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Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

| August 13, 2019

Nielsen Begins Continuous Diary Measurement (CDM). Data delivery in five of the 46 markets converting to monthly reports is effective with the just-concluded (July 2019) survey period. Effective with the launch of CDM, 94 Nielsen Audio metros will have monthly reporting (48 PPM markets and 46 CDM markets). The company maintains that CDM “positions radio on a level playing field with other media such as digital and TV” and will allow clients “to maintain a competitive edge with the ability to react more quickly to marketplace changes.” Moreover, Continuous Diary Measurement is expected to “help reduce ‘bounce’ in ratings with rolling samples designed to provide a more consistent and stable view of the market.” Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly declares, “This is a transformative day for the audio advertising industry. For the first time, clients in these 46 markets will be able to transact on data monthly. There is no doubt Continuous Diary Measurement is a big step forward for the audio industry. With CDM, very large advertisers that rely on marketing mix models will be able to use the most current data available to get a better read on how radio drives sales results – the ultimate measure of ‘attribution’.” Connoisseur Media founder/CEO Jeffery Warshaw, chair of Nielsen Audio’s advisory council remarks, “This upgrade in measurement is a terrific demonstration of the progress we can make when the industry comes together and works with Nielsen to improve the service for our clients.” These markets will have CDM: Akron, Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Albuquerque, Allentown, Bakersfield, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Buffalo, Charleston (S.C.), Chattanooga, Colorado Springs, Columbia (S.C.), Dayton, Des Moines, El Paso, Fresno, Ft. Myers, Grand Rapids, Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, Greenville-Spartanburg, Harrisburg, Honolulu, Huntsville, Jackson (MS), Knoxville, Little Rock, Louisville, Madison, Mobile, Monterey, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Puerto Rico, Richmond, Rochester (NY), Shreveport, Spokane, Springfield (MA), Syracuse, Toledo, Tucson, Tulsa, Wichita, Wilkes Barre, and York. The survey period for the first monthly release of data covers April 25 – July 17; reports will be delivered between today (8/13) and one week from this Friday (8/23).

Coleman Cleared For Syndication Via Ramsey Network. Thirty stations in 25 markets (including Chicago, Denver, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, and Indianapolis) are first to clear Ramsey Network’s caller-driven “Ken Coleman Show,” which has been heard the past two years on SiriusXM and as a podcast. Author and career expert Coleman “helps listeners discover what they were born to do” and provides “practical steps” as to how to get there. Ramsey Media executive vice president Brian Mayfield notes, “We are proud to bring listeners this kind of quality content. Ken brings a unique approach to a topic that people of all ages can relate to, so we’re thrilled the show is growing so rapidly.” News of Coleman’s entry into radio syndication coincides with the launch of his book, “The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to the Career You Love,” which reached #1 on The Wall Street Journal bestseller’s list.

“America Works” Among ABC Radio Labor Day Specials. Three, three-hour specials will be provided to ABC Radio affiliates for use over Labor Day weekend: “America Works,” “Labor Day Rock Rewind,” and “Raised on ‘90s Country Salute.” In “America Works,” ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky highlights important volunteerism people around the country who are participating in what transforms neighborhoods into vibrant communities. The program focuses on – among others – volunteer police officers, hospital visitors, and dog rescuers. Hosted by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, “Labor Day Rock Rewind” celebrates 50 years of ZZ Top and features rock albums of 1969, 1979, and 1989 by artists such as Aerosmith, Beatles, Pat Benatar, Phil Collins, Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd. Paying tribute to country music of the 1990s, Chris Young-hosted “Raised on ‘90s Country Salute” features songs inspired by the decade and insights on 90s hits. Country stars Maren Morris, Old Dominion, and Thomas Rhett share their favorite ‘90s country songs.

Our Sources Say NY Post To Debut A “Page Six” Podcast.Editors of The New York Post’s fabled “Page Six” gossip column, Maggie Coughlan and Ian Mohr, will host Sources Say: A Page Six Podcast; AdLarge Media digital audio business cabana is its exclusive ad sales partner. This will be the newspaper’s first attempt at podcasting, although more titles are said to be forthcoming. New York Post publisher and chief executive officer Sean Giancola states that with the introduction of “Sources Say,” the paper, “enters the podcast space with one of the most popular brands in our portfolio. ‘Page Six’ fans can now hear insider gossip and news on our podcast straight from our editors. Cabana’s demonstrated ability to generate revenue and help its content partners launch and grow podcasts made them the best choice for our ad sales partner. We look forward to working with the cabana team.” AdLarge Media and cabana co-founder/co-chief executive officer Cathy Csukas notes, “The New York Post and ‘Page Six’ are iconic media brands. We at cabana are excited to be a part of their entrée into podcasting. This is the kind of in-demand content that our podcast advertisers are asking for. As our relationship with the NY Post expands, we will have more highly-engaging podcasts to offer our advertisers.” The ‘Page Six’ section generates a large percentage of the 75 million unique monthly visitors to The New York Post’s digital network. Founded in  1801, The Post is the oldest continuously-published daily newspaper in the United States. PageSix.com and “Page Six Style” editorial director Maggie Coughlan joined “Page Six” in 2014. “Page Six” deputy editor Ian Mohr previously was New York bureau chief of The Hollywood Reporter and box office editor/film reporter for Variety.

Baumgard Boosted to iHM Huntington Market President. The promotion of iHeartMedia Huntington, West Virginia general sales manager Tracey Baumgard to market president takes effect immediately. Region president for iHeartMedia Pittsburgh and West Virginia Tim McAleer states, “I am extremely excited for Tracey to lead our Huntington market. Her extensive track record, combined with her strong leadership and knowledge on all aspects of the business, make her a tremendous asset to our team.” Baumgard, who has been with the cluster for 23 years, adds, “I’m thrilled to be leading the iHeartMedia Huntington team. I look forward to motivating and collaborating with the programming, business, and sales teams while helping to elevate the Huntington market to unmatched heights.” Her other roles there have been in traffic, accounting, promotions, and marketing. The eight-station iHeartMedia Huntington cluster consists of news/talk WVHU “News Radio 800”; news/talk WZZW; sports talk WIRO & WZWB “Fox Sports 1230 & 1420”; WAMX “Classic Rock 106.3 The Brew”; classic hits-oldies WBVB “B-97”; CHR WKEE “KEE 100”; and WTCR “103.3 TCR Country.”

