Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, May 25, 2018

| May 25, 2018

Gregg Henson Named WRVA and WRNL, Richmond Program Director.  Talk radio pro Gregg Henson is named program director for Richmond stations news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL “FOX Sports 910.” Entercom Virginia SVP Bennett Zier comments, “We are very excited about the addition of Gregg to the Richmond team.  Entercom is the leader in news and sports radio and we’re confident Gregg’s extensive industry experience will ensure that we continue to bring the most engaging content to our listeners.”  Henson has worked in sports talk in Detroit as well as in news/talk in markets including Dallas, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Townsquare Media Sells North American Midway Entertainment Back to Previous Owner.  Three years ago, Townsquare Media, Inc paid $75.5 million for North American Midway Entertainment and it was the lynchpin of the company’s Entertainment division.  Now, Townsquare is selling the mobile amusement company back to previous owner Danny Huston for $23.5 million. Townsquare has made no secret of the fact that the investment hasn’t panned out, so the sale is not surprising.  In addition to the cash sale price, Townsquare also stands to benefit if Huston sells the company within the next 10 years. It would get a 15% residual interest in any future proceeds of a sale.  Townsquare says it will hang on to the net proceeds from this sale, “pending future investment.”  For the year ended December 31, 2017, NAME generated net revenue of $92.2 million and a net loss of $33.7 million.

Alex Jones Sued by Sandy Hook Families.  The anger in Newtown, Connecticut – and beyond – over talk show host and InfoWars chief Alex Jones’ assertions that the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax has boiled over into a new lawsuit against the broadcaster filed by four families of the slain children, two families of killed educators, and one FBI agent.  The suit also names Wolfgang Halbig and Cory Slanka – who assisted in video production and website management – as well as Jones radio syndicator Genesis Communications Network.  The suit – filed in state court in Connecticut – alleges that Jones does not believe that the massacre was a hoax but continued to promote the narrative on his program and on his website. “Jones is the chief amplifier for a group that has worked in concert to create and propagate loathsome, false narratives about the Sandy Hook shooting and its victims and promote their harassment and abuse…the Jones defendants concoct elaborate and false paranoia-tinged conspiracy theories because it moves product and they make money.  Not because they truly believe what they are saying, but rather because it increases profits.”  The five counts in the suit are: invasion of privacy by false light; defamation; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; and unfair trade practices.  Jones addressed the suit on his radio program this week saying the allegations in the suit are “out of context.”  Jones is also being sued in Texas state court by two other families of Sandy Hook victims.

Entercom Promotes Nine in Senior Management. President and CEO David Field says, “We are fortunate to have such a talented team of leaders at Entercom and it is a pleasure to be able to promote several of them today in recognition of their increasing roles and responsibilities.  These are exciting times at the company and as we roll ahead with our investments and execute our transformational plans, we will continue to offer meaningful professional growth opportunities for our top performers.” The promotions include the following: Fred Bennett, senior vice president, Traffic Weather Information Network; JD Crowley, chief digital officer; Mike Dash, senior vice president and deputy general counsel; Liana Huth, senior vice president, programming innovation; Jen Morelli, senior vice president, events and experiences; Jenny Nelson, senior vice president, ad sales marketing; John Pacino, senior vice president, product and engineering; Sam Rogers, senior vice president, national sales; and Jeff Sottolano, senior vice president, radio and Radio.com programming.  Chief operating officer Weezie Kramer adds, “This is a strategic move to position ourselves for success in the long-term.  We are making great progress and we are excited about where we are headed.  With this new, elevated leadership structure, we are poised to maximize our capabilities and scale as one of the best radio broadcast operators in the industry.”

Canceled North Korea Summit Top News/Talk Story This Week. The canceled summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia Investigation.  Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China trade and military relations, followed by the state of the Iran nucleal deal 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. June 30 is the last publication day for most Cox Media Group’s sports verticals, including SECCountry.com, Landof10.com, and Diehards.com.  CMG has not explained the reason behind the move. Usually, lack of revenue is the reason for shutting down a business, but SEC Country’s Christopher Smith tweeted, “The Cox Media Group sports verticals grew traffic 36.9 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.  We were rocking it.  Even our Facebook traffic was up.”…..This morning (5/25), WFAN, New York morning team Boomer Esiason and Greg Gionnatti broadcast their show live from Headliner in Neptune, New Jersey for their “Boomer and Gio’s Kickoff to Summer” show. The program featured the live music of Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot. It also included a “Hairiest Back Contest” during the broadcast…..In conjunction with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One is presenting live play-by-play of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals. Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti are booth announcers for the series and former NHL center Ray Ferraro will serve as rinkside reporter with Florida Panthers announcer Steve Goldstein hosting the pre-game, intermission, and post-game reports.

