hip showcase venue located at 44 East 32nd Street in the Big Apple.  Tickets are on sale, $30 in advance, $35 day of show, with a $20 food/drink minimum.  To reserve tickets, call 212-691-1900.  To view a video of Lionel discussing the forthcoming performance, please click here.

salemNYChostsyachtCelebrating Success.  Getting together to celebrate a year of success at Salem Communications’ New York properties news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA (and to celebrate the latter’s anniversary as a Christian talk station) are four talk hosts heard on the stations (from left to right): talk personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough; Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher; GCN-syndicated host Dr. Joy Browne; and WNYM morning personality Joe Piscopo.  McCullough comments, “While the style and content of the shows couldn’t be more different nor come from more diverse perspectives, the camaraderie instilled by GM Jerry Crowley and VP Phil Boyce could not be more clear!  Fun people, doing fun radio, and having fun doing it!”

hughespatOdds & Sods.  Houston sports talk personality Barry Warner joins Yahoo! Sports Radio where he’ll serve as a national contributor and host of the “Barry Warner Classic Minute” daily feature heard on KGOW and KFNC-FM in Houston…..WGN, Chicago announces the WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony honoring Chicago Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes to take place on Wednesday, September 24 from 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm.  The ceremony will include a live broadcast interview with Hughes conducted by host Dave Eanet…..Internet talk radio platform LA Talk Radio announces it is adding live streaming video to its content options.  Founder Sam Hasson says LA Talk Radio “has waited until it could define how to deliver a polished radio broadcast that also appeals to the audience visually, with professional studios and eye-popping graphics.  The results are great-looking as they are streamed smoothly in high-definition to any computer or mobile device.”  The video function debuts October 1.

White House Intruder Case, Hillary Clinton 2016 Prospects, Mid-Term Elections/Congressional Majority, NFL Domestic Violence Troubles, U.S. ISIS Policy, Iran Nukes Talks, Ebola Pandemic Threat, and Lois Lerner Politico Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22).  The man with a criminal past who hopped the White House fence and entered the building before being stopped; the prospects for a presidential bid by Hillary Clinton in 2016; the looming mid-term elections and discussion about the potential for majority changes in Congress; the NFL’s domestic violence issues; the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Secretary of State John Kerry’s nuclear talks with Iran; the threat of an Ebola virus pandemic; and the Lois Lerner Politico interview addressing the IRS scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 5, 2014

| September 5, 2014

ksfoRush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck Return to KSFO, San Francisco.  This move announced by Cumulus Media comes just a few days after local personality Spencer Hughes exited the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at KSFO.  Now, the company saysknew Rush Limbaugh will occupy that show time while Sean Hannity will air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm followed by Glenn Beck from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Michael Savage and Mark Levin will continue to air in the afternoons.  Now the big question is what are Clear Channel’s plans for KNEW “960 The Patriot” after the three Premiere Networks shows jump across the street?  A likely option would be to plug in Fox Sports Radio Network programming.  We can expect Clear Channel to make its intentions known relatively soon.  The start date for the changes is September 29.

cumulus logoCumulus Media Realigns Executive Structure; Jon Pinch to Retire.  Calling this move a part of the goal to “enhance the company’s strategic and operational focus and leverage its business platform,” Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey announces the company is eliminating the co-COO posts that John Dickey and Jon Pinch have shared for years, the assignment ofpinchjon John Dickey to the new EVP of content and programming position, and the retirement of Jon Pinch after a 45-year career in the business.  Lew Dickey says, “Our vision has been to build the radio company of the future and dickeyjohnthat is exactly what we are achieving.  Towards that end, we have strategically broadened the company’s scope and now have in place differentiated distribution channels and multiple content development platforms.  To accelerate our plans, we are putting in place a new organizational structure to reflect the company’s strategic evolution, bringing clarity, focus and accountability to key leadership roles in both our station and network groups.”  A number of changes will take place in addition to Pinch’s retirement.  Cumulus has retained the services of the search firm Spencer Stuart to seek an executive vice president of radio.  That person will be “focused on providing day-to-day operational and strategic leadership of Cumulus’ radio station group consisting of its 460 stations in 90 U.S.shawsteve markets.”  Steve Shaw has been promoted from his SVP Cumulus national sales post to president of Westwood One.  As for John Dickey, his new position will entail focusing on developing and maximizing content and programming.  The company says, “Establishing this focused position recognizes the critical importance of Cumulus’ development and promotion of content and programming across the company’s station group, Westwood One network and other media platforms including Nash and Rdio.”

