General Music Radio Industry News
Hunnicutt Exits iHeartMedia to Head New Record Label. A shocker in the radio biz as longtime iHeartMedia exec Clay Hunnicutt leaves his EVP and general manager of national programming platforms position to become president of the new record label Big Loud Records. The move was announced to iHeartMedia staffers via a memo from national programming platforms president Tom Poleman. He writes, “After more than 15 years here with us, Clay Hunnicutt has decided to leave iHeartMedia to become president of Big Loud Records, a record label startup. Clay has not only been a great partner to me in the day-to-day operations of national programming, he’s also become a great friend; I know you all feel the same. He’s been a pioneer and leader in shaping the great company that we are today, and for that I’ll always be thankful.”
Cumulus Media Los Angeles Courts Courtemanche as VP/Sales. Former iHeartMedia Chicago vice president of sales Jason Courtemanche relocates to Los Angeles for a similar position with Cumulus Media talker KABC-AM and classic rocker KLOS. Cumulus Media senior vice president of operations Tom Schurr comments, “I am thrilled to be working with Jason again. He is a smart, competitive, experienced broadcast executive who attracts top talent and produces results for partners and stations. We are excited to have a leader of his caliber joining the team.” Courtemanche remarks, “I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity on the west coast with these two legendary radio stations and the highly respected sales team. I am committed to getting in the trenches and helping make Cumulus the place to be in Los Angeles media.” Prior to his stint at iHeartMedia Chicago, Courtemanche was sales manager for CBS Radio Chicago all-news operation WBBM-AM; general sales manager for iHeartMedia San Diego; and director of sales for San Diego-based MVS International Communications. In pro hockey for six years (1993 – 1999), Courtemache played for various teams in the ECHL, IHL, AHL, WCHL, and CHL.
Sue Tabb Joins WMJX, Boston’s ‘Morning Magic.’ Boston radio personality Sue Tabb is partnered up with current morning jock David O’Leary as co-host of the “Morning Magic” show on Greater Media’s adult contemporary WMJX, Boston “MAGIC 106.7.” Tabb has been with the station since March 2013 as a regular fill-in on the morning show and as co-host of the public affairs program, “Exceptional Women” (a role she’ll continue). Program director Cadillac Jack says, “We’re thrilled to have Sue join David O’Leary in anchoring ‘Morning Magic.’ Her personality and perspective are just what our listeners are looking for as they start their day.” Tabb started her radio career as the traffic reporter and sidekick on crosstown CHR WXKS-FM’s “Matty in the Morning.” She’s also had a successful career in the PR industry as a senior director at Thomson Communications. She has also worked as a television news writer, magazine editor and lifestyle columnist, currently writing for the Newburyport Daily News and has earned a first place award as a humor columnist from the New England Press Association.
‘Otis’ Okayed as WDJX Louisville PD. Nine-year WNKS “Kiss 95.1,” Charlotte on-air talent “Otis” departs the Beasley Broadcast Group CHR to become program director of Alpha Media Louisville’s similarly-formatted WDJX “99.7 DJX.” Alpha Media vice president of programming Phil Becker jokes that “Otis” is, “more than just the name of a Jay Z & Kanye [West] song. He is proof that Alpha Media continues to recruit the most talented players from within our industry. I am confident that he, along with operations manager Ben Davis, will continue to keep WDJX on top for a long time to come.” Senior vice president and Louisville market manager Dale Schaefer comments that “Otis” – who will do an afternoon drive air-shift in addition to his programming duties – will be, “a great addition to our on-air line up and will provide a lot of leadership for the WDJX team. He will be a tremendous help and support to Ben Davis because he is a high-caliber, proven programmer who will build on the heritage of WDJX.” One-name “Otis” notes, “It is an amazing feeling to have finally reached a goal I set when I started in radio. It is even more exciting that I get to program at a legendary station like WDJX, with a great team of people, including Ben Davis. I look forward to reaching new heights with Alpha Media and taking my addiction to this crazy business to another level.” His past on-air credits include WZEE “Z-104,” Madison and WNDV “U-93,” South Bend (Indiana).
