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WKKV/Milwaukee Names Reggie Brown as Program Director


Reggie Brown
Reggie Brown

iHeartMedia appoints veteran air personality Reggie Brown as Program Director for Urban WKKV-FM (V100.7) Milwaukee, effective immediately. In addition, the 21-year station vet will continue to air in afternoons. He previously served as V100's Assistant PD and Music Director and will report to Senior Vice President of Programming Kerry Wolfe.

"Reggie Brown continues to be the voice of the urban community in Milwaukee and we couldn't be happier to have him lead V100.7 to new heights," said Wolfe.

"I'm thrilled to lead the V100.7 team," added Brown. "I'm excited to continue to bring quality programming and thriving events to our Milwaukee community while continuing to entertain our audience in the afternoons."

NuVoodoo: COVID-19 Topics Listeners Most Interested In


NuVooDoo
NuVooDoo

NuVoodoo Media Services' ongoing national study to track concern about the spread of COVID-19 and media usage amid the Coronavirus outbreak reveals the topics that radio listeners are most interested in hearing about on their favorite FM music radio stations. The data was collected on March 30 and 31 through over 2,800 interviews in markets across the U.S. with persons 16-54. The top five responses given were: 1) Number of cases around your area; 2) New orders and restrictions from local authorities; 3) Businesses that are open, but helping to keep customers safe; 4) Local people who have COVID-19 (how did they get it?) and 5) Getting the government help you deserve.

Executive VP/Research Insights Leigh Jacobs said, "In structuring the interview parameters, we pointed it at the information music radio listeners would want from the FM music station they listen to most. In building content, stations should consider this ranking. While the number of cases in their area and new orders from local authorities MUST be front and center, there's a wide range of other content of interest to huge swaths of listeners."

President/CEO Carolyn Gilbert added, "FM music radio stations can attract and hold listeners in this time of uncertainty in a very fluid and emotionally charged environment by providing them with timely information their listeners say they most want and need. The concerns people most expressed their interest in hearing about ran the gamut of topics - from basic facts about area COVID-19 cases, new orders and restrictions from local authorities, and information about businesses that are open and helping to keep customers safe, to resources and ideas for making ends meet, working at home, and keeping kids home from school entertained."

She added, "Across the board, FM music radio has a vital opportunity to serve listeners with lifesaving information and build listenership and loyalty in the process. Radio has always risen to the challenges in good and bad times, and we hope stations and the communities they serve will benefit from this new data."

As reported by NuVoodoo earlier, its separate 7-day sample of over 4,000 persons shows only 20% are still going to jobs outside their homes, while a 36% plurality are working from home and nearly a quarter are laid-off at home. And radio is there for all groups - especially the work-from-home force - where 39% are listening more to radio than they did before the outbreak. In addition to the 39% who are listening more to radio this week, a significant majority is listening as much as they ever did.

Self-reported usage is up across all the media types NuVoodoo explored, including 20% of respondents saying they are listening more to the radio than before the outbreak.

The information from NuVoodoo's ongoing national study is updated regularly and freely available at https://nuvoodoo.com/covid-19-media-data/

Report: Layoffs Hit Entercom/Chicago, Philly Over Coronavirus


Entercom
Entercom

At least eight air personalities and one Program Director were among those ousted by Entercom/Chicago on Thursday reports, Chicago media columnist Robert Feder. They included Classic Hip-Hop WBMX-FM midday host Diana Steele, Country WUSN-FM afternoon talent Mike Kasper and CHR WBBM-FM afternoon host Eric Tyler. Feder says Sports/Talk WSCR-AM took the biggest hit, losing midday co-host Connor McKnight, evening and weekend talent Julie DiCaro, reporter David Schuster, producer and podcast host Rick Camp and freelance weekend talent Maggie Hendricks. Also out is WUSN-FM (US99) Program Director Kenny Jay.

According to Feder, employees making more than $50,000 were given pay cuts of 10 to 20 percent. Plus, Entercom CEO David Field's salary was reduced by 30 percent.

"We must take hard but necessary actions to ensure that we endure the crisis and emerge as a strong, healthy and competitive company," said Field. "I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances."