Brian Kilmeade Scores Exclusive POTUS Interview.  When President Trump spoke at a forum in the Long Island community of Bethpage Wednesday (5/23) discussing the problem of violent MS-13 gang-related activity in that town and across the country, FOX radio and TV talk personality Brian Kilmeade was on hand to cover it.  In the process, Kilmeade scored an exclusive stand-up interview with the president that covered a variety of issues pertaining to gang violence and the broader topic of border security and immigration reform.  The president defended his recent comment describing gang criminals as “animals” by describing MS-13 members as being “stone cold killers…vicious killers.”  The extensive interview ran yesterday on the FOX News Channel’s morning show “Fox & Friends” co-hosted by Kilmeade along with Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.

Radio Historian and Videographer Art Vuolo Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Noted radio historian and videographer Art Vuolo is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Vuolo has been chronicling radio conferences for nearly 30 years and archiving the very best radio personalities on video since 1979. He has recorded video of some of the greatest on-air legends in studio doing their shows. In many cases, these are the only recorded documents of these figures in existence. His entire library will be featured in a permanent exhibit soon to be unveiled at the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. Harrison describes Vuolo as “the biggest devotee of American radio that I have ever met.” He was aptly dubbed “Radio’s Best Friend” by legendary DJ (and current WCBS-FM, New York morning host) Scott Shannon in the early 1980’s… a moniker that has stuck over the years. On June 8, Vuolo will be the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Lifetime Achievement award at the annual TALKERS convention in New York City, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Harrison and Vuolo take a deep-dive conversation into the golden era of radio’s top 40/personality stations and then some. This interview is a radio freak’s delight. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS Magazine Posts the 2018 Heavy Hundred. The 2018 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” has been posted. This annual list – compiled by the editors of TALKERS and known informally as the Heavy Hundred – ranks American radio talk show hosts in importance from one to 100. Today, TALKERS presents the 24thedition of this prestigious list in which the editors use a number of hard and soft factors in creating the ranking, including: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Our editorial staff works very hard to consider all of the numerous personalities who qualify, and then whittle it down to just 100… a difficult task. This list is admittedly subjective to one degree or another but we at TALKERS take the task very seriously. Congratulations to all of the radio talk show hosts who made this year’s Heavy Hundred!” See the list here.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits-Oldies. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on classic hits-oldies.  Kinosian reports that 59% of qualifying classic hits-oldies stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ numbers go up from April 2017 to April 2018.  There were nine stations that ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets and 21 that ranked in the top three.  iHeartMedia’s WWSW, Pittsburgh “3WS” wears the April crown for the highest 6+ market share at 11.2%.  See the whole report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The campaign to get a Detroit street named after Bob Seger continues as Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX-FM promises to play 24 hours of Seger’s music on June 2 to drum up support for the effort.  The “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” challenged WCSX-FM program director Jerry Tarrants, saying they could get more than 9,470 likes on the brand new “Make Bob Seger Boulevard” Facebook page.  Within only a few days, Bob Seger fans from all over the world made their voices known with likes for the page going well over the 9,470 likes needed.  As a result, listeners will be able to enjoy 24 hours of Seger on the station…..In Rochester, Entercom’s classic rock WCMF is hosting the annual Roc City Rib Fest – a BBQ and music festival featuring nationwide and local food favorites. The four-day, family-friendly festival will feature live music from Sean Patrick McGraw, Branded, and Kid Kurry, among others…..iHeartRadio is presenting holiday weekend-themed content.  Today it launched a suite of playlists “perfect for kicking back and enjoying this weekend.  From playlists to enjoy the unofficial start of summer to patriotic anthems to reflect and honor those who give everything for our freedom, iHeartRadio has what you are looking for.”

Thursday, May 24, 2018

| May 24, 2018

‘Sports Radio 610’ in Houston Adds New Talent to Lineup.  The Entercom sports talk station announces its new lineup that includes new voices Paul Gallant, Fred Davis, and Landry Locker.  Gallant joins the AM drive “Mad Radio” show with Mike Meltser and Seth Payne on KILT-AM.  Fred Davis and Landry Locker are co-hosting the midday “In the Loop” show with John Lopez.  The changes take effect on Tuesday (5/29).  Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “‘SportsRadio 610’ has long been the sports leader in Houston and part of remaining on top is continuing to evolve with the needs of our audience.  I’m excited about the energy that Paul will bring to mornings and Fred and Landry will bring to middays.”

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. As Garrett Morris’ fictional “Saturday Night Live” character Chico Escuela used to say, “Baseball been berry, berry good to me!” Stations that serve as flagships for MLB teams certainly hope that baseball will be good to them each season.  Today, TALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian presents the first PPM analysis of the 2018 baseball season that looks at 6+ numbers from Nielsen’s April PPM survey for those stations. Some of the stations that appear to have benefitted from the first month of the season compared to their March numbers include: Entercom’s news/talk KMOX, St. Louis (up 2.3 shares); Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh (up 2 shares); and Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee (up 1.9 shares).  See Kinosian’s full report here.

