On Thursday (10/5), the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and a coalition of media outlets filed a legal request with the U.S. District Court of Washington D.C., formally asking for live audio and video coverage of the upcoming January 6th-related criminal trial against former President Donald Trump, currently on the docket for March 2024. RTDNA says it has consistently advocated for the public’s right to live audio and video coverage of the multiple trials facing the former president. RTDNA CEO Dan Shelley states, “For decades, RTDNA has been the nation’s leading advocate for cameras in courtroom. We believe Americans have a right to see for themselves if and how justice is administered to a former president of the United States. The only opportunity for the public to have any faith in the outcome of this trial is if people are able to see and hear the proceedings for themselves.”
According to a study by Magid and commissioned by the Radio Television Digital News Association, most U.S. local news consumers want journalists to ask tough, but respectful, questions of candidates and regularly fact check those running for office. RTDNA released the data at its RTDNA23 in Minneapolis. The study finds 62% of local news viewers and listeners say it is “very important” that local sources and journalists “ask tough, but respectful questions to get answers,” and 61% say it is very important they fact-check those candidates. RTDNA president and CEO Dan Shelley comments, “In our highly polarized society, Americans need to rely on their trusted local sources of news to get the facts about candidates, campaigns and other political issues. These findings offer a clear roadmap to ensure local reporters and news managers are providing voters with the information they crave to make critical decisions in the voting booth.” Other data from the study reflects news consumers’ attitudes about news organizations, finding that 47% of those surveyed said they were in strong agreement that the information they get from local news sources is accurate and correct. That number drops to 41% when local news outlets cover political issues. It also found that just 39% of people were in strong agreement that local news sources were balanced and represented all sides of an issue. See more from the RTDNA here.
The Radio Television Digital News Association announces the winners of the 2023 National Edward R. Murrow Awards. This comes after the winners of the Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards were announced earlier this year. RTDNA says the awards honor “outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism… the Murrow Awards recognize local and national news stories that uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the community.” Some of this year’s winners in the radio category include: Audacy’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (Breaking News); KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh (Feature Reporting); KMOX, St. Louis (Newscast); and iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (Excellence in Innovation). See the complete list of winners here.
Monday Memo: Plan NOW For The Big Story. “When-the-fit-hits-the-shan, news/talk stations need to be conspicuous.” In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke uses that colorful quote as he provides four suggestions for stations to re-familiarize themselves with their network’s continuing coverage routine.” Read Holland Cooke’s column here.
Pending Business: To Do Lists. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa knows the importance of being organized in running a sales department or being a seller in this business. He gains inspiration from Benjamin Franklin – an incredibly busy man known for creating “To Do” lists – in drawing up five important things he suggests you include in creating yours each day. Read it here.
Bohannon’s Final Bow Set For This Friday. One of the most proficient and classiest talk/radio personalities the country has ever heard – Jim Bohannon – will hang up the headsets on his eponymous program this Friday (10/14). Having appeared on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” an astounding 27 consecutive years, the highly affable “Jimbo” is calling it quits due to health reasons. Beginning next Monday (10/17), Rich Valdes will succeed Bohannon on the weeknight, three-hour (10:00 pm – 1:00 am) Cumulus Media Westwood One broadcast. Bohannon states, “It’s been a great 40 years with Westwood One – the last 30 of which as host of ‘The Jim Bohannon Show.’ I’ve enjoyed every minute of our daily nighttime town hall with my guests, callers, and all of America. “Now, I’d like to introduce Rich Valdes, a very bright, vibrant young man who will be taking over in the same tradition.” Cumulus Media executive vice president of corporate marketing/Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes remarks, “We celebrate Jim’s long radio history and all his achievements, including his induction into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame; the First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association; the Lifetime Achievement Award from TALKERS Magazine; and his inductions into the National Radio Hall of Fame and the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. We are especially proud that Jim has been an invaluable member of our Westwood One family these many years – he is truly an industry legend. As we pass the baton to Rich Valdes, we’re excited to bring a new name and voice to talk radio. We look forward to continuing our tradition of providing the best programming to our affiliates and listeners.” Valdes notes, “No one can ever fill Jim’s shoes. I consider it a blessing and great honor to be part of the next generation of late-night talk show hosts, following the tradition of Jim Bohannon and Larry King.” TALKERS founder/publisher Michael Harrison has a very candid conversation with Bohannon on PodcastOne’s “The Michael Harrison Interview,” which drops tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/11). Bohannon joined Westwood One in 1983 and spent over 31 years as host of the early morning weekday news magazine “America in the Morning” and previously hosted “America This Week.” He began his career in 1960 at KLWT-AM, his hometown station in Lebanon, Missouri.