More RadioInfo Career Moves. Sales pro Jeff Schmidt joins the RAB as SVP of professional development, a post in which he’ll oversee the organization’s training services. He most recently was EVP at sales training firm Sparque…..The new morning personality at iHeartMedia’s CHR KPTT, Denver “95.7 The Party” comes from within the company as JJ Kincaid moves from his afternoons gig at WHTZ, New York “Z100” later this summer. Current KPTT morning host Chino will shift to afternoons…..Saga Communications moves forward in morning drive without longtime personality Carole Caine, whose contract is not renewed at classic rock WKLH, Milwaukee “Hometown Rock.” Legendary market morning host Dave Luczak continues to anchor the wake-up show without Caine…..D.J. Lopez exits the American General Media cluster in Albuquerque to become a stay-at-home dad. He was responsible for programming at the company’s hip hop KAGM, CHR KDLW, and alternative simulcast KARS-AM/K275AO.
Cox Launches ‘Your Georgia Country’ Duo. The company calls it “the largest country signal in the Southeast with 200,000 watts of power on 106.1 and 107.1 FM.” Current country WNGC, Athens (106.1) and now former alternative WTSH, Atlanta (107.1) are simulcast as the new “Your Georgia Country.” Cox Media Group says the stations will “serve listeners from Atlanta, Athens, Rome, and all areas north across the entire state.” CMG Atlanta Radio VP/GM Donna Hall comments, “Country is the hottest format right now and was our greatest opportunity in our number one market. We’re now thrilled to bring another exciting choice for country in Atlanta and north Georgia that complements the other great CMG radio brands in the Greater Atlanta area.”
Voltair and PPM Controversy Getting Play in Consumer Press. The digital publication FiveThirtyEight.com (published by ESPN) just posted a story by Carl Bialik that brings the industry’s concern about the reliability of the PPM technology used by Nielsen Audio to light with more of the public. The piece uses the demise of the smooth jazz format as the primary case against the ratings technology – though it does point out that the talk and classical formats are likely adversely affected by alleged inadequacies in the PPM, as well. Though the piece doesn’t go into detail about how Voltair works, it offers a summary of the processor’s recent history, including the moratorium on it in Canada. The piece also poses the question: If this controversy turns the radio ratings on its head, isn’t that a potential death knell for the entire industry? One anonymous industry executive replies, “When you’re buying on a flawed system, nobody’s winning.” Read the entire article here.
Bridging the Generational Divide – 17 Year Old Talk Radio Rising Star, Pavlina, Meets Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. It starts out light and chatty but quickly develops into an insightful dialogue that spans the generational divide. Seventeen-year-old, multi-platform talk radio host Pavlina Osta is interviewed by RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the international hit Podcast One production “Up Close and Far Out.” “Pavlina” has been remarkably active as a self-motivated “celebrity journalist” since the tender age of 11 — racking up archives of more than 450 interviews with famous figures in show business, music, sports and public policy. She hosts a weekly radio show called “Pavlina’s Kidz Place” heard on Florida stations WAPN, Holly Hill; WAPB, Madison; and WELE, Ormond Beach plus a number more across the Sunshine State and scattered around the country — as well as maintaining a very active website and YouTube presence. She is already a two-time Gracie Award winner and holds the Guinness world record for the most radio interviews conducted in 24 hours. She conducted 347 interviews, each being a unique set of at least five questions. The entire 24-hour period was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365. Pavlina, a published author and tireless charity volunteer, has attended a number of industry conferences including the last two TALKERS events in New York City where her irrepressible personality, charisma and unique flair for fashion caught the attention of industry leaders – many of whom have begun championing her career. She served a summer internship with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in 2014 and is working this summer with Salem stations (WNYM and WMCA) in New York City under the direction of Phil Boyce. She has also received vigorous talent coaching by David Bernstein. Pavlina recently made an appearance on Newsmax TV as a guest of Steve Malzberg further fueling her rocketing profile as a media figure to be reckoned with. Upon interviewing Pavlina for “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison states, “What this remarkable young woman lacks in polish and sophistication, she more than makes up for in sheer likability. She oozes positive energy, remarkable charisma, unmistakable style and indelible authenticity. Plus, and most important, just under the surface of her ‘contemporary teenage girlishness’ lies an uncommon intelligence and wisdom that are clearly fueling this young woman’s self-motivated juggernaut to stardom. I didn’t treat her like a kid – but, rather, the amazing young woman into which she is clearly developing. I gave her the respect of asking her tough questions. We talked about kids today – sex, drugs, peer-pressure, education, even tattoos and body piercing, plus more.” On being interviewed by Michael Harrison, Pavlina states, “We actually covered more than I’ve ever done in an interview. This was a lot of fun. I appreciate it.” To hear the entire conversation between Michael Harrison and Pavlina, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page on RadioInfo.com. (Pictured here are Michael Harrison and Pavlina in a selfie taken at Talkers New York 2015 on June 12.)