Group Nine Media, iHeartMedia Announce Co-Produced Podcasts. The new slate will include at least one podcast from each of Group Nine’s four brands: NowThis, The Dodo, Seeker, and Thrillist, as well as one from JASH, part of the media company’s Los Angeles-based Studios team. Group Nine Network president Mickey Meyer states, “Storytelling is at the core of any forward-looking media brand in today’s industry. As a distributed media company and the leader on mobile, we’ve always met audiences where they are. Podcasting is certainly the place to be and iHeartRadio knows this better than anyone. We’re excited to partner with them to extend Group Nine’s brands and creative prowess into the audio space.” President of the iHeartPodcast Network, Conal Byrne, notes, “Group Nine’s brands create content that resonates extremely well with their dedicated and loyal fans. They are pioneers in social-first publishing and have built meaningful online communities that connect with audiences. We are excited to work together with them to co-produce an amazing slate of shows and extend their brands into the burgeoning podcast space.” All podcasts will be overseen by Meyer, and Group Nine vice president of new initiatives Brett Kushner. They will be executive produced by iHeartPodcast Network head of development Mangesh Hattikudur.

Burcham Succeeds Bramblett As Auburn P-B-P Voice. Per an announcement made yesterday (Monday, 8/12), Andy Burcham has been tapped to replace the late Rod Bramblett as the voice of Auburn University Tigers baseball, football, and men’s basketball. Bramblett and his wife, Paula, were killed three months ago in a car accident; a 16-year-old was charged with two counts of manslaughter in that tragedy. Auburn Sports Properties vice president/general manager Chris Davis remarks, “During the very difficult process of replacing Rod, it was clear that Andy Burcham was the right man to be the new voice of the Auburn Tigers. He is well-respected in his profession; by his coworkers; Auburn athletics coaches and administration; and in the community. He understands the importance of this role. Andy is a consummate professional who puts great preparation, execution, and passion into his work. Most importantly, he is a man of great character who loves and cares deeply for Auburn and what it represents. We can’t wait for the Auburn family to embrace him in his new role.” Athletics director Allen Greene states, “Simply put, Andy is unquestionably the right man for the job. His experience as a broadcaster is extensive and his affinity for Auburn is unrivaled. Having been part of the Auburn family for over three decades, Andy understands what sets Auburn apart and understands the passion of our loyal fan base. He deeply respects those who have come before him and will assume this role with a great deal of humility.” Burcham adds, “While it is a bittersweet time and I wish the circumstances creating this opportunity were different, I am honored to be following in the footsteps of such legends as Rod Bramblett and Jim Fyffe. With this job, you’re the voice of Auburn and represent [it] every day – I will never forget that. I’ve been in this community and broadcasting Auburn games for 31 years. I understand and love Auburn and its tradition.” Burcham and Bramblett worked together for 25 years. In addition to his play-by-play duties, Burcham will co-host “Tiger Talk” with baseball broadcast partner Brad Law, while Brit Bowen becomes play-by-play voice for Auburn women’s basketball and softball. Law will host football pregame and postgame locker room shows. Nashville, Illinois native Burcham graduated from Indiana State University (1983) with a degree in radio, television, and film. He did sports play-by-play for Indiana State, Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University before going to Auburn in 1988.

