Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Monday, October 22, 2018

| October 22, 2018

Jim Villanucci Returns to Albuquerque Air on ‘ESPN 101.7 The Team.’ Former longtime KKOB-AM, Albuquerque talk show host Jim Villanucci returns to the air in the market on Team Broadcasting’s sports talk KQTM-FM “ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team” today from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Villanucci left KKOB in 2013 after 14 years on the air there.  After exiting KKOB, he hosted shows at KXNT, Las Vegas and KXL, Portland.  Team Broadcasting president Joe O’Neill says, “The range of this show is as unlimited as Jim’s talent.  Of course, there will be sports but Jim will jump into current events, pop culture, and anything a listener – or Jim – wants to talk about.”  Villanucci’s show fills the slot left by the recent retirement of Bob Brown, host of “The Locker Room.”  O’Neill adds, “This is an exciting and dynamic addition to our station.  We are fortunate to have a person with Jim’s talent, intellect, and humor who also is familiar with the Albuquerque and New Mexico culture.  I’m certain that Jim’s thousands of fans share our excitement.” Villanucci says, “It’s great to be back in New Mexico.  I’m humbled by this opportunity.  I’m excited to catch up with the audience I gained over my 14 years of radio here.  Trust me, the best is yet to come.”

Hofstra University Communications Students Spend Day at iHeartMedia New York. On Friday (10/19), a group of students from The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University spent the day with industry professionals at iHeartMedia’s New York station group.  The group included members of the two-time NAB Marconi Radio Award-winning college station WRHU “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” as well as students enrolled in the Department of Radio, TV, Film’s “Radio Industry in the Digital Age” course. The students toured the iHeartMedia studios and met with vice president of digital operations Tony Molaee, digital content coordinator Allie Gold, WLTW local sales manager Hetal Raythattha, senior account manager Jody Berger Wenig, WAXQ program director Eric Wellman, WKTU program director Rob Miller, iHeartRadio associate producer Mark Wiener; WHTZ “Z100” personalities Maxwell, Brady, and Shelly Rome, WWPR jock DJ Whutever, WOR talk host Mark Simone, promotions director Danielle Dellilo, The Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen, and iHeartMedia Markets Group division president Scott Hopeck.  (Berger Wenig, Wiener, DJ Whutever, Dellilo, and Cohen are all Hofstra alumni.)  The visit also included a performance by current Herbert School student Jenna Rose at the iHeartRadio Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee Lounge.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Adria Marlowe, associate dean, The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; Wiener; Hopeck; Cohen; Mark Lukasiewicz, Dean, The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; John Mullen, Director of Operations, and Dellilo.

Inaugural iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Takes Place on January 18. This first-ever iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will take place on Friday, January 18 at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles and will be hosted by “Stuff You Missed in History Class” co-host Holly Frey, “Breakfast Club” cast member Charlamagne Tha God, morning personality Bobby Bones, and syndicated host Mario Lopez.  The panel of judges will include industry leaders from Gimlet, iHeartMedia, NPR, Parcast, PRX, Tenderfoot TV, Wondery, and others.  iHeartMedia podcasting division president Conal Byrne states, “Podcasting has roared onto the audio scene creating the most excitement since the advent of streaming music services.  The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will provide a forum to celebrate the high-caliber, creative content that has made podcasting a major new audio category – and that truly reflects America’s favorite podcasts, voted by the listeners themselves.  We look forward to hosting this transformative, annual event and encouraging everyone in the podcasting industry to push the envelope and inspire even more creators in this space.”  Voting by listeners will decide 17 of the 22 categories with the panel of judges to select the winners in the following five categories: Podcast of the Year, Breakout Podcast, Best Branded Podcast, Best Social Impact from Podcast/Host and Podcast Innovator Award.

Sean Spicer-Katie Pavlich Podcast Launches Today on Radio.com. This podcast is a continuation of the pilot episodes launched by the duo in June.  Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and political commentator Katie Pavlich are debuting the “Everything’s Going to be All Right” podcast today on Entercom’s Radio.com platform.  The 12-episode weekly podcast will feature Spicer and Pavlich discussing the latest political news and issues surrounding the country as Americans prepare to head to the polls in three weeks. The program is being produced by Entercom program director Joe Zarbano.  Entercom SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “We are excited to welcome Sean and Katie back to Radio.com and hear their informative take on current events.  Their intimate knowledge of today’s political landscape and expertise will provide listeners with a timely and diverse perspective.”

