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Smart Audio Report Offers Insight into Smart Speakers

NPR Edison Research
NPR Edison Research
Smart speaker ownership has soared to over 43 million and these devices are creating a distinct audience in terms of user profile and behavior according to new research from "The Smart Audio Report." The report offers, for the first time, a preview into the realities of mainstream use and while revealing opinions about brand activations and messaging within the voice assistant ecosystem.

"First adopters" -- those who have owned a smart speaker device for more than one year -- demonstrate more advanced use of the voice assistant and smart speaker. For example, using it to control home security and other household devices. By contrast, new, "early mainstream" users -- who have owned a smart speaker device for less than one year -- are relying on the technology for a wider range of daily activities including ordering food, making calls, getting traffic reports, researching products, shopping, and even facilitating family/social time:

  • 38% of early mainstream owners say they purchased the device hoping to reduce screen time
  • 47% of early mainstream owners use the smart speaker with other people in their household most of the time
  • 33% of early mainstream owners who have children in the home say they talk to their smart speaker during mealtime
"Voice-activated tools have become part of our daily lives and are bringing dramatic changes to consumer behavior," said NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite. "As the research shows, smart speaker owners are turning off their TVs and closing down their laptops to spend more time listening to news, music, podcasts and books - fueling the demand for more audio content."

The Report surveyed users about their preferences on brand activations of the platform and found that for most users, skills/actions are the preferred method of brand integration with voice assistants as 81% of smart speaker owners would be open to skills from brands. Host-read ads on podcasts, product endorsements, and sponsor or underwriter announcements during public radio are also among the most-preferred formats for audio advertisements.

"As people build daily habits with their smart speakers, there is an opportunity for brands to be a part of people's routines in an entirely new way," said NPR's sponsorship subsidiary National Public Media President/CEO Gina Garrubbo. "We are thrilled to be working with forward-looking brands to experiment in this new space, and data from The Smart Audio Report continues to inform us, our sponsors and the industry as best practices for user-centered experiences on smart speakers emerge."

The Smart Audio Report Spring 2018 release also reveals how across user groups this technology is affecting the way consumers engage with other media. The devices are not only driving more listening, they're quickly becoming a main vehicle for audio consumption.

"In homes that have had smart speakers for at least a year, they are now the number one device for consuming audio. This has profound ramifications for anyone in media and advertising. For millions of Americans, smart speakers are truly the new radio," said Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster.

Shifts in media consumption habits are particularly pronounced among new smart speaker owners. 29% of early mainstream owners say their smart speaker is replacing time spent with TV. 28% of early mainstream owners listened to a podcast on their smart speaker in the last week.

News is already a significant driver of smart speaker use for first adopters and early mainstream users. 37% of all smart speaker owners listened to at least two hours of news on their smart speaker in the last week. According to the Spring 2018 release, there is demand for even more news on the platform, and it's a capability that's driving sales. 73% of all smart speaker owners named "news and current affairs" as the spoken-word topic they'd be most interested in listening to on a smart speaker. 3-in-5 of all smart speaker owners who plan to buy another smart speaker, want to buy it in order to listen to news in more rooms of their home.

The Spring 2018 release from NPR and Edison Research is available now at npr.org/smartaudio.

Schatz, Thune Introduce READI Act to Improve EAS

U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and John Thune (R-SD) have introduced the Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act of 2018. The bipartisan legislation would ensure that relevant emergency alerts are delivered on radio, TV and mobile phones. It also explores new ways of alerting the public through online video and audio streaming services, track and study false alerts when they occur, and improve the way states plan for emergency alerts.

"When a missile alert went out across Hawaii in January, some people never got the message on their phones, while others missed it on their TVs and radios. Even though it was a false alarm, the missile alert exposed real flaws in the way people receive emergency alerts," said Senator Schatz, lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. "Our bill fixes a number of important problems with the system responsible for delivering emergency alerts. In a real emergency, these alerts can save lives so we have to do everything we can to get it right."