Redberg Rises to VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Twin Cities. Sales pro Michelle Redberg is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis market that includes news/talk KTLK “Twin Cities News Talk,” sports talk KFXN-FM “K-Fan,” eight music brands, plus franchise partnerships with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football, basketball and hockey. Vice president of sales for the Western Great Lakes Region Greg Alexander states, “Michelle is one of the bright stars of our company.  She has a contemporary approach to leadership along with a compassion for our advertisers and an understanding of today’s marketing and business challenges.  Michelle’s passion, skills, energy and drive made her an obvious choice to help lead our strong Twin Cities brands.”

Michael Young Exits Entercom Pittsburgh Market Manager Position.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that market manager Michael Young has exited the position at Entercom’s four-station cluster there that includes news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM.  Young was manager of the cluster when it was owned by CBS RADIO and stayed in his position as Entercom assumed ownership.

iHeartMedia Appoints Mark Boudreaux New Orleans Market President.  New Orleans native Mark Boudreaux assumes the market president position at iHeartMedia New Orleans, effective June 11.   iHeartMedia operates news/talk WRNO-FM and sports talk WODT, plus six music formats in the market.  Boudreaux was most recently business development manager at South Central AV. iHM region president Eddie Martiny says, “Who better to run our iHeartMedia New Orleans market than a native New Orleanian?  Mark has a proven track record in the Crescent City as a seller, sales manager and vice president of sales.  We are excited to have Mark and his infectious personality leading iHeartMedia New Orleans.”

Saga Comminucations’ Warren Lada to Retire.  Longtime Saga Communications executive Warren Lada is retiring from the company and his position as chief operating officer at the end of next month.  Saga president and CEO Ed Christian comments, “Warren has been an integral part of Saga for the past 27 years and we will deeply miss his contributions to Saga and its radio stations across the US.” Prior to taking on the corporate role of COO, Lada was president and general manager for Saga’s WAQY-FM, Springfield “Rock 102.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live” – led by principals Ian FreemanMark Edge, and Darryl W. Perry (pictured from l-r at right) — announces a number of new affiliates for the program.  WWMN-FM in Traverse City, Michigan and KUSG-AM in Guam add the program to their schedule and WTTN-AM, Columbus, Wisconsin joins the simulcast of existing progressive talk affiliate WRRD-AM, Waukesha…..Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM “Sports Radio 99.9 The Fan” and WDNC-AM “620 the Ticket” in Raleigh are broadcasting live, play-by-play for all games of this year’s ACC Baseball Championship series that runs through this Sunday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham.  Vice president of programming Dennis Glasgow says, “It is our pleasure to bring as much live content as possible over the next five days with our ACC Baseball coverage to everyone in The Triangle.  We have an excellent arsenal of announcers lined up to bring our listeners and baseball fans the very best play-by-play and analysis from the ACC Baseball Championship at DBAP.”…..cabana, the digital audio division of AdLarge Media, is expanding its podcast portfolio by adding the true crime genre with the podcast “Crime Junkie,” hosted by Ashley Flowers.  “Crime Junkie” launched in December and, according to AdLarge, has been averaging 40,000 downloads per episode…..Tag Station announces that the NextRadio smartphone app for listening to local FM stations is being launched for smartphone users in Mexico.  Tag Station president Paul Brenner comments, “We’re thrilled that NextRadio is now available for use on both iOS and Android devices in Mexico.  We want to empower all users to enjoy local FM radio without having their content restricted by geographic location or choice of device.”…..KXL, Portland news staffers Steve Leader and Rosemary Reynolds were recently honored with awards from the Associated Press.  Leader is AM drive anchor at the Alpha Media station and Reynolds is a reporter.  Leader received the Best Enterprise Reporting award for his series “Walk in the Hood,” a look at the way African American communities have changed in Portland through the eyes of two African Americans who grew up in Portland.  Reynolds received the Best Public Service award for her series “Wanted: Foster Parents,” that addressed the 11,000 children in Oregon in need of foster care…..Pictured below is FOX Sports Radio nationally syndicated talk show host JT “The Brick” emceeing the 11th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic.  This was JT’s fifth year serving as emcee for the event that raised more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

Hobnobbing at The Gracies. Pictured above at the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards on Tuesday (5/22) at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles are: Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey (left), Weiss Agency EVP and AWMF director Heather Cohen, and Kris Bailey.