Mason Elected BFA Co-Vice Chair, Treasurer. Recently retired CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason is elected co-vice chair and treasurer of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Broadcasters Foundation chair Phil Lombardo declares that, “Dan is one of the Foundation’s most ardent ambassadors and he gives tirelessly of his time. The entire board is grateful that he is taking on these additional responsibilities to advance our charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.” As CBS Radio’s president/CEO, Mason oversaw more than 125 stations in 27 markets. The National Association of Broadcasters’ executive committee honored him as its 2012 “National Radio Award” winner for his outstanding leadership in the industry.
Wilkes-Barre Radio Legend Jay Daniels Dies at 61. Radio personality Jay Daniels, a.k.a. Jeffrey Longaven, came to the Wilkes-Barre market in 1980 as news anchor on WKRZ-AM and evening jock on CHR WKRZ-FM, but he’s best known in the market for his years as part of the Daniels & Webster morning show (with John Webster [Gasper]) on rock WEZX “Rock 107.” The Times-Tribune reports that Daniels died in a Wilkes-Barre nursing home on June 28 after a long illness that began in 2011 with a cancer diagnosis. He also suffered a stroke and was diagnosed as diabetic.
Magnum Broadcasting Alters Brand of Milwaukee Adult Hits Outlet. The resolution of the battle over “The Lake” brand of adult hits radio in Milwaukee between E.W. Scripps and Magnum Broadcasting appears to be over with Magnum changing the calls and brand of WMKQ, Racine “92.1 The Lake” to WVTY “92.1 The Shore.” In a memo to staffers, Magnum Broadcasting CEO Dave Magnum does not address the legal scuffle between his company and Scripps, but says, “We’ve been weaving in ‘shore’ references on the air for the past 10 days. It’s a natural fit because our new transmitting and antenna systems are delivering signal from Racine up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline from Milwaukee to the Chicago suburbs. We’re also pleased with our coverage to the west. Our upgrades exceeded our expectations.” Scripps had jettisoned the adult hits format – and its brand “94.5 The Lake” – to go country and changed the calls to WKTI. Immediately after the change, then-WMKQ flipped to an adult hits format and began using the “The Lake” brand, including a logo very similar to the one used by Scripps. But Scripps claims it still owns the service mark for the “Lake” and the adult hits format and is still airing it on WKTI’s HD3 channel.
Townsquare and Compass Partner on Nightly Classic Rock Show. The “Ultimate Classic Rock” brand is Townsquare Media’s from its UltimateClassicRock.com site and the host of the new, nightly show is longtime rock personality Zach Martin. Compass Media Networks is serving as the exclusive syndicator of the program. The 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET program gets its start on 28 Townsquare Media-owned classic rock outlets, beginning tonight. Martin has worked at CBS RADIO’s former WXRK “K-Rock,” WCBS-FM and iHeartMedia’s WAXQ in New York; as well as WMMR, Philadelphia and WIYY, Baltimore “98 Rock.” Townsquare Media SVP of programming Kurt Johnson comments, “We are more than excited to name Zach Martin as host of our Ultimate Classic Rock show. With a foundation of years in rock radio and many relationships in the genre, Zach will create unique, compelling entertainment across our content platforms, starting of course with an incredible radio show.”
