General Music Radio Industry News

Monday, July 27, 2015

| July 27, 2015

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zakk‘Zakk’ Moves from ‘The Loop’ to KSAN for PM Drive and APD Post. Returning to Northern California (he worked at KSJO, San Jose in the early 2000s) is Dominic “Zakk” ZaccagniniCumulus Media announces Zakk moves from his on-air and music director position at classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago to rock KSAN, San Francisco “107.7 The Bone” to serve as APD and afternoon drive host.  Zakk comments, “Chicago was my home and my heart will always be with ‘The Loop,’ but this move is the perfect fit for me professionally and personally. I’ll always be a fan of [Cumulus SF OM/program director] Jim Richards’ leadership skills and creative originality.  It’s an honor to join the KSAN team along with the support of the talented minds across the entire Cumulus organization.  I’m grateful to Wade Linder and Troy Hanson for their roles in this amazing opportunity.”

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brownzacWestwood One Announces Zac Brown-Hosted Labor Day Special.  The name of the Labor Day special is “Workin’ Hard Country” and will feature GRAMMY, ACM, and CMA award-winning artist Zac Brown, who becomes the latest music superstar to front one of Westwood One’s holiday musicwestwood one NEW specials.  WW1 says Brown will gather some of his A-list country friends to salute America’s workers on the four-hour program.  Besides songs from his band,  Brown will also play working songs including “Day Drinking” by Little Big Town, Florida Georgia  Line’s “Round Here,” “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church; “Shiftwork” by Kenny Chesney and George Strait, Keith Urban’s “Where the Blacktop Ends” and  Brooks & Dunn’s “Hard Workin’ Man,” plus more.  The special will include visits from Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church and others to join him and share stories about their pre-fame jobs and their current jobs as artists, musicians, and performers.

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kabrichrandyKabrich: AQH Rating Point Increase Stat Doesn’t Support Voltair’s PPM Effectiveness.  In another blog post from broadcast consultant Randy Kabrich addressing the controversial Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance and Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings methodology, he compares the Total AQH Rating of all stations in the 48 PPM-rated markets (Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday) from both the June 2014 (prior to Voltair) and June 2015 (with an estimated 62.6% of competitive stations in those markets using Voltair units) surveys.  The result is the figure rose by just 0.9 ratings points – 402.2 Total AQH Rating in ’15 versus 401.3 in ’14.  Kabrich goes on to report that “a total of only 390 stations nationwide out of 1407 stations in PPM markets — Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday  — had ANY INCREASE in AQH June 2014-2015 with 600-plus Voltairs sold – and a large number of the increases were caused by facts that can easily be explained and not attributed to Voltair.”  Further, he says even if all 390 stations that saw increases had Voltair units, the breakdown indicates that almost 40% of those stations saw an increase of just 0.2 AQH rating points.  Read Kabrich’s entire blog here.

wnnxLesbianWedding15WNNX, Atlanta Names Winners in Lesbian Wedding Contest.  Atlanta rock outlet WNNX wrapped a weeks-long promotion on Friday (7/24), awarding couple Jennifer and Robyn the grand prize in its lesbian wedding contest.  The WNNX morning show is pictured here in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood with Jennifer and Robyn.  The station says, “After weeks of drama, online voting, twists, angry contestants, angry family members, tons of sponsors and some really interesting radio, Jennifer and Robyn won and were married at The Rock-n-Taco.  The ceremony was performed live on the air, and was streamed on the station’s website as the show interviewed family members and friends throughout the morning.  The winning couple was given wedding rings, a honeymoon on the Monsters of Rock cruise, free wedding photography and video, teeth whitening and a wedding that they’ll never forget.”

