Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

| November 20, 2018

Minihane Says ‘Difference of Opinion’ Led to Departure from WEEI, Boston.  Appearing on public television outlet WGBH-TV, Boston’s “Greater Boston” program with host Jim Braude on Monday (11/19), former WEEI, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane explained his exit from the “Kirk & Callahan” program, saying he and station owner Entercom had a “difference of opinion” on how the morning show should go forward. He said, “There was just a philosophical difference between the station — Entercom, the ownership — and me.  They wanted to go one way.  I didn’t want to go that way.”  Minihane said he was asked to sign a document that he wasn’t comfortable with.  “It basically said you can’t be interesting, you can’t be mean-spirited, you can’t take chances, you can’t rip the Red Sox, you can’t rip the Boston Globe.  And I said, ‘I’m not going to participate.’”  As reported last week, Minihane will launch a national program on Entercom’s RADIO.COM in 2019, he’ll host his own podcast and will write for the digital platform as well.  Mike Mutnansky now co-hosts the WEEI morning show with Gerry Callahan.  Read coverage of the WGBH-TV appearance here.

Nielsen Names IBM SVP David Kenny New CEO. Ratings and consumer behavior giant Nielsen Holdings LLC names former IBM senior vice president David Kenny its new chief executive officer, effective December 3.  Kenny takes over for the retiring Mitch Barns at a time when the company is reviewing its corporate strategy – led by board chairman James Attwood – and that could lead to a sale of either its Watch (ratings) or Buy (consumer behavior) segments or a sale of the entire company.  Kenny will earn $1.3 million in base salary, the opportunity to earn up to $1.9 million in the Annual Incentive Plan, and participation in the Long Term Incentive Plan.  Additionally, Nielsen agrees to compensate Kenny for his loss of unvested equity in IBM with 487,505 Nielsen RSUs (Make Whole RSUs) that will vest in three equal annual installments through 2021; Nielsen will pay him $2.5 million on February 15, 2019 for his loss of an IBM cash retention award; and will pay him $1.5 million upon starting his employment for his loss of the IBM 2018 annual incentive payout.

PodcastOne Launches Four New Podcasts. New programs launching on PodcastOne this month include: “Chad’s World,” starring “Bachelorette” villain Chad Johnson; “Zane’s World” in which world traveler Zane digs deeper into places he’s featured on his other travel shows and shares unheard, amazing stories and interviews celebrities about their experiences; “Selfie Made,” with author Meredith Rojas on building one’s online brand; and “Just Between Us,” with “Good Witch” star Bailee Madison and her sister Kaitlin Vilasuso.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “We’re really proud to have created a prime space for social and on-screen influencers to extend their digital brands in the rapidly growing podcast space.  We have seen great success in the last year with influencers like Kaitlyn BristoweSpencer and Heidi Pratt, Kim Zolciak, and more and we’re excited to welcome these four new programs to the party!”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio dynamo Simon Conway (left) – heard in afternoon drive on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines and sister WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids – is pulling a couple of days of double duty this week.  In addition to his own show, he’s also sitting in for WOAI-AM San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right)…..As Major League Baseball’s New York Mets change flagship stations from iHeartMedia’s WOR to Entercom’s WCBS-AM, Mets color analyst of the past six seasons Josh Lewin is leaving New York to return to San Diego to host pre- and post-game shows for San Diego Padres radio broadcasts.  Lewin also handles play-by-play for UCLA football.  He previously worked in San Diego doing radio broadcasts for the NFL’s Chargers…..This Thanksgiving weekend, ABC News is making available a three-hour special titled, “America Gives Thanks,” hosted by ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky that will “highlight tales of prosperity, hope, and kindness that Americans across the country have experienced.  It will feature stories of Americans in diverse situations including survivors of wildfires, students from Africa given a chance to succeed in the United States, and recipients of kidney transplants.”…..Voxnest announces that  podcast producer and host Jonathan Zenti joins the company as head of content.  Voxnest notes that Zenti is an award-winning podcast producer and host with more than a decade of distinguished experience across the industry who was most recently made a member of the advisory committee for PRX’s Google Podcast creator program.