TALKERS News Notes. When the 2018 World Series gets underway tomorrow night in Boston, ESPN Radio will be broadcasting the game between the AL champion Red Sox and the NL champion Dodgers with Dan Shulman and Chris Singleton calling every pitch and on-field reports coming from Buster OlneyMarc Kestecher will lead into each broadcast with 60-minutes of pre-game coverage that will include reports from Tim Kurkjian and Olney.  ESPN Deportes Radio is presenting coverage in Spanish with Orlando “El Duque” Hernández, Renato Bermudez, and José Francisco Rivera…..This Wednesday (10/24), Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with iHeartMedia, is hosting the unveiling of the modernization project of iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati “NewsRadio 700.”  WLW is one of 77 stations across the country that serve as National Public Warning System (NPWS) Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after incidents and disasters.  As directed by Congress in the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Modernization Act of 2015, FEMA, which manages IPAWS, launched an effort to upgrade PEP stations.  These stations are designed and hardened to withstand various natural and man-made events to ensure continuity of operations.  WLW-AM is the second station in the country to complete the upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.

BFoA’s 2019 Golden Mike Award Goes to Perry A. Sook.  The president and chief executive officer of Nexstar, Perry A. Sook, will receive the 2019 Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America at a ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.  Upon learning of this honor, Sook said, “There is no greater testament to broadcasters’ commitment to public service than in times of emergency.  From hurricanes to wildfires, news teams across the country consistently brave extremely dangerous conditions to deliver lifesaving news coverage and information to local communities.  Many of us at Nexstar have experienced firsthand the devastating effects and extensive damage caused by severe weather and other unforeseen events.  That is why we are proud to support the important work of the Broadcasters Foundation in providing both one-time emergency aid and ongoing monthly grants to help our colleagues most in need.  I would like to thank Dan Mason and the Broadcasters Foundation for this prestigious Golden Mike Award and the more than 9,000 Nexstar employees who share in this great honor for the work they do each day to make a positive difference in their local communities.”  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Perry has led the growth of Nexstar with vision and resolve that has benefited the entire television industry.  As a member of our Board, he has championed our mission of helping broadcasters in acute need and spread the word about the assistance we can provide. He is admired among his colleagues, and it is a privilege to honor him.”

Legal Gender Definition Issue, U.S. to Exit Nukes Treaty, Trump-Russia Investigation, Migrant Caravan, the Khashoggi Death Case, Midterm Elections, New Halloween Film, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs-World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Trump Administration’s plan to create a legal gender definition based on a person’s genitalia at birth; the U.S. plan to leave the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation probes Roger Stone’s Wikileaks contacts; the growing Honduran migrant caravan enters Mexico; the aftermath of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; the November midterm elections and the battle to control the House and Senate; the latest Halloween installment rules the weekend box office; the weekend’s NFL action; and the MLB playoffs and the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

KIRO-FM, Seattle Seeks Night Host. As the Bonneville station says, this is a “golden opportunity with one of the nation’s most established and respected news/talk stations. We’re looking for a fun, entertaining, and well-informed individual who can deliver remarkable content that attracts an adults 25-54 audience. In addition, qualified candidates should be able to regularly contribute to the various digital platforms including, but not limited to regular blogs, podcasts, and/or videos, online listener chats, and use of other social media platforms in addition to emerging digital technologies.” KIRO-FM would prefer candidates have one to two years of major market hosting experience. Check out the application info and full job description here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Twin Cities CHR KDWB, owner iHeartMedia extends its deal with morning show host Dave Ryan (center) and co-hosts Steve-O (right) and Falen (left). Ryan celebrated his 25th anniversary as morning host of the station back in June and iHeartMedia says this deal will keep the “Dave Ryan in the Morning Show” on air as “one of the most popular shows in the Twin Cities.” Ryan will also continue his role as a talent mentor for iHeartMedia where he is “helping to develop the next generation of on-air talent and personalities.”  KDWB program director Rich Davis adds, “Dave Ryan is a Twin Cities institution and I’m so glad he will continue to anchor mornings for KDWB.  He’s a true talent whose hard work, entertaining topics, and views on pop culture have kept him beloved by listeners and fans and at the top of the ratings for so many years.”…..At Townsquare Media’s country KAWO-FM, Boise, brand manager Rich Summers exits the station after four years.  Operations manager Jeff Connell is handling programming duties while Summers’ replacement is sought.

Friday, October 19, 2018

| October 19, 2018

Limbaugh Sits Down with Hannity on FNC.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh sat down with Sean Hannity on the latter’s FOX News Channel program last night (10/18) for a freewheeling hour in which the two talked about everything from Limbaugh’s historic success as a radio personality, the radical left’s alleged “mob violence” tactics, the importance of the midterm elections, the Kavanaugh confirmation, Limbaugh’s concern for the future of America, and more.

Dibs Re-Ups with ‘The Game’ in San Francisco. Morning drive personality Dan Dibley signs a long-term deal to continue as a host on the “Joe, Lo & Dibs” show on Entercom sports talker KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game.”  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz says, “Dan brings a unique style full of knowledge and humor to ‘95.7 The Game.’  He plays an important role on our morning team and we are excited to keep him around for years to come.”  Dibley was part of the first morning show when the station was launched in 2011. He left the station in 2014 and returned the following year.  Dibley works with co-hosts Joe Fortenbaugh and Lorenzo Neal.

Former Radio Financial Advice Host Convicted of Fraud.  This story is even stranger than so many of the past cases of financial advisers who bilked listeners to their (usually brokered) financial advice talk shows out of their life savings.  The backdrop to the case against Dawn Bennett was tinged with allegations of her use of “hoodoo” spells to prevent authorities from catching her.  The jurors who convicted Bennett on 17 counts of securities fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and others did not hear about her attempts to keep investigators silent through the use of a “hold your tongue” spell using cow tongues nor her spending some $800,000 to pay Hindu priests to pray to keep investigators at bay.  But it certainly gave the press something to add to its coverage of the case.  Bennett was convicted of diverting millions of dollars from investors – both radio listeners and personal friends – to pay for her “lavish lifestyle.”  Her weekly “Financial Myth Buster” program was heard on WWRC, Washington.

More Than 500 Attend OAS and WHO, Des Moines Newt Gingrich Event.  Pictured above is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on stage before a crowd of 500-plus at the Iowa Historical Building in Des Moines.  “An Evening with Newt Gingrich” was presented by iHeartMedia news/talk WHO-AM and Lee Habeeb’s rapidly growing, nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program (heard evenings at 10:00 pm on WHO).

TALKERS News Notes. Two tidbits of news from Chicago from media journalist Robert Feder.  First, all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM weekend anchor Regine Schlesinger is stepping away from the station after a 45-year career there.  She left her full-time anchor role with the radio news outlet in 2016 and has been handling weekend anchor duties since then.  She first joined the station as an anchor and producer in 1973.  Also from the Windy City, at urban talk outlet WVON-AM, general manager Melody Spann-Cooper gets some relief from a Cook County Circuit Court judge who issues a stalking no-contact order against a former station account executive whom Spann-Cooper and her husband Pierre Cooper say has been harassing them.  She issued a public statement, “This has been a difficult chapter, having to prosecute someone who once had such great potential in our industry.  But history has shown that you cannot take threats and intimidation lightly, especially in the workplace.  My priority has been and will always be protecting my staff, my family, and myself.”…..A new podcast is launched on the iHeartRadio platform.  “Alchemy This,” a new improv comedy podcast hosted by award-winning comedian Kevin Pollak makes its debut.  Pollak is the star of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and was named one of the Top 100 Comedians of All Time by Comedy Central.  Each episode his team of alchemists will act out bizarre comical scenarios, giving listeners the opportunity to choose the settings/scenes…..SiriusXM is unveiling its new Big Ten Radio channel in cooperation with the Big Ten Network and the Big Ten Conference.  Big Ten Radio will feature live play-by-play broadcasts from several Big Ten men’s and women’s sports including football, basketball, baseball, softball and more. The new channel’s programming will feature exclusive new shows hosted by former Big Ten athletes, journalists and conference insiders, including former Ohio State star and 2005 Lombardi Award winner A.J. Hawk; former Illinois All-America offensive lineman Brad Hopkins; former Iowa defensive lineman Anthony Herron; former Penn State basketball player Jon Crispin; former Ohio State tight end Ben Hartsock; as well as Jason Goff, Tom Luginbill, Pete Pistone and Matt Schick…..Also from SiriusXM, the satcaster is presenting a special stand-up show, “Ricky Gervais and Friends: A Work In Progress,” featuring actor and comic Ricky Gervais.  It will take place at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College on November 8.  “Ricky Gervais Is Deadly Sirius” premiered on the Comedy Greats channel in October 2017 and featured Gervais interviewing an eclectic group of guests, including musician Noel Gallagher and renowned scientist Richard Dawkins. In the second year, Gervais is expected to sit down with Jerry Seinfeld and other celebrities, as well as friends and fellow comedians…..In the Florence-Muscle Shoals, Alabama market, Singing River Group is buying a station group from URBAN Radio Broadcasting that includes news WVNA-AM, rock WVNA-FM, hip hop WMSR, country WLAY, and urban contemporary WMXV.  The price has not been announced.  George Reed of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker for the transaction.