TALKERS News Notes. The newest addition to Comrex’s Access IP audio codec line, Access NX Rack, is now shipping. The Comrex Access rackmount was released in 2005 and is being updated to incorporate technical advances from the last decade. Access NX Rack includes AES3 or analog audio I/O, along with AES67 compatibility. AES67 tested to be compatible with all major AoIP systems and features an entirely new hardware platform. Access NX Rack can connect to Wi-fi and 4G modems, and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders. It’s driven via an HTML5-based web user interface. Access NX Rack is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app and is built around Comrex CrossLock technology. Included is HotSwap, allowing users to designate a wireless network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed ….. After more than a year’s hiatus from radio, Spence Checketts will resurface next week as the 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm talent on Broadway Media Salt Lake City sports talk KALL “ESPN 700.” In addition to “The Drive with Spence Checketts,” he will continue his longform interview podcast, “Reality Check.” Checketts formerly worked cross-town at similarly-formatted KZNS “The Zone.” ….. Yesterday (Monday, 8/12) marked the two-year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Even though more than 800 state and local law enforcement officers spent months preparing for the event, it not only turned violent, a counter-protestor (Heather Heyer) was killed. In noting the second anniversary of what has simply been referred to as “Charlottesville,” CBS-TV’s “CBS This Morning” hosted a round table discussion. Among those participating were Monticello Media Charlottesville news/talk WCHV “C-Ville 107.5 & 1260 News-Talk-Sports” program director/morning drive (5:00 am – 9:00 am) host Joe Thomas; “How To Be Antiracist” author professor Ibram Kendi; faith leaders; community activists; and the city’s police chief.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” and co-owned KDAY “93.5 Hip-Hop Back in the Day” six-month interim program director Emmanuel “E-Man” Coquia is elevated to Meruelo Media’s director of programming/content. He will oversee programming and music content for those two stations, as well as initial stages of Latin rhythmic cluster-mate KLLI “Cali 93.9.” Meruelo Media president/chief operating officer Otto Padron declares, “After an exhaustive nationwide search that attracted some of the most talented program directors in America, the choice was clear that ‘E-Man’ is our-man. ‘E-Man’ had a sensible plan and a vision that aligned perfectly with our goals to disrupt the industry with new hyper-local Los Angeles content. Above all, he had boundless confidence strengthened by a time-built arsenal of industry respect from the labels, artists, management, colleagues, and fellow Meruelo Media team members.” Coquia notes, “I am truly excited to continue to lead the incredible winning teams at our two iconic hip-hop radio stations in Los Angeles. I am also enjoying every minute assembling and developing the new ‘Cali 93.9’ team. To be a part of three major radio stations in Los Angeles that play hip-hop – current, classic, & Latin hip-hop/Reggaeton – is a very dope feeling, especially as a fan of these music genres.” Meruelo Media’s other Los Angeles property is newly-acquired (from Cumulus Media) rocker KLOS ….. Co-creator, co-executive producer, writer, lead on Amazon Prime and Apple TV’s “The Jamz,” Chris Petlak, is appointed director of digital content/night personality at Hubbard Radio Chicago hot AC WTMX “101.9 The Mix.” Hubbard Chicago vice president/market manager Jeff England comments, “It is sort of a homecoming for Chris. Back in 2011, he served as our first social media manager as well as a contributor to ‘Eric in the Morning.’ Chris will complement our already incredibly strong on-air lineup, and bring with him a wealth of digital and entertainment experience to help drive both the quantity and quality of our episodic digital content creation.” Petlak adds, “Returning home to join ‘The Mix’ and work for Hubbard Radio Chicago is an honor. I couldn’t be more excited to work with the entire team at a station with such a strong Chicago legacy.” Musician and standup comedian Petlak co-hosts the “Not From Here” podcast ….. Rebranding KRBQ “The Bay’s Old School” as “The New Q-102.1 – The Bay’s Old School,” the Entercom San Francisco outlet is “providing the Bay Area with expertly curated gold-based rhythmic classic hits.” KRBQ will include airing mass-appeal titles from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Entercom San Francisco senior vice president/market manager Gregory Nemitz remarks “Q-102” has “already built a great audience. They have been telling us to play more of the familiar, rhythmic hits. With the relaunch of ‘The New Q-102.1,” a Bay Area station is finally playing more of the classics we all know and love.” Programming updates are forthcoming. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 report for San Francisco, rhythmic hot AC KRBQ is tied for #19 (2.1). In San Jose, it is up or flat the third straight time for a two-tenths increase (1.7 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9, 6+) and ranks #19, as well ….. XTRA-FM “91-X” morning host John Moug (“The Moug Show”) exits the Local Media of San Diego-programmed alternative outlet. The program debuted approximately 18 months ago; co-host “Danielle” continues on “91-X” in the 5:00 am – 10:00 am slot ….. Former director of sports sales for Entercom Chicago, Peter Bowen, becomes director of sales at Townsquare Media Cedar Rapids. Market president and chief revenue officer Terry Peters comments, “Peter is a rare find, having an impressive pedigree and track record of sales leadership with some of the best multimedia companies in the United States. He has led some of the biggest brands in our industry with an extraordinary ability to build winning teams that deliver consistently strong results for our clients.” Bowen declares that he is “extremely excited to be joining the Townsquare team in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. It’s amazing to see the success of Townsquare’s radio and digital operation in Eastern Iowa, with no end in sight of how high we can go. I’m looking forward to being part of one of the most innovative media companies in the nation.” Bowen previously was senior vice president of sales for CBS Los Angeles; vice president and general manager of Chicago CHR WBBM-FM; and general sales manager for Chicago all-news operation WBBM-AM. Townsquare Media’s four-station Cedar Rapids cluster consists of adult contemporary KDAT “104.5 – Today’s Best Mix,” KHAK “#1 For New Country,” KRNA “Classic Rock 94.1,” and CHR KRQN “i-107.1 All The Hits.” ….. One-year KYSR “Alt 98.7” mid-day (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) talent Tamo Sein exits the iHeartMedia Los Angeles alternative outlet. She previously worked at similarly-formatted stations in Charlotte (WEND “106.5 The End”); Austin (KROX “101-X”): Norfolk (WROX “96-X”); and Richmond (WRXL “XL-102”). Taking Samo’s place until further notice is Hudson Hott, who does “Alt 98.7” Saturday and Sunday PM drive ….. Canadian-born Lucky Pierre, whose Los Angeles radio career spanned more than 35 (non-consecutive) years, has died. Included in his Los Angeles on-air tenure were stops at legendary KHJ in the early-1960s; roughly six years at KGFJ (whose personalities over the years included Hunter Hancock, Larry McCormick, Johnny Magnus, and Frankie Crocker); and a ten-year stint at a station he programmed and transitioned to dance, KUTE. It’s believed Lucky Pierre did his last greater Los Angeles on-air work in the late-1990s at suburban KACD (Santa Monica) & KBCD (Newport Beach), known then as “Groove Radio 103.1.”

Upstate Radiothon Raises $200,945. In the 12th annual radiothon for Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System (GHS), seven Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg stations (“Greenville Upstate”) raised $200,945. The radiothon aired last Thursday (8/8) and Friday (8/9) from 6:00 am – 7:00 pm . Donations help sustain programs/services that support children and families during a hospital stay. Entercom Upstate director of sales Devon van der Merwe comments, “This radiothon is a signature event for giving back by the Upstate community. It is such a labor of love for the entire Entercom family. For two days, the airwaves were filled with stories of hope and support. Entercom Upstate always looks forward to going the extra mile when it comes to supporting and aiding Prisma Health–Upstate. We have a passion for our loyal listeners and community and none are more special than the families at Children’s Hospital. Being able to give back is what makes our radio brands, our sponsors, and personalities so powerful.” GHS Children’s Hospital serves all of upstate South Carolina, western North Carolina, and eastern Georgia. Money raised during the radiothon impacts more than 400,000 patients and families each year. Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Upstate medical director Robin LaCroix, MD notes that, “Hospital stays can be intimidating emotional experiences for children and parents. Funds we receive from this radiothon are critical to ensuring that we can provide families with support and resources they need while they are in our care. Prisma Health and Entercom come together each year to make a difference in the lives of so many families in our region. We are so thankful to the community and especially to Entercom Upstate listeners for their continued support.” In addition to news/talk WYRD “106.3 WORD – The Upstate’s Talk Station,” and sports talk WORD-AM “ESPN Upstate,” the Entercom Greenville cluster consists of adult contemporary WSPA-FM “Magic 98.9,” CHR WFBC-FM “B-93.7 – #1 For Hit Music,” WROQ “Classic Rock 101.1,” WTPT “93.3 Planet Rocks,” and WFBC-HD2 “96.3 The Block.”

 

 

July 2019 PPM Data. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for Charlotte, St. Louis, and Riverside. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.

Charlotte

Spoken-Word Formats – On the heels of June’s +1.2 (3.2 – 4.4, 6+), Entercom news/talk WBT surrenders 75% of that bounty (3.5, -.9, 6+) but repeats at #12. June’s huge increase precisely wiped away the overall -1.2 WBT lost in three straight declines (4.4 – 4.3 – 3.7 – 3.2, 6+).

While flat at 1.3 (6+), co-owned WFNZ “The Fan – Charlotte’s Sports Leader” bumps up from #19 to #18.

Thus far this calendar year, University Radio Foundation news/talk WFAE has remained in two-share range (6+) in all seven sweeps: 2.7 – 2.9 – 2.3 – 2.8 – 2.3 – 2.1 – 2.4 (#15 to #14, 6+). For the fourth time in the last five survey periods, South Carolina Educational Television Commission news/talk WNSC notches a .3 (.3 – .3 – .3 – .4 – .3, #22 to #21, 6+).

Charlotte Music Formats – Six of Charlotte’s top seven July 2019 finishers post a month-to-month fluctuation of at least one-half share. Topping that list is Radio One urban-rhythmic oldies WOSF, which not only flaunts a +1.4 (5.4 – 6.8, 6+), “105.3 RnB” vaults from sixth to first. A one-tenth June loss halted three straight gains that yielded eight-tenths (4.7 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 5.5, 6+). The last time “105.3 RnB” reached the six-share threshold (6+) was in “Holiday” 2016 (6.2). Dislodged from the top spot and slipping to a second-place tie is iHeartMedia adult hits WLKO (7.1 – 6.6, 6+). Recent shifts for “102.9 The Lake” include -1.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.1 (January 2019); -1.4 (February); +.5 (March); -.5 (April); +.8 (May); and -.5 (July). In advance of “Holiday” 2018’s -1.2, WLKO enjoyed eight straight months without a loss for a +3.7 (4.1 – 4.3 – 4.7 – 5.2 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 6.4 – 7.1 – 7.8, 6+). By chalking up a full-share improvement to 6.4 (sixth to fourth, 6+), co-owned WRFX “99.7 The Fox Charlotte’s Classic Rock” suspends four successive sweeps without an increase that resulted in a decrease of seven-tenths (6.1 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 5.6 – 5.4, 6+). This is the best 6+-stat for “The Fox” since September 2018 (6.4, as well). Steady in fifth-place, Beasley Media Group urban AC WBAV “V-101.9” adds one-half share, matching the 6.2 (6+) it logged in March. A combined -1.5 in June/July (7.5 – 6.9 – 6.0, 6+), cluster-mate WSOC “103.7 Country’s Hottest Hits” slumps from second to sixth. Prior to segueing to #2 in June, WSOC was on top the previous four months. A May improvement of eight-tenths delivered WSOC its strongest 6+-stat since November 2018 (7.5, as well). Its format rival, iHeartMedia’s WKKT “96.9 The Kat – Charlotte’s #1 for New Country,” is +1.3 in five successive positive or neutral moves (5.3 – 6.1 – 6.3 – 6.4 – 6.4 – 6.6, 6+) and advances from #3 to a tie at #2. Prior to logging a +1.2 in January, WKKT was -2.3 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (6.7 – 5.8 – 4.4, 6+). Radio One gospel WPZS “Praise 100.9 Charlotte’s Inspiration Station” is up four-tenths to 2.4 (#16 to #14, 6+), thus curtailing four consecutive down or flat trends that accounted for a -1.4 (3.4 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.4 – 2.0, 6+). Back-to-back losses by iHeartMedia CHR WHQC account for a full-share decrease (5.0 – 4.7 – 4.0, 6+) as “Hits 96.1” exits the top ten (#9 to #11) with its lowest 6+-showing (4.0) since November 2018’s 3.4. Beasley Media Group adult contemporary operation with similar call letters – WKQC “K-10.7 More Music/Better Variety” – follows June’s increase of nine-tenths with a July loss of one-half share (4.8 – 5.7 – 5.2, fourth to seventh, 6+). June’s 5.7 was its best 6+-performance since “Holiday” 2018’s 12.9 (#1). Off a collective full-share in three setbacks in succession (3.7 – 3.4 – 2.8 – 2.7, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WEND “106.5 The End” remains at #13. A combined -1.2 in April/May (3.3 – 2.6 – 2.1, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WRCM recorded a one-half share increase in June (2.6, #14, 6+) but “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” vanishes from print in July. Elsewhere in the contemporary Christian arena, Radio Training Network’s WLFJ “HIS Radio” nearly quadruples (+.8) its 6+ AQH share in four straight positive or neutral reports .3 – .7 – .8 – 1.1 (#20 to #19), while iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WRFX-HD 2 nets one-half share via six straight sweeps without a loss (.1 – .1 – .3 – .4 – .4 – .5 – .6, 6+) and enters the top twenty at #20.

St. Louis

Spoken-Word Formats – In three setbacks in a row (7.3 – 6.6 – 6.2 – 5.2, 6+), Entercom news/talk KMOX is a cumulative -2.1, meaning April’s whopping +2.2 by the flagship of the Cardinals has virtually disappeared. Moreover, “The Voice of St. Louis” drifts from second to seventh. Anchored at #18, co-owned KFTK “FM News Talk 97.1” is playing a game of April 2019 through July 2019 ping pong (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.1 – 2.3, 6+).

In three straight spikes (3.1 – 3.2 – 3.4 – 3.7, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting sports talk WXOS netted six-tenths but “101 Sports” has that all erased with a July loss of that magnitude (3.7 – 3.1, -.6, #15 to #17, 6+). Effective later this year, WXOS takes over from KMOX as flagship of the NHL’s Blues.

Progressing from #16 to #15, University of Missouri news/talk KWMU has a March 2019 through July 2019 topline of 3.7 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.7 (6+).

St. Louis Music Formats – The three most recent shifts by Hubbard Broadcasting’s KPNT are +.6 (May); -.6 (June); and +.7 in July (6.0 – 6.6 – 6.0 – 6.7, 6+), as “105.7 The Point – Everything Alternative” inches up from third to second. Improving by seven-tenths in July as well and marching from ninth to fifth is its adult hits sibling WARH “106.5 The Arch,” which is up a full-share in June/July (4.7 – 5.0 – 5.7, 6+). Still in that Hubbard Broadcasting cluster, this marks the third month in a row at #1 for KSHE, which has its best 6+-stat (8.7) since March’s 8.9. The nine most recent shifts for “95 Real Rock Radio” are: +.5 (December); -.7 (Holiday” 2018); +2.0 (January 2019); -.5 (February); +1.3 (March); -1.6 (April); +.1 (May); +.9 (June); and +.4 (July). KSHE was tied with iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies KLOU for February’s top spot. In March, KSHE took sole possession of first-place but had to share the lead again the following month; on that occasion, it was with Entercom news/talk KMOX. “Real Rock Radio” has had sole possession of the top spot in May, June, and July. Unchanged at #19, iHeartMedia-owned KLLT “Alt 104.9” nets two-tenths in seven straight sweeps without a loss, (1.7 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 2.0, 6+). The alternating (6+) December 2018 through July 2019 down/up pattern for Hubbard Broadcasting’s WIL ironically has “New Country 92.3” right where it was eight reports ago: 6.1 – 5.8 – 6.0 – 5.4 – 6.1 – 5.8 – 6.6 – 5.8 – 6.1(6+); WIL progresses from sixth in June to third. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s KSD “93.7 The Bull – #1 For New Country” regressed by seven-tenths in May; improved by one-half share in June; and now drops two-tenths (4.7 – 4.5, 6+) and carries on at #10. There’s virtually no June 2019 – July 2019 movement regarding the market’s two CHRs as KSD sibling, KSLZ “Z-107.7,” repeats June’s 4.0  (#12 to #13, 6+), while Entercom’s KNOU “Now 96.3” drops one-tenth (3.9 – 3.8, flat at #14, 6+). An overall -2.2 as a result of three successive setbacks (7.2 – 6.7 – 6.0 – 5.0, 6+), Gateway Creative Broadcasting contemporary Christian KLJY “99.1 Joy FM” fades from third to ninth. Not only does a loss of six-tenths to 4.1 (6+) send Radio One urban contemporary WHHL “Hot 104.1” out of the top ten (#10 to #12), it interrupts three successive bumps that accounted for a +1.0 (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.3 – 4.7, 6+).

Riverside

Spoken-Word Formats – Following seven consecutive sweeps without an increase (.4 – .2 – .2 -.2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, #23, 6+), iHeartMedia news talk KKDD “1290 News Talk IE” is unlisted for the third ratings period in a row.

The November 2018 through July 2019 topline for co-owned KPWK “Fox Sports Radio 1350 AM” is: .2 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .1 – .2 – .1 – .1 (#21 to #20, 6+). For the 19th straight sweep, similarly-formatted/Los Angeles Angels-owned (LAA 1, LLC) KLAA “Angels Radio AM 830” is unlisted.

This is the fourth report in a row that San Bernardino Community College news/talk KVCR is below a one-share (.8 – .4 – .6 – .5, #17 to #14, 6+). In a repetitive April 2019 through July 2019 pattern (.1 – .3 – .1 – .3, 6+), Pasadena City College news/talk KPCC “The Voice of Southern California” is back in the top twenty (#21 to #16).

Riverside Music Formats – Powered by a robust +1.2 (3.2 – 4.4, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KGGI “99.1 Riverside’s Hottest Hit Music” leaps from sixth to fourth with its strongest 6+-stat (4.4) in exactly one year (4.9, July 2018). An overall -4.3 in seven straight declines (10.5 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 8.1 – 7.4 – 7.0 – 6.4 – 6.2, 6+), Entravision’s KLYY pulls the plug by notching a one-half share increase to 6.7 (6+); “Jose” is #2 for the fourth straight time. In advance of the April ratings period, “Jose” occupied the #1 spot 11 sweeps in succession. December 2018’s 10.5 marked the first time any Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario station reached double-figures (6+) since April 2015, when KLYY recorded a 10.4. “Jose” is now nine-tenths behind Anaheim Broadcasting classic hits-oldies outlet KOLA, which is #1 the fourth month in a row, but forfeits a full-share to 7.6 (6+). July’s decrease halts three straight upticks that yielded a combined +1.8 (6.8 – 7.2 – 8.0 – 8.6, 6+). Prior to May, the last time KOLA reached the eight-share level (6+) was February 2018 (8.4). KOLA finished second in 11 successive survey periods and went to #1 in April. In the Univision Radio cluster, Spanish contemporary KLVE “107.5 K-Love” is a collective -1.1 in three down or flat trends in a row (4.6 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 3.5, fourth to fifth, 6+), while regional Mexican sibling KSCA “LA 101.9” has lost six-tenths in June/July (3.0 – 2.9 – 2.4, 6+) but carries on in eighth-place. Immediately following three successive improvements that yielded a collective +1.6 (2.1 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 3.7, 6+), LC Media urban-rhythmic oldies KQIE “Old School 104.7” is a combined -1.4 via four downturns in a row (3.7 – 3.4 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.3, flat at #9, 6+). Two Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian outlets disappear from print in July: KLRD “Air 1 – Worship Now” (1.6, #11, June 2019, 6+) and KKLQ “Positive, Encouraging 100.3” (.7, #15, June 2019, 6+).

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

| June 20, 2018

RTDNA Announces National Edward R. Murrow Award Winners. From more than 4,400 entries, the awards recognize 89 local and network radio, television and digital news organizations for 118 examples of outstanding journalism in 16 categories. The leader in overall Radio Television Digital News Association awards with five – NPR – scores wins in “Continuing Coverage,” “Excellence in Social Media,” “Excellence in Sound,” “Excellence in Hard News,” and “News Documentary.” Hubbard Washington, DC all-news WTOP and New Hampshire Public Radio repeated their 2017 wins for “Overall Excellence” in large market radio and small market radio, respectively. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley notes, “Winning an RTDNA National Edward R. Murrow Award means that a news organization has provided exemplary public service to its viewers, listeners, and readers. These honorees truly represent the very best in broadcast and digital journalism around the world. We cannot make our communities better unless we understand them, and these stories from news organizations large and small have educated, uplifted, inspired, uncovered, and enlightened. These winning pieces revealed the tragedies of human trafficking, kept audiences safe and informed during devastating hurricanes and fires, and provided desperately sought information and context during too-common moments of violence. They provided insight into healthcare, homelessness and immigration issues, engaged communities in learning about mental health and dug deep into election interference.” In addition to the “Overall Excellence” award won for the second time straight and 12th over 18 years, CBS News Radio was recognized for “Best Audio Newscast” for the sixth time in succession. This year, it was for “World News Roundup” coverage of Hurricane Harvey with Norah O’Donnell reporting from Houston and Steve Kathan anchoring from New York. Coverage of the mass shooting of concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip last October earned the staff the “Breaking News” award for a report by Steve Futterman, Steve Dorsey, and Deborah Rodriguez. This year’s “Excellence in Writing” award went to Dave Ross for his daily feature. CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler states, “It is because of our great radio station affiliates that we are a better, stronger radio network.” Entercom was honored with three awards: Large Market Radio “Excellence in Sound” to all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco for “Wine Country on Fire”; News Series to all-news WCBS-AM, New York for “The Breaking Point”; and the same station scored for “Newscast” (October 31, 2017, 5:00 pm). The national awards will be presented in four months (10/22) at the RTDNA “Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala” in New York City’s Gotham Hall.

KBME To Shuffle Its Lineup. Former National Football League quarterback Sean Salisbury will join the weekday lineup of iHeartMedia Houston’s KBME “Sports Talk 790” in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm), starting in less than three weeks (Monday, 7/9). Director of AM programming for iHeartMedia Houston, Bryan Erickson, notes, “We are thrilled to be adding Salisbury to the team. The former quarterback brings a unique perspective from his days on the gridiron. We have put together an all-star lineup of guys who know sports and love talking about sports. [KBME] is truly the best destination for compelling local sports content in Houston.” Salisbury adds, “I have been blessed with a full career. This opportunity to work with iHeart and ‘Sports Talk 790’ was too good to pass up in so many ways. I don’t take these great moments lightly. The last five years have been special. I fully expect this new journey to be filled with ‘wow’ moments that make our listeners feel like they are getting the show they deserve.” Following his ten-year professional football career, Salisbury was an NFL analyst on ESPN, and served as a consultant for the 2005 remake of “The Longest Yard.” KBME’s revised lineup as of July 9 will include Josh Innes (6:00 am – 10:00 am); “In the Trenches with Koch & Kalu” (10:00 am – 12:00 noon); Matt Thomas (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); and Salisbury from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The station will continue its broadcast partnerships with the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, and the University of Texas football and basketball teams.

MacFarlane Donates $2 Million to NPR; $500,000 to KPCC. Opting to answer Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s comments about dishonesty in the media with his wallet, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane is making a $2 million donation to NPR and $500,000 to Los Angeles’ NPR membership station, KPCC. MacFarlane’s contribution will directly benefit NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network, which connects NPR’s nearly 1,800 journalists so they are able to share resources and eliminate “news deserts” in the United States. An NPR spokesperson writes, “We are deeply appreciative of the generous gift from Seth MacFarlane, which will go to supporting local news coverage, allowing NPR and member stations to continue working together to tell the story of the whole country from everywhere in the country.” Southern California Public Radio president and CEO Bill Davis states, “We are deeply moved by Seth’s generous contribution to Southern California Public Radio, KPCC, and NPR. It is this local/national partnership that is the heart of our shared public service mission and we are committed to more fully realizing that mission thanks to this gift and his challenge for others to join us.” Last Thursday, Carlson stated, “If you’re looking to understand what’s actually happening in this country, always assume the opposite of whatever they’re telling you on the big news stations.” In a tweet, MacFarlane wrote that statements like Carlson’s “make me embarrassed to work for this company,” referring to Fox for whom MacFarlane has provided “Family Guy,” “American Dad,” “Cleveland,” and “Orville.” As a direct rebuke to Carlson’s remarks, MacFarlane further told his Twitter followers, “In other words, don’t think critically, don’t consult multiple news sources, and in general, don’t use your brain.”

TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Says Fox News Channel Hosts Present “Legitimate” Point of View on the Current Border Controversy.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison spoke this morning (6/20) on CNN’s Headline News Channel (HLN) program “Across America with Carol Costello” about the media’s role in the current border immigration controversy (pictured above).  Costello asked Harrison for his perspective on threats by 21st Century Fox show business producers such as Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”) and Steve Levitan (“Modern Family”) as well as director Paul Feig who have publicly expressed “disgust” and “embarrassment” over the way Fox News Channel has been covering the family-separation issue with hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others showing support of President Trump’s stringent policy.  Harrison said that he doesn’t take these threats seriously and the situation will probably be resolved with the country moving on to the next issue before they could even make good on them.  If anything, Harrison said, this issue will force Trump to further tweak and define murky areas of his immigration policy.  Harrison went on to say that the Hollywood establishment “which includes show business across the board such as Broadway and what took place at the Tony Awards” is hurting its own cause as well as its business interests by speaking out so vehemently for one side in what is a highly-charged polarized situation.  Harrison stated, “Famous people whose media products are not directly involved in politics would be wise to stay out of the fray because they will only further alienate the significant segment of the public and electorate that is supportive of Trump… even to the point of strengthening its resolve.”  When asked if he thinks the potential acquisition of Fox by Walt Disney Co. or Comcast could result in the Fox News Channel modifying its conservative stand, Harrison replied, “Probably not – they are in business and it is doubtful that they would do something to diminish the formidable earnings of a viable news venue serving a large portion of the population.”  Harrison concluded, “No matter how harsh or even cruel Trump’s handling of this situation might be, there are many millions of Americans who support him on it and, thus, Fox News Channel is presenting a legitimate point of view within the highly diverse American marketplace of ideas.  If Fox were to back off on its pro-Trump stance, you can be sure other venues such as Newsmax would be more than happy to swoop in and fill the void that would be waiting to be served.”

Westwood One News’ Vietnam Retrospective Nabs Gold Medal Award. Among the five citations Westwood One News received Monday night (6/18) from the New York International Radio Festival was a gold medal award for “Pain & Pride: Remembering Vietnam – 50 Years Later,” which aired during Veterans Day weekend (November, 2017). Westwood One host/Vietnam veteran Jim Bohannon narrated “Pain & Pride.” Bohannon, who served with the 856th Radio Research Detachment in Cat Lai and Long Binh from 1967 -1968, won a NY Festival prize 30 years ago for his first “Pain & Pride news special. He comments, “I am very gratified that producer David Oziel, the Westwood One News team, and I have received this recognition. For me, there is special meaning in that we did a 20-year look back special that won the New York Festival’s Grand Award in 1988. Also, I’ll be the keynote speaker [tomorrow, Thursday, 6/21] at the Branson, Missouri reunion of my Vietnam unit, the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. It is a delightful manifestation of what Vietnam vets say to each other – ‘welcome home.’” Bohannon gave the keynote address at the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington in 1990; was the principal MC for the Vietnam Veterans reunion in Branson in 2002; and hosted the “Rumble” at “TALKERS 2018” less than two weeks ago (6/8) in New York City.

PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents four analyses of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May PPM survey. Today’s report focuses on the all-news format. A year-to-year improvement of nine-tenths (8.8 – 9.7, 6+) enables Hubbard’s WTOP to move from second to third in Washington, DC. It is the only all-news station in a PPM-market to rank first in May 2018. Moreover, with a 9.6 (6+), it once again boasts the strongest 6+-share among its all-news peers. The category’s runner-up in all six survey periods highlighted in this analysis (“Holiday” 2017 – May 2018) is iHeartMedia Sacramento’s KFBK (6.7, 6+, May 2018). See the entire all-news overview here.

Edison Research Releases 2018 Q1 “Share of Ear” Report. The study quantifies reach and time spent with of all forms of audio. Results indicate terrestrial AM and FM radio remains the centerpiece of audio. Among nuggets from the quarterly report as summarized on the Westwood One website by director of content marketing Lauren Vetrano: AM/FM accounts for 47% of all audio time spent among persons 18+. “Owned music” is next at 12%, followed by YouTube videos (9%); ad-free SiriusXM (5%) and TV music channels (5%). AM/FM’s share has been consistently strong throughout the last few years. Edison reports AM/FM radio’s daily reach also remains stable, while Pandora continues to see losses in share and reach; Spotify has grown 36% (3% to 4.1%). Since 2016, Pandora’s “Share of Ear” dropped 17%. From 2016 to 2018, millennials 18-34 daily reach jumped 39%. Daily reach among 25-54s increased 52%. In addition, podcasting’s daily reach is growing, especially among younger audiences, with listening share +39% in two years to 15.2% among those 18-34 and +52% to 9.7% in the same timeframe among 25-54s.

Salem Radio Network Sets Midterm Election Coverage. With its vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup commenting, “There is unprecedented interest in this year’s midterms,” Salem Radio Network will feed live Mike Gallagher-anchored coverage on (Tuesday) November 6 beginning at 7:00 pm (ET). Adding their perspective as well that night will be SRN host Hugh Hewitt; White House correspondent Greg Clugston; Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon; Congress correspondent Wally Hindes; Pentagon/military affairs correspondent Colonel Robert Maginnis; and SRN analyst/former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.

TALKERS News Notes. Having overseen the programming content strategy for 54 radio stations in Radio One’s 15 markets and Reach Media‘s nationally syndicated programming since January 2007, senior vice president of programming content Jay Stevens will leave the company when his contract expires the middle of next month. Immediately prior to joining Radio One, Stevens spent 16 years as vice president of programming for CBS Radio ….. It’s a busy week for Westwood One “Sterling on Sunday” host Walter (Sabo) Sterling who is filling in for Westwood One teammate Jim Bohannon tonight (Wednesday, 6/20) and tomorrow night (Thursday, 6/21). Sterling will be originating those shows from Entercom Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM. Then, in approximately two weeks (7/5 and 7/6), he will guest host for Cumulus Media Little Rock news/talk KARN-FM afternoon drive talent Doc Washburn ….. Chicago media writer Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com) is first to report that veteran “Windy City” news anchor Dave Stewart (WGN, WLS-AM, WIND) will retire at the end of the month … Word from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho is that Elly Yu is remaining in the public news/talk arena but shifting from Atlanta Public Schools-owned WABE to American University’s WAMU as a general assignment reporter.

ABC Radio To Air Four July 4th Specials. All will be three hours in length for broadcast over the upcoming holiday weekend. In “America’s Pastimes,” ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky enjoys the pastimes that comprise a classic American summer such as the back porch, barbeque, sports, and a day at the beach. Katersky will explore not only the traditional American summer hobbies, but also those that are new. ABC News Radio correspondent Alex Stone hosts “Great American Car Show” in which he examines America’s love affair with the automobile. He tours the presidential limousine that John F. Kennedy was in on that fateful day in Dallas; visits an assembly line making the Ford Mustang (pictured at left); and ponders a future with flying cars. Stone will take listeners on a tour down historic Route 66, do donuts with a Hollywood stunt car driver and learn about the latest in car technology. “Red, White and True-Blue Country Fan Salute” is hosted by Dustin Lynch, who reveals the special relationship between country artists and their fans. Among those included are Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, and Darius Rucker. They discuss their most memorable and strangest fan encounters, how they engage with fans on social media and what sets country fans apart from partisans of other musical genres. Eddie Money-hosted “Red, White & Rock 2018” celebrates cities, artists, and songs that comprise the landscape of American rock and roll. It will feature music from Aerosmith, Allman Brothers Band, Cheap Trick, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, and ZZ Top.

Coleman Insights To Present Podcast Engagement Study. Results will be shared next month (7/25) in Philadelphia at Podcast Movement as part of the conference’s Industry Track. The study will reportedly offer second-by-second data in an analysis on listener reactions to “The Ben & Ashley Almost Famous Podcast,” hosted by former contestants from ABC-TV’s “The Bachelor.” Coleman Insights executive vice president/senior consultant Sam Milkman notes, “We will go well beyond the simple measures of listener and download counts that podcasters are used to seeing and examine content engagement. By looking at how the audience responds to specific content, podcasters can more effectively develop engaging content.” Podcast Movement co-founder Dan Franks remarks, “One of the biggest challenges for a podcaster is to figure out who their listener is, and what their listener wants. Coleman’s solutions for this problem are very exciting for us as organizers, as we get to help spread the word throughout the entire podcast community this July.” Milkman will present the findings with John Boyne and will be joined by iHeartRadio senior vice president of podcasting Chris Peterson.

For The Record. An item in yesterday’s TALKERS (Tuesday, 6/19) noted that “CBS World News Roundup” earned a “gold” medal in the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards; “CBS World News Roundup” actually won a “bronze.” We apologize for the error.

 

NYC’s “Alt 92.3” Adds Segall, Stone. In two separate moves, Entercom New York’s WNYL “Alt 92.3” names Bryce Segall music director/evening talent and Dan Stone imaging director. Segall begins in less than two weeks (Monday, 7/2); Stone starts next Monday (6/25). Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin comments, “Bryce has continuously displayed the ability to be innovative in the programming end of our industry; we are excited to add his talents. Dan’s previous imaging and voiceover experience will pay great dividends as he joins us in the same capacity.” According to Segall, “New York City is an iconic pillar of alternative culture. It has long deserved a radio station that not only pays tribute, but adds to that legacy. I am looking forward to working with the ‘Alt 92.3’ team to develop an outlet that truly adds value to the thriving, pre-existing music community.” Stone notes, “Helping to build an ‘Alt’ radio brand for New York City is a dream come true. This station’s passion for the format is unequalled; I can’t wait to wake up and be a part of that.” Segall previously was assistant program director/air personality for Seattle’s KNDD “107.7 The End,” and label manager for Mad Zoo. Stone was an imaging contributor/consultant for Cumulus Media Chicago. WNYL is the former WBMP – its calls were changed last Tuesday (6/12). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s May 2018 sweep, the station ranked #19 (2.0).

Bevvy of Beasley Media Group Philly Activities. Several community-oriented activities undertaken by Beasley Media Group Philadelphia seemingly converged all at once. Many employees at the cluster were involved in its recent “Best Day of Caring event to help the City of Philadelphia Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP). Team members from WMMR “93.3 Everything That Rocks”; WMGK “102.9 Philadelphia’s Classic Rock”;  adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM”; sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic”; sports talk WTEL “610 ESPN”; and WWDB “Talk 860” divided into two shifts to clean up a block in the city’s Frankford section. While there, they picked up trash and removed graffiti to help support the organization’s beautification project. Vice president and market manager Joe Bell comments, “This is truly what being a part of a local community is all about. I could not be more proud of our employees for paying it forward and helping our beloved city. I am proud to be on their team.” Meanwhile, last Friday (6/15), WMGK’s John DeBella raised over $143,000 for local veterans as part of his 13th annual radiothon at the National Constitution Center. Over the past decade, the station has raised over one million dollars to support vets in need. Among those donating items used in a series of eBay auctions that occurred in conjunction with the radiothon were Def Leppard’s Rick Allen, Jimmy Buffett, Phil Collins, Eagles, Billy Joel, and Yes. Former leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty, called the station to voice his support. The following day (Saturday, 6/16), the 13th annual WMMR “I Bleed For Preston & Steve Blood Drive” produced 1,128 units of blood to benefit The American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region. Listeners showed up during a time when the American Red Cross needs blood the most and they received “Preston & Steve” T-shirts and “I Bleed For Preston & Steve pint glass. Hundreds of donors were randomly selected to receive a pair of tickets to a summer concert. Free food and samples were also provided. Thus far, the annual event has collected nearly 15,000 pints of blood.

O’Brien Inks Multi-Year WCSX Extension. Four-year WCSX “94.7 The Classic Rock Station” morning drive personality (Big) Jim O’Brien signs a multi-year deal to continue hosting “Big Jim’s Houseon the Beasley Media Group Detroit outlet. Vice president/market manager Mac Edwards comments, “It is really a pleasure to be associated with Jim and the healthy combination of creativity, wit, and passion for cars and classic rock he brings to his morning listeners in the ‘Motor City.’ Jim’s work to establish Glenn Frey Drive in Royal Oak and soon Bob Seger Boulevard in Ann Arbor; his tireless efforts on behalf of veterans; and his respect for all things Detroit prove he is an extraordinary ambassador for both WCSX and the city he calls home.” Program director JT Tarrants states, “I have been a ‘Big Jim’ fan since I arrived here. We are so glad to have him buttoned up to lead our morning show into the future.” O’Brien adds, “It is an honor to be part of the Beasley Media Group family in Detroit. I look forward to continue entertaining our dedicated ‘Motor City’ listeners for years to come.” O’Brien has been with WCSX since 2002 and is joined on the morning show by co-host Erin V and producer Ryan Logan.

San Andres Ascends to “Z-90” APD. XHTZ “Z-90 – Today’s Hit Music,” the Comunicación XERSA-owned mainstream CHR covering San Diego, promotes music director Kat San Andres to assistant program director. Program director R Dub comments, “It is team members behind the spotlight like Kat San Andres who are responsible for the incredible success of ‘Z-90’ and the other brands in this building. Kat’s relentless work ethic and passion for the business helps propel ‘Z-90’ forward every day; expanding her role here was overdue. Add to that, she is the ‘Z-90’ listener; has a great set of ears; and is a lot cooler than I will ever be.” With the station since 2004, San Andres remarks, “Fourteen years later, I am still in love with this career. I am always so thankful and grateful that I decided to take a risk to follow my dreams because it has led me to this wonderful adventure. I am so excited for this opportunity and cannot wait to start this new chapter.” Meanwhile, Kalyna Astrinos of San Diego’s KGTV-TV joins “Z-90” for weekends. She and R Dub worked together at iHeartMedia Los Angeles in 2009.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After 16 years in the CBS Radio Los Angeles – now Entercom – cluster, John Michael resigns. During his tenure, he was assistant program director/music director at mainstream CHR KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio”; music director for adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 Jack FM’: and music coordinator/weekend air talent at alternative KROQ ….. Digital program director for iHeartMedia San Francisco Matty Staudt is elevated to iHeartRadio’s vice president of podcast programming. Staudt has launched more than 30 original locally-focused podcasts and hosts iHeartRadio’s “Access Podcast.” In 2008, he became part of the startup team and first director of content and community for the podcasting app Stitcher before moving to Premiere Networks as a consulting producer. A teacher at the Academy of Art University, Staudt will report directly to senior vice president of podcasting Chris Peterson …..Exiting Saga Columbus adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95” after 24 years is morning talent Dino Tripodis. Co-host Stacy McKay is the interim replacement named by program director Michelle Matthews …..  Morning drivers Chaz & AJ of Connoisseur Media New Haven’s WPLR “99.1 Connecticut’s #1 Rock Station” raised $18,000 for Connecticut based “Homes for the Brave.” WPLR operations manager Keith Dakin states, “It was truly inspiring to look at a packed house of people who were there not only for laughs but to help out a great organization making a difference in our community. ‘Homes for the Brave’ is doing great things in our state and we are so happy to write them this check.” Chaz adds, “With over a million U.S. veterans at risk of homelessness, this is the least we could do. It is up to us to help take care of those that gave for their country.” All money raised will go to help build homes, teach vocational training, and work with homeless veterans ….. The co-host of Cumulus Media’s “Nash Nights Live” – Elaina Smith – teams up with Nash Country Daily for an ongoing conversation about women in country music. Each article will feature a female county artist with an accompanying opinion piece, interview, podcast, or playlist. Profiled female artists will be featured on 90 Cumulus Media websites and more than 130 radio stations nationwide, with a reach of 400,000 people on Twitter and 180,000 on Facebook.