"Emergency alerts save lives but management mistakes can erode their credibility and effectiveness. The READI Act implements lessons learned from past incidents and recognizes that emergency protocols must change along with communication technology," said Senator Thune, Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The READI Act would:

  • Ensure more people receive emergency alerts by eliminating the option to opt out of receiving certain federal alerts, including missile alerts, on mobile phones;
  • Require active alerts issued by the President or FEMA to be repeated. Currently, alerts on TV or radio may only be played once;
  • Explore establishing a system to offer emergency alerts to audio and video online streaming services, such as Netflix and Spotify;
  • Encourage State Emergency Communications Committees to periodically review and update their State Emergency Alert System Plans, which are often out of date;
  • Compel FEMA to create best practices for state, tribal, and local governments to use for issuing alerts, avoiding false alerts, and retracting false alerts if they occur, as well as for alert origination training and plans for officials to contact each other and federal officials during emergencies; and
  • Establish a reporting system for false alerts so the FCC can track when they occur and examine their causes.
In addition to the READI Act, Senator Schatz introduced the ALERT Act earlier this year. The legislation, which passed the Senate last month, would give the federal government the primary responsibility of alerting the public of a missile threat.

NAB Executive VP/Communications Dennis Wharton said in a statement, "NAB applauds Sen. Schatz on the introduction of the READI Act, which would strengthen our nation's Emergency Alert System by improving coordination between federal and local authorities in the face of an imminent threat, and ensuring the timely and accurate transmittal of information to the public. Local radio and TV broadcasters take seriously our lifeline role as ‘first informers' when disaster strikes, providing vital information to help keep communities safe. We look forward to working with Sen. Schatz and his colleagues in Congress to improve upon the accuracy and reliability of emergency alerts."

Radio Formats Line Up for Annual Summertime Bump

The release of Nielsen's June PPM results shows how audiences are shifting their radio listening behavior now that summer is in full swing. The ratings firm says seasonality plays a large role in how Americans use radio, and format preferences always shift during the warmest months of every summer. A number of factors drive this shift, including work (and commuting) schedules, the summertime music cycle and listeners seeking the musical vibe to match their seasonal mindset.

Nielsen has documented the history of these behavior shifts since the inception of electronic audience measurement (PPM) seven years ago. And with the month-to-month cadence of ratings results, listeners have become accustomed over time to the ebbs and flows of a handful of major music formats during the middle of the year, namely, for Classic Hits, Classic Rock and Country radio.

Looking back at the past six summers, three formats (along with Pop CHR) have seen the most uplift in audience share during June, July and August compared with the first five months of the year. This yearly accounting has come to be known as the race to be the "format of the summer," and since 2014, only Classic Hits and Classic Rock have won the title... both taking the crown in two year stretches.

Format Of The Summer History
(Six-year trend: percent increase in 6+ listener share during summer)

  • 2012: Pop CHR (8.5%)
  • 2013: Country (8.8%)
  • 2014: Classic Hits (10%)
  • 2015: Classic Hits (9.7%)
  • 2016: Classic Rock (5.1%)
  • 2017: Classic Rock (8%)
The June 2018 book shows the first opportunity to handicap this summer's race among the top music formats nationwide. The July and August surveys will complete the picture, but for now, Nielsen is using June as a leading indicator for how audiences shifted their habits once Memorial Day was in the rearview mirror (the June PPM survey covered May 24 through June 20).

Radio listenership in June was good for both Classic Rock and Classic Hits, which comes as no surprise considering that these two categories have each won format of the summer honors twice in the past four years. This year, listenership for both formats is pacing ahead of the average of the first five months of this year, but Classic Hits continued to break records in June. The format's share of audience among persons 6+ was 5.9% in June, the highest mark for Classic Hits we've ever recorded.