Acosta Pass Restored/New WH Press Rules, Democrats’ Internal House Speaker Battle, Democrats’ Whitaker Challenge, Federal Asylum Claims Ruling, Gun Violence Incidents, California Wildfires, Sinking Dow, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). The White House restores CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass and institutes new rules for reporters covering the White House; the Democrats’ battle over Nancy Pelosi as next House Speaker; Senate Democrats challenge appointment of acting AG Matthew Whitaker; the federal ruling blocks President Trump’s asylum ban; Monday’s spate of gun violence; the devastation from California’s wildfires; the reeling Dow loses 400 points and the plummeting of tech stocks; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘Stuttering’ John Melendez Is Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Media personality John Melendez, who spent 15 years as an outrageous sidekick and field reporter on Howard Stern’s radio and TV shows, followed by a 10-year stint as announcer and writer on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Melendez, whose “Stuttering John” character rose to fame in the Howard Stern universe for asking unsuspecting celebrities extremely intimate and embarrassing questions, has just published a memoir, Easy for You to Say (Rare Bird Books, 2018).  It discusses his lifelong battle against stuttering going all the way back to his experiences being bullied in school as well as his colorful media career and the major stars with whom he interacted.  Melendez talks to Harrison quite candidly about his relationships with both Stern and Leno as well as his perspective on the industry and life.  According to Harrison, “This guy is extremely interesting.  He’s lived both a charmed life and career which he discusses in candid detail in our conversation.  What a great guest!”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Pittsburgh, Michael “Frogman” Ovadia exits Forever Media’s country WOGI, “Froggy 104.3” after four years there.  Erika “Aligator” Hink – co-host of the “Frogman & Gator” show – continues to host the program solo…..Madison, Wisconsin morning personality Pat O’Neill announces via social media that he’s exiting Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WMGN “MAGIC 98” for a yet-to-be-named gig he’ll start in January…..WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” morning drive icon Matt Siegel – host of the “Matty in the Morning” show – comes home with the Broadcaster of the Year award from the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association’s “Sound Bites” event. The honor is given annually to “a Massachusetts radio or TV broadcaster who has shown an unwavering dedication to the evolution of broadcasting, breathing life into his/her work by being creative, enthusiastic, and committed to the community.”  The iHeartMedia personality says, “I am thrilled to receive this honor.  I can’t believe I’ve gotten to wake up the city of Boston for the past 38 years while working alongside some of my closest friends.  I am very humbled and appreciative to be recognized with such high honors.”…..Also from the MBA Sound Bites Awards, Entercom rock WAAF, Boston grabs first place in the “Digital Media” category for “LB’s Big Decision,” featured on the station’s website…..Entercom unveils its “Channel Q” format on KKHH-HD2 in Houston.  Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Since its inception in October, ‘Channel Q’ (formerly known as ‘Out Now’) has provided a voice for the LGBTQ+ community and we are very excited to bring that voice to the Houston area.  We believe this is a perfect fit considering our long-term partnership with Pride Houston.”

Monday, November 19, 2018

| November 19, 2018

Kim Carrigan Out as Kuhner Returns to AMs on WRKO, Boston; Doug “V.B.” Goudie Moves to Middays. The new program schedule on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston launches on Monday (11/26) and in morning drive will be “The Kuhner Report” with Jeff Kuhner.  He moves from the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart and replaces the “Boston’s Morning Show” with Kim Carrigan and Doug “V.B.” Goudie.  V.B. moves to the early afternoon show hosting “V.B. in the Middle” and Carrigan apparently departs.  The station says in a press release, “‘The Kuhner Report’ will continue to cover today’s latest headlines and breaking political news.  Conservative Jeff Kuhner will continue to tackle cutting-edge, hot-button, political, social and foreign policy issues.  ‘V.B. in the Middle’ will also discuss today’s biggest political headlines, showcasing V.B.’s humorous, creative opinions as well as his connection with the Boston listeners.”  WRKO program director and iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Robert Sanchez adds, “Jeff Kuhner believes what he says and says what he believes.  Bostonians need an energy burst in the morning and with Jeff, their commute just erupted.”

Alan Stock to Exit Afternoon Drive on KXNT, Las Vegas for New Role at Station.  Although still not confirmed at press time, TALKERS sources indicate that a programming shuffle is about to take place at Entercom’s heritage talk outlet in Las Vegas, KXNT with the official announcement coming this week.  Local market mainstay (and TALKERS Heavy Hundred luminary) Alan Stock will move out of the 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm afternoon drive position to be replaced by a yet-to-be-named syndicated program and play a reduced, but still-important, role at the station as its “commentator.”  Stock will deliver a live, daily, early afternoon, short-form political commentary that will be replayed several times later in the day.  Word is that Stock’s on-air presence at the station will also include a live, long-form weekend program to be announced at a later date.  Further unconfirmed rumors indicate Stock might be replaced in afternoon drive by Radio America syndicated host Chad Benson.  Stay tuned!

iHeartMedia Files Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan with Bankruptcy Court. December 11 is still the date that iHeartMedia will be in Bankruptcy Court in Houston for confirmation of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan.  Ahead of that, the company has filed the Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan with the court and the deadline for filing objections with this latest plan is November 28.  The plan outlines the New Term Loans to be issued by parent company iHeartCommunications. They include: an Asset-Based Loan of $450 million with a five-year term; a Term Loan of $3.5 billion with a seven-year term; $800 million in secured notes with a seven-year term; and $1.45 billion in unsecured bonds with an eight-year term.  The Plan also lays out the salaries of chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and COO and CFO Rich Bressler – both of whom who will make $1.5 million in salary per year and whose annual Target Bonuses will be $3.4 million.  Note that these figures are for the year 2019 and beyond that changes in the employment terms are at the discretion of the board of directors.