The Case of Presumed-Dead Saudi Journalist Top News Talk Story for Week of October 15-19.  The case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – presumed murdered for his criticism of the Saudi regime – and the effect on U.S.-Saudi relations, tied with the numerous parties who’ve backed out of attending an investment conference in Saudi Arabia in response was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the November midterm elections and speculation about the 2020 presidential race.  Coming in at #3 was Senator Elizabeth Warren’s video revealing her ancestry test results, followed by the Robert Mueller’s expected release of a report on the Trump-Russia investigation at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Radio, Real Estate and Real Life: Former ‘Shock Jock’ Carolyn Fox Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the first female radio personalities to be called a “shock jock,” former New England disc jockey and talk show host Carolyn Fox, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s, Fox was a major personality on a variety of leading radio stations in Boston and Providence with a growing national reputation in the industry.  She is a two-time recipient of Billboard’s Radio Personality of the Year award and has been inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. But when the 21st century rolled around, things began to unravel for Fox in terms of both her career and marriage.  Her career sputtering and simultaneously going through a painful divorce, this mother of two decided to make a major change.  She packed up and headed to New York where she launched a new career and life as a real estate salesperson in Manhattan.  Playing upon her connections in radio, colorful history, and superb communication skills, she forged a dynamic career in the lucrative but highly competitive Manhattan real estate market as a member of the prestigious Corcoran Group’s sales team.  Harrison and Fox talk candidly about changes in radio including what it takes to “move on” and explore the fascinating idiosyncrasies of Manhattan real estate.  Harrison says, “Let’s not hide from the fact that the shrinking of the radio industry since consolidation has forced thousands of broadcasting pros to reinvent themselves and find new ways to make a living, not to mention keep their heads on straight.  I think this conversation provides an enlightening and even inspirational glimpse into that process.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” in the right-hand column of the TALKERS newsletter and on every page on Talkers.com.

Envision Networks Seeks Talent Booker. If you’ve got the talent, we’ve got the cash. Do you have the contacts to book top celebrities for morning radio shows across the U.S.?  We’re seeking a highly motivated, freelance, go-get-’em type to book tours with everyone from Hollywood and TV types to classic rock artists and quirky people making headlines or going viral.  Good commissions and there’s no limit to the amount of $$ you can make.  Please have at least three years of experience as a talent booker.  If you have the connections, we want to connect with you.  Send a resume along with a list of celebrities you’ve booked in the past to celebsonradio@envisionnetworks.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programming pro Borna Velic is promoted to program director for Saga Communications’ WHQG, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog,” taking over for Joe Calgaro, who recently left the station to program Entercom’s rock WAAF, Boston.  Velic has been serving as music director and afternoon drive personality (with co-host Mitch Paget).  He’ll remain on the afternoon show in his new position.  WHQG general manager Annmarie Topel says, “Borna has been a major contributor since he joined us and an integral part of The Hog’s success.  He has great music intuition and knowledge of the format, coupled with a solid analytical ability that is essential in programming. It doesn’t hurt that the staff likes and respects him.”…..Farther north at Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.6 The Fox,” the station brings air personality Max back to host the afternoon drive show, effective Monday (10/22). He’s most recently been serving as operations manager at Case Communications’ triple A WLGE “FM 106.9 The Lodge” and classic hits WQDC “Rewind 97.7” in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  He worked at the Cumulus Appleton station group from 2002 through 2009.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

| October 18, 2018

Hannity to Have Limbaugh on FNC Program for Full Hour.  This evening (10/18), FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity will have fellow Premiere Networks syndicated radio superstar Rush Limbaugh on his 9:00 pm ET show for the full hour.  According to the Washington Times, the two “will chat for a full hour about President Trump, the midterm elections and the ever-changing prism of vital information, political and otherwise.”  This is noteworthy because Limbaugh does not make a habit of appearing on other peoples’ programs.  In fact, he is very particular about making television appearances in the first place. Industry watchers remember that it was on Limbaugh’s radio program that an up-and-coming Sean Hannity first reached a national audience as a substitute host.