Country is also performing well this year, as tune-in to this format has been stronger than in the past few years. You have to wind the clock back five years, to the summer of 2013, to find the last time Country went on such a warm weather hot streak.

iHM Announces UConn IMG Radio Network Broadcast Team

iHeartMedia Sports WUCS-FM (97.9 ESPN)/Hartford has announced the UConn IMG Radio Network Broadcast Team, effective August 1. The team will include Executive Producer and voice of UConn Women's Basketball Bob Joyce and Mike Crispino as the play-by-play voice of UConn Football and Men's Basketball. Crispino is previously known for his work on the MSG Network as the radio voice for the NBA's New York Knicks and covering the NHL Rangers, New York Giants and college football broadcasts.

Wayne Norman will return for his 37th season as the color analyst for UConn Football and Men's Basketball along with Debbie Fiske, a former UConn Women's Basketball player, who will return for her 7th season as the color analyst for UConn Women's Basketball. Adam Giardino, UConn alumni, will join the team as the sideline reporter for UConn Football and color analyst for UConn Hockey. Former Husky athlete Randy LaVigne will round out the UConn IMG Radio Network Broadcast Team.

"I couldn't be more excited for this new era at 97.9 ESPN," said iHeartMedia's Hartford Region President Steve Honeycomb. "We just got bigger and stronger today, adding an all-star broadcast team of UConn IMG Radio Network vets with impressive new talent. The countdown is on to the first game of the season and we're excited for the fans in UConn Nation to hear their team on 97.9 ESPN and across the state on the UConn IMG Radio Network starting this August."

"We are pleased to have our broadcast teams in place as we move closer to our 2018-19 seasons and begin our exciting new relationship with iHeartRadio and ESPN," said UConn Director of Athletics David Benedict. "Bob Joyce, Debbie Fiske and Wayne Norman will return, with the addition of former Husky athlete Randy LaVigne, to continue to provide the outstanding game coverage we have come to expect. And we are very happy to welcome Mike Crispino to the UConn IMG Radio Network."

UConn Athletics is a part of the UConn IMG Radio Network which consists of eight stations that provide statewide coverage, anchored by WUCS-FM as the flagship station for UConn Athletics games.

Entravision Appoints Liliana Aristizabal SVP Eastern Sales

Liliana Aristizabal
Liliana Aristizabal
Entravision Communications Corporation has appointed Liliana Aristizabal as Senior Vice President of Eastern Region Sales, effective immediately. Aristizabal will be based in New York, and oversee Entravision's national spot TV, radio and Entravision Solutions on the East Coast.

"Liliana is a proven executive who brings more than 20 years of experience in media sales, including managing sales teams in New York, Los Angeles and Miami," said Claudia Macias, EVP National Sales of Entravision. "We are delighted to have her join our team and look to her leadership to highlight our media platform and its capabilities among advertisers in the East Coast."

Prior to joining Entravision, Aristizabal was Vice President, General Sales Manager at LBI Media. Before LBI Media, she served as Vice President of Sales at NBC Universal-Telemundo holding several positions in New York and Miami.

"The East Coast advertising market is dynamic and full of potential to leverage Entravision's traditional and digital media assets which have a strong reach and connection to Hispanic consumers," said Aristizabal. "I'm excited to embark on this new journey with Entravision and build upon its success in the East Coast region."

Marc Kaye Stepping Down as Hubbard Radio Seattle VP/MM

Marc Kaye
Marc Kaye
Hubbard Radio/Seattle Vice President/Market Manager Marc Kaye has announced that he will be stepping down after 45 years in the broadcast industry. "I promised myself that when I hit the 45 year mark in the great business of radio, I was going to get a bit selfish and consider that milestone was enough to prove I have given it my all. I am looking forward to spending a whole lot more time with my wife and see what new challenges and chapters I can write as I move forward," said Kaye.

Kaye's radio career began in 1973 when he joined Susquehanna Broadcasting's WGBB/Long Island, as an account executive. In his eight-year run at WGBB, Kaye was recognized for his talent and leadership, moving up the ranks from AE to Local Sales Manager and General Sales Manager. In 1979, at the age of 27, he was named General Manager.

From 1981 to 1996 Kaye led radio stations in St. Petersburg, Houston, Seattle, Tampa and Los Angeles for companies like Harte-Hanks, Westinghouse, Gannett and Jacor. In 1997, he teamed with Sandusky Radio to manage its five-station cluster in Seattle. In 2013, the stations were sold to Hubbard and he remained as VP/Market Manager.

"Marc's broadcast career has been his dream come true," said Hubbard Radio President and CEO Drew Horowitz. "It has been my good fortune to have had the opportunity to work with Marc as he is the consummate broadcast professional. Wishing him all the best in his next chapter."

Hubbard Chair Ginny Morris commented, "Having the opportunity to work with Marc Kaye has been one of the great delights of my career. Marc's positive spirit, creativity and passion for life made working with him a great joy. Marc will be very hard to replace but we are very happy that he will stay in his position through the transition and will help us find his replacement."

iHM/Chicago Region Names Steve Vicenteno VP/Automotive

Steve Vicenteno
Steve Vicenteno
iHeartMedia's Chicago Region names Steve Vicenteno as VP/Automotive, effective immediately. Most recently, he served as Sales Director for Chicago Tribune Media Group where he held various sales and account management positions during his tenure with the company. A Chicago native, he also previously worked at CareerBuilder and Hoy Publishing in media sales before joining the Chicago Tribune Media Group in 2012. He is graduate of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

"Steve has a successful results-driven track record," said iHeartMedia Chicago Region President Matt Scarano. "His automotive sales management expertise will be a tremendous asset to our region."

"We are extremely excited to bring Steve to iHeartMedia," added Chicago Region Senior VP/Sales Adam Kurtz. "His stellar reputation and wealth of media and auto experience will be a benefit to our team as well as our clients."

"I'm really excited to join the team at iHeartMedia's Chicago Region," said Vicenteno. "I'm thankful for the opportunity to bring my media and auto sales experience to such a reputable and vibrant organization. I'm ready to get started."

Rising Through The Ranks Scholarship Winners Announced

Scholarship winners for this year's Rising Through the Ranks Seminar, presented by Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI and Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW), have been selected. Listed below are twenty-three recipients attending this year's seminar, August 15-16, at the BMI Nashville office. This year's course will focus primarily on management and sales techniques including problem solving, recruiting, difficult conversations, hiring and firing, personal brand building and the role of today's radio manager.

Featured speakers include: iHeartMedia's Hartley Adkins, Entercom's Lindsay Cerajewski Broadcast Radio SVP Joe D'Angelo, RAB's Erica Farber, Radio One's Brandeis C. Hall, Media Staffing Network's Laurie Kahn, The Mesnik Group's Denyse Mesnik and Hubbard Broadcasting's Ginny Morris, among others. 2018 Scholarship Recipients

Stephanie Blumenthal
Entercom, Dallas, TX

Angelique Brown
iHeartMedia, Norfolk, VA

Brandy Carter
Entercom, New Orleans, LA

Marta DeLisi
Beasley Media Group, Wilmington, DE

Amy Foxx
Leighton Broadcasting, Winona, MN

Sandie Fulks
Rich Broadcasting, Rigby, ID

Renee Hartman
Katz Radio Group, Chicago, IL

Lindsay High
Entercom, San Francisco, CA

Allyson Hillman
Beasley Media Group, Estero, FL

Karalee Misner
Neuhoff Media, Decatur, IL

Colleen O'Brien
Bonneville, KIRO Radio, Seattle, WA

Rachel Porter
Cox Media Group, Houston, TX

Louisiana Ricome
Cox Media Group, Houston, TX

Natalie Redding
Townsquare Media, Grand Junction, CO

Kacey Rodgers
Entercom, Chattanooga, TN

Kalie Schuster
Leighton Broadcasting, St. Cloud, MN

Cali Scully
ADX Communications, Pensacola, FL

Amy Stroud
Forcht Broadcasting, Somerset, KY

Lisa Wall
Emmis Communications, Indianapolis, IN

Kelsey Walsh
Cumulus Media, Bethlehem, PA

Amanda White
Impact Radio Group, Nampa, ID

Carolyn Whitman
iHeartMedia, New York, NY

Rebecca Yang
iHeartMedia, Greenfield, WI

NYMRAD Publishes its Q2 2018 State of the Market Report

New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) has released its second quarter 2018 State of the New York Market Report. The analysis of the New York marketplace is designed to help advertisers understand radio's impact on consumers and its role in the local advertising landscape. The report assesses the New York area economy, including business drivers, and provides up-to-date consumer research on music consumption, radio usage and more.

In addition to the New York market, this quarter's report focuses on the Back to School aspect of the summer season. "Back to School shopping starts early in the season, and the typical shopper revisits stores multiple times. Radio advertising presents a huge opportunity to mass target these shoppers, both for online and in-store promotions, ahead of the school year", says NYMRAD's Executive Director, Debbie Beagan.

The NYMRAD State of the Market Report provides specific business trends as well as local information from a variety of sources including Nielsen Audio, NJ Business Magazine, Labor Statistics for the New York City Region, Media Monitors and more. Click here to view the entire report.

YEA Networks' Simple Booth Platform Hits 400 Mark

YEA Networks announces that Simple Booth, its next-generation platform for one-touch social sharing of live events through digital photo booth experiences, has hit 400 radio station mark with the recent addition of Saga Communications' six-station radio group in Charleston, SC and additional units in multiple markets. Simple Booth's affiliates include 11 of the Top 25 Markets, and 7 of the Top 10 Markets.

Simple Booth's HALO app and hardware create a premium, fun and easy-to-use photo booth experience that draws crowds and delivers social media buzz at station events, remotes and other customer marketing activations. Simple Booth enables radio stations to affordably and easily create a custom branded experience for their advertisers and listeners and deliver data capture to increase leads and build databases.

Steven Crumbley, Operations Manager, Saga Communications-Charleston, SC, said: "We are looking forward to being the first in our market to have Simple Booth. It's going to be the best marketing tool a station could have."

iHeartMedia Announces New Market Leadership Structure

iHeartMedia announces that four of its Region Presidents have been elevated to Division Presidents of the iHeartMedia Markets Group, effective immediately. Linda Byrd, Scott Hopeck, Brian Olson and Jeff Tyler will expand their current Region President roles to include Division President responsibilities -- joining current Division Presidents Kevin LeGrett and Tom McConnell -- and will report to Greg Ashlock, President of the iHeartMedia Markets Group.

"With the substantial lead we have as the number one audio company in America, we have built a one-of-kind multiplatform company that offers our advertising partners benefits, driven by our unique first party and attribution data, that until now they have only found in digital," said Ashlock. "As we continue to transition these capabilities from our national platforms to the market level, this new leadership structure will allow us to accelerate how we import and export innovation."

"These solutions are in response to the needs articulated by our advertising partners," he continued. "We now have solutions for the largest all the way to the smallest of our partners which will enable us to continue to both expand our platforms and build products that only a company of our scale can accomplish."

iHeartMedia also announced that in addition to his Division President responsibilities, LeGrett has been named Executive Vice President of Operations for the Markets Group, reporting to Ashlock.

2018 NAB Marconi Radio Award Finalists Announced

Marconi Awards
Marconi Awards
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) announced the finalists for the 2018 NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. Stations in Houston, Denver, Dallas, Dayton and Jacksonville were nominated for Legendary Station. The winners will be announced September 27 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner and Show held during the 2018 Radio Show in Orlando.