Sid Rosenberg Pays Tribute to Bernard McGuirk. WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg shares personal feelings about his longtime broadcasting colleague Bernard McGuirk who succumbed last week (10/5) after a courageous battle with prostate cancer. The two co-hosted the highly successful “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” program since April of 2018 bringing it to the top of the ratings in the competitive Big Apple AM drive daypart. But their relationship went back many years before that to their days together as part of team backing the legendary “Imus in the Morning” program and more. Rosenberg discusses their history together and his loving perspective on McGuirk as a broadcaster and a friend in an exclusive conversation with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. To listen to the tribute, please click here.
Scheld Schedules His WCBS-AM Departure. In a memo to the staff of WCBS-AM, news director/brand manager Tim Scheld notes he will be leaving the Audacy New York all-news facility before the end of the year. Lauding the WCBS-AM team and Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero, Scheld writes that “Audacy New York is in great hands.” Also included in the memo, Scheld states an Audacy arrangement with SAG-AFTRA signifies a new strategy, combining WCBS-AM’s resources with those of co-owned/similarly-formatted WINS. “[It’s] a plan I have endorsed and frankly helped design.” Scheld was a WCBS-AM reporter from 1987 – 1994 and rejoined the station in 2003, after a nine-year stint as a correspondent for ABC Radio News. In addition to his WCBS-AM duties, he’s chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association.
KGO Betting On The Spread. Confirming a story reported here last Friday (TALKERS, 10/7), Cumulus Media San Francisco today transitions longtime news/talk KGO to “The Spread 810 AM,” the Bay Area’s first station focused on sports betting. Cumulus San Francisco vice president/market manager Larry Blumhagen comments, “This is a bittersweet day for us, as it’s hard to say goodbye to the legendary KGO, which has been a part of listeners’ lives for so many years. We want to thank all the people who have been a part of KGO’s historic run these many years and the listeners who loyally tuned into the station. Times change, and we must change with them. We are excited about this new chapter and look forward to serving the Bay Area’s passionate sports fans in an incomparable way.” Cumulus San Francisco sports talk KNBR and KTCT program director Kevin Graham adds PD duties for “The Spread” and notes, “We are pleased to introduce sports-betting radio to our community. The station will feature a lineup of expert personalities that deliver unique sports talk and sports betting insights that entertain, inform, and engage. While [KGO] will feature specific gambling information, we believe our entertaining presentation will make it a favorite for all Bay area sports fans and a perfect complement to the legendary KNBR and KTCT.” The station’s weekday programming lineup includes: Joe Ostrowski, Joe Giglio, and Erin Hawksworth (6:00 am – 9:00 am); Jim Rome (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley (12:00 noon – 4:00 pm); Quinton Mayo, Trysta Krick, and Ryan Horvat with “Bet MGM Tonight” (4:00 pm – 8:00 pm); and CBS Sports Radio (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 San Francisco sweep, KGO “810 AM” was up two-tenths from August 2022 (1.5 – 1.7, #21 to #20). In San Jose, KGO registers its fourth straight uptick for a combined +1.0 (1.7 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 2.6 – 2.7, 6+) and ranks #13.