Additionally, Kevin Kinkead of CrossingBoard.com reports that WTDY-FM Casey Reed morning host Casey Reed, B101.1 midday talent Andrea Duffy, WIP Marketing Director Cindy Webster, WIP Promotions Director Bryan Cole, KYW Marketing Director Dan Fein, WIP update anchor Sue Schilling and WIP-KYW update anchor Joe Altomonte are are out at Entercom/Philadelphia.

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Benztown Offers Audio Tribute for Legendary Bill Withers


Benztown Bill Withers Tribute
Benztown Bill Withers Tribute

Sad to report that Bill Withers, known for the 1970s songs "Ain't No Sunshine," "Use Me" and "Lean on Me," has died from heart complications. He was 81. The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died Monday, March 30. Benztown is offering an audio tribute to the singer, songwriter and soul icon. The audio tribute is available at: https://soundcloud.com/benztownradio/bill-withers-audio-tribute.

The Benztown audio tribute to Bill Withers was produced by Scott Mayton, written by Bill Royal and voiced by Sean Andre.

2020 CMB Station of the Year Finalists Announced


Christian Music Broadcasters
Christian Music Broadcasters

Christian Music Broadcasters has announced this year's finalist for Station of the Year. Radio outlets began submitting their entries online earlier this year along with nominations for the Community Service Award, the Industry Achievement Award, and the Rich Mullins Artist Impact Award. The CMB Station of the Year Awards will be presented during Momentum 2020.

Here's are the finalists:

Major Market

  • KCBI/Dallas - Fort Worth
  • KPVR/St. Louis
  • KTIS/Minneapolis
Large Market
  • KJNW/Kansas City
  • KSOS/Las Vegas
  • WCVO/Columbus
Medium Market
  • KJTH/Ponca City
  • WNWC/Madison
  • WRVL/Roanoke - Lynchburg
Small Market
  • KFNW/Fargo
  • KKJM/St. Cloud
  • WKNZ/Salisbury-Ocean City

FCC Opens Comments to Allow OTA Radio to Add Geo-Targeting


GEO Broadcast Solutions
GEO Broadcast Solutions

The FCC is requesting comments on the petition filed by GeoBroadcast Solutions on March 13 seeking a rule change that would permit radio broadcasters to air geo-targeted programming, including emergency alerts, news and advertising on a voluntary basis. The technology, called ZoneCasting, has been in development by GeoBroadcast Solutions since 2011.

Members of the public can go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings and enter proceeding number RM-11854 to file a comment of any type. The process requires that all comments be composed in a .doc or .pdf format that can be uploaded on the site.

"We encourage the radio industry, as well as emergency responders, and the small business community to show the FCC their support for our rule change proposal, in order to improve the technology afforded to radio broadcasters and to provide services and communications for the public good," said GeoBroadcast Solutions CTO Bill Hieatt.

The rule GeoBroadcast seeks to change relates to FM boosters, and no changes to the FCC's rules regarding translators or interference are necessary. The new rule would be similar to the 2017 FCC decision that allowed television broadcasters to use the Next Generation TV standard -- also known as ATSC 3.0 -- and distribute geo-targeted programming.

Radio is currently the only mass medium that cannot geo-target its content. The ability to add localized weather and traffic, news, emergency alerts and advertising is beneficial to listeners, small businesses, and advertisers and would allow the industry to progress and remain competitive in the market.

The specific proposed revision adds the following language: The programming aired on the FM broadcast booster station must be "substantially similar" to that aired by its primary station. For purposes of this section, "substantially similar" means that the programming must be the same except for advertisements, promotions for upcoming programs, and enhanced capabilities including hyper-localized content (e.g., geo-targeted weather, targeted emergency alerts, and hyper-local news).

Importantly, this geo-targeting technology relies on existing consumer radio receivers that are synchronized with FM booster radio stations and originate localized content and insert it at specific and limited times while otherwise retransmitting the primary station's signal. It would be optional for broadcasters and does not impact interference between neighboring stations and does not cause harmful self-interference.