KKBQ-FM, Houston, TX
KOA-AM, Denver, CO
WBAP-AM, Dallas, TX
WHIO-AM, Dayton, OH
WOKV FM, Jacksonville, FL

Dan Patrick, Premiere Networks
Delilah, Premiere Networks
Raul Molina, Carla Medrano and Andres Maldonado, Univision Radio
Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks
Sean Hannity, Premiere Networks

Angie Martinez, WWPR-FM, New York, NY
Bob Stroud, WDRV-FM, Chicago, IL
Ebro Darden, WQHT-FM, New York, NY
Felger & Massarotti, WBZ-FM, Boston, MA
Kimmie Tee, Tony Sculfield and Antoine Davis, KBLX-FM, San Francisco, CA

Brooke & Jubal , KQMV-FM, Seattle, WA
Dori Monson, KIRO-FM, Seattle, WA
Jack Harris, WFLA-AM, Tampa, FL
Joe Kelly, WDBO-FM, Orlando, FL
Rich Jones, WOKV FM, Jacksonville, FL

Bill Barrett, Tim Fox & Tracy Berry, KKNU-FM, Eugene, OR
Brent Johnson, WTCB-FM, Columbia, SC
Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX-FM, Tyler, TX
Pat Kerrigan, KSRO-AM, Santa Rosa, CA
Scoot, WWL-FM, New Orleans, LA

Brian Byers, WSOY-AM, Decatur, IL
Chris and Rosie, WUSQ-FM, Winchester,
VA Frito and Katy, KNDE-FM, College Station, TX
Scotty and Catryna, KCLR-FM, Columbia, MO
Todd Haugen, KBHP-FM, Bemidji, MN

KNX-AM, Los Angeles, CA
KTCK-FM, Dallas, TX
WBEB-FM, Philadelphia,
PA WQHT-FM, New York, NY
WSB-AM, Atlanta, GA

KXL-FM, Portland, OR
WDBO-FM, Orlando, FL
WDUV-FM, St. Petersburg, FL
WKTI-FM, Milwaukee, WI
WSOC-FM, Charlotte, NC

KSRO-AM, Santa Rosa, CA
WEZN-FM, Milford, CT
WHKO-FM, Dayton, OH
WMGQ-FM, Somerset, NJ
WRVA-AM, Richmond, VA

KFGO-AM, Fargo, ND
KVOX-FM, Fargo, ND
KWYO-AM, Sheridan, WY
WFRE-FM, Fredrick, MD
WWUS-FM, Sugarloaf Key, FL

KRWM-FM, Seattle, WA
KSTP-FM, St. Paul, MN
WMEE-FM, Fort Wayne, IN
WRCH-FM, Farmington, CT
WSHE-FM, Chicago, IL

KNDE-FM, College Station, TX
KTXY-FM, Columbia, MO
WKZL-FM, Greensboro, NC
WPST-FM, Princeton, NJ

KRTH-FM, Los Angeles, CA
WMMO-FM, Orlando, FL
WOGL-FM, Philadelphia, PA
WPBG-FM, Peoria, IL
WXGL-FM, St. Petersburg, FL

KCLR-FM, Columbia, MO
WBBS-FM, Syracuse, NY
WUBE-FM, Cincinnati, OH
WWKA-FM, Orlando, FL
WYCT-FM, Pensacola, FL

KRMG-FM, Tulsa, Oklahoma
KYW-AM, Philadelphia, PA
WGN-AM, Chicago, IL
WKXW-FM, Trenton, NJ
WTOP-FM, Washington, DC

KHJK-FM, Rocklin, CA
WEEM-FM, Pendleton, IN
WPSC-FM, Wayne, NJ
WUFT-FM, Gainesville,
FL WWOZ-FM, New Orleans, LA

KKLA-FM, Los Angeles, CA
KLTY-FM, Dallas, TX
KNWI-FM, West Des Moines, IA
KPWJ-FM, College Station, TX
WFMV-FM, Columbia, SC