Reports: More Apple Music DJs Named; Beats 1 to Contain In-Programming Sponsorships. Two separate reports – one from Ad Age and one from The New York Times – deliver news about the soon-to-debut Apple Music service. The Times says that DJs who will appear on Apple’s Beats 1 channel in addition to already-announced Zane Lowe and Dr. Dre, include WQHT, New York morning personality Ebro Darden; London radio personality Julie Adenuga plus celebrities Pharrell Williams and Elton John. Ad Age reports that the Beats 1 channel will, instead of traditional radio spots, contain sponsorships delivered by the DJs that are being described by Apple execs as “audio mentions” – brief announcements between records. What’s not clear from the story is of the mentions will be live or pre-recorded. The Beats 1 channel is part of the service set to debut tomorrow on a free, three-month trial basis. In contrast to previous reports, Ad Age is stating that Apple will offer a free, ad-supported service as well as the ad-free subscription service.
‘98.3’ The Bull’ in Northeast Ohio Joins ‘Powered by Jelli’ Network. The Media One Group-owned country station WYBL, Ashtabula, Ohio “98.3 The Bull” becomes part of the Focus “Powered by Jelli” Network – a cloud-based network revenue source platform that traffics, serves and reports all ad campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot technology. Envision Networks and Focus 360 say Jelli’s RadioSpot platform “enables rapid, cloud-based trafficking of radio spots nationwide; integrated, automated ad serving at local affiliates and real-time reporting of the broadcast ads as they run, via an easy-to-use, powerful web-based dashboard. The RadioSpot platform delivers significantly increased accountability, measurability and transparency to advertisers and radio networks, leading to fewer errors, lower costs, better insights and higher revenue and cash flow.”
ABC Radio to Present Kelly Clarkson Music Special. The one-our music special from ABC Radio is available for air between July 10 and August 2. Titled, “Kelly Clarkson: Piece by Piece, the show features her thoughts on her chart-topping album Piece by Piece and her latest hits, as well as what fans can expect from her new tour, launching in July. She’ll also share her thoughts on motherhood and how her life has changed since she welcomed daughter River last year.
SiriusXM Settles in Pre-1972 Recordings Matter. Five of the largest record companies and Sirius XM Holdings Inc. have agreed to a settlement for the latter’s use of pre-1972 recordings on its satellite radio service. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, SiriusXM will pay $210 million to plaintiffs ABKCO Music & Records, Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, and Warner Music Group. The settlement provides a nationwide resolution for SiriusXM’s previous use of the plaintiffs’ pre-1972 recordings and through the end of 2017. After that, SiriusXM must negotiate with individual record companies. RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman comments, “This is a great step forward for all music creators. Music has tremendous value, whether it was made in 1970 or 2015. We hope others take note of this important agreement and follow SiriusXM’s example.” This resolution does not include the class action suit led by Flo & Eddie Inc. That case is currently under appeal in California’s 2nd Circuit Court.
Cumulus Taps Troy Hanson for WKQX, Chicago PD Gig. He’s been serving as program director for the company’s rock WNNX, Atlanta and as corporate program director for rock formats. Now, Troy Hanson will take over the PD post at Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX, Chicago. Current programmer PJ is seeking opportunities outside the radio biz. Cumulus SVP content and programming Mike McVay says, “Troy continues to do an excellent job as corporate PD/rock for Cumulus. His experience, combined with the need for WKQX to continue to excel, makes him the perfect candidate for this position.”
Bryan LaRoche New PM Drive Personality at WKIS-FM, Miami. Air personality Bryan LaRoche has most recently been with Alpha Media at its Portland cluster heard on both country KUPL and CHR KBFF. Now he transitions to CBS RADIO’s South Florida country outlet WKIS-FM, Miami “99.9 Kiss Country” for the afternoon drive shift. He says, “This can’t be real life. Country radio? In South Florida? For ‘99.9 Kiss Country’? It doesn’t get any better than that! I’m honored and thankful to have the opportunity to work with CBS RADIO and the team at WKIS. I truly feel like this is exactly where I belong and can’t wait to call one of my favorite cities home.” CBS RADIO Miami VP of programming Rob Morris adds, “Bryan’s talent both on air and combined with his digital programming skills makes him a great addition to the WKIS-FM team.”