Cool Job Opportunity for KNX Full Time Writer/Producer. Entercom’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles is looking for a fearless, aggressive, energetic, enthusiastic, and creative team player. The right candidate is a real show producer and not just a guest booker. Must have a strong rolodex, good news judgment and the ability to write quick, clear, compelling and concise scripts without the usual cliché’s or news speak. Must work and play well in a fast, high-pressure all-news environment. Intimate knowledge of socializing content in all platforms is a MUST. Prior major-market producing and news writing experience required. Strong multi-tasking and computer skills required. Familiarity with Southern California including politics, pop culture, lifestyle, etc. preferred. Must be available to work all hours, overnights, and weekends. Required to join the Writers Guild of America. For more information, please click here.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Status of North Korea Talks, U.S.-China Relations, New NFL Anthem Protest Rule, Parents Evict Son Case, Milwaukee Police Tase NBA Player, Iran Nuclear Deal, Primary Races, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23).  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the uncertain status of scheduled talks between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the state of relations between the U.S. and China after the latter is uninvited from joint military exercises; the NFL bans sideline anthem protests; the court case of the New York couple evicting their 30-year-old son; the Milwaukee police apologize after Bucks player Sterling Brown is tased during a parking violation incident; the aftermath of the U.S. pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal; Tuesday’s primary races in Georgia, Texas, and Kentucky; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA 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. There’s news from Chicago as Windy City media maven Robert Feder writes today about legendary jock Dick Biondi’s official exit from Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Feder says that at some point Biondi’s status changed from inactive employee – Biondi was hospitalized in April of 2017 for an ailment – to former employee.  Biondi had been hosting a weekend morning show on WLS-FM.  Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren told him Biondi’s employment with the station ended “months ago.”…..Robert Feder also reports that Entercom is promoting weekend and fill-in jock Richard Milne to full-time afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 8:00 pm) personality on triple A WXRT.  The move bumps Jason Thomas to weekend and fill-in duties as well as host of Monday evening’s “The Big Beat” show…..Tomorrow (5.25), Entercom New York’s classic hits WCBS-FM 101.1, New York’s Greatest Hits is broadcasting the “Shannon in the Morning Summer Beach Blastoff” featuring “Scott Shannon & The Big Show” live from the boardwalk at Coney Island.  Hosting the event will be Scott Shannon with Patty Steele, Sue Aller, John Elliot and Brad Blanks, with special performances by Taylor Dayne and Smash Mouth.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

| May 23, 2018

Urban One to Pay $4.2 Million for WTEM-AM, Washington.  The price tag of the deal that will transfer ownership of sports talk WTEM-AM, Washington from Dan Snyder-controlled Red Zebra to Urban One is $4.2 million.  In its filing with the SEC, Urban One reports that it “expects to generate approximately $1.7 million of pro-forma EBITDA from the assets, which represents a buyer’s multiple of approximately 2.5x.”  The presser from Urban One confirms that the station will continue to serve as the flagship station for Washington Redskins football.  (Games and related programming will also continue to air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington.) Urban One president and CEO Alfred Liggins says, “This is a tremendous opportunity for Urban One and we are especially pleased that through our acquisition, ‘The Team 980’ will continue to be locally owned.  The acquisition of ‘The Team 980’ is very much in line with our strategy of super-serving our community of listeners.  We have deep roots in the greater Washington, DC area and are well aware that ‘The Team 980’ has always been a fan favorite.  Red Zebra has a track record of producing great programming that engages our hometown sports fans.  We look forward to working with the Washington Redskins organization to continue this tradition.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  As Kinosian notes, the April PPM survey was not kind to the all-news format with just one station – Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco – notching a gain. The station went up a 0.5 share in the adjacent San Jose market.  However, comparing year-over-year numbers, about half the all-news stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ numbers increase, with iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento rising by 0.8 share.  Although it went down by 0.8 share, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington still ranked #1 in its market, while KCBS-AM ranked #2 in both the San Francisco and San Jose markets and KFBK ranked #2 in Sacramento.  See the entire report here.

Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick Posthumously Named TALKERS 2018 “Humanitarian of the Year.”  The late Michael “Matt Patrick” Ryan has been posthumously named the recipient of the TALKERS 2018 “Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host” – also referred to as “Humanitarian of the Year.”  Patrick was a major presence in Texas talk radio as the popular host of “Houston’s Morning News” on KTRH, Houston and his syndicated afternoon program, “The Matt Patrick Show” on KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas/Ft. Worth.  In September 2015, Patrick announced that he was receiving treatment for metastatic melanoma at the world-renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  The 37-year radio pro underwent brain surgery in late 2015, followed by multiple rounds of chemo, immunotherapy, and radiation in 2016.  Continuing to work through additional treatments, Patrick also maintained regular television appearances on Houston’s FOX 26 News, provided live coverage of the 2016 GOP National Convention from Cleveland for iHeartMedia, and rallied millions of fans during numerous public appearances to discuss “Overcoming Obstacles in Life.”  Patrick’s wife and radio business partner Paula Ryan writes in TALKERS (5/21), “Although the odds of survival were not great, Matt’s invincible drive and spirit were.  He was a brave and courageous warrior, leaving it all on the field.  Matt’s final appearance on KTRH was July 5, 2017 where he mustered every remaining ounce of strength to publicly thank his beloved listeners and to say goodbye to this terrestrial world.  Just a few days later, on July 9, 2017, Matt spoke his last beautiful words privately to me with that golden voice of his, and quietly slipped away to Heaven.”  Matt Patrick was extremely active in supporting a number of charities and causes.  He spoke for the Star of Hope in an effort to end homelessness, the Akron/Canton Regional Food Bank (during his earlier tenure as a talk host in Northeast Ohio between 2000-2010) and Houston Food Bank to aid food-insecure individuals and families, as well as supporting the Fisher House (free, extended-stay facilities for the families of hospitalized active-duty or retired military members and veterans) even holding a radiothon onsite (just Patrick and his engineer) in Houston to raise funds for these military families and veterans.  Over the course of the last decade of his time in Ohio, he worked tirelessly to raise $15 million for Akron Children’s Hospital as the founder and original host of the “Have A Heart, Do Your Part Radiothon,” and was an active supporter of Children’s Miracle Network.  Patrick was awarded the “Child Advocacy Award” of Akron Children’s Hospital for making a profound difference in the lives of the children in the community.  Patrick was a recovering alcoholic.  In November 2005, he achieved sobriety, one day at a time, and had helped countless others who struggled with addiction and alcoholism.  He was a believer in having to “give it away to keep it” and did just that.  Paula Ryan tells TALKERS, “Every year Matt and I would host ‘The Matt Patrick Recovery Show’ to publicly talk about his struggles with addiction while offering hope and resources to those who had a desire to become sober.  He served in various volunteer capacities with AA and would never hesitate to meet personally with a listener or return a phone call from a complete stranger if they reached out to him asking for his help.”  Patrick was a staunch supporter of law enforcement and was formally recognized by many agencies for his role in educating the public and bringing the community together working collaboratively with local police.  He was named an Honorary Deputy Sheriff in Fort Bend County and was honored with a formal changing of the guard ceremony at his memorial service by several law enforcement agencies including Harris County Sheriff, Fort Bend County Sheriff, and the City Of Houston, Texas Police Chief.   His 13-year-old son, Jake Ryan, was inducted into the Thin Blue Line at his dad’s memorial service as well.  To view a touching video tribute to the life and career of Matt Patrick, please click here The TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award will be presented posthumously at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! on June 8 in New York City and accepted by his widow Paula and son Jake.

WBEN-AM, Buffalo’s ‘12 Voices in 12 Hours’ Initiative Addresses Opioid Addiction. The “12 Voices in 12 Hours” initiative continues at Entercom’s news/talk WBEN-AM, Buffalo “NewsRadio 930” with the station this time addressing the opioid addiction epidemic.  The station is presenting 14 hours of programming on the issue today (5/23) from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.  Each hour of programming will feature a different voice on the issue, including medical experts, addiction experts, pain management experts, recovering opioid addicts, and family members of some of the victims of the epidemic.  The day’s special programming will conclude with a two-hour, live “Opioid Conversation” at the City of Tonawanda High School auditorium from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2018 Revenue Down 1.7%.  Revenue for the first quarter of 2018 for iHeartMedia’s radio division was $744.5 million – a decrease of 1.7% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company, currently in Chapter 11 reorganization, did not make any statements accompanying the financial data in the 8-K report, nor is it holding an investor’s conference call.  The company as a whole – including its Outdoor segments – was up 3.1% on consolidated revenue of $1.36 billion.

New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Announces Finalists.  The finalists have been announced for the 2018 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards.  The World’s Best Radio Programs competition has been taking place since 1982, receiving entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from around the globe.  This year, NYF’s Grand Jury selected 353 finalists from entries submitted from 31 countries worldwide.  Entries were judged based on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium.  Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “From audio books, podcasts, and sound art to documentaries, drama, and breaking news.  The international Grand Jury members once again selected finalists whose content exhibited creativity and innovation.”  All finalists move on to the medal round.  U.S. broadcasters making it to the medal round include: CBS News RadioSiriusXM, Westwood One, and ESPN.  See all the finalists here.

Dave Schrader Assumes Host Role for ‘Midnight in the Desert.’ The Dark Matter Digital Network announces that Dave Schrader is officially named the host of the “Midnight in the Desert” program that had been hosted by the late Art Bell.  Schrader has hosted “Darkness Radio,” “Beyond the Darkness,” “True-Crime Tuesday” and was a frequent weekend host for “Coast to Coast AM.”  Keith Rowland, manager/operator of Rowland Network Communications, LLC for the Dark Matter Digital Network, says they are actively seeking terrestrial radio affiliates for the program.  “Dave Schrader brings a wealth of experience, professionalism, and credibility to the search of the paranormal, the weird, and the anomalous that will continue to keep ‘Midnight in the Desert’ as the leading Internet-based LIVE paranormal program.”

WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Celebrates 10th Anniversary as Citizen.  Afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway (pictured above with Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate) was born in London, but back in 2008, he celebrated his new American citizenship.  Conway’s program is heard on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines “News Radio 1040” and is simulcast on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids “News Radio 600.”

U.S.-North Korea Summit, Trump-Russia Investigation, Iran Nuclear Deal, Primary Races, Prison Reform Bill, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22).  The uncertain status of the planned summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the state of the Iran nuclear deal after the U.S.’s exit from the pact; the primary elections in Georgia, Texas, and Kentucky; the Trump Administration’s prison reform bill passes the House; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA 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. It’s rare for Salem Media Group to sell stations but, as Salem Broadcast Media president David Santrella says, “When we do, we make every attempt to ensure that the buyer will continue to program the station with a format that will make a positive impact in the community.  That appears to be the case as Christian contemporary KGBI-FM, Omaha is being sold to University of Northwestern-St. Paul.  The school already operates 20 non-commercial stations around the country.  The school’s SVP for media Jason Sharp says, “We are grateful for the partnership we have experienced with Salem Media Group during this process. We look forward to expanding our network in Omaha and continuing the work of pointing people to Jesus through music and programming that makes an eternal impact.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

| May 22, 2018

Urban One New Owner of WTEM-AM, Washington.  Silver Spring, Maryland-based Urban One adds another Red Zebra property (the last station in Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s radio portfolio) to its radio station holdings as it acquires the NFL club’s flagship station, WTEM-AM, Washington “The Team 980” for an undisclosed sum.  The Washington Post quotes Red Zebra chairman Terry Bateman saying WTEM will continue to air Redskins football play-by-play (plus pre- and post-game shows).  Urban One kept ‘Skins games on Richmond, Virginia sports talker WXGI-AM that it bought from Red Zebra in 2017.  Bateman adds that Urban One has “done very well with sports talk in Richmond.” Comments in the Post piece point toward Urban One sticking with the sports format, although Urban One SVP Jeffrey Wilson says the company isn’t prepared to discuss specific programming issues.  Urban One paid $2 million for WXGI-AM and DC signal WDCJ-FM, Prince Frederick, Maryland (then WWXT-FM).  We’ll know the price for WTEM when the FCC filing is available.

Envision Networks to Syndicate ‘Retire with Integrity’ Program. The new weekend financial advice program from Envision Networks is called “Retire with Integrity” and is hosted by financial pro Brian Bowen and co-host Tug Cowart.  Bowen is an investment advisor representative and the president of Integrity Financial Planning, Inc.  He is also the president of CPA tax firm Impact Tax Group, LLC.  He is a contributor to CNNMoney.com, Money.com and Fortune.com.  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “When we investigate new shows to offer affiliates, we look for compelling content that listeners want to hear.  The value of ‘Retire with Integrity’ is the fun nature of the program and the appeal it holds financially for stations to sell to local advertisers.”

Glynn Rises to SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Seattle. Sales pro Mark Glynn is the new senior vice president at iHeartMedia’s Seattle station group that includes sports talk KJR-AM and talk KHHO, Tacoma “Hot Talk 880.”  Glynn has been serving as vice president of sales for the cluster’s KBKS, KUBE, and the TTWN.  About his new gig, Glynn says, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead the sales organization for iHeartMedia Seattle.  Audio is booming, and iHeartMedia Seattle is in a fantastic position to help advertisers get their messages heard by leveraging their eight iconic radio stations and lineup of superstar influencer talent.”

Nick Cattles Returns to ‘ESPN Radio 94.1’ in Norfolk.  After being away from Max Media’s WVSP, Norfolk, Virginia “ESPN Radio 94.1” for 16 months for a stint at Entercom’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Nick Cattles is back hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show.  Cattles’ program replaces the canceled “Pants Party” with Jeff Pantridge.  Cattles says, “I’m ecstatic to be returning to ‘ESPN Radio 94.1.’  During my previous run, I feel like I developed a deep and important connection with the sports fans of the 757, and I look forward to re-establishing and growing it even stronger.  A special thanks to the ownership and management team of Max Media for allowing me this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started on Monday, June 4.”

Jeff Hill Named VP of Sales at Cumulus Chicago. Windy City radio sales pro Jeff Hill is named to the newly created position of vice president, sales, for the Chicago cluster that includes news/talk WLS-AM, alternative WKQX, and classic hits WLS-FM.  Hill was most recently director of sales for Tribune’s WGN Radio.  In the past he’s served with ABC Radio – including as local sales manager for WLS-AM – as LSM for then-CBS RADIO’s WCKG-FM.  Cumulus Media Chicago VP/market manager Marv Nyren states, “Cumulus Chicago is thrilled to be adding a market veteran like Jeff Hill as our vice president of sales.  Jeff’s success in Chicago will allow our cluster to continue to build relationships with the ad community and compete at the highest levels of performance.”

