After many months of silence on the subject, in a client-only webinar today Nielsen said it will not support the controversial Voltair audio processor — a unit that proponents say increases ratings at stations measured by PPM by fixing what some believe are longtime technical issues with the electronic audience measurement system. Nielsen also said it will be making improvements to PPM. Adam Jacobson, a former news colleague from our days at Radio & Records (who now specializes in multicultural market research and media strategies) reports on Nielsen’s presentation this morning, saying that the ratings giant has concluded that Telos Alliance’s Voltair processor “introduces audible artifacts for listeners” and “interferes with the encoding process by altering Nielsen watermarks and by making them audible.” Nielsen also found PPM “can pick up more codes with Voltair” and noted that when “the [Voltair] dial is turned up” the effect on the watermark and codes is increased. So, does all this mean Nielsen is banning use of the Voltair processor which is now in use by an unknown but likely significant number of radio stations in the Top 50 markets? At this point it would seem that answer remains unclear. Check out additional details on the webinar posted at Jacobson’s website HERE.
Mark Wainwright has officially been named to succeed the late Joe Galuski in mornings at WSYR/Syracuse. Wainwright had regularly filled in for Galuski as the veteran host battled cancer for several months — a battle Joe lost this past May. Hear Mark’s opening monologue on his first official show HERE … Doug Kellett exits mornings at Raleigh’s Talk Radio 850 after a three-year run in wake-ups … Garrison Keillor says he’ll retire from his long-running role as host of Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion next year. Musician Chris Thile of the bands Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek has been named to succeed Keillor as host in September 2016 … Cumulus Media ups Hayden Green to Operations Manager for its Ft. Walton Beach-Destin, FL cluster. He’ll also continue to serve as PD of WZNS, a job he’s held for the past 15 years … Condolences: To the family, friends and colleagues of KFGO/Fargo weather forecaster Terry Spies who died suddenly last night (7/20) after suffering a heart attack. A Hope, North Dakota native, Spies (pictured) began working at KFGO in 1997 following a lengthy career at the National Weather Service. The KFGO website has more HERE.
Newly released research from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) shows the number of minority employees in local television and radio newsrooms slipped slightly in the past year, while the number of women in broadcast newsrooms (and in leadership roles) has reached record levels. The percentage of minority news directors at non-Hispanic television stations fell for the fourth year in a row, by three-tenths of a point, while radio experienced a sharper decline of 6.5 percent. Meanwhile, at 42.3 percent, women are at the highest percentage of the TV news workforce ever, and at 39.2 percent, women make up the largest percentage of the radio news workforce ever. The number of women and minority General Managers also made gains. Learn more details from RTDNA’s latest report from its annual newsroom study HERE.
CBS Radio names company veteran Scott Herman as Chief Operating Officer. Most recently EVP/Operations, in his new role as COO Herman will continue to report to recently named CBS Radio President Andre Fernandez, and oversee operations at the broadcaster’s 117 major market stations. As a result of the move, the company’s radio Market Managers will now report directly to Herman. “I’m thrilled to be taking on this expanded role at a time of incredible opportunity for CBS Radio,” said Herman, who has spent a good portion of his nearly 40-year broadcast radio career at CBS. “We have an outstanding portfolio of local market assets, and I look forward to working with station management in the evolution of their brands.” In Related News: An internal company memo reports that CBS Radio/Philadelphia SVP/Market Manager Marc Rayfield will succeed Herman as CBS Radio’s New York Market Manager. The memo, which reports that Rayfield’s replacement in Philly will be named “in the near future,” also notes that Michael Weiss has stepped down as President of Sales for the company to pursue other opportunities. As a result, CBS Radio/Baltimore Market Manager Bob Phillips will add additional corporate responsibilities as SVP/Director of Sales for the company, while continuing to manage CBS’ Charm City cluster.
Talk radio host Michael Savage, syndicated nationally via Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One, has prevailed for a third time in a long-running legal dispute with his former syndicator Talk Radio Network. Last Friday (7/17) the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling by a federal judge that released Savage (pictured) from his TRN contract. That ruling affirmed an earlier decision by an arbitration panel that awarded Savage over $800,000 in back pay and other earnings from TRN. The legal wrangling between Savage and TRN has been going on since 2010, when Savage first sued to void his contract with the independently owned network, accusing TRN management of using “illegal and unenforceable contract provisions” and “other strong-armed tactics” to force him into accepting a “sub-standard agreement.” In a comment to WND.com about Friday’s Federal Appeals Court ruling Savage said, “After five long years and a fortune in my costs, justice has prevailed.”
NTS MediaOnline Today sends out ‘get well soon’ wishes to WABC/New York host Curtis Sliwa, who was rushed to NYU Medical Center over the weekend after suffering a hernia and groin pull. That’s Sliwa and his Curtis and Kuby co-host Ron Kuby pictured, as Ron prepares to take his valium-impaired on-air sparring partner for “a nice, little walk” in the hospital’s stairwell … iHeartMedia/New Hampshire is partnering with the New Hampshire Union Leader to present a Voters First Republican Presidential Candidates Forum on August 3rd at St. Anselms College in Manchester. The 90-minute event, moderated by iHeartMedia’s New Hampshire Today host Jack Heath, will air live on all affiliates of the regional show and nationwide on iHeartRadio, and will be televised on C-Span … Happy Trails to Don Barrett, founder and publisher of LARadio.com, as he opts to pull the plug on the SoCal radio news website after a nearly two decade run … Condolences: To the family, friends and many fans of legendary Buffalo Bills play-by-play voice Van Miller, who has died at age 87. The Buffalo News offers a lengthy feature on Miller’s colorful 55+ year broadcast career HERE.