WBAB-FM, Long Island, NY
WMMR-FM, Philadelphia, PA
WPLR-FM, Connecticut, CT
WRIF-FM, Detroit, MI
WRLT-FM, Nashville, TN

KLOL-FM, Houston, TX
KLVE-FM, Los Angeles, CA
KLZT-FM, Austin, TX
WKAQ-AM, Houston, TX
WYUU-FM, Tampa, FL

WBZ-FM, Boston, MA
WEEI-FM, Boston, MA
WIP-FM, Philadelphia, PA
WMFS-FM, Memphis, TN
WXOS-FM, St. Louis, MO

WFXC-FM, Raleigh, NC
WKYS-FM, Washington, DC
WVKL-FM, Virginia Beach, VA
WWPR-FM, New York, NY
WZFX-FM, Fayetteville, NC

Boomer Esiason Signs Off From WWO Broadcast Booth

Boomer Esiason
Boomer Esiason
Veteran sports announcer and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason has decided not to return as color analyst for Westwood One's NFL broadcasts after 18 years in the "Monday Night Football" booth. "It has been an honor to be a member of the Westwood One NFL broadcast team for the last 18 years," said Esiason. "I am proud to have delivered the calls for some of the most iconic Monday Night and Super Bowl moments in the history of the NFL."

He continued, "With my continuing busy schedule during the NFL season, including my daily NYC-based morning drive radio show, 'The NFL Today' and 'Inside the NFL,' I thought the timing was right for me to step away. I would like to thank my broadcast partners in the booth who have made the job enjoyable and fulfilling. Also, I would like to thank Westwood One's senior management and sales force, who, over the years, were instrumental in providing on-air support for the Boomer Esiason Foundation."

Since the 2001-02 NFL season, Esiason has been the lead color analyst in the Westwood One booth alongside play-by-play partners including Kevin Harlan, Marv Albert, and Howard David. Last year's Super Bowl LII marked Esiason's 18th Super Bowl in the booth for Westwood One and 19th overall (ABC color analyst for Super Bowl XXXIV). With that feat, Esiason has broadcast more Super Bowls than any other announcer in NFL history.

The East Islip, NY-native also served in dual on-air roles during five Super Bowls (XXXVIII, XLI, XLIV, XLVII and L), working both for Westwood One and CBS Sports Television simultaneously, an unprecedented broadcast achievement.

Esiason also currently serves as a lead studio analyst for CBS television's pregame, halftime and post-game program, "The NFL Today," and co-host on WFAN radio's weekday morning program, "Morning Show with Boomer and Gio." He is also is a member of Showtime's "Inside the NFL" team.

Entercom Relaunches Fresh 102.7 as WNEW (New 102.7)/NY

Entercom will relaunch of Fresh 102.7 as NEW 102.7 FM in New York, but continue its current Hot AC format. The change is effective immediately.

"This is an exciting move that underscores our commitment to offer listeners in New York a top rated content and music experience," said Susan Larkin, Regional President, Market Manager, Entercom New York. "Feedback tells us that New Yorkers are looking for a Hot AC station that can take them through their workday, and we know NEW 102.7 will deliver."

Additional announcements regarding the new programming lineup will be made shortly.

Indianapolis Radio Legend Eagan Announces Retirement

Bernie Eagan
Bernie Eagan
Bernie Eagan, a mainstay on Indianapolis airwaves for nearly four decades, has announced his retirement, effective July 20. "Since Bernie joined Emmis, he's hosted nearly every daypart on two stations, served as the Music Director and Assistant Program Director of 97.1 WENS, and as importantly, served as an inspiration to us all," said Emmis/Indianapolis VP/Market Manager Bob Richards.

Eagan started at Emmis in 1981 on WENS-FM (Lite Rock 97.1), which is now Country 97.1 HANK FM. His first day on the air was July 11, 1981. In 2002, he became the morning radio personality on Soft Rock B105.7 and later moved to afternoons.