warhlogoCool Job Opportunity.  Hubbard Radio St. Louis is looking for a full time morning show co-host to join the “Ricki & Brando Show.”  Work for the best radio company on earth!   You must have a friendly, likable, charismatic personality with strong co-hosting skills.  You must understand how to lead content in a multiple–personality ensemble cast.  Creative approach to topic selection, preparation and execution is a must!  Work closely with the programming and sales teams to grow the company’s revenue and on-air and digital audience.  For more information and to apply, click here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

| July 24, 2015

rlmc logoRadio Claims Victory in SESAC Settlement.  Noting that this is the “first time in SESAC’s 85-year history with radio broadcasters that the performing right organization’s license fees will be subject to determination by a third-party arbitration panel,” the Radio Music License Committee is thrilled with the terms of a settlement agreement that brings an end to almost three years of antitrust litigation.  The RMLC represents the vast majority of the nation’s commercial radio stations.  Highlights of the settlement include: If voluntary agreements on rates can’t be reached, the parties will participate in binding arbitration that will encompass 22-years commencing 2016 and no historic SESAC rates may receive precedential value; SESAC’s rates will be frozen at existing 2015 levels, with no further rate changes until the parties’ negotiations or arbitration are concluded covering rates for the license term 2016 through 2018; SESAC will continue to offer its existing All-Talk Amendment discount of 75%; the scope of rights to be covered under future SESAC licenses will mirror the coverage that traditional operators currently enjoy with SESAC’s competitors (ASCAP and BMI), and SESAC commits to consolidating (as of 2016) its current three separate license structure for over-the-air, HD radio and streaming into a single license; SESAC’s writer and publisher affiliates will have greater ability to license works directly to radio station operators; and the RMLC will be reimbursed by SESAC for the legal fees it incurred in prosecuting the antitrust case against SESAC. RMLC chairman Ed Christian says, “Litigation is always a last resort, but the RMLC felt compelled to file this lawsuit in order to impose some rate-setting parameters upon SESAC that would mirror the antitrust consent decree process that has been in place with ASCAP and BMI for decades and that has achieved equitable license fees for the industry.”  The RMLC was represented by Margaret Zwisler and her team from the Washington firm Latham & Watkins.

cbsradio logoCBS RADIO Announces Market Manager Changes. Taking over for Marc Rayfield at the CBS RADIO Philadelphia cluster as SVP/market manager is current director of sales David Yadgaroff.  Rayfield was recently named market manager for the New York market.  Elsewhere in the company, current Boston SVP/market manager Mark Hannon adds the same duties for Hartford, replacing the retiring Suzanne McDonald.  CBS combines the SVP/market manager post for both Miami and Orlando and appoints Steve Carver, who replaces Joe Bell in Miami and Dave Robbins in Orlando.  They both exit the company.  Director of sales Tony Perlongo is promoted to SVP/ market manager in Las Vegas, taking over for the exiting Jerry McKenna; and Mike Valenzuela rises from VP/director of sales in the Riverside cluster to SVP/market manager, replacing Harvey Wells who’s returning to the Chicago area to be closer to family.

orban logoOrban Addresses Nielsen-Voltair Issue.  Audio processor competitor Orban has been very quiet during the industry-wide discussion about 25-Seven’s Voltair processor but breaks that silence with a press statement released on Thursday (7/23).  The statement says, in part, “Some have argued that Voltair is ‘just another form of audio processing.’  However, we believe that there is an essential and fundamental difference between audio processing (like that done by our Optimods) that increases the opportunity of the Nielsen encoder to insert audibly undetectable watermark tones and processing that directly manipulates the level of the watermark, potentially breaking Nielsen psychoacoustic masking model and allowing the tones to become audible.  Based on their testing, Nielsen concluded that Voltair can degrade perceptual quality.  In an environment where traditional radio is suffering ever-increasing competition from new media, we believe that it is unwise for radio to degrade its audio in an internecine battle whose ultimate winner could be non-broadcast providers.  Because Nielsen is a large, global business that depends on producing credible audience measurements, we expect that it will soon solve any problem (if it actually exists) by making improvements to its encoder.  Accordingly, we have decided not to add processing to Optimods that directly manipulates the Nielsen watermark signal because we expect that any such effort would degrade audio quality and would soon be rendered obsolete by Nielsen’s encoder improvements.  Moreover, we trust the Media Rating Council to thoroughly evaluate any such improvements, as they have already done for the Nielsen PPM system in its current form.  While it is true Orban’s Optimod processors are compatible with Voltair, we urge caution.”