Round Three of September PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland; Charlotte; San Antonio; Sacramento; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; Orlando; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Kansas City; and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 sweep covered August 18 – September 14. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of 12 markets. News/talk packs a one-two punch (6+) in Salt Lake City, where iHeartMedia’s KNRS-AM & KNRS-FM “Talk Radio” erupts with a +2.5 (9.1 – 11.6, 6+) to rank on top for the eighth month in succession, while Bonneville-owned KSL “News Radio 102.7 FM & 1160 AM” adds six-tenths (6.1 – 6.7, 6+), advancing from fourth to second. In addition to SLC, the format registers number one showings in Sacramento with iHeartMedia’s KFBK-AM & KFBK-FM “News 1530 AM & 93.1 FM” gaining eight-tenths (8.1 – 8.9, third to first, 6+), and in Cincinnati, where co-owned WLW “700 Cincinnati’s News Radio” – despite being off six-sixths – is on top for the seventh consecutive month (11.7 – 11.1, 6+). Meanwhile, Cox Media Group-owned WDBO “Orlando’s News Talk” dials up a +1.3 (3.7 – 5.0, 6+) and enters the top ten (#11 to #8). The largest (6+) August 2022 – September 2022 increase by any station in the 36 PPM-markets whose data has been released thus far is in Columbus, where Tegna-owned sports talk WBNS-FM logs a +2.6 (6.8 – 9.4, 6+); “97.1 FM The Fan” vaults from fourth to first. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” for this group of 12 markets (as well as the first two groups) here.
Hurley Charity Event Hauls in $65,00+. The fourteenth Annual Hurley in the Morning Charity Dinner and Silent Auction was held last Friday (10/7) at Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel. This year’s event raised more than $65,000 and featured congressman Jeff Van Drew as guest of honor/keynote speaker. An additional supplemental live on-air auction is still to be staged. According to “Hurley in the Morning” Charity founder/chair Harry Hurley (pictured at the right with Jeff Van Drew), “It was an amazing, ‘Who’s Who’ evening, which will directly benefit many worthy non-for-profit organizations throughout New Jersey and beyond. For example, this special event will make it possible for the “Hurley in the Morning Charity” to make a $7,000 contribution [next June] to The Broadcasters Foundation of America. Jeff Van Drew arrived early and was the last to leave.” To date, The Harry Hurley charity has donated $21,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America.” Hurley, who does morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM,” reveals that Fox News Channel/Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade will be guest of honor/keynote speaker September 29, 2023 at “our fifteenth annual Hurley in the Morning Charity Dinner and Silent Auction.”
TALKERS News Notes. As part of cutbacks at Beasley Media Group Boston sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Toucher & Rich morning show producer Mike Lockhart and nighttime Adam Jones Show co-host Christian Arcand exit. Meanwhile in Philadelphia at co-owned/similarly-formatted WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” John Kincaid Show member Jaimie Lynch departs. … Almost seven months to the day from his kidney transplant, Zimmer Broadcasting Cookeville (Tennessee) news/talk WHUB “News Talk 107.7 and 1400 The Hub” program director/6:00 am – 8:00 am host/promotion director/assistant news director Brent Carl Fleshman won two first-place trophies at last week’s inaugural Tennessee Association of Broadcasting’s “Excellence Awards.” Fleshman was named “Best Local On-Air Personality” and “Best Local Talk Show” in the “Small Market Radio Division,” which consists of stations not in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.In 2016, Fleshman won the NAB Marconi Award as “Small Market Personality of the Year” and was a finalist for that award in 2019. … “Fridays with Frankie,” a limited-edition Audacy series hosted by reality show star Frankie Grande, debuted last Friday (10/7). Each episode will feature a different topic and will be live aired on Audacy’s digital platform at 8:00 am (ET) and replayed until 12:00 midnight (ET). The show will also air across Audacy’s Channel Q’s network of stations. … The Society of Professional Journalists names the headquarters of the Voice of America – 330 Independence Avenue SW in Washington, DC – as a Historic Site in Journalism. The Voice of America is the editorially independent international broadcaster funded by the United States government. SPJ international community co-chair Dan Kubiske states that, “For 80 years, the Voice of America has been a source of solid and honest journalism. From its beginning in 1942, despite being a U.S. government agency, through custom, charters and law the editorial independence of VOA journalists has not wavered.”