Eagan was recently selected by the Indiana Broadcasters Association to be inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame. He will receive that honor this November.

WWFD 820 AM Becomes First All-Digital AM Station

In Washington DC, WWFD 820 AM The Gamut will be the first full time, all-digital AM radio station in the U.S. In an effort to keep up with the ever-evolving demand for digital, The Gamut will be turning off its analog signal and will no longer be accessible through regular AM radio beginning today, Monday, July 16 at noon. This announcement comes as a result of a collaborative effort between The Gamut and HD Radio, an Xperi Corporation brand, to give AM broadcasters parity in the car dashboard with FM HD Radio, satellite and internet streaming, among others.

"My belief is that AM needs to start trending in this direction," said Dave Kolesar, the station's engineer and program director. "We're excited to be doing this extremely innovative project that has tremendous potential to make AM much more viable to distribute all formats."

"Since the launch of HD Radio technology, Xperi has been committed to serving the current and future needs of terrestrial radio broadcasters," said Joe D'Angelo, SVP broadcast radio, Xperi. "Hubbard's decision to convert to all-digital operations illustrates the industry's continued commitment to over-the-air broadcasting and a long future for broadcast radio. With twenty percent of the vehicles on the road in the listening area equipped with an HD Radio receiver, the time couldn't be better for an all-digital trial."

The conversion to all-digital is primarily expected to provide listeners with better sound quality and include new display features such as artist name, song title and even album artwork.

Over the past few decades, issues like poor sensitivity and technical upkeep, quality of receivers and narrow audio bandwidth have contributed to the steady decrease in AM radio listenership. On July 6, The Gamut received an Experimental Authorization from the FCC to broadcast their AM station exclusively in digital.

This conversion to all-digital now opens the door to a new audience for The Gamut and is an opportunity for an enhanced in-vehicle AM experience.

The Gamut will still be accessible to listeners in Frederick, Maryland without HD Radio, who can find the station on regular analog FM at 94.3 FM.

Entravision Appoints Rodrigo Margain VP/S&BD Mexico

Entravision Communications appoints Rodrigo Margain as VP/Sales & Business Development Mexico, effective immediately. Based in Mexico City, Margain serves as the business unit head for the Mexican territory and is responsible for Mexico-based clients investing in Entravision owned or affiliated media platforms in the U.S.

"We are delighted to have Rodrigo join our team and look to grow our client base and best serve our stakeholders with a solid presence in Mexico City," said Entravision EVP/National Sales Claudia Macias. "Entravision has a powerful communications platform for Mexican brands targeting the Latino and U.S. markets. This is an optimal time to have Rodrigo continue to strengthen our business unit in Mexico and showcase our assets to existing and prospective partners."

"With more than a decade in Mexico's advertising and media industry, I have built a broad base of experience across the traditional and digital media market. In my new position, I'm excited to join Entravision's highly talented team and represent its extensive media assets and unique abilities to connect businesses and consumers," added Margain.

Prior to joining Entravision, Margain was the Commercial Director at Cinepolis, a Mexican chain of movie theaters. Before Cinepolis, he was Commercial TV and Digital Vice President at Fox Television Group. He also held positions at Telefonica Movistar, View Monitor, Pegaso PCS, S.A. de C.V., and others.

Changes & Moves
Rachel Viggiano
Rachel Viggiano
iHeartMedia announced today that Rachel "Rach" Viggiano will host Middays for Q102 Philly effective immediately. Viggiano will broadcast weekdays More

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WBZ-FM/Boston: Today marked a historic day for Boston's home for sports as WBZ-FM/98.5 The Sports Hub began broadcasting its weekday shows live from the station's brand new state of the art Beasley Media Boston studio in Dorchester, MA. Pictured: WBZ-FM 98.5/The Sports Hub's Mike Felger, Marshall Hook and Matt McCarthy.