More RadioInfo Career Moves. Executive changes at Univision Communications as the company announces that Los Angeles-based Jose Valle leaves his role overseeing the radio division and will become president of political & advocacy sales. Responsibility for the radio division will shift to Jaime Jiminez, who serves as executive vice president of Univision local media…..Moving from the on-air end of the business to the label side of the music industry is former WRDW, Philadelphia personality and programmer Brandon “Buster” Satterfield. He joins Atlantic Records in New York in a regional promotions capacity. Satterfield programmed CBS RADIO’s Philly rhythmic CHR outlet before it transitioned to the company’s mainstream CHR AMP format as WZMP.
Envision Networks Offers Free Radio Sales School. Through a deal with influence FM, Envision Networks announces it is able to share Radio Sales School with stations. Via a partnership with radio sales trainer Chris Rolando, influence FM is able to offer the 15-day course to radio stations absolutely free. Envision says it’s a great tool for training new sales hires and providing a refresher for more experienced radio sales reps. Rolando brings more than 40 years of broadcasting industry experience to the course. He comments, “No matter where I teach, I find that managers and radio station owners spend a significant amount of their time trying to find and train sales reps instead of managing the actual sales.” The online course features educational videos, quizzes and interactive discussions. In addition to this course, influence FM is offering access to free scripts, pre-produced spots and more to help stations recruit the best candidates possible. influence FM produces radio management software available on a cash or barter basis. This product suite gives users complete control over every step of the sales process including asset management, spot creation and commercial production.
Bob & Tom at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in Las Vegas. Members of the Westwood One-syndicated Bob & Tom show pose for a shot with actor and comic Brad Garrett at his Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The show transported 20 lucky winners and their guests to Vegas for the weekend where they got to do a meet & greet with Garrett. Pictured (clockwise from top) are: Garrett, Tom Griswold, Chick McGee, Kristi Lee, and Bob Kevoian.
Bob & Sheri to Host ‘Ugliest Dog’ Contest. WLNK, Charlotte-based and nationally syndicated morning show hosts Bob Lacey and Sheri Lynch are returning to Sonoma Media Group-owned affiliate KMHX, Santa Rosa, California “Mix 104.9” today to host the “World’s Ugliest Dog Contest” at the Sonoma Marin Fair. The internationally observed event celebrates homely hounds and the humans who love them. The World’s Ugliest Dog winner will receive a grand prize of $1,500 and the Spirit Award Recipient will receive a special award. Organizers say the contest has been a testament that all dogs do not have to meet AKC pedigree standards to be man’s (or woman’s) best friend. Sheri Lynch comments, “We are so excited to be asked back to the festival to host the contest again! We love this event!”
‘NASH FM 94.7’ Brings The Cadillac Three to NYC. New York country outlet WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” presented another of its “Up Close and Country” performances in the Big Apple last night (6/25) at Hill Country Barbecue Market in the heart of the city. The country/rock group The Cadillac Three performed for a lucky group of listeners, singing their hit singles “The South” and “White Lightning,” as well as covers of a number of top country songs. Prior to the show, the boys stopped by the “NASH FM 94.7” studios to chat with station personality Jesse Addy (left).
SF’s Big ‘Bleu’ News. Bay Area Hall of Famer (class of 2007) Don Bleu will do his final KOSF “Big 103.7,” San Francisco morning drive show tomorrow (Friday, 6/26). He has been the wakeup talent on the iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies outlet the past four years, but as market president Katie Wilcox comments, “Don Bleu has been a fixture in the Bay Area radio community for decades. Beyond the years of making audiences laugh and fall in love with his authenticity, he is also credited as the inspiration for many other local and national talents. He is no different in the halls than he is on the air – our staff will miss his quick wit and warm presence.” According to Bleu, “I am so fortunate – this has been an incredible run. When I meet listeners, I am amazed at the memories and moments they bring up. They have listened for years and their children have listened for years. As I have ended each broadcast for many years in the Bay Area, ‘Thanks for bein’ on the show.'” Bleu’s San Francisco history dates back 34 years when he did morning drive at KYUU (1981- 1989). He then had a 22-year tenure in the same day-part at cross-town KIOI. Bleu previously worked at KDWB, Minneapolis, and in North Dakota at KILO, Grand Forks and KQWB, Fargo. The East Grand Forks, Minnesota native – known earlier in his career as “The True Don Bleu” – won an Emmy for his work on “Evening Magazine,” and he hosted “The Gong Show” for one season.
More RadioInfo Career Moves. After 11 years away from the business to stay home with her family, Courtney Foxx returns to Alpha Media’s hot AC WIKZ, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania “Mix 95.1” as midday personality. Foxx served as midday jock at the station from 1997 through 2004…..Gus Swanson is named digital content manager for CBS RADIO’s Seattle station group. He was a longtime iHeartMedia staffer in the Seattle market.
Class of 2015 Inducted into Country Radio Hall of Fame. This year’s class of inductees into the Country Radio Broadcasters’ Country Radio Hall of Fame was honored last night at a special ceremony held at the Omni Hotel in Nashville. The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to “the recognition of those individuals who have made significant contributions to the radio industry over a 20-year period, 15 of which must be in the country format.” Pictured here (from l-r) are: Randy Carroll, Mike Kennedy, Karen Dalessandro, Joel Raab, and Sammy George. Photo: Kristen England.
RadioInfo Tidbits. Adult contemporary WLTW, New York “106.7 LITE FM” announces the return of its annual lunchtime theatre summer series, ‘106.7 LITE FM’s Broadway in Bryant Park.’ The 2015 program will present the best of Broadway, free to the public, on six consecutive Thursdays beginning July 9 at 12:30 pm ET and will be hosted by LITE FM’s on-air personalities…..Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WARH, St. Louis “106.5 The Arch” is awarding the prize in the next phase of its year-long FREE MONEY promotion – FREE MONEY FITS FOR TWO – tomorrow afternoon at the West County Center. The station will be awarding a local listener with not one, but two Honda Fits – plus $5,000 in each glove box!…..1980s pop hits are now being heard on the Asheville, North Carolina simulcast dubbed “Rewind 100.3.” The former triple A format on Saga Communications’ WTMT-HD2 and translator W262CO, Asheville at 100.3 FM disappears to make way for the new format.
Duane Doobie Jr.’s Picks of the Week. RadioInfo’s hard-working co-music editor, Duane Doobie Jr., backed by a growing team of information-contributing researchers and golden-eared, trench broadcasters, including this week: on-air personalities Bayley Brown from WKLC-FM, St. Albans, West Virginia “Rock 105”; Matt James, golden-eared, on air personality at “T-100” WCLT in Newark, OH; Bill Phipps the golden-eared afternoon personality at WSIG, Mt. Jackson, Virginia “Real Country 96.9;” Todd Cavanah, golden-eared PD at CBS owned WJMK “K-Hits” & WBBM-FM in Chicago; Jayn, golden-eared afternoon talent/music director/asst. program director at Alice 93.7, San Francisco; plus internet sensation The Iceman, provides programmers with musical suggestions worthy of the attention of pro-active radio formats. You’ll be turned on to some of the exciting artists and music buzzing out there just over the horizon from the worlds of pop, rock, country and EDM. This week’s selection posted today (6/24) includes such names as: Selena Gomez, A$AP Rocky, Afrojack, Mike Taylor, Charlie Puth, Meghan Trainor, Olivia Kay, Alx Kawakami, The Weeknd, Kaya Stewart, Icona Pop, Madison Rising, Five Finger Death Punch, Beck, Secret Lie, Destroyer, Langhorne Slim & The Law, Nate Ruess, Beck, Billy Currington, A Thousand Horses, Jake Owen, Keith Urban, Bily Lord, Carly Jo Jackson, Baio, Gemini Club, Silento, Armin Van Buuren, Mr. Probz, Kygo, among others. To check out this valuable information, please click here.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Fireside Chat’ Video featuring Dialogue Between Michael Harrison and John Dickey Posted Today. Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey. In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics. Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop. On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives. He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain an effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.” Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena. He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.” On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.” He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.” Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio. Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task. Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.” To view the “Fireside Chat” in its entirety including an introduction by rising talk star Ethan Bearman, please click here.