Beasley Broadcast Group 2022 Q2 Net Revenue Rises 8.8%. The first radio-based audio firm to report 2022 second quarter financial data is Beasley Broadcast Group, which reveals net revenue of $64.8 million, an increase of 8.8% over the same period in 2021. The company also reports an operating loss of $5.4 million and a net loss of $14.5 million and explains the losses saying, “The operating loss in the second quarter of 2022 primarily reflects an $8.6 million non-cash impairment loss due to an increase in the discount rate used in the analyses to estimate the fair value of FCC licenses and goodwill in a rising interest rate environment. For the comparable three months ended June 30, 2021, the company recorded $1.5 million of other operating income, net from life insurance proceeds related to the death of George Beasley, the company’s former chairman. As a result of these factors, Beasley reported a net loss of $14.5 million, or a negative $0.48 per diluted share, in the three months ended June 30, 2022, compared to net income of $0.2 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, in the three months ended June 30, 2021.” Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley delivered another period of strong top-line results in the second quarter, reflecting solid year-over-year growth across all of our revenue sources. Net revenue increased 8.8%, inclusive of a 4.3% rise in audio revenue and a 34.3% rise in digital revenue, with digital accounting for 16.5% of second quarter net revenue. Digital remains a central component of our revenue diversification strategy, and the momentum we are seeing in our digital business is further underpinned by our ability to grow digital revenue 37% on a quarterly sequential basis, while also improving our digital margin. Our new business performance was robust this quarter, as we recorded $7.8 million in new business revenue, representing a 60% increase from the first quarter of 2022 and 16% growth over the comparable prior year period. In addition, we acquired a small white label digital agency at the end of June, which will immediately contribute positive cash flow and synergies. We believe these results continue to demonstrate the inaccuracy of the perception that radio is more challenged than other segments of the technology, media, and telecom sectors… We are keeping a close eye on the declining economic environment and initiated cost reductions beginning in the second quarter. Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on controlling what we can control, maximizing our growth opportunities, managing our expenses and capital structure, serving our audiences and advertisers and delivering results for our stockholders.”
Monday Memo: Review Airchecks…Later. As “automation and syndication have made radio less-local,” consultant Holland Cooke calls talent coaching “a lost art”; and he uses this week’s column to offer tips “for hosts and DJs who feel neglected.” Read more here.
Pending Business: The One Thing Every Advertiser Should Know. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that any radio seller who wants to be successful has to answer the following question: “What is the one ‘thing’ every advertiser should know about my on-air talent?” In other words, what is the unique selling point that can be connected to your on-air talent and only the talent you represent. Read his column here.
Alex Silverman to Lead Programming at All-News KNX-AM/FM, Los Angeles. News radio programming pro Alex Silverman is moving to Audacy’s KNX-AM/FM, Los Angeles to serve as director of news and programming, effective September 19. He’s been serving with the company as brand manager for the company’s all-news KYW-AM/FM, Philadelphia since 2018. Prior to that, he was assistant director of news and programming at Audacy’s WCBS-AM, New York. In his new role at KNX, Silverman will “oversee the station’s editorial strategy and newsroom, including broadcast and digital operations, with an eye towards audience and revenue growth and engagement on all platforms.” Silverman states, “KNX News is iconic. I can’t wait to work with the amazing team to build the future of the brand and set the agenda for news coverage in Southern California. Thank you to Jeff Federman, Chris Ebbott, Jeff Sottolano and Bill Smee for their confidence in me and commitment to impactful local journalism.” Silverman is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He serves on the board of directors of the Radio Television Digital News Association and has been an adjunct instructor at Fordham University, where he designed a course titled, “Social Media for Journalists.” Silverman takes over the role from Ken Charles, who did not renew his contract with the company.