New Jersey Devils and Skyview Networks Expand Relationship. The National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils are working with Skyview Networks to produce their radio broadcasts.  Skyview will continue to supply its AdView Inventory Management application while adding full production services to the partnership.  Skyview Networks’ Scottsdale, Arizona production studios provide remote production services for professional and collegiate sports properties, news networks and syndicators.  Skyview says that with state-of-the-art studios and a dedicated producer for each client, all responsibilities and quality control of the broadcast are maintained by Skyview Networks to deliver a polished product.  Skyview VP of business development Matt Stys adds, “We are pleased to deepen our relationship with the Devils and their broadcast team.  We have exceptional studios and producers out of our corporate office and feel the franchise will benefit by moving these responsibilities to our team. As rights deals and distribution channels change in the sports broadcast industry, I see this as a valuable service we can provide at the highest level.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Apollo Theater and SiriusXM are presenting a live forum on Thursday, November 1 called “Say It Loud…With Your VOTE!” that will be broadcast the following day across a number of SiriusXM channels.  The discussion, obviously centered around political and social issues, is being moderated by Urban View channel hosts Karen Hunter and Reverend Al Sharpton and will feature a panel of SiriusXM hosts and contributors including Urban View host Joe Madison, former chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele; Progress channel hosts Zerlina Maxwell and Jess McIntosh; SiriusXM chief Washington correspondent Olivier Knox; and Breitbart contributor and Patriot channel host Sonnie Johnson.…..Former WIOD, Miami talk show host Rick Sanchez is joining cable channel RT America to host “The News with Rick Sanchez,” launching at 7:00 pm on Monday (10/22).  Sanchez was a longtime television news personality in Miami before serving with CNNMSNBC, FOX News Channel, FOX News Latino, and Mundo FOX…..Northern California public media company KQED announces that president and CEO John Boland is retiring in September 2019 and the board of directors is selecting current EVP and COO Michael Isip as his successor.  He’s been appointed president elect.  KQED notes that during Boland’s tenure, it “prioritized investment in local content and services, increasing the staff by 40% and growing the newsroom to become one of the largest in the Bay Area and among all public media stations.  As a result, KQED audiences, membership and community financial support are at all-time highs. KQED Pubic Radio has become the number one-rated station in Northern California and commands the largest audience among all public radio stations nationally.  KQED is also now home to the largest science unit on the West Coast, an expanded arts and culture team, and an education division that develops digital media tools and media literacy products for youth educators and students.”  Isip joined KQED in June 2001 as executive producer in TV productions and rose through the ranks, attaining SVP and chief content officer status in 2014 and his current EVP/COO post in 2017…..A recent poll conducted by Edison Research and public media platform Marketplace reveals fewer Americans describe themselves as anxious about their financial situation than they have in the past three years.  Decreases in economic anxiety are across demographics and are most significant among Independents and African-Americans.  Since 2015, Marketplace and Edison Research have used responses to the poll to develop the Economic Anxiety Index, a unique measure of the American economy.  The number, on a scale from 0-100, is calculated from answers to a battery of questions. They say the Economic Anxiety Index describes just how stressed out people feel about their personal financial situations. The higher the number, the more economic stress someone is feeling. Another finding from the study indicate that nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) are worried about the spread of false information on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. See the study results here.

Taking in to the Streets in Tampa. Pictured above are Salem Radio Network syndicated talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt (left) and Mike Gallagher (right) mugging for the camera ahead of this evening’s Midterm Battleground Talkers tour taking place tonight in Tampa, Florida. Also taking part in the live event at the Straz Center will be Sebastian Gorka and Kayleigh McEneny.

Saudi Journalist Case, Trump-Russia Report, November Midterms/2020 Presidential Race, Migrant Caravan, Treasury Leaker Case, Warren Ancestry Video, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). The case of presumed-dead Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Trump Administration’s response; news that after the November elections, Robert Mueller will release his findings so far in the Trump-Russia investigation; the battle for control of the house and senate in the November midterms and speculation about who will run for president in 2020; the caravan of Central American migrants headed toward the U.S.; the case of Treasury official Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards’ alleged theft of sensitive documents about former Trump campaign officials; criticism over Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage video; NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show at iHeartMedia country station WGAR, Cleveland is the “LeeAnn and Wazz Show,” starring incumbent morning talent LeeAnn Sommers (left) and Steve Wazz (right).  The new program will launch on Monday (10/22) and replaces the show hosted by the departed Brian Fowler and Sommers. iHeartMedia North Ohio Region president Keith Hotchkiss says, “Bringing Wazz back home to Cleveland is an important step for WGAR as we develop a fresh new morning show for Clevelanders by Clevelanders.  We are thrilled to pair Wazz with LeeAnn Sommers, who is already a fan favorite on WGAR.  Wazz is not only an engaging on-air talent but he also possesses incredible talents off-air and in the social space.”  Wazz was most recently afternoon personality and APD at iHeartMedia’s CHR WDCG, Raleigh “G105.”…..At Cumulus Media’s country KSCS, Dallas Jasmine Sadry exits her role on the “Hawkeye in the Morning” program where she worked with Mark “Hawkeye” Louis and Katelyn “Connected K” Maida…..Pictured below at the NASH campus in Nashville is country artist Jimmie Allen (second from right) with Ty Bentli, Kelly Ford, and Chuck Wicks (l-r) after Allen’s appearance on the syndicated “Ty, Kelly, and Chuck” morning show.  Allen spoke about his new album, Mercury Lane, advice he’s gotten from Charley Pride, racism in the country music world, and recording his favorite song from Keith Urban’s Ripcord album.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