iHeartMedia to Acquire Jelli Inc. This move takes the relationship between iHeartMedia and cloud-based ad platform developer Jelli Inc. to the next level, with iHM acquiring the company whose technology powers its SoundPoint programmatic platform.  iHeartMedia goes on to say that this deal will enable it to “further leverage Jelli’s assets to continue to create for brands a digital-compatible buying platform for broadcast radio that includes targeting and creative optimization based on data and attribution tools compatible with the offerings of the major digital players. In addition, ‘Expressway from Katz,’ the industry’s programmatic buying ad exchange for the country’s leading radio groups, will continue to remain independently run by Katz, powered by Jelli.”  Brian Kaminsky, president of SmartAudio and analytics group for iHeartMedia, says, “Facebook and Google pioneered a new way for advertisers to interface with media partners to improve targetability, the ease of buying and measurement of results, and our programmatic platform puts us in the position to participate in the modern data driven ecosystem for our broadcast radio audience as well as our digital audiences.  We have been excited by the advances we made with Jelli as our partner and the acceptance from our advertising partners.”  The press release makes no mention of the terms of the deal, but says that “Jelli will continue to operate as a company within iHeartMedia, Inc. led by president and CEO Michael Dougherty and his team.  The Jelli division will continue to be based in Silicon Valley and will become iHeartMedia’s primary ad technology operation.”

Larry King Weighs In with Strong Opinions on Jim Acosta Story and the State of Journalism.  Veteran radio and TV talk show host Larry King dropped in on Friday (11/16) for an unplanned chat during the recording of this past weekend’s RT America show “The Big Picture with Holland Cooke.”  The impromptu, seven-minute interview took place while King was visiting the network’s Washington, DC headquarters.  During the provocative conversation that delved into the state and future of journalism in America, King candidly described the daily briefings and press conferences held at the Donald Trump White House as “a sideshow… reality TV… that has nothing to do with governing.”  King elaborated, “The whole thing is a show and when Jim Acosta [engaged in the argument with the President] he became part of the show.  Trump loves that!”  To view the entire conversation between King and Cooke, please click here.  King hosts a nightly show, “Larry King Now,” on RT America from his studio in Los Angeles via a licensing agreement between the network and his program that originates on Ora TV and is also seen on Hulu. Holland Cooke is also a senior correspondent for TALKERS.

Hoffman to Lead Entercom Indianapolis. Rising from vice president of sales for Entercom’s Indianapolis cluster to SVP and general manager is Ben Hoffman.  He is now in charge of the cluster that includes sports talk WXNT-AM “CBS Sports 1430 AM,” CHR WZPL, and adult contemporary WNTR “107.9 The Mix.” Entercom region president Dave Alpert states, “For the past seven years at Entercom Indianapolis, Ben has demonstrated strong leadership qualities, high energy and the ability to be a collaborative team leader with a strong ability to win.  This is a well-deserved promotion for Ben to senior vice president and market manager and we are looking forward to the great work that Ben will continue to produce.”  Prior to joining Entercom, Hoffman served as station manager and director of sales for Townsquare Media in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Judge’s Ruling in CNN-White House Suit, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump FOX News Interview/Schiff Attack, House Speaker Battle, California Wildfires, Migrant Caravan, U.K.’s Brexit Chaos, U.S.-China Trade War/Pence at APEC Summit, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  A judge rules the White House must return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials; the status of the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; President Trump’s FOX News interview with Chris Wallace and his Twitter attack on Congressman Adam Schiff; the internal battle among Democrats over the next Speaker of the House; the status of the California wildfires and the latest death toll; the caravan of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border; the political chaos surrounding Britain’s exit from the E.U.; the U.S. trade war with China and Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit; and the weekend’s NFL action 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. St. Louis country outlet KSD-FM “93-7 The Bull” announces Gail Austin is the new program director for the station.  Back in April, Jules Riley was promoted from PD for KSD and sister classic hits KLOU to senior vice president of programming for the entire iHeartMedia St. Louis cluster.  Austin previously served with the company in the programming departments of both WQIK, Jacksonville and WCOL, Columbus.  Riley comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Gail back to iHeartmedia and excited to watch her take ‘The Bull’ to new heights.  We spoke with a number of talented programmers, but Gail’s competitive drive, creativity, and talent development made her our ideal candidate.”…..At morphing WTDY, Philadelphia, Entercom moves program director Bobby Smith off the air and “Coop & Casey” are the new morning show.  The station is transitioning into a CHR as the result of the company’s recent acquisition of hot AC WBEB “B101.1.”…..Air personality Brian Holmes exits Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rhythmic CHR WJQM, Madison “93.1 Jamz” after three-and-a-half years hosting “The Freak Show” in the evenings…..ABC Radio is offering a Thanksgiving holiday radio show for country stations called, “Holiday Season Serenade.” The three-hour program is hosted by country star Martina McBride, who will take a look at stars’ holiday favorites including food, decorations, traditions, gifts and music.  The special will feature Christmas songs by top country artists such as Dan + ShayLittle Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Brett EldredgeChris Young, Scotty McCreery, and more.

Friday, November 16, 2018

| November 16, 2018

WDAE, Tampa Names ‘Ron & Ian’ Afternoon Drive Show.  Longtime Tampa Bay and WDAE sports talk personality Steve Duemig focuses on his health as he continues treatment for a brain tumor.  He’ll step aside as the station names Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles hosts of the afternoon drive “Ron & Ian” show, effective Monday, November 26.  This is a return to the station for the duo who exited three years ago in a programming reshuffle.  Producer Jay Recher remains in the afternoon slot as a “key part of the program.”  Diaz says, “The band is back together and it’s about time to rock.  During the year that the show first began, the Lightning won the Stanley Cup.  No pressure guys let’s do it again.”  Beckles adds, “I am super excited to reunite with Ron and Jay to create the Ron & Ian show 2.0.  Tampa Bay has been begging for its return, so I hope everyone is ready.”

WXYT-FM, Detroit Personality Mike Valenti to Launch Podcast on RADIO.COM. Motor City sports talk personality Mike Valenti – heard in afternoon drive on Entercom’s sports talker WXYT-FM – is the latest to launch a podcast on the company’s digital platform RADIO.COM.  Titled, “Always Aggravated,” the weekly program “is a chance for fans to go behind the scenes with Valenti and his cast of characters from his daily afternoon drive show.”  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon states, “Mike is an extraordinary talent who is loved by Detroit sports fans.  This podcast will be an extension of his show, giving fans access to an unfiltered Mike Valenti.”  Valenti comments, “This podcast is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. It gives us the chance to go beyond what we are able to discuss in our daily show. Nothing is off limits and I am very excited about the opportunity to appeal to listeners around the country.”

Tennessee Won’t Prosecute Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Talk Host Jeff Styles. The good news for former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning personality Jeff Styles is that the state won’t be prosecuting him on an aggravated assault charge; the bad news is the road rage incident from last June cost him his job at the Cumulus Media talk station. Styles testified that Nick Bullington was driving recklessly toward him and waving a gun before Styles got out of his car at a red light and attacked Bullington’s vehicle with a tomahawk.  Bullington fired his weapon and Styles was hit in the arm.  The case was bound to a grand jury but now the state is electing not to prosecute.  The Chattanoogan reports Styles’ attorney Lee Davis told the court, “Jeff Styles called 911 after he was shot.  He cooperated in the police investigation and testified in court.  Jeff has done everything possible to be fully accountable for his actions.  I appreciate the care and deliberation that District Attorney Neal Pinkston has taken in the review of this case. On behalf of Jeff Styles, I want to express my support and appreciation of the state’s decision after careful review to dismiss this matter.”

iHeartMedia Monthly Operating Report: September Revenue Up 9.6%. As it has been doing while working its way through Chapter 11 reorganization, iHeartMedia files another monthly operating report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  This report – for the month of September – notes that revenue was $325.9 million, an increase of 9.6% over August’s $299.4 million figure.  Operating income was down 20.6% to $62.4 million and net income was $11.9 million – down a dramatic 140% from August’s net income of $66.9 million. During September, iHeartMedia paid out $15.8 million to outside professionals assisting in the reorganization process.

TALKERS News Notes.  There’s been no official communique from Entercom Minneapolis but after seven months with the cluster, operations manager Andy Bloom exits.  He’d been in charge of operations at heritage news/talk WCCO-AM, country KMNB “BUZ’N @ 102.9,” and adult hits KZJK “104.1 JACK FM.”  Previously, Bloom had been with CBS RADIO as operations manager for sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT in Philadelphia.  Bloom simply tells the Pioneer Press, “WCCO is a legendary station.  I wish them luck.”…..The Boston Beasley Media Group stations are taking part in the third official “Massachusetts Civility Day” proclaimed by Governor Charlie Baker.  National Civility Foundation executive director Judith Bowman says the purpose of tomorrow’s (11/17) event is “to have every person in every family, every company…consciously perform a random act of kindness.  Day of Civility is timely given our coarse global climate and particularly fitting as we enter the Thanksgiving holiday season.”…..Pictured at left are some of the staff members of Alpha Media Alaska posing with their “Goldie Awards” from the Alaska Broadcasters Association.  The cluster garnered four awards: KFDQ-AM, Anchorage’s “Big Alaska Show” for Best Radio Show; sports talk KHAR for Best Sports Play-By-Play; classic hits KEAG-FM, Anchorage for Best Radio Commercial (:30); and country KBRJ-FM for Best Radio Commercial (over :30).  Pictured here are (from l-r): “Big Alaska Show” host Steve Stripling, KBRJ-FM program director Joe Campbell, Lindsey Dailey, Steven Franklin, and John Miller.

Talkin’ Turkey.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (dressed as a turkey) is pictured here broadcasting from inside a Walmart in Nampa, Idaho where he’s been living to collect turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission.  This is Miller’s eighth year living at and broadcasting from the Walmart to help the cause.  With him in the photo are KTVB-TV, Boise’s Larry Gebert (left) and Boise Rescue Mission CEO Reverend Bill Roscoe (right).

CNN-White House Suit Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 12-16.  CNN’s suit against the White House for the pulling of reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was Florida election re-counts and the related allegations of voter fraud by President Trump.  Coming in at #3 was the status of the Trump-Russia investigation, followed by the migrant caravan and U.S. illegal immigration policy 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.