Dwight Jaynes Joins Afternoon Show on ‘Rip City Sports Radio 620.’ Sports talk host Dwight Jaynes is joining Chad Doing at iHeartMedia’s KPOJ, Portland “Rip City Radio 620” as co-host of the “Rip City Drive” program that airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Jaynes, also known as “The Godfather,” spent 25 years as a sports columnist for the Oregon Journal and The Oregonian covering the NBA’s Trail Blazers and has co-written two books about the team. He also spent 11 years at NBC Sports Northwest, hosting “Talkin’ Ball” and “Posting Up.” Prior to that, Jaynes hosted the “Morning Sports Page” show alongside Doing on KXTG-FM, Portland. Doing says, “I am thrilled to be reunited with my former partner. Dwight is a Hall of Famer for good reason – no one has more experience covering Oregon sports. I look forward to making compelling radio with him every day. His sports knowledge and storytelling are unmatched.” Jaynes comments, “I am beyond excited to return to sports talk radio – especially with my old partner Chad Doing – who I believe to be one of the best in the country. The best part of our shows has always been our willingness to take on the tough issues – sports or otherwise – and find creative ways to shape discussion and opinion. At the same time, you never quite know what we’re going to do next… because we don’t!”
Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Interview Trump at LIV Golf Tourney in Bedminster, New Jersey. Pictured above with former President Donald Trump are Premiere Networks syndicated talk hosts Clay Travis (left) and Buck Sexton (right) at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, the site of the LIV Golf tournament. Trump joined the duo live on their show discussing such topics as recession, China and Taiwan, and whether he’ll run for president in 2024, about which he said, “Very hard for me not to run to be honest. And also the polls indicate from the Republican standpoint it would be easy. And I think I was up 11 points on Biden the other day… I don’t know why 11… If you guys ran, you’d be up more than 11… In my mind, I’ve already made the decision.”
Stacey Thomas Named Director of Marketing for iHeartMedia Philly. Eighteen-year iHeartMedia Philadelphia staffer Stacey Thomas is promoted to director of marketing and promotions for the cluster that includes sports talk WDAS-AM “The Gambler” and WTEL “BIN: Black Information Network.” In this role, Thomas will oversee the Philadelphia brand portfolio and will be responsible for developing, planning, and directing all marketing and promotions efforts. She previously served the cluster as media integration director. iHeartMedia Philadelphia market president Jeff Moore says, “It has been remarkable working alongside Stacey and watching her persevere through numerous changes and challenges. A tireless worker who puts the needs of iHeart Philly above all else will now get the chance to put her stamp on the promotions department in a time when making deep and meaningful relationships with our audiences and partners couldn’t be more important.”
Ava Lynn LaRue Named Inaugural MIW Mentee in Minnesota. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc and the Minnesota Broadcasters Association announce that Ava Lynn LaRue is named the inaugural mentee for the “MIW Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Minnesota” program. This partnership between the two organizations is led by MBA president Wendy Paulson and is MIW’s newest mentoring opportunity and the start of its three-to-five year strategic plan to partner with state broadcast associations across the United States and assist in building in-house, ongoing programs devoted to coaching and guiding the next generation of radio professionals. LaRue is the station manager for Q-Media Group, LLC in Red Wing, Minnesota. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “Lightning struck twice! Partnering with Wendy has been positive, productive, and way fun. And then to meet the powerhouse Ava LaRue and have the opportunity to work with her is what the MIWs are all about. Thanks MBA, Wendy, and Ava!” Paulson adds, “A huge ‘thank you’ to all of the incredible women who applied to participate in the 2022 ‘MIW Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Minnesota’ program! The judging committee was blown away by the depth of talented women that applied to be part of this pilot mentorship program!”
Biden’s Energy & Health Bill, Inflation Reduction Act, November Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, COVID-19/Biden Positive Again, Pelosi’s Asia Trip, Russia-Ukraine War/Global Food Crisis, Deadly Kentucky Floods/Western Wildfires, Monkeypox, and Nichelle Nichols & Bill Russell Die Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fate of President Joe Biden’s energy & healthcare bill; debate over the Schumer–Manchin authored Inflation Reduction Act; November’s midterm elections and the 2024 presidential race; the rate of BA.5 subvariant infections in the U.S. and Biden’s testing positive again; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Asia and China’s threats if she visits Taiwan; the Russia-Ukraine war and its effects on the global food supply; the continuing threats of flooding in Eastern Kentucky and the Western wildfires; the growing monkeypox epidemic; and actress Nichelle Nichols and basketball legend Bill Russell pass away were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.