johnsonjohnson15Johnson & Johnson Return to ‘KBULL 93’ in Salt Lake City.  The duo of Tommy (left) and Joe (right) Johnson held down the morning show on country KUBL, Salt Lake City from 1997 through 2011 and is credited with helping build the station into what it is.  Now, they return to the morning drive slot at the Cumulus Media station effective Monday, July 27.  The station says that during their first run on KUBL, they “received an ACM nomination for Large Market Morning Show of the Year, helped raise over $1 million dollars in donations to The Huntsman Cancer Institute and gave away free weddings to hundreds of couples who exchanged vows at McDonald’s drive-thrus, haunted houses and on the floor at half-time during a Utah Jazz game — some of whom are still married!”  For the past four years they’ve hosted mornings at CBS RADIO’s country KMPS, Seattle.

pandoralogoPandora Reports Q2 Numbers; Ad Revenue Up 30% Year-Over-Year.  That figure represents the ad sales revenue comparing the second quarter of 2014 to that of 2015, which totaled $230.9 million.  Pandora reports that local ad revenue rose 67% year-over-year to $58.9 million, representing 21% of total revenue.  As far as listenership is concerned, listener hours were up 5% to 5.3 billion and active listeners rose 4% to 79.4 million.  Looking ahead, Pandora expects third quarter revenue to be in the neighborhood of $310-$315 million and expects to finish 2015 with total revenue of between $1.175 and $1.185 billion.

nuhnrick‘Top 10 Now & Then’ Show Gaining Momentum.  The Rick Nuhn-hosted weekend radio program is at home on adult R&B and rhythmic oldies outlets.  Nuhn recently retired from Concord Music Group where he was senior director of urban music.  The syndicated show – produced by Ron Shapiro (with Ed Mann handling affiliate sales) – is currently heard on such outlets as XHRM, San Diego; KQIE, Riverside; WRRX, Pensacola; WCMG, Florence, Alabama; and KMRJ, Palm Springs, among others.  The show is described as “a countdown show that features the best from yesterday and today, inside the framework of a specific weekly theme.”

blackstoneaudioGot Old Radio Shows? Opportunity to Monetize Content in Your Basement.  One of the largest independent audiobook companies in the world, Blackstone Audio, is looking to expand its product offerings beyond audiobooks into spoken-word, including comedy, opinion pieces, soundtracks (non-musical), old-time radio and TV shows, sports broadcast highlights, and any other forms of spoken-word or subject matter that would be interesting to the audio-listening public.  Blackstone would offer the content owners of recorded audio programs that they choose to license or distribute an arrangement under which the content owners would receive the majority of the net revenue from the sale of their content to the public by Blackstone.  If you have recorded spoken-word content and would be interested in having Blackstone Audio consider it for licensing or distribution contact Larry Harris at talkharris@olypen.com.

NASHBryandance15Luke Bryan Does ‘Watch Me’ Dance on ‘NASH Nights Live.’  Country star and UMG Nashville recording artist Luke Bryan (center) dances with “NASH Nights Live” co-hosts Shawn Parr (left) and Elaina Smith (right) during Thursday night’s program.  The bit was ignited by a fan who asked if Bryan could do the “Watch Me” dance a.k.a. Whip and NaeNae.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

| July 23, 2015

voltair imageNielsen Audio-Voltair Debate Rages On.  The industry is still aflutter with chatter – and quite a few blogs – over Tuesday’s Nielsen Audio webinar in which the ratings giant told clients its tests of Telos Alliance’s Voltair audio processor showed no conclusive evidence that the unit positively impacted the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the embedded codes in any way that could affect ratings.  Although Nielsen did admit that in some circumstances, Voltair did give the watermark a boost that would allow the PPM to pick up more codes.  Broadcasting consultantkabrichrandy Randy Kabrich responded to that conclusion in a recent blog post in which he explained that – due to the U.S. system of Quarter Hour measurement – picking up some extra codes via Voltair which might have gone undetected without it, still would not increase ratings because the Media Rating Council testing done on PPM concluded the measurement system “hears” enough of the codes to get an accurate record of listening.  The Voltair unit has only been in the field for less than a year and it appears there isn’t enough data, available publicly anyway, to produce sound conclusions about whether – or exactly how – the unit affects the audio and the PPM’s reception of it across all radio formats.  Even Telos Alliance doesn’t seem to have all the answers about its product as Kabrich points out in today’s blog post that focuses on contrary opinions about whether certain music “encodes well” for PPM.  Read it here.