| October 17, 2018

E.W. Scripps to Acquire Triton for $150 Million. Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Company may not want to operate radio stations anymore (in August it announced a deal to sell its remaining 19 radio stations to SummitMedia for $47 million), but it likes the digital audio space enough to pony up $150 million for digital audio tech and measurement services firm Triton.  Scripps says that the move helps it “advance its strategies for near- and long-term value creation.”  Triton provides measurement in the digital audio space as well as hosting and advertising infrastructure (including dynamic ad insertion).  Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson says, “Triton positions Scripps well to expand its role in the fast-growing global digital audio marketplace. Triton’s efficient business model, multiple growing revenue streams, competitive advantages and expanding international footprint made this an attractive opportunity.”  He adds, “The acquisition of additional television stations remains our number one M&A priority, with the goal of enhancing our national scale and in-market depth for our Local Media portfolio.  On the National Media side, acquiring Triton complements our strategy of owning growth businesses that capitalize on the evolving habits of media consumers and furthers our commitment to margin expansion.” Triton powers or measures streaming music and podcasting for media companies including: Pandora, Spotify, NPR, iHeartMedia, Entercom, Cumulus Media, Prisa (Spain), Mediacorp (Singapore) and Karnaval (Turkey).  This is a cash transaction and Scripps notes that Triton’s 2018 revenue is projected to be approximately $40 million, with EBITDA projected in the mid-teen millions. Triton’s 2019 revenue is projected to grow in the low to mid-teens percent range over 2018.  Triton co-founder and CEO Neal Schore and his management team will continue to lead Triton.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Names Kayla Blakeslee New Morning Host. News director Kayla Blakeslee is named as the new morning drive host at Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/W298BJ in Fort Wayne. Longtime station morning personality and market legend Charly Butcher died unexpectedly in August and the station had been searching for his replacement.  Blakeslee returned to WOWO as news director in 2016 after a year away from radio.  She’d been with the station previously from 2011 through 2015.  WOWO afternoon host Pat Miller announced Blakeslee’s appointment on his program yesterday (10/16).

Rosati Named President of Binnie Media. New England media company Binnie Media promotes EVP of New Hampshire and Maine radio Massimo Rosati to president of the company.  Rosati joined Binnie in 2015 as regional sales manager after having previously served with iHeartMedia and Saga Communications.  Binnie Media owner Bill Binnie says, “Massimo joined us five years ago and was responsible for regional sales before taking responsibility for New Hampshire radio sales and eventually all of the radio sales.  I am confident that Mass’ creativity, energy, and passion for the business will be crucial to our success.”

Cristina Mayer to Serve as iHM Washington-Baltimore Marketing Director. Marketing pro Cristina Mayer is named marketing director for iHeartMedia’s Washington DC/Baltimore operations.  She comes to iHeartMedia from Mimi Brown Studio in New York where she was production manager.  In this position, Mayer will be responsible for developing and creating marketing strategies in order to increase brand awareness, enhance business relationships, and assist with driving in revenue for the region.  Washington/Baltimore RVP of programming Jeff Kapugi says, “Cristina’s extensive experience across many different types of media and entertainment organizations made her the perfect person to oversee marketing & promotions for iHeartMedia Washington DC/Baltimore.”

TALKERS News Notes. At suburban Chicago news/talk WCGO, Evanston, the “Citizen Kelly” show hosted by William J. Kelly moves to the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm daypart.  At the same time as the show time change is announced, Kelly takes the opportunity to announce the filing of his paperwork to run for mayor of Chicago.  He says, “As the only Republican candidate in this race against 15 Democrats, I can win this race with the 133,000 Trump voters in Chicago alone.  My callers support me 100%.”…..Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ Radio is again presenting its holiday radio show “The Night Before Christmas,” starring Milwaukee media personalities Gene Mueller, Jane MatenaerJeff Wagner, and a cast of WTMJ hosts and local voices.  The annual show will be presented Monday, November 26 at Turner Hall.  It will be recorded in front of a studio audience and replayed on WTMJ and WTMJ.com throughout the Christmas season.  Five dollars from every ticket sold will benefit Kids2Kids Christmas…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that ESPN hires former Chicago Tribune and New York Times sports reporter Malika Andrews to serve as an NBA reporter for ESPN.com and WMVP, Chicago “ESPN1000.”  She’ll cover the Bulls as well as the Milwaukee Bucks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.  She takes over for Nick Friedell who’s moving to NoCal to cover the Golden State Warriors for the company…..PodcastOne launches the new podcast, “Life Reboot,” hosted by television personality Leah Messer, self-empowerment speaker and teacher Lindsay Rielly, and celebrity journalist Brian Scott.  The podcast will guide listeners in learning to transform and live their best lives through personal stories, guest interviews, and tips from the Live Your Standard life coaching program…..iHeartRadio and HowStuffWorks are debuting a new iHeartRadio original podacast titled, “The End of The World.”  It’s developed and hosted by fan-favorite Josh Clark, co-host of the beloved podcast “Stuff You Should Know”.   This program “tackles the existential risks humankind faces and how today’s technological advancements will contribute to our survival.”  Clark is joined by a number of top experts including, astrobiologists, philosophers, and economists…..There’s a new senior vice president for news at NPR as Nancy Barnes fills the role left vacant by Mike Oreskes last fall after allegations of misconduct from his past arose and forced him to resign.  Her background is in newspapers.  She’s served as executive editor of the Houston Chronicle.

