Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Scott Hanley
After four years as General Manager, Scott Hanley is leaving WBHM, Birmingham [link], to return to Pennsylvania and continue his consulting work.  Hanley is rhe third senior manager to leave WBHM since 2013.

Hanley came to WBHM in 2012 after managing WDUQ, Pittsburgh, for over two decades. Hanley’s job at WDUQ vanished in 2011 when Dusquene University sold the station to a new organization founded by Public Radio Capital (now “Public Media Company”) and WYEP also in Pittsburgh.

As we reported in July [link], WBHM’s News Director Rachel Osier Lindley left the station to become Statewide Coordinating Editor for the Texas Station Collaborative. Previous News Director Tanya Ott left WBHM in 2013 when she became the Vice President of Radio at Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Though Hanley’s role as GM at WHBM was praised locally and nationally, the station has been operating at a deficit in recent years. In fiscal year 2014 – the most recent year data is available – WBHM’s operating loss was over $423,000. According to financial information made public by WBHM’s licensee, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the university had planned for a deficit of around $260,000.  Indications are that UAB wants to move away from subsidizing WBHM because of ongoing budget cutbacks in higher education funding by the State of Alabama.

In a blog post [link], Hanley said the major reason for the move was logistical:

"Over time, the 700-mile commute between Birmingham and my wife and family in Pennsylvania was not sustainable. We’ve done some important and often fun work, winning awards, smiles, and most importantly, helping make Birmingham and Alabama better.”

KEN’S NOTE: Scott Hanley is a public media innovator and implementer with deep experience in management, technology, journalism, education, entertainment, business, public policy, music, and civic life. At his heart, Hanley is a jazz fan. He was a co-founder, manager and host of JazzWorks [link], a satellite-delivered programming service. We wish him the best in his business ventures.


Nielsen Audio recently released PPM ratings data for August and there was good news for NPR News station KERA.  According to Nielsen’s estimates, the number of KERA’s weekly listeners was up by almost 70,000 (16%) comparing August with June 2016.

Meanwhile, Classical music stations in all three markets we are reporting today went down. KDFC, San Francisco saw the biggest decline in the number of weekly listeners, an estimated 70,000 (17%) in two months.

WBGO was the star performer in the two-month trends. Their estimated number of weekly listeners increased by 63,000, up 15% from June to August. Pillar of Fire’s WAWZ continued to make impressive gains with CCM hits. WNYC-AM is probably at a high point for the year.  Because of their small nighttime coverage, they have literally been “making hay while the sun shines.”

KERA’s sister station Triple A KKXT saw the number of estimated weekly listeners drop by almost 90,000 (17%) comparing August with June 2016. 

As you might imagine there are lots of Evangelical Christians in the Dallas/Forth Worth area. Salem Media’s Safe for the Whole Family KLTY, a commercial station, had over 800,000 estimated weekly listeners in August. The three CCM noncoms picked up smaller numbers of weekly listeners but locally owned KCBI was up 11%.

Classical KDFC lost 17% of its estimated weekly listeners from June to August 2016.

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