According to a recently released joint study by BIA Advisory Services and Advertiser Perceptions, more than 90 percent of local retailers and two-thirds of national advertisers are poised to put more money into FM radio when geo-targeting becomes available.

iHeartmedia Launches The iHeart Midnight Concert Series


iHeartMedia
iHeartMedia

iHeartMedia has announced the iHeart Midnight Concert Series, launching Monday April 6, bringing concerts to music fans in the safety of their homes every weekday at midnight. The series, custom-curated for four different radio formats -- Pop, Hot AC, Country and Alternative -- will feature recent and past performances from the biggest names in music recorded live at the iHeartRadio Theaters in New York and Los Angeles and iHeartRadio's marquee festivals and national events.

Listeners will hear performances from superstar artists recorded live at events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, iHeartRadio Wango Tango, iHeartCountry Festival, iHeartRadio ALTer Ego as well as intimate performances from the iHeartRadio Theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

The Series launches Monday, April 6 at midnight on iHeartRadio Alternative, Pop, Hot AC and Country formats, as well as the iHeartRadio App. Fans can follow @iHeartRadio on Instagram at 12pm ET on Monday, April 6 for the lineup. Every performance thereafter will be announced daily on iHeartRadio's Twitter at 12pm ET.

Learfield IMG College Names Cole Gahagan as President & CEO


Cole Gahagan
Cole Gahagan

Learfield IMG College longtime President/CEO Greg Brown has announced his retirement and the appointment of Cole Gahagan, the company's former President of Content, Revenue and Enterprise Solutions, as the new President and CEO. Following the transition, Brown will serve as co-chairman of the board of directors and advisor to the company. Learfield is the college rights holder for sports radio broadcasts at over 1000 univerities.

"It's been the privilege of a lifetime to be associated with the great people of this company and the collegiate sports industry for the past 36 years. Learfield IMG College is in good hands with Cole Gahagan and our outstanding employees," said Brown. "When Cole joined us in January, I had in my mind transitioning to this new role later in 2020. But with college sports on virtual hold, this lull is an ideal time for the company leadership to transition now so we will be well positioned to serve our partners and sponsor brands on the other side of this national crisis."

Brown began with Learfield in 1984 selling sponsorships for the Iowa State Cyclone Radio Network. He grew quickly through the ranks and was named Learfield's President and CEO in 2009 following the retirement of Founder Clyde Lear. Under Brown's leadership, the company evolved through organic growth and strategic acquisitions to become one of the leading collegiate sports marketing firms in the nation. Brown oversaw the merger completion between Learfield and IMG College in December, 2018.

Brown has been recognized for his leadership in the college sports industry. The Sports Business Journal the past three years named him as one of the "50 Most Influential People in Sports Business." He received the Entrepreneur of The Year 2017 Southwest Technology and Media Services Award. Brown serves on the board of the National Football Foundation.

"It has been an absolute honor working with and learning from Greg Brown - not just over the last several months - but during the years I observed his leadership and accomplishments from other corners of our sports industry," said Gahagan. "I'm grateful for his friendship and guidance, and I'm looking forward to continue our working relationship for many years to come."

In his previous role, Gahagan led Learfield IMG College's media and content teams as well as its collection of businesses, which include its comprehensive collegiate multimedia rights division and affiliated and acquired businesses. Prior to joining the company on January 6, Gahagan was chief commercial officer for Fanatics, Inc. He also was chief revenue officer for Ticketmaster and former senior vice president, development and strategy for Live Nation.

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RAB Webinar to Address COVID-19 Concerns


RAB
RAB

The previously announced RAB webinar titled Data Drives Revenue featuring Analytic Owl will feature brand NEW granular data. COVID-19 has challenged marketers to find the best messaging and methods to communicate with consumers. In this one-hour webinar, Analytic Owl's David Shapira will share new data and insights for the current business unusual landscape. This webinar will be taking place at 10:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. C.S.T on April 7, 2020 and 3:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. C.S.T on April 9.

Registration for this webinar is FREE for RAB Members and will also be available for FREE on-demand viewing for members immediately following the live presentation. Register HERE.

WCTK/Providence Debuts Daily Mental Health Wellness Feature


Wellness 4-1-1
Wellness 4-1-1

Hall Communications WCTK-FM (Cat Country 98.1)/Providence has launched a daily mental health feature entitled "Wellness 4-1-1." Midday host and licensed clinical therapist Courtney Kelley is discussing mental health topics that range from managing anxiety to COVID-19 coping mechanisms. The feature will air weekday mornings at 8:30 with a replay the following morning at 6:15 on WCTK. All episodes are posted online and resources are linked on the Wellness 4-1-1 page of Cat Country's website at www.catcountry.com.

"I wanted to do more, said Kelley. "I was able to have brief conversations during my midday shift, but appearing every day with Brian and Maddie on Cat Country Mornings allows us to have a more open conversation about all of our well being during this trying time."

"Having a licensed clinical therapist on our Cat Country staff is a blessing," said Hall Communications VP/Programming Bob Walker. "We are proud to share Courtney's insight and calming influence across the communities we serve in New England and beyond."

All five weekly Wellness 4-1-1 episodes will be packaged together for a long form program airing Sunday morning's at 7:30 on WCTK and on sister stations WNBH and WPVD in Providence-New Bedford.

John Minko Leaving WFAN New York Sports Radio


John Minko
John Minko

Amid extensive cutbacks and layoffs at Entercom, John Minko has decided to take an early buyout on his contract. According to Newsday, Minko recalled what an early WFAN executive named Rick Cummings said when he saved Minko's job in the station's first year. "I said, ‘There's no way I can thank you for this,' " Minko said. "And he said, ‘Yes, there is a way . . . You could do this for somebody else someday.' "

Thus Minko stepped aside by accepting a buyout and leaving effective Friday, ending a run as its best-known, best-liked, longest-running update man.

"I thought that if I took it now, which was the right thing to do, if that prevented somebody else from getting fired, then I thanked Rick [for what he did]," Minko told Newsday after announcing his departure on Mike Francesa's Radio.com show.

Minko, 67, started two days before the launch of the nation's first 24-hour sports station, on June 29, 1987. He went on to a long run as the update man for "Mike and the Mad Dog" and later for Francesa's solo shows, among other roles. He will continue calling St. John's basketball games.

Live365 Announces World Audio Day and Virtual Conference


Live365 has announced the launch of World Audio Day on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, which will be marked by an all-day virtual conference, including live panels, a branded radio station, insight from audio industry experts of all types, and more.

The goal of World Audio Day is to bring together those in all corners of the audio space, from internet radio and AM/FM broadcasting to podcasting, monetization to legality, programming to marketing, and much more. The day aims to acknowledge the evolution of the audio space and push the boundaries as the community moves into the future.

Live365 is partnering with several other businesses and industry experts to put the event together. The core of the event will be an all-day virtual conference consisting of live panels via Zoom and a 24-hour World Audio Day 2020 radio station on Live365.

"We are very passionate about the audio community and its many forms," said Justin Ruoff, Live365's VP of Operations. "We felt that it was important to do our part to unite the community, and that's where ‘World Audio Day' was born. We have an amazing lineup of speakers and we look forward to putting on a fantastic conference this year and for many years to come." For the World Audio Day 2020 schedule and programming updates, click HERE.

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Call To Mind Publishes Resource Guide for Mental Well-Being


American Public Media Call to Mind
American Public Media Call to Mind

In response to the widespread change induced by COVID-19, Call to Mind - American Public Media's initiative to foster new conversations about mental health - has launched a site dedicated to mental wellness resources. CalltoMindNow.org includes resources and blog posts from trusted public health and mental health organizations including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America and others. The tips and recommendations have been compiled with the goal of reaching individuals where they're at with ways to cope and manage their mental well-being in this uncertain time.

Topics covered in CalltoMindNow.org include:

  • Self-care during the pandemic

  • Coping with stress and anxiety during COVID-19

  • Dealing with loneliness and isolation

  • Talking with kids about COVID-19

  • Digital distractions

  • Living with your mental illness

  • How to get help

  • Resources if you are in a crisis
"So many of us have had our lives upturned by the presence of COVID-19 in our communities. It's important to prioritize physical health, but this pandemic's effect on our mental health cannot be ignored," said Call to Mind Managing Director Babette Apland.

"This new source of stress, compiled with isolation, can lead to anxiety and loneliness for many of us, and can exacerbate illness for people already dealing with a mental health condition," added Apland. "The goal with our site is to have one place with trusted information on ways to cope and how to seek help if you need it."