TALKERS News Notes. There’s no official comment from Entercom on the decision to cancel the Sue Henry show on WILK-AM, Wilkes Barre/Scranton, but Henry confirmed via social media that yesterday (5/21) was her last day hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. The Times-Tribune notes that Henry had hosted the show for the past 16 years.  She also serves as a faculty member at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre and a moderator of the school’s radio station…..TALKERS magazine hears that general manager Dave Coskey is out at Longport Media’s Atlantic City operations that includes news/talk WOND-AM, Longport, New Jersey.  Our source says former CBS RADIO executive Marc Rayfield is assisting with the transition…..SiriusXM is presenting a special Town Hall Q&A event in which NBA legend Jerry West will sit down before a live studio audience and talk with fellow Lakers great James Worthy and take questions from the audience.  The program is being timed to coincide with West’s 80thbirthday.  The show is being taped at The Forum on Thursday (5/24) and will start airing on Friday.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Investigation into FBI-CIA Infiltration of Trump Campaign, Texas School Shooting Aftermath, U.S.-North Korea Summit, Pope Francis Homosexuality Statement, Iran Nuclear Deal, Major League Baseball, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; President Trump’s ordering the inspector general to investigation the possible infiltration of his campaign by FBI or CIA agents; the aftermath of the deadly shooting at a Houston-area high school; speculation over whether the U.S.-North Korea summit will actually happen; Pope Francis’ comments to gay man that ‘God made him that way’; the U.S.’s pressure on Iran for a stronger nuclear deal; MLB action; and NBA playoffs action 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. A number of moves take place at iHeartMedia’s Tucson station group.  First, Nick Wize is the new assistant program director for CHR KRQQ-FM hip hop KOHT “HOT 98.3,” and hot AC KMIY “My 92.9.”  Wize will also take over afternoon drive hosting duties on KRQQ on June 11.  At the same time, KRQQ and KOHT program director D-Wayne Chavez moves to afternoon drive on KOHT, and Suzette Rodriguez shifts to the midday program.  iHeartMedia Tucson SVP of programming David Adams comments, “Adding someone of Nick’s caliber to the already strong KRQ lineup is like winning the lottery! Nick will be an extremely valuable addition to the team, both on and off the air.”…..Max Media Denver announces the return of Mile High personalities Larry Ulibarri and Kathie J, who are back to host both the morning show on hip hop KFCO “FLO 107-1” and afternoons on sister station rhythmic oldies KJHM “Jammin’ 101-5.” Cluster president and GM Jeff Norman states, “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Larry and Kathie J to the Max Media Denver family.  With over 16 years in the Denver market, they have an incredible track record of driving station ratings and growing businesses to the next level.  Research proves the Denver community craves more of Larry and Kathie.”  Current KFCO morning host Nina Blanco moves to the afternoon drive program, “SLiM’s Playhouse.”…..WIHT, Washington-based “The Kane Show” is featured in the June issue of Baltimore magazine as part of the “Newcomer’s Guide to Baltimore” feature. The program is heard in Baltimore on CHR WZFT “Z104.3.”

Monday, May 21, 2018

| May 21, 2018

Is There a Heavenly Hundred?  Today, as TALKERS magazine posts the 2018 edition of the Heavy Hundred, Paula Ryan, the wife of late radio personality Matt Patrick writes a piece for TALKERS in which she remembers her husband and his intense love of and dedication to the craft of performing on radio.  She writes, “Every year we looked forward to the Heavy Hundred being published by TALKERS magazine.  Many of Matt’s close friends in the business got the nod year after year.  Matt would celebrate his colleagues, singing their accolades, and then quickly got back to working on his own shows in order to take it all to the next level.  I knew it was only a matter of time before he would land on that list.  Unfortunately, time was not on his side.” Read Ryan’s piece here.

Dennis Green Named Chief Revenue Officer for Sun & Fun Media. Longtime Westwood One executive Dennis Green has joined Sun & Fun Media as chief revenue officer.  Sun & Fun Media creates products for radio stations, including: vacations, gift cards, vehicle wraps, branded station merchandise, and bill pay for NTR events, television and billboard advertising for radio stations, research, consultants, equipment, software and more, all available exclusively through barter.  In this newly created position, the company says that Green will lead the development of new products and services for radio stations and will manage a team of six affiliate sales professionals to grow the company’s affiliations across the U.S.  He’ll continue to be based in New York City.  Sun & Fun Media co-founder and CEO Rob Koblasz says, “Dennis Green is one of the most respected, experienced and trusted affiliate sales executives in the radio industry and we are thrilled that he is joining Sun & Fun Media as chief revenue officer.  With Dennis’ considerable expertise in radio operations and network radio sales, we will be able to offer our affiliates more and better solutions exclusively for barter than ever before.”