Nielsen Unveils its Total Audience Report; Radio Leads Weekly Reach of Adults. Senior vice president of the audience insights division at Nielsen, Glenn Enoch, says that in preparing the first-ever Total Audience Report, the company is “using the best available data and have done all we can to make this an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison, but it is important to remember that these platforms are measured by different methods using different samples and different crediting rules.” Enoch is referring to the challenge of finding one way to express the consumption of three different media platforms – TV, radio and digital. That said, radio practitioners are happy with the results indicating that on a weekly basis, radio reaches 93% of the adult population compared to television’s 87% reach. Digital is broken up into three segments – PC, smartphone, and tablet – and those reach 54%, 70% and 35% of American adults, respectively. However, when one looks at the weekly hours and minutes spent with each medium, television comes out on top across all adult demographics and radio comes in second. The data shows that, for persons 35-49, the average hours/minutes during the week spent with television was 33:05, for radio 13:39, for PCs 6:58, for smartphones 8:52, and for tablets 4:50. In tallying the number of days per week of usage for each medium for persons 18-49, smartphones come out on top with 5.9. Radio is close behind with 5. Television is third with 4.7, followed by tablets at 4.6 and PCs with 3.6. In a memo to his sales stall, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard writes, “While radio is known as a frequency medium, we have always had significant reach. Radio’s reach has remained consistent while television has eroded. Radio now finds itself as America’s number one mass reach medium.”
Dillon to Program ‘96.7 Kiss FM’ in Austin. The change means Zach Dillon moves from iHeartMedia’s CHR KTBT, Tulsa “The Beat” to the company’s Austin cluster where he’ll program CHR KHFI “96.7 Kiss FM,” effective July 12. Dillon says, “I cannot begin to express the happiness I have in knowing I’m returning to the great state of Texas! This position, with these call letters attached to it, doesn’t come around often. With this move to Austin, I’m excited to re-sign with iHeartMedia, a company that’s treated me so well over the years.”
More RadioInfo Career Moves. Weekend and fill-in personality Lisa Kosty is named the permanent midday jock at Hubbard Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WSHE, Chicago. Kosty assumes the role previously held by Megan Reed, who resigned her position to focus on her battle with cancer…..Non-com triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” announces radio pro Ken Sumka is the new afternoon drive personality. The longtime WXRT, Chicago jock has been living in Milwaukee and serving as a weekend and fill-in host. He has also worked as an airborne reporter at WMAQ and WBBM-AM in Chicago from 1998-2009.
Gunhill Road Meets Big Jay Sorensen. The legendary pop/rock band Gunhill Road had a heck of a great time mingling with radio broadcasters from both music and talk formats at the recent Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference. The trio, that had two FM rock radio album favorites and the hit single “Back When My Hair Was Short” in the early 1970s, recently released an unexpected album with 19 new tracks titled Every 40 Years (Gunhill Road Records) that has garnered some airplay on AC and triple-A formats as well as a ton of interviews on talk radio. The group attended the conference to appear with various radio folk in a forthcoming documentary (“Back When My Hair Was Long”) about their fascinating two-part journey from the 1970s to the modern digital era set for theatrical release in 2016 and to promote their latest single, “I’ve Got To Learn To Cry (featuring American Idol’s Julia DeMato). The group is pictured here with pop radio legend and rock ‘n’ roll historian “Big” Jay Sorensen of WCBS-FM, New York. Shown (l-r): Steve Goldrich, “Big” Jay Sorensen, Glenn Leopold and Paul Reisch.
James Taylor Featured at iHeartRadio Theater in NYC. Singing and songwriting legend James Taylor was the featured artist in latest iHeartRadio ICONS series. This live event at the iHeartRadio Theater featured a performance by Taylor and a Q&A with iHeartMedia and WAXQ, New York personality Jim Kerr. The two discussed and listened to tracks from his new album, Before This World, which was released earlier this week. The audio was broadcast across all iHeartMedia classic rock stations at 8:00 pm local time on June 23. Photo: Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio.
Dierks Bentley Co-Hosts ‘NASH Nights Live.’ With “NASH Nights Live” personality Shawn Parr away from the studio at a charity event this week, special guests are joining co-host Elaina Smith (left) on the program. Pictured here is Dierks Bentley (right) in the studio. Other special guest this week include: Kip Moore, Maddie & Tae, Canaan Smith, Tim McGraw, and Hunter Hayes.