30th Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. In New York City last night (11/15), 10 radio broadcasters were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.  A number of talk personalities were enshrined, including longtime New York radio talk host Joan Hamburg, pictured above with actor Alan Alda, who introduced her, stating, “She has the ability to interview anybody with grace and good humor.” Other talk hosts enshrined were: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, SiriusXM personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Jonathon Brandmeier, Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin, WFAN legend Mike Francesa, and sports talker Nanci Donnellan, a.k.a., the Fabulous Sports Babe (who was unable to attend).  Music radio personalities inducted included WAXQ, New York morning host Jim Kerr and Kid Kelly, along with consultant Fred Jacobs.  Pictured below are (from l-r): Jacobs, Levin, Kerr, and Brandmeier.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country WQIK, Jacksonville promotes music director John Scott to program director, effective immediately.  Scott will report to iHeartMedia SVP of programming Gary “Geewiz” Christopher, who says, “We are thrilled to have John transition to program director for the number one country station in Jacksonville.  He understands our listeners and brings his passion and extensive knowledge of the market to this role and we know he will continue to contribute to our station’s ongoing success.”  Over the past 28 years, he has served WQIK as morning show host, midday personality, and afternoon drive jock…..Entercom’s rock KISW, Seattle is presenting the fourth annual “Live Day.”  This year’s event will feature broadcasts of the station’s morning show “BJ Migs” and afternoon show “The Mens Room” in front of a live audience with no recorded commercials, sound effects or music.  More than 100 performers and producers are involved in creating eight hours of completely live radio.  “Live Day” will emanate from Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom on Tuesday (11/20) and feature a cast of local musicians, Foley artists and comedians, and station on-air talent including “BJ & Migs,” Ryan Castle, Taryn Daly, and talent from The Mens Room.  KISW legacy talent Kathy Faulkner and Spike O’Neill will also be in attendance…..WWPR, New York-based morning show “The Breakfast Club” raised more than $200,000 during its second annual #Change4Change to benefit PROJECT 375, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness of mental health, ending the stigma and raising funds for treatment. The Breakfast Club personalities DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God worked in support of PROJECT 375, a charity co-founded by NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his wife Michi. PROJECT 375 offers several free community programs and resources addressing mental health such as Project Prevent, which provides technology-driven mental health first aid training for parents, teachers and anyone working closely with youth; and Mind Over Matter Talks, where members of the organization visit schools to speak with students, principals, community leaders and parents about mental health…..Bobby Bones show co-host Amy Brown is launching an iHeartRadio original podcast called “4 Things with Amy Brown,” focused on featuring “4 Things” listeners can do to promote healthy well-being and to “maintain an attitude of gratitude, while sprinkling joy and giving back in their daily lives.”   Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “Amy is an integral part of some of our most-popular Country radio programs.  We’ve seen firsthand how her loyal following of fans stays connected across any and every platform, so this podcast is a natural next step.”…..Sun Broadcast Group celebrates its 10th anniversary. The national radio network is now headquartered in New York City and Boca Raton and is home to “The Country Fried Mix with DJ Sinister,” multiple nationally syndicated shows hosted by “Fitz,” “The Woody & Wilcox Show,” and Sun Latino among many others.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

| November 15, 2018

Alpha Officially Files to Sell West Palm Beach Cluster to Hubbard for $88 Million.  When the Agreement in Principle was announced back in late September, Alpha Media said it was divesting of some of its stations to lower its debt leverage.  Today we learn that it has filed to sell the West Palm Beach cluster to Hubbard Radio for $88 million.  The station group includes news/talk WFTL-AM, sports talk WMEN-AM/WIRK-HD2; adult contemporary WEAT-FM; hot AC WRMF; country WIRK-FM; and urban contemporary WMBX-FM. Alpha Media’s Bob Proffitt states, “While we are sad to see these great stations leave the Alpha family, we are equally happy for Elizabeth Hamma and her excellent and dedicated team to join Hubbard Radio.”  Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris adds, “This is an exciting opportunity for Hubbard Radio.  West Palm Beach is a terrific market and the Alpha Media radio stations set the standard for excellence in south Florida.  We feel honored to welcome these great radio stations into the Hubbard Radio family.”  KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Minihane Remains with Entercom for RADIO.COM Presence; Callahan and Mut Continue in WEEI, Boston Mornings. Sports media personality Kirk Minihane has been off the “Kirk & Callahan” morning drive show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston since taking a medical leave back in early September.  Recent social media posts by Minihane hinted there may have been problems between he and the company but that no longer appears to be the case as Entercom announces Minihane will launch a new digital radio show, podcast, and column on the company’s RADIO.COM platform.  A press release states, “The new platform will expand Kirk’s reach to a national audience and explore wide-ranging topics in addition to sports.  Kirk’s podcast and column are expected to launch in January 2019 and his new, daily, weekday radio show, which will include a co-host to be named at a later date, is expected to launch in early 2019.”  Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton comments, “As an industry leader in compelling, proprietary content, Entercom is making sure RADIO.COM is populated with the very best programming available. Kirk Minihane fits this model perfectly.  His ability to entertain and engage is second to none, and there is no question Kirk will become a highly successful national audio personality.  He already conquered Boston.  Now on to the rest of the world!”  In Minihane’s absence from the morning drive program, Mike “Mut” Mutnansky has been co-hosting with Gerry Callahan and the two will continue to host the morning program with “with a rotating cast of Boston’s most charismatic and intriguing sports personalities.”  And it sounds as though there will be less talk of politics on the program as the press release adds, “The WEEI morning show is being re-envisioned as a more sports-centric show consistent with the station’s brand and position as Boston’s sports leader. For more than 25 years, WEEI has entertained and informed Boston sports fans with engaging, must-listen sports content and analysis in the country’s greatest sports city. Going forward, the morning show will focus predominantly on sports.”  For his part, Minihane states, “I’m extremely excited to return to the air and reach a national audience, with greater autonomy to focus on a variety of topics, and even more digital platforms to connect with my fans.  It’s been awesome to be part of WEEI and I know Gerry and Mut will continue to put on a great show.  I want to thank the listeners for their patience and loyalty over the past several weeks, and I can’t wait to get started on RADIO.COM.”

Hammerschmidt Named News Director at KYW, Philadelphia. All-news KYW, Philadelphia announces Kristina Hammerschmidt is the new news director, effective November 19.  Last year, the Philly native joined the station as an editor and writer from KYW-TV where she was a producer and writer.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “Kristina is a talented and dynamic leader with expertise that will take the KYW Newsradio team to the next level.  Her strong track record producing live newscasts will help us deliver on our mission of telling compelling stories and setting the agenda for news coverage in the Delaware Valley.”  Hammerschmidt says, “I am excited to lead such a talented and dedicated team of journalists.  KYW Newsradio has a rich history and plays an important role in the lives of nearly a million listeners in the Delaware Valley each week.  I look forward to helping KYW continue to serve our community with the news, weather, sports and traffic information they depend on.”

AWF Honors Seven at Gracies Leadership Awards Luncheon. On Tuesday (11/13), the Alliance for Women in Media hosted the inaugural Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon, formerly called Women Who Lead, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  The program featured keynote speaker FOX Sports television sideline reporter Pam Oliver and honored seven female leaders in media. Oliver (right) is pictured here with honoree Beth Neuhoff, owner of radio company Neuhoff Communications. AWMF board member and Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen states, “Now more than ever before, we have a responsibility to create conversation and shine the spotlight on the success and progress of women in media.  We not only want to honor those deserving recognition but show the next generation what is possible.  Our purpose at AWM is to bring intelligent, accomplished, dedicated women (and men) together to share ideas, experiences and some ‘you go, girls!’”

Hofstra University Communications Students Produce Multi-Platform Election Coverage. Pictured above are some of the 200-plus Hofstra University students who played a role in the midterm election coverage, dubbed “Hofstra Votes Live,” that operated from two studios, three control rooms and six remote sites to gain “unprecedented reach” on the school’s radio station WRHU-FM, Hofstra TV, and Facebook (via Livestream).  The programming was led by students in the journalism master’s program at the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, a Hofstra alumnus and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the work being done at Hofstra to provide a fully prepared next generation of media professionals.  The school is a role model for what academia must do to be a vital link in the chain of American broadcasting greatness from generation to generation into the 21st century.”

All in the Family.  Legendary New York City rock personality Jim Kerr – heard in mornings on iHeartMedia classic rock WAXQ “Q104.3” – visited the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” program on sister news/talk WOR to talk about his induction (taking place this evening 11/15) into the Radio Hall of Fame.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Riedel, iHeartMedia chairman Bob Pittman, Kerr, and Berman.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago talk radio host William J. Kelly – heard nightly on WCGO, Evanston on “The Citizen Kelly Show” – is embarking on a multi-city live event called the “Listen to Me (Listening to You) Listening Tour” taking place this month through March 2019.  He’s scheduled 16 stops in cities around Chicagoland and Southern Wisconsin.  He says, “I’m very excited to bring the Citizen Kelly listening tour to cities and towns throughout Illinois and the Midwest.  America is at a crossroads and we need new leadership more than ever.  My fellow citizens deserve to have their voices heard and that is exactly what the Citizen Kelly revolution is all about.”…..Sun & Fun Media inks a deal to represent Digital Sound & Video in offering its radio imaging, commercial production, and video production services to stations across the country via barter.  Sun & Fun chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Sun & Fun Media prides itself on associating with top-notch companies that provide superior products and services to stations. Digital Sound & Video checks all the boxes and we are proud to be working with Ed and his team to give stations the option to obtain DSV’s first rate imaging and production services on a barter basis.”

CNN-White House Suit, House Democratic Leadership Battle, FLA Recounts/GA Gov. Race, Melania Ousts Ricardel, Trump-Russia Investigation, Deadly California Wildfire, Homeless GoFundMe Scam, Avenatti Domestic Violence Arrest, Brexit Chaos, Dow Dips, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The suit against the White House by CNN seeking the return of reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press credentials; the battle within the Democratic party for the next Speaker of the House; the election recounts in Florida and the yet-to-be-decided Georgia governors contest; First Lady Melania Trump fires deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible Trump campaign-Russian agent connections and talk of a bill to protect Mueller from being fired; the California wildfire that has claimed 56 lives; the allegation by authorities that the homeless man and couple who started a GoFundMe campaign that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars was a scam from the start; Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti is arrested on domestic violence charge; the political chaos surrounding British Prime Minister Theresa May; the stock selloff continues as the Dow drops another 200 points; and the week’s NFL 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. Radio station owner Steel City Media files a Plan of Reorganization in Federal Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis as the next step in its exit from Chapter 11.  Steel City owns hot AC WLTJ “Q 92.9” and adult hits WRRK “BOB FM 96.9” in Pittsburgh and country KBEQ “Q104” and KFKF “Country 94.1,” hot AC KMXV “Mix 93.3” and adult contemporary “KCKC” KC 102.1” in Kansas City.  The Plan has been approved by a majority of the company’s creditors and leaves the Frischling family in control of the company.  Steel City vice president Michael Frischling states, “In an environment where equity in radio companies is being wiped out, we are gratified that we have reached a consensual agreement with our creditors that enables us to maintain equity and operational control that sets the stage for future growth and profitability.  We look forward to emerging from Chapter 11early next year and we want to thank our employees and advertisers for their continued support.”…..Westwood One is offering country stations a four-hour, holiday weekend program called “A Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration with Brett Young,” featuring Young and his friends, including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, and many more. The program is available for airing any time between Thursday, November 22 and Sunday, November 25.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

| November 14, 2018

Laura Ingraham to Transition Radio Show to Podcast in January. Talk media personality Laura Ingraham will end her 17-plus years of hosting a live radio talk show in January and launch an original podcast via PodcastOne.  Ingraham, who joined FOX News Channel’s prime-time lineup last fall, has also been hosting her late morning radio show syndicated via Courtside Entertainment.  She says, “While hosting a prime-time television show and raising three children on my own, continuing a three-hour morning radio show was no longer feasible.  Although I will greatly miss my radio listeners and affiliates, working late nights and early mornings has taken a toll on my family life.  Plus, my radio audience is smart, savvy and committed, and I know most will follow my new show in the format that is revolutionizing the audio world – digital podcasting.”  She adds, “Without phenomenal producers, a committed sales team, great station managers and program directors — and of course my loyal advertisers – this show wouldn’t have been possible.  Now it’s time for a new adventure.”   PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “Due to her HUGE success on the FOX News channel, daily podcasts are a much better fit for Laura’s hectic schedule and provides her listeners in all markets access at any time to the new Laura Ingraham show podcast.  She’s at the top of her game and her new original podcasts will fit perfectly on PodcastOne.”

Cumulus Q3 Net Revenue Down 1.7%. The third quarter financial numbers for Cumulus Media have been released and the company reports Q3 net revenue of $282.3 million – an dip of 1.7% from the same period in 2017.  Net income was $12.7 million and adjusted EBITDA was $62.1 million.  Due to its emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this year, the company notes in its report that “for the purposes of the analysis of the results presented herein, the company is presenting the combined results of operations for the period June 4, 2018 to September 30, 2018 of the Successor Company with the period January 1, 2018 to June 3, 2018 of the Predecessor Company.  Although this presentation is not in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, the company believes presenting and analyzing the combined results allows for a more meaningful comparison of results for the nine month period ended September 30, 2018 to the nine months ended September 30, 2017.”  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “In our first full quarter of operations since emerging from Chapter 11, our positive momentum continued and we remain focused on the path ahead.  We delivered another quarter of Adjusted EBITDA growth – approximately 50 basis points on a reported basis and 3.9% when adjusting for the impact of USTN and our exit from WLUP-FM in Chicago.  Additionally, in early October, we completed a $50 million prepayment of our term loan using cash generated from operations, demonstrating both our ability to produce significant free cash flow and our commitment to pay down debt with that cash.  We continue to believe that our key growth initiatives, including our digital businesses at the Cumulus Radio Station Group, our rapidly expanding podcast business and pricing and inventory management improvements across the Company, as well as our substantial free cash flow generation, position the Company well to create value for all our stakeholders.”

iHeartMedia Names Future Board of Directors.  When iHeartMedia emerges from Chapter 11 reorganization, it will have a new board of directors and today the company announces who will sit on the board.  Current board chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and current president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will continue to serve on the board with five new board members.  They are: former Walt Disney Company executive Jay Rasulo; Spyglass Entertainment co-founder and former MGM Inc. chairman and CEO Gary Barber; Altimeter Capital founder and CEO Brad Gerstner; private investor and director for both Aptiv plc and Arconic Inc Sean Mahoney; and Drawbridge founder and CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.  Bob Pittman comments, “We are excited about both the depth and range of our new board members.  We know our ability to draw on the experience of this unique combination of leaders in their respective fields will give us an unparalleled competitive advantage as we build our next level of growth.”

Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity Hits 600-Affiliate Mark. After a little more than 17 years in national syndication, Premiere Networks talk radio superstar Sean Hannity reaches the milestone of 600 affiliate stations.  Premiere states, “Hannity’s provocative, informed, and passionate commentary on news and politics has amassed a loyal following of more than 18 million listeners monthly.  Broadcasting live on weekdays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, the 2017 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Marconi Award winner is one of the most prominent and influential talk radio hosts in the country, whose political foresight and focus on the American agenda has made him the second most-listened-to talk radio host in the U.S.”  Hannity comments, “I am humbled and appreciative to not only our 600 amazing affiliates, but also to the listeners of this radio show in each and every city. Thank you for this honor!”

Good News for Comrex ACCESS and BRIC-Link II Users; HotSwap Feature Now Available.  This new HotSwap feataure allows users of Comrex’s IP audio codecs ACCESS and BRIC-Link II to back up dedicated links.  This long-sought reliability feature allows users to back up their studio-to-transmitter link or other dedicated link with a wireless modem.  CrossLock is Comrex’s powerful technology for increasing network reliability and allows codecs to use multiple IP networks at once.  CrossLock lets users bond networks together so that more bandwidth is available.  Alternately, in redundancy mode, users can send identical streams down both networks.  Until now, however, it hasn’t been possible to designate one network as primary and a second network to be used only when the primary fails.  HotSwap lets users select a network that will only be engaged if the primary network fails.  The system will warn of this status with a contact closure, and automatically fallback to the primary once it’s restored.  Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.  For ACCESS codecs, any supported modem can be used as a back-up.  For BRIC-Link II, only Comrex Connect Modems are supported.  4G LTE Comrex Connect Modems are available for purchase through any Comrex dealer.  When ordering, ask for the NX model of Connect Modem.  Verizon, AT&T, and International versions are available.  HotSwap is included in firmware version 4.3, which is available now for all ACCESS and BRIC-Link II codecs.  Users can download it for free using Device Manager.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Orlando “Big O Alzugaray exits Entercom’s WQAM, Miami after a four-year stint hosting the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm program.  He’d previously served with the station from 1997 through 2010…..The National Radio Hall of Fame announces it is creating a new award called the “One to Watch,” chosen by the NRHoF nominating committee.  It was inspired by radio legend Art Laboe, the active radio performer with the longest continuous period of service on air for 75 years and a 2012 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee.  The inaugural “One to Watch” award will be given to Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro…..At Salem Media Group’s Pittsburgh cluster, Brad Marshall is named general manager.  The station group includes news/talk WPGP “1250 The Answer” and its two Christian-formatted outlets.  During his career, Marshall has served with iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media in Youngstown, Ohio…..In more Salem Media Group news, the company chooses software provider Aptivada to power the company’s contesting, promotions, database management, and newsletters…..AdLarge Media’s digital audio advertising unit cabana adds the investigative podcast “Bear Brook” from New Hampshire Public Radio to its content portfolio.  The podcast, hosted by NHPR reporter Jason Moon, centers around a decades-old mystery involving four unidentified bodies found in two barrels in New Hampshire’s Bear Brook State Park in the 1980s. The first six episodes of “Bear Brook” garnered more than 1.1 million downloads…..NuVoodoo Media Services promotes Eric Cohen to the newly created position of executive vice president, finance. New York-based Cohen joined NuVoodoo Media Services earlier this year as vice president of finance…..iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME, Houston re-ups with the Houston Astros to continue serving as the ballclub’s flagship radio station for play-by-play broadcasts.

Deadly California Wildfire, CNN-White House Suit, Florida Recount/Kemp-Abrams Contest/AZ Senate Race, Melania Trump-Mira Ricardel Matter, New Amazon HQs Revealed, Dow Dips Again, Michelle Obama Book Tour, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The California wildfire that has claimed 48 lives so far; CNN’s suit against the White House requesting the return of Jim Acosta’s WH credentials pass; the re-count troubles in Florida, the Stacey AbramsBrian Kemp Georgia governor’s race, and Kyrsten Sinema’s AZ senate seat victory; Melania Trump’s move to oust deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel; Amazon reveals new HQ locations; the Dow loses another 100 points; Michelle Obama’s Becoming book tour; and the week’s NFL 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. Program director Derek Harper announces Jarard J is the new evening personality at Urban One’s urban AC WAMJ-FM, Atlanta “MAJIC 107/5/97.5,” effective November 19.   About his new gig, Jarard J says, “When Hurricane Dave and Derek Harper chose me, it illustrated the confidence and faith that the leadership team has in me and I was both humbled and honored.  I feel like a first round draft pick.  I am excited and ready to ball.”…..On-air pro Karen Blake exits Cape Cod Broadcasting’s hot AC WQRC, H “99.9 The Q” after five years as the morning personality…..Envision Networks’ “Full Metal Jackie Radio” joins the program schedule at AJG Corporation’s rock WCLG-FM, Morgantown, West Virginia to air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on Fridays.  And check out host Jackie Kajzer at right holding her KILPOP 2018 Metal Programmer of the Year award.