That’s NBC Sports Radio’s Under Center co-host Mark Malone (standing) having some fun and sharing a laugh with legendary Washington Redskins quarterback and veteran sportscaster Joe Theismann at this week’s 26th annual American Century Championship. The Westwood One-syndicated sports network is broadcasting much of its roster live from the yearly celebrity golf tournament happening now in Lake Tahoe … On the heels of this week’s announcement that Meghan McCain is joining Premiere Networks as host of the daily syndicated News and Talk show America Now, comes news that she’s also signed on to be a regular contributor to the FOX News Channel … TuneIn announces it will serve as the primary international digital distribution partner for Art Bell’s new Dark Matter Digital Network. Fans will be able to listen to Art’s new streaming show Midnight In The Desert free via the TuneIn app … iHeartMedia names Kenny Day as SVP/Political Sales and Strategy. Day joins the company from Yahoo-owned BrightRoll and will report to Jeff Howard, iHeart President of National Sales.
KFMB-AM & FM/San Diego GM Gina Landau (left), who has spent her entire 35-year radio career in America’s Finest City — has announced her plans to retire from the stations and the radio biz as of September 4th. Landau joined the stations in 1995 as LSM, moving up to VP/GM of the independently-owned combo in 2007 … Entercom/Austin names Nikki Nite to VP/Programming and Operations for the four-station Texas cluster that includes Talk Radio 1370 KJCE … Davey Wilhoit has been named VP/Sales for Cumulus Media’s five-station Pensacola, Florida cluster. Wilhoit was most recently Multimedia Ad Manager for the Pensacola News Journal … NAB SVP/Public Relations Curtis LeGeyt is promoted to EVP/Government Relations, succeeding Kelly Cole, who announced last week she will exit that post next month to launch an independent consulting firm … Condolences: To the family and friends of legendary Alabama broadcaster Doug Layton, who has died at age 81 following a fight with cancer. AL.com has more on Layton’s colorful ‘Dixie’ broadcast career HERE.
• Department of “DOH!”: In yesterday’s NTS MediaOnline Today, we inadvertently listed the wrong call letters for E.W. Scripps/Tucson News/Talker 104.1 KQTH and Sports/Talker KFFN in our report on the appointment of KQTH morning host Jon Justice as interim Program Director for the stations.
Following yesterday’s (7/14) late afternoon Breaking News that Entercom had received a sign-off from the U.S. Department of Justice on its previously announced acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media — a deal that also includes a station swap with Bonneville International — today we learn who Entercom has chosen to lead their operations in the company’s four newest markets — Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and San Diego. Newly appointed Entercom VP/GM’s include Bob Abernethy (Miami); Mike Fowler (Atlanta); Bob Bollinger (San Diego); and Peter Burton (Los Angeles). In Denver, where Entercom will be adding three new stations to its roster, Amy Griesheimer will continue as VP/GM for the Mile High City cluster. All report to Entercom COO Weezie Kramer who said, “Amy has been a tremendous leader for Entercom/Denver and we know her experience, leadership and vision will continue to drive ratings, revenue and audience engagement for our stations in Denver. And I am excited to welcome Doug, Bob, Mike and Peter to Entercom. They are great leaders and managers with proven track records of success. As we enter these vibrant new markets, we are thrilled to have such talented and experienced media veterans at the helm.”
Following the retirement of Delmarva Broadcasting President/CEO Pete Booker earlier this week, the company’s Board of Directors has named Jeff Boden to replace Booker as the new President of DBC. The 30-year broadcaster has a resume in the region that includes an early career stint as an Account Exec for DC all-newser WTOP, followed by a run as National Sales Manager for WCAO and WXYY/Baltimore, then a move to WMAL-WRQX/Washington, where he was first Director of Sales, then President/GM of the stations, a post he held for seven years through four owners. Most recently Boden (left) has served as President/CEO of DC-based 4S Marketing Solutions.
Cox Media Group has announced several major senior leadership changes. Kim Guthrie will move from her current role as EVP/Radio to become CMG EVP/National Ad Platforms and President of Cox Reps, based in New York City. Concurrently, Bill Hendrich (right) will succeed Guthrie as EVP of Radio and CMG Research, based in Atlanta. Additionally Marian Pittman is named CMG’s new EVP/Digital Strategy and will oversee the company’s digital strategy, content and sales, and will also be based in Atlanta.
iHeart Media SVP Operations Kevin Legrett (left) is upped to Market President for the company’s Los Angeles station cluster, including News/Talker KFI, conservative talker KEIB, and AM 570 LA Sports (KLAC). He’ll assume duties that will allow longtime iHeart/L.A. market manager Greg Ashlock to expand his responsibilities as President of iHeartMedia/Southern California and EVP/Operations for the company.