Entercom Employees Hit with Layoffs, Furloughs and Pay Cuts


Entercom has sadly joined the ranks of radio companies to institute layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company says it has eliminated numerous positions but didn't provide a specific number. In a memo to employees, CEO David Field described the cost reductions as "significant." The company also eliminated bonuses for the first and second quarters and cut salaries between 10% and 20% for anyone earning more than $50,000 per year. Field is taking a 30% salary reduction.

"I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances," Field said in the memo. "We are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of layoffs through shared sacrifice across the organization, but we will still need to eliminate or furlough a significant number of positions."

Entercom has also suspended its 401(k) program employee match - a now common practice in the industry. The company earlier announced that it was curtailing shareholder dividends and had drawn cash from its revolver credit loan to provide financial flexibility.

Field said the company hopes to restore regular salaries, bonus eligibility and its 401(k) plan match at the start of the third quarter.

iHM Execs Voluntarily Agreed to Forgo Certain Compensation


iHeartMedia
iHeartMedia

In an 8k filing with the SEC, iHeartMedia announced that some executive officers and other executive level employees have voluntarily agreed to forgo certain compensation under their respective employment agreements beginning with the next regular payroll period and continuing through the last payroll period in the company's current fiscal year. CEO Robert W. Pittman will forgo 100% of his $1.5 million annual base salary and his ability to earn an incentive award under iHM's 2020 annual bonus program.

President/CEO and CFO Richard J. Bressler will reduce his $1.5 million annual base salary by 20% and forgo an incentive award reducing his total target 2020 cash compensation by 74%. Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Paul McNicol and Executive Vice President/Finance and Deputy CFO Michael McGuinness will each reduce his annual base salary by 10% and forgo his incentive award under the 2020 annual bonus program, reducing their total target 2020 cash compensation by 47% and 55%, respectively.

In addition, each member of the vompany's board of directors agreed to waive his or her cash compensation fees for the remainder of 2020. The salary waivers will not modify other rights under the applicable employment agreements or reduce any company employee benefit provided to such officers and employees.

WOR Reporter Infects at Least Six with COVID-19


Alice Stockton-Rossini
Alice Stockton-Rossini

In New York City, 710 WOR's Alice Stockton-Rossini, who covered the coronavirus containment zone in Westchester, infected at least six people with the coronavirus at a 90th Birthday party for her mother in New Jersey. Some of those infected later died.

"I can hardly bear it," Stockton-Rossini told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I had to tell my mother her best friend died." Stockton-Rossini said she caught COVID-19 in early March while doing on-mic interviews in New Rochelle, then the heart of New York's coronavirus outbreak. Not long after, on March 8, she threw a birthday celebration for her elderly mother, Jackie Stockton, at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church on Long Beach Island, NJ. About 25 people attended where guests greeted each other with "fist pumps" and Stockton-Rossini served mimosas.

The following day her mother became ill and was hospitalized shortly thereafter. A few days later, Stockton-Rossini herself awoke with chills. In total, at least seven people at the party have become sick with the virus and two have died, Stockton-Rossini said.

One of the fatal cases was 76-year-old Sandy Medford - a next-door neighbor and close friend her mothers. The other was beloved 96-year-old church staple Ruth Reeder. On Tuesday, Long Beach Island health officer Dan Krupinski said the tragic "community cluster" had been traced back to the birthday party, according to the Inquirer.

Stockton-Rossini said she regrets throwing the party - but not doing her job in the first place noting, "If I had to do it over again, can I honestly say I wouldn't have gone to Westchester? I probably would have worn a mask. If I had to do it over again, do you think I'd have a party for my mother? No."

Report: More Than 30 Staffers Furloughed at iHM/Chicago


Robert Feder
Robert Feder

More than 30 full-time and part-time employees were placed on temporary unpaid leave this week at iHeartMedia Chicago in response to the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic reports Chicago media columnist Robert Feder (pictured). Sources tell him that staffers in every department were affected by 90-day furloughs ordered throughout the company. Officials of iHeartMedia Chicago did not respond to Feder's requests for comment.

Earlier, the company said in a statement, "To be clear, while this will involve a small total number of employees, they are valued colleagues and we did not take this step lightly. We look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we can."

The iHeartMedia/Chicago cluster here includes Urban WGCI-FM, Urban AC WVAZ-FM, CHR WKSC-FM, AC WLIT-FM, Country WEBG-FM and Gospel WGRB-AM.

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