Saudi Journalist Case, Elizabeth Warren Criticism, T.I. ‘Melania’ Video, November Midterms/2020 Presidential Race, Trump-Russia Report, Trump-Stormy Daniels Spat, Canada Legalizes Pot, Hawking ‘No God’ Conclusion, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  The case of presumed-dead Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Trump Administration’s response; criticism over Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage video; rapper T.I.’s video that depicts a Melania Trump look-alike doing a striptease; the battle for control of the house and senate in the November midterms and speculation about who will run for president in 2020; news that after the November elections, Robert Mueller will release his findings so far in the Trump-Russia investigation; the legal and social media spat between President Trump and Stormy Daniels; Canada becomes the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana; Stephen Hawking’s final book concludes there is no God; NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports on Windy City radio pro Kathy Hart’s guest stint on news/talk WGN-AM over the weekend in which she spoke – to some degree – about her tumultuous end at Hubbard Radio hot AC WTMX.  While co-hosting with WGN weekend personality Frank Fontana, Hart disclosed she underwent medical treatment for what ended up being Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome during the time she was off the air leading up to her exit.  But when asked why she ultimately did not return to the very successful “Eric & Kathy” show, she declined to explain…..Southern California sales pro George Herrera joins Meruelo Media as local sales manager for hip hop KPWR, Los Angeles “Power 106” and urban contemporary duo KDAY, Redondo Beach and KDEY, Ontario. Previously, he served as an account executive at alternative KROQ…..Envision Networks announces the return of the Wink Martindale-hosted program “The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time” for holiday programming.  This 10-hour show counts down from 100 to 1 the top-selling, highest-charted, and best-loved Christmas songs ever released…..The Radio Music License Committee announces that Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger is elected chairman of the RMLC.   He succeeds Ed Christian and John VerStandig, who had been operating as RMLC co-chairs for the past year.  Atsinger, no stranger to music licensing committees, previously served as chairman of the National Religious Broadcasters Music Licensing Committee for many years.  Ed Christian comments, “Given my vested interest in seeing to it that the RMLC continues to thrive, it’s reassuring that we now pass the baton to an experienced chairman who is perfectly positioned to hit the ground running.”  Atsinger adds, “I am fortunate to be assuming the mantle of chairman of the RMLC at a time when Ed Christian and a talented executive committee have worked so hard to build a solid foundation for the group and to enhance the RMLC’s stature in the industry. That said, it’s no secret that there are multiple challenges facing the industry right now and I am anxious to get to work with a great RMLC team that has already distinguished itself in many ways. We will continue the fight to maintain reasonable license fee levels during difficult economic times.”…..Pictured at right are “Steve Harvey Morning Show” cast members Shirley Strawberry (left) and Carla Ferrell (right) joining the more than 4,000 people who took part in the 2018 Sista Strut Breast Cancer Walk in Chicago this past weekend organized by iHeartMedia urban contemporary WVAZ “V103,” hip hop WGCI-FM, and Gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390.”…..Sun Broadcast Group appoints of Rich O’Brien vice president of programing & affiliate relations.  O’Brien comes to SBG with more than 25 years of experience in national radio syndication, having served as a VP of radio programs for Superadio Network…..Sad news from the Motor City as former WRIF air personality Mike Clark passed away on Monday (10/15) at age 63.  Clark was one half of the “Drew and Mike” show (with Drew Lane) that aired on the rock station in morning drive for more than two decades.  Lane is quoted in the Detroit News saying, “He had some medical issues the past couple years, but I’m still very surprised because we were texting yesterday and he was in typically good humor.”…..Pictured below is Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah (left) during her appearance on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” show with Robin Roberts (right) to talk about her latest book, One Heart At A Time, (2018, Rosetta Books).  During the book tour, she’s also appearing on “Megyn Kelly TODAY” and is featured on the cover of Women’s World Magazine and Guideposts magazine.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

| October 16, 2018

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from the September 2018 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, today focusing on news/talk. Among news/talk stations in PPM markets, some 47% see a dip in their 6+ weekly AQH share while 39% improve and 14% remain unchanged.  Looking back to last September, 53% of news/talk stations improve from September 2017 to September 2018 with 42% losing ground.  Four news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in the September survey: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta rolls with a 7.9 share; Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis shoots up to an 8.3 share; iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati dips to a 9.1 share (but stays in first place); and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” stays on top with an 8 share. See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Cox Media Group Unveils its Broadcast Analytics Service. This platform for radio advertisers from Cox Media Group is called Cox Analytics for Broadcast and promises that “through rich audience data and insights, this new solution helps advertisers target active consumers in their product category and track the effectiveness of their campaigns through detailed analysis of their website traffic.”  The press release explains further: Data has always been used in the broadcast industry to determine results, and by leveraging the power of social media to identify these insights, CMG can tap into its massive digital audience – matching offline to online audiences.  Results are collected by combing listener data with social audiences, leading to a clearly defined, hyper-specific audience for radio advertisers to target.  These numbers are then generated through a custom dashboard, which allows advertisers to improve performance and understand what is driving their results. CMG executive director of revenue Katie Reid says, “These new capabilities will transform the way our clients target consumers and advertise with our radio platforms. Through Cox Analytics for Broadcast, we can measure the effectiveness of these audience segments, attribute actions taken by consumers and provide insightful research and data to reach ROI and help meet our clients’ goals.”