Former FOX News Host Andrea Tantaros’ Suit Against Company and Individuals Dismissed.  The former FOX News Channel personality was suing FNC and a number of individuals, including former FOX executive Bill Shine and late FOX chief Roger Ailes, for $10 million.  Andrea Tantaros claimed that in response to her making allegations of sexual harassment against various FOX executives, she was put under illegal surveillance.  Tantaros was representing herself – pro se – and in a ruling highly critical of the merits of the suit, Judge George B. Daniels dismisses all of the claims, ruling that Tantaros failed at every level to provide factual support for the allegations.  Tantaros claimed, among other things, that she was being spied upon by one of Roger Ailes security personnel, that FOX tech persons installed malware on her personal computer in order to spy on her, and that she was illegally videotaped at work.

Kirshbom to Lead iHeartMedia Raleigh Cluster.  Radio management pro Alan Kirshbom joins iHeartMedia as market president for the company’s Raleigh cluster that includes news/talk outlet WTKK-FM.  Most recently, Kirshbom was vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media in Memphis.  Previously, he’d served as vice president and market manager for Entercom in Austin and Milwaukee.  As market president, Kirshbom will be responsible for “leveraging iHeartMedia Raleigh’s radio station brands and assets to provide quality programming and create new revenue opportunities.  He will spearhead all aspects of the market’s operations including sales, programming, digital, events and promotion initiatives.”  Kirshbom will report to Dave Carwile, president of iHeartMedia’s Virginia/Carolina Region.

Russel Robertson Appointed SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Tampa. Moving from the company’s Seattle station group to Tampa, Russell Robertson assumes the SVP of sales role for iHeartMedia’s cluster there. iHeartMedia’s Tampa cluster includes news/talk WFLA and sports talk WDAE.  iHM Tampa market president Chris Soechtig says, “I’m thrilled to have Russell join our team.  His 10-plus years of experience in iHeartMedia’s Pacific Northwest and San Diego Regions coupled with his passion for helping clients grow their business makes him the ideal choice for SVPS in Tampa Bay.”

Raising Money for Nevada GOP Candidates. Pictured above are Las Vegas-based talk show hosts Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) and Heidi Harris (left) at the Denim & Diamonds BBQ Fundraiser held in Las Vegas on Saturday night.  Wachs and Harris co-emceed the event sponsored by the Southern Nevada Republicans Women’s PAC and designed to raise funds for primary race GOP candidates. WSB-AM, Atlanta talk show host – and former presidential candidate – Herman Cain was a speaker at the event.

JVC Media’s John Caracciolo Delivers Commencement at Long Island’s Five Towns College.  Pictured above at the commencement at Five Towns College in Dix Hills, Long Island is JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo (left) with Chicago drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Danny Seraphine (center) and school president David Cohen (right).  Caracciolo was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony.  JVC Media owns and operates stations on Long Island – including news/talk WRCN-FM, Riverhead, New York “LI News Radio” – and in Florida.

TALKERS News Notes. Omaha native and Radio One founder Cathy Hughes (right) is pictured here with Nebraska media personality Tom Becka (left) – formerly of KFAB, Omaha and KCMO, Kansas City – after being honored by the Omaha Press Club.  The city of Omaha named a street in her honor, as well. Hughes joins the ranks of other famous Nebraskans including: Warren Buffett, Johnny Carson, and Larry the Cable Guy…..Indiana Radio Watch publisher Blaine Thompson reports that Daryl McIntire is exiting his role as director of sales for Sarkes Tarzian’s news/talk WGCL/W241CD and triple A WTTS in Bloomington, Indiana.  McIntire served with Sarkes Tarzian for 32 years in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne…..Pictured below broadcasting live from the Connecticut Democratic State Convention on May 18 is WTIC-AM, Hartford “Newstalk 1080” afternoon drive personality Todd Feinburg.  Feinburg broadcast his show from the Hartford Convention Center interviewing state political figures and taking listener calls.

Texas School Shooting, Trump Asks DOJ to Investigate FBI-CIA Surveillance of Campaign, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Royal Wedding, Iran Nuclear Plan ‘B,’ Deadpool 2 Film, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Santa Fe High School shooting on Friday that left 10 dead; President Trump asks the DOJ to investigate whether the Obama Administration asked the FBI or CIA to infiltrate the Trump campaign; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S. and China agree not to accelerate a trade war; Saturday’s royal wedding of Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to unveil “Plan B” for Iran nuclear deal; the film Deadpool 2 tops the weekend box office; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a change in morning drive talent at iHeartMedia’s WLIT, Chicago “93.9 LITE FM” as Melissa Forman returns to the station to host AM drive, replacing Kristina Kage.  The company says Forman “will kick off the workday with two hours of commercial free music from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.  Melissa’s tradition of informing and entertaining listeners will continue through celebrity interviews, charity involvement, and the unique relationships that she’s built with the people of Chicago.”  iHeartMedia Chicago Region president Matt Scarano says, “I am so excited to welcome Melissa Forman back into the iHeartMedia Chicago family.  She has a rich history with Chicago and 93.9 LITE FM’s listeners, and we are looking forward to working with her again.”…..iHeartMedia’s KMRQ, Modesto, California “Rock 96.7” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Woody Show” to the program schedule for morning drive.