buttweilerSandy Buttweiler Leaves KFGO, Fargo and Radio for Job Outside the Industry.  As reported in Prairie Business Magazine, longtime Fargo radio personality Sandy Buttweiler has resigned from her talk show position to take a job outside the radio biz.  Buttweiler co-hosted the Jack & Sandy show with longtime partner Jack Sunday at Midwest Communications-owned KFGO, Fargo.  As the paper notes, Buttweiler joined KFGO in 1982 and has worked there during three different stints as well as at other stations in the market, including crosstown WDAY.  She told listeners there were no problems at the station and that she “was presented with an opportunity about six weeks ago.  After careful and thoughtful consideration, it just seemed like the right time to take on this new opportunity.”

newsthatmakesyouthink‘The News That Makes You Think’ Hits 100 Affiliate Mark.  The newest feature from XtreMedia and hosted by Kevin McCullough passes the 100 affiliate mark after just 90 days in production.  McCullough’s program – “The News That Makes You Think” – is airing in markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, Tampa, Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Las Vegas.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine that, when launched in June, his company believed there would be a market for this type of feature and he describes it, saying, “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories.  But every newscast provides information important to families and people of faith.  And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!”  McCullough says that across the Monday-Friday XtreMedia platform, 413 unique stations are airing the company’s programming.

cochransteveWGN, Chicago Re-Ups Steve Cochran.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago morning drive personality Steve Cochran signs a four-year contract extension to continue with the Tribune Broadcasting outlet.  As Feder points out, over the past year Cochran has performed well for WGN.  In the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM survey, Cochran was #2 in the market (Persons 6+) with a 5.4 share.  Cochran tells Feder, “Thanks to my amazing staff of Andrea Darlas, Dave Eanet, Orion Samuelson, Mary Vandevelde, Kevin Powell and my son, Ross, 5:00 am is actually fun.  Working for Jimmy de Castro, Todd Manley and Larry Wert is as good as it gets — and I feel like we are just getting started.”  Read Feder’s column here.

nielsen logoRound Three of August PPM Data Released.  The third of four rounds of August 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The survey period was July 17 through August 13.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

rafffranklinEthnic WCGO, Chicago Begins Shift Toward Issues Talk Format.  The Evanston, Illinois signal has been an ethnic time-brokered station since 1978 but consultant Tim Disa says that with a newly approved power increase to 10,000 watts (daytime), the station is revamping the programming, starting with thepinkusgeoff 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm daypart.   Franklin Raff – a 39-year-old former producer for the G. Gordon Liddy show – is now hosting the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show, followed by Radio America’s Dana Loesch from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and former crosstown WIND personality Geoff Pinkus hosting the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Additionally, the station is carrying Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory in the overnight daypart.  Disa says the goal of the station is to create “new, more inclusive content – a bit more libertarian and we will be reaching out to a younger generation using humor and common sense.”

Odds & Sods.  At the Salem Radio Network operations in Washington, DC, Jeff Matzka is named chief engineer.  The operation includes the Washington, DC bureau of the SRN News and the studios of the Bill Bennett “Morning in America” show…..The new flagship station for the NBA’s Washington Wizards is CBS RADIO’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington (licensed to Bowie, Maryland).  The station reports that D.C. area play-by-play broadcaster Dave Johnson will return for his 17th season calling Wizards games, and is joined for the 7th year by analyst Glenn Consor…..Clear Channel’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence and classic hits WWBB “B101” will be the new flagship stations for University of Rhode Island football and men’s basketball this season.  WHJJ will also air the 16 Dan Hurley shows featuring the Rams’ head basketball coach.

savageyachtNYCCelebrating Success.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage is pictured here aboard his family yacht in the New York harbor addressing representatives from syndicator Westwood One, Cumulus-owned WABC Radio, and several high-profile clients and partners.  Using the occasion of the success of his latest book, Stop the Coming Civil War (Center Street 2014), Savage used the tale of his grandfather’s immigration from Russia almost 100 years ago to express why America needs to reward hard work and not take from those who are productive.  This event on NYC’s Chelsea Pier also caught the eye of the New York Post’s Page Six.

gallaghercowardlylionMike Gallagher Plays the Cowardly Lion.  Regular TALKERS readers know one of Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher’s interests is the theatre – Gallagher won a 2013 Tony Award as an investor in the Broadway revival of “Pippin.”  In addition to the numerous roles he’s played on the stage over the years, Gallagher (pictured here in full make-up for dress rehearsal) is currently playing the Cowardly Lion in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz.

US ISIS Strategy and Journalist Beheadings Top Stories on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 1-5.  The controversy over the United States’ military policy regarding the ISIS campaign in Iraq and the recent beheadings of two American journalists tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of September 1-5.  At #2 this week was the Al Qaeda jihad threat tied with the missing Libyan airliners.  Coming in at #3 was the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race followed by the Justice Department’s probe of the Ferguson, Missouri police department 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.