leejordanWYMS Lifts Lee to PD. Six-year WYMS, Milwaukee assistant program director Jordan Lee is elevated to program director of the Milwaukee Public Schools-owned/Radio Milwaukee-managed noncommercial triple A outlet. He succeeds Sean Demery, who relocates to Utah, but will work with the station as a consultant. Radio Milwaukee executive director Mary Louise Mussoline comments, “Sean worked very hard for us and set the stage for our continued growth. Jordan has consistently done exceptional work; led the program team in implementing changes; and encouraged excellence from the team. He has beenWYMS developing strong industry contacts and worked with top national bands for our ‘Studio Milwaukee’ on-air shows. Jordan is a rising star.” Lee remarks, “We have done great work over the last eight years and we are making a real difference in the community. I think I can help bring even more listeners to the station, which will help us make an even greater impact in Milwaukee.” The station’s morning drive talent since December 2008, Lee will no longer host a daily show. After consecutive .8 showings in April and May (Nielsen Audio PPM, 6+), WYMS registers a 1.1 in June (#19); it is the first time it reaches at least a one-share (6+) since last July’s 1.0.

More RadioInfo Career Moves.  There’s a new voice on iHeartMedia’s hip hop WJMN, Boston “Jam’n 94.5”vfrankie as Frankie V, a.k.a. Frank Vinci, joins current morning show co-host Ashlee Feldman for AM drive duties.  Frankie V takes over for Ramiro “The Freakin’ Puerto Rican” Torres who exits…..Taryn Daly is promoted at Entercom rocker KISW, Seattle.  She moves from her weekend gig to full-time dalytarynnight jock and social media director.  Daly takes over for Jolene, who recently exited her evening show position after an 11-year stint to pursue opportunities outside the radio business…..At Staradio’s country WXNU, Kankakee, Illinois, midday personality Denny Case is promoted to program director after current PD and PM drive personality Maggi Mayfield announces she’ll leave the station on August 14 to pursue her stand-up career full time…..Night jock Kid Jay adds music director duties to his role with iHeartMedia’s rhythmic CHR KGGI, Riverside, California.

cumulus logoCumulus-Commissioned Study Indicates Radio Advertising Helped Drive Awareness of Amazon Prime Day.  The Ipsos study commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One analyzing how advertising drove awareness of the July 15 Amazon Prime Day was done to “understand how effective advertising and radio is to drive online purchases.”  The study concluded that: 81% of Americans aware of Amazon Prime said they were exposed to some form of advertising for the event; one out of five Americans reported making a purchase during Amazon Prime Day because of advertising; three out of five Amazonamazonprimeday Prime subscribers (18-49) exposed to advertising said they purchased something during Amazon Prime Day; and radio advertising was the most effective at converting awareness into Prime Day purchases when compared to TV and online.  Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase versus TV (39%) and online (48%).  Cumulus and Westwood One chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard comments, “Advertising put Amazon Prime Day on the map, and radio was the most effective at converting awareness into purchases.  The greatest Amazon Prime Day purchases occurred among Millennials, households with children, and those with a full-time job — precisely the profile of the American radio listener.”

dukefm logoKMJO, Fargo Airing ‘DUKE FM’ Country Format.  The classic country format from Envision Networks and Kroeger Media Inc is now heard on Midwest Communications’ KMJO-FM, Fargo as the station re-brands as “104.7 DUKE FM.”  Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy states, “Stars such as George Strait, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson were not getting airplay and furthermore, the legends like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson were without a home on the radio, until now.  ‘DUKE FM at 104.7’ now delivers the massive hits from the legendary artists.”

michaelsnickNick Michaels’ ‘Deep End’ Programs to Air on KRDG, Redding.  New affiliate KRDG, Redding, California adds two show from Nick MichaelsAmerican Voice Corporation.  The weekly “The Deep End With Nick Michaels” and the daily short-form feature “Stories From The Deep End” will begin airing on the Mapleton-owned classic hits station on August 9.

KerrJimPage15iHeartRadio ICONS Series Hosts Jimmy Page.  Rock giant and Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page (left) sits down with WAXQ, New York and iHeartMedia personality Jim Kerr (right) at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York City for a recent edition of the iHeartRadio ICONS.  In celebration of the release of digitally re-mastered editions of Led Zeppelin albums Presence, In Through the Out Door and Coda, Page took part in a Q&A with Kerr and played the first public airing of an alternate take on “When the Levee Breaks” titled, “If it Keeps on Raining,” (which is included on the Coda record).  Photo: The Browyoungs for iHeartRadio.

arlingtonindependentmediaCool Job Opportunity.  Arlington Independent Media seeks a Radio Coordinator for its new low-power FM.  The Radio Coordinator (RC) is responsible for coordinating the activities of WERA, Arlington.  The RC will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the station, will assist the AIM Board of Directors, the WERA/LPFM Committee, and the AIM Executive Director in the long-term and strategic planning for the future health and growth of the station, and will work with the Executive Director and the LPFM/WERA, Facilities, Marketing, and Fundraising Committees to promote the station, solicit programs, raise funds, and seek sponsorships and underwriting. The RC reports to the AIM Operations Manager.  For job requirements and to apply, click here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

| July 22, 2015

nielsen logoNielsen on Voltair and PPM: The Morning After.  Yesterday’s Nielsen Audio webinar with PPM client stations regarding upcoming changes to its PPM technology and the Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance has the industry buzzing.  As you know, Nielsen has been testing the Voltair unit and has concluded that it cannot “support” Voltair, saying it found nothing substantial to show the processor positively affects the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the watermark tone that credits listening.  A number of managers and programmers have subsequently commented anonymously that they remain unconvinced by Nielsen’s research and presentation.  One programmer tells TALKERS, “Their research proved without a doubt that Voltair recorded more listening in certain formats when the PPM was in a noisy environment.  However, they did a flip-flop in their presentation, stating that ‘Voltair’s increased recording of listenership was inconclusive.’  Interestingly, at the same time they announced the rollout of an enhanced and more robust watermark which should be in the field by fall.  If there was not a problem, then why the new watermark?”  But broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich writes in a blog post today in which, in this instance, he defends Nielsen’s response.  He says it’s well known that PPM doesn’t hear all of the codes and because of the 15-minute Quarter Hour ratings method employed in the U.S., it doesn’t need to.  “The Media Rating Council has examined every aspect of the PPM very extensively with their audits…[The] policies for stations to receive credit from the PPM codes were put in place many years ago after years of testing because it is known that the PPM meter misses codes!  And yet, the results are statically valid.  Otherwise no PPM markets would be accredited by the MRC.  And don’t you find it interesting that the MRC has agreed to look at Voltair with stations who have gone to them based on their own observations?  Look at it from the outside.  What do those stations gain?  It is almost as if they have post purchase dissonance and need someone to tell them they made the correct decision.”  Read Kabrich’s interesting blog piece here.

musgraveskaceyDuane 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: Kid Kelly, Vice President of Music Programming at SiriusXM; Todd Cavanah, golden-eared PD at CBS owned WJMK “K-Hits” & WBBM-FM in Chicago; John Marks, director of Country programming for SiriusXM; on-air personality 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; Golden-eared music director Karoline Kramer Gould (also known to her followers as Momma K) at WJCU 88.7 FM; Bill Phipps the golden-eared afternoon personality at WSIG, Mt. Jackson, Virginia “Real Country 96.9;” 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 (7/22) includes such names as: Alessia Cara, Nico & Vinz, Kid Ink, Bebe Rexha, Evie Archer, The Heydaze, Leon Bridges, 5 Seconds of Summer, Calvin Harris, Disciples, Carly Rae Jepsen, Glen Hansard, Sea Of Bees, Bon Jovi, Frank Turner, Five Finger Death Punch, Uncle Ezra Ray, Beck, Keith Richards, Wilco, Sawyer Brown, Striking Matches, Kacey Musgraves, Clare Dunn, Bobby Wills, Kelsea Ballerini, David Nail, Kygo, Trippy Turtle, Henry Fong, Quad City DJs, Ennio Morricone, Bandini, among others. To check out this valuable information, please click here.

scotttony‘Smooth R&B 105.7’ in Dallas Names Tony Scott PM Drive Host. Returning to Texas after 27 years in St. Louis to take on the afternoon drive role at Service Broadcasting’s KRNB, Dallas “Smooth R&B 105.7” is Tony Scott.  He spent 26 years hosting morning drive at iHeartMedia’s KMJM, St. Louis “Majic 100.3” prior to that station’s transition to classic hip hop as “100.3 The Beat.”  In announcing Scott’s arrival, KRNB director of operations George “Geo” Cook says, “Tony is a multi-platform performer with tremendous talent who can engage and captivate audiences with his humor andkrnb logo storytelling.  His delivery is smooth and conversational – and that’s exactly what we were looking for.  With his years of experience, Tony has developed a high media IQ and is very social media savvy, knowing how to leverage the power of each touchpoint.  I am ecstatic that he is now a member of the Service Broadcasting family and an integral part of our incredibly talented Smooth Crew!”  Scott comments, “The opportunity to join KRNB and Service Broadcasting is one that has me excited and proud.  The reputation of Service Broadcasting and its owner, Hymen Childs, is legendary.  Put that with the chance to learn and work with Director of Operations George ‘Geo’ Cook and you really can’t ask for more.”

joynertomTom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage to Be Featured on ‘Hollywood Divas.’  On two upcoming episodes of TVOne’s “Hollywood Divas” (July 22 and 29), The Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage cruise will be featured.  Joyner’s “Party with a Purpose” supports students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities and on the upcoming episodes, cast members Lisa Wu, Elise Neal, Paul Jai Parker, Golden Brooks and guest Shar Jackson share in the experience that thousands of guests flock to annually.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

| July 21, 2015

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Tells Clients it Won’t ‘Support Voltair.’ During today’s subscriber webinar, Nielsen Audio reported that its testing of the audio processor Voltair revealed nothing substantial to indicate the unit positively affects the ability of the PPM units to pick up the watermarked audio signal under normal circumstances.  According to sources taking part in today’s webinar,voltair image Nielsen reports the unit could improve the reception of the watermarks in some cases but it’s difficult to determine if that reflects “true listening.”  The result is that the company says it will not “support Voltair.”  It is stopping short of requiring the Voltair unit be removed from subscribers’ audio chains as Canada’s Numeris ratings agency has done.  It’s not clear from a legal standpoint whether Nielsen could require stations to remove the units in the U.S.  Today’s webinar also addressed improvements to the PPM technology and told subscribers that it is rolling out a new encoding monitor that will be delivered to all subscribers in 2016.

WRDZ“Big” Country News in Indianapolis. In a market where Emmis is already programming WLHK “Country 97.1 – Hank FM,” and Cumulus Media operates WFMS “The Country Station,” iHeartMedia Indianapolis enters the fray with “Indy’s New Hit Country – Big 98.3.” iHeartMedia market president Rick Green comments, “Launching ‘Big 98.3′ is the result of the tremendous popularity of country music in central Indiana. Country fans are looking for an entertaining morning show and aiHeartMedia station that better fits their lifestyle. They want a station they can identify with and call their own. ‘Big 98.3′ is an upbeat, engaging experience, targeting adults who love today’s new country music.” Representative artists on “Big 98.3 – formerly Radio Disney‘s pre-teen WRDZ – include Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Florida-Georgia Line, Jake Owen, Blake Shelton, and Carrie Underwood. After playing roughly 10,000 songs without commercials, the station will introduce Premiere Radio‘s Bobby Bones morning drive program in four weeks (8/17). Based on 6+ numbers in Nielsen Audio‘s latest (June 2015) Indianapolis PPM sweep, country has a 12.2 share, with WLHK garnering a 6.8 (#3) and WFMS 5.4 (#7). The last time WRDZ appeared in print was the “Holiday” 2013 report when it registered a .6 (#21); in March 2013, it reached 1.4 (#17).

westwood one NEWLayoffs Hit Westwood One Staffers as Dial Global Integration Is ‘Complete.’ Though the company is not offering specific numbers, word on the street is that some 50 Westwood One employees working at the Colorado operations have exited Cumulus Media.  Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay says that this is the result of the final integration of the Dial Global 24/7 formats into Westwood One.  “We are now one company…It has taken awhile to fully integrate all of our great assets that we have acquired over the last four years but we are now there.”  WW1 is using talent at its local stations for the 24/7 formats as well with jocks from markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis being heard on the services.  The company says people leaving the Colorado operations will be eligible for openings at Cumulus O&Os.

rayfieldmarcMore CBS RADIO Management Moves. Following on yesterday’s report that Scott Herman is being named chief operating officer for CBS RADIO comes news that his replacement as market manager for New York is Marc Rayfield, who’s been serving as market manager for the company’s Philadelphia stations.  No word yet on who will take over for Rayfield in Philly, though.  Also, thecbsradio company notes that CBS RADIO president of sales Michael Weiss is exiting to “pursue other opportunities” and that the corporate structure is being adjusted.  With that, Baltimore market manager Bob Philips will assume more corporate sales duties but will remain in his post in Baltimore.

greenhaydenHayden Green Named OM for Cumulus Fort Walton Beach-Destin.  Radio programming pro Hayden Green is promoted to operations manager for Cumulus Media’s Fort Walton Beach-Destin operations.  Green is upped to this newly created position from his WZNS “Z96” program director role (which he’ll maintain).  Cumulus RVP Pete DeSimone comments, “Hayden has demonstrated the talent, leadership skills and work ethic needed for this newly created role within our Fort Walton Beach-Destin cluster.  Hayden will work with our team of talented programmers providing the additional oversight needed to help us compete at a higher level and assist in growing the individual brands.  He will also play an important role in maximizing revenue opportunities between sales and programming.”

More RadioInfo Career Moves.  Hot AC  WQAL, Cleveland “Q104.1” has a new morning host as CBS RADIO names Jeff Kurkjian to the morning show role.  Also on the “Q104 Morning Show” will Kurkjian are Aly Tanner and Glenn Anderson…..Radio One names Hunter midday personality at its Indianapolis CHR WNOW “Radio Now 100.9.”  Hunter spent almost nine years in the market at Entercom’s crosstown CHR WZPL…..Frank Kulbertis parts ways with Advantage Systems, Inc., where he was vice president of sales for the company and the Advantage Systems Interactive digital arm.  Kulbertis is leaving to focus on his 14-year old business, Radioactive Sales Development.  He tells RadioInfo that with his firm he’ll “continue to assist radio stations with revenue development through sales training, management consulting and a wide variety of sales initiatives.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallSports Talk Show Host, Author and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Interviewed by Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out.”  Actually, it is more of a startlingly intimate conversation between two old friends than a formal “interview” per se.  WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer returns to the Podcast One weekly international hit “Up Close and Far Out” hosted by RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison for the second installment of an intermittent, ongoing conversation between the two about their days together during the formative years of album rock radio.  This series of conversations between them will appear on the podcast in approximately two-month intervals.  In this latest chapter posted today (7/21), theyneerrichard dredge up personal memories and juicy details about the 10 months they spent together launching and building the progressive rock format at the legendary WLIR, Long Island between 1970 and 1971 – during which period they were catapulted from being obscure 21 year old college students playing beautiful music on a struggling station to becoming well-known personalities and music programmers at one of the leading FM rock outlets in America – WNEW-FM, New York.  They talk about the nature of the times, the emergence of the counter-culture and the challenges they faced in programming a free-form, “underground” station within a highly competitive, contentious, and uncharted environment.  It is a story about drugs, groupies, music, street-cred, politics and generational upheaval. According to Harrison, “Richard successfully broke ground on chronicling some of these colorful, historic events in his landmark book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001), but this new series of candid, uninhibited conversations presented within the context of my podcast draws upon the spontaneous spoken word to really dig up and display the amazing details, color and emotions of those very special, long-gone times.”  This marks the 20th installment of “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison.” The podcast is targeted to an audience described as “media freaks around the world.”  Initial guests include radio’s Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Mark Levin, Thom Hartmann, Ronn Owens, Nick Michaels, Dr Joy Browne and Alan Colmes; music legend Linda Ronstadt; space pioneers Buzz Aldrin and Dr. Alan Stern (of the New Horizons mission); teenage celebrity interviewer Pavlina Osta, techno-biologist Rebecca Costa; cybersecurity expert Steve Weisman as well as leading edge, multimedia journalists Chris Ruddy and Joe Sciacca.  To listen to the entire Harrison/Neer episode, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of RadioInfo.com.

Cool Job Opportunity — Content Marketing & Design Manager.  Westwood One is seeking a well-rounded content marketing and design manager to join our content marketing team.  We’re looking for someone with a proven track record creating and distributing compelling content marketing pieces that rise above the competition, inspire others to take action, and drive lead generation.  The ideal candidate will have a positive attitude, efficient project management skills, pro-active thinking, hustle, and prior experience crafting engaging content marketing campaigns.  Find more information here.