WVMT-AM, Burlington and Sister CHR Sold to Vox AM/FM LLC. Burlington, Vermont news/talk WVMT-AM and sister CHR WXXX-FM “95 TripleX” are being sold by Sison Broadcasting to Vox AM/FM, LLC for an as yet undisclosed price.  Vox currently owns sports talk duo WCPV-FM “101.3 The Game” and WEAV-AM “960 The Zone,” and classic hits WVTK-FM.  Vox will begin operating the stations under an LMA on January 1, 2019.  Sison owner Paul Goldman says, “WVMT and ‘95 TripleX’ have been my life and passion for over 40 years.  There is no player in our market better equipped to ensure their future than Vox.  My valued employees and stations are in great hands.”  Meanwhile, Vox partner and principal Ken Barlow states, “The people and stations at Sison are terrific! They have enormous market history and blend very well with our current cluster.  We look forward to merging our operations to better serve the Burlington-Plattsburgh radio market.”  This transaction was arranged by Doug Ferber of DEFcom Advisors on an exclusive brokerage basis.

Oakland A’s and KGMZ Breakup Not Pretty. The Oakland A’s announced their parting from flagship station KGMZ-FM, San Francisco with a Tweet showing radio equipment being wheeled away and the phrase, “It’s not us; it’s you.” Ouch!  But as the San Jose Mercury News writes, the parting was not a surprise since the team announced in April that this was the last year of the deal and asked fans if they thought the sides should renew with the Entercom sports talker.  There’s no word where the A’s radio broadcasts will end up for the 2019 season.

Missing Saudi Journalist, Paul Allen Dies, November Midterms, Hurricane Michael Aftermath, Warren Ancestry Video, Trump ‘60 Minutes’ Interview, Portland Patriots-Antifa Skirmish, Stormy Daniels Suit Tossed, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). The case of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Saudi Arabia; Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65 after battle with cancer; the November midterm elections and the battle for control of the house and senate; the devastation in the Florida panhandle after Hurricane Michael; Senator Elizabeth Warren produces video proving Native American ancestry, taunts President Trump; the president’s interview on “60 Minutes” with Lesley Stahl; the weekend’s clash between Patriot Prayer demonstrators and Antifa protestors; a judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ suit against President Trump; the weekend’s NFL action and the MLB Playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Triangle radio personality Madison Lane returns to the air on Curtis Media Group’s adult hits WBBB-FM, Raleigh “96BBB” to host the morning drive program.  Lane previously was the morning personality at iHeartMedia’s CHR WDCG “G105” and WRSN-FM.  She left the business in 2006 to raise her children.  Lane says, “It was such a blessing to be able to have some time away to raise my kids and focus on my family.  This new chapter of my life is exciting and WBBB feels like home.  I love the awesome variety of music and the loyalty to the community.  I’m so excited to be a part of the team.”  Curtis Media Group SVP and general manager David Stuckey comments, “From our very first meeting, I knew Madison was the perfect fit for mornings on WBBB.  Madison brings familiarity and star power to the fastest growing station in the Triangle.  Her life experiences and knowledge of the Raleigh-Durham market make her the right person to solidify WBBB as the dominant radio brand in the Triangle.”…..Indiana Radio Watch’s Blaine Thompson reports that Adams Radio Group’s rhythmic CHR WJFX, New Haven, Indiana (Fort Wayne market) promotes late night and weekend host Taylor Morgan to middays…..Entercom announces the dates for the “Not So Silent Night” concert events in New York, San Francisco, and San Diego.  The alternative music festival debuted in San Francisco in 1991 and has grown from a small acoustic concert to a large arena show hosting some of the biggest alternative acts in three cities.  This year, the show will debut at New York’s Barclays Center and will be co-headlined by Muse and Florence + The Machine. WNYL, New York ALT 92.3’s holiday event will also feature musical performances by AJR, Bastille, Chvrches, Death Cab for Cutie, Foster The People, and Mike Shinoda on Thursday, December 6…..Entercom triple A WXRT, Chicago is announcing its 10th annual “Holiday Jam” will feature music from The Head and the Heart with special guest Mt. Joy…..WCSX, Detroit morning host Big Jim has been on a six-month mission to get a street named after Motor City music legend Bob Seger and this Friday (10/19) it’s going to happen.  The Beasley Media Group station, “The Big Jim’s House Morning Show,” and the City of Allen Park will officially unveil Bob Seger Boulevard during a two-hour event and ceremony at Allen Park City Hall that will include a special performance by a Bob Seger tribute band as well as a video screen featuring fans and celebrities congratulating the rock legend!