Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

| January 23, 2018

Sean Hannity Set to Headline TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!  In keeping with what has become a tradition at the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention, Sean Hannity will be one of the keynote speakers at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!  The event is set for Friday, June 8 in New York City at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  The syndicated Premiere Networks talk radio star and prime-time host of the FOX News Channel will host the convention’s “Breakfast with Hannity” morning networking social which will be followed by a one-on-one “fireside chat” with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison.  (NOTE:  Harrison will also conduct a one-on-one chat that same morning with a major radio group CEO to be announced tomorrow.)  Harrison states, “It’s going to be a spectacular start to what promises to be another very special conference.  For me, it’ll be like pitching a double header – interviewing Sean who is arguably the most important host in talk media today and, then, having a dialogue with one of the most influential captains of industry in the radio business.”   The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception.  Harrison adds, “Good things happen at this convention.  We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day in a comfortable space.  It is not to be missed!”  Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks.  As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

End of Imus Show a Corporate Decision.  Following yesterday’s report of the end of the WABC, New York-based “Imus in the Morning” program, today we learn a little more about why Cumulus is shutting down the program on March 29, even though Imus is under contract through December.  As reported in the New York Daily News, Don Imus himself says that the company – in the midst of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization – can save millions by cancelling the program.  During a bankruptcy reorganization a company must do its best to contain costs wherever it can.  Imus understands the position Cumulus is in, saying he has no intent to speak ill of the company.  He said on the air, “The agreement they had me sign was full of language about, ‘He can’t disparage the company.’  Well I wasn’t going to do that.  I don’t feel like that.”  The program is syndicated nationally via Westwood One.

KMOX, St. Louis’ Mark Reardon Scoops Radio Competition with Governor Greitens Interview.  St. Louis talk radio host Mark Reardon was the only radio broadcaster that embattled Missouri Governor Eric Greitens spoke with over the weekend, in which he talked publicly about his admitted extra-marital affair while vowing not to resign his position over it.  The story is, obviously, a big deal in Missouri.  There have been allegations of blackmail and other sordid aspects associated with the governor’s affair, all of which he denied to Reardon.  Mark Reardon hosts the mid-afternoon 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program on Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis and he played the entire interview for his listeners on Monday’s program.

Premiere Network’s Buck Sexton Launches New Podcast on iHeartRadio.  Conservative media figure and Premiere Networks syndicated radio talk host Buck Sexton launches a new podcast titled, “Shields High,” that “explores the epic struggles that could have extinguished the Western world as we know it.”  In the podcast, Sexton features stories of valiant last stands of armies led by champions from Charles Martel to Don Juan of Austria where the West fought back and won. The series explores those heroes and the momentous battles that reverberate from ancient times to the present.”  Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott comments, “Premiere Networks is dedicated to providing audiences with a wide variety of audio content and programming across multiple platforms, so we’re excited to partner with Buck on this new podcast showcasing his passion for history and storytelling.  We think listeners will enjoy hearing Buck share these epic tales of the quest for freedom and knowledge, which continue to influence the world we live in.”

WXOS, St. Louis Inks Bernie Miklasz to New Deal; Michelle Smallmon Returns to St. Louis Sports Talker.   St. Louis sports media pro Bernie Miklasz signs a contract extension with Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 ESPN” to continue hosting his 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  At the same time, the station welcomes Michelle Smallmon back to work on air with Miklasz and as an online contributor to the station’s 101sports.com.  Hubbard St. Louis Radio vice president John Kijowski says, “With all of his accomplishments, awards, and honors from his on-the-air show hosting and sports writing, we’re thrilled to extend Bernie’s contract with ‘101 EPSN.’”  Smallmon got her start working with Miklasz producing and doing some on-air appearances.  She also produced the afternoon drive “Fast Lane” show.  In 2015, she moved to Bristol, Connecticut to work for ESPN.  Smallmon started as a producer for the weekday evening radio show “Jorge & Jen,” and most recently was producing the Ryen Russillo show.

Television News Pro Lauren Sivan Joins Dr. Drew Radio Show.  The “Dr. Drew Midday Live” program – heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles and KGO, San Francisco – adds TV news pro Lauren Sivan (right) to the show as co-host.  She’s recently made regular appearances as a fill-in co-host with Dr. Drew Pinsky (left), KABC afternoon host John Phillips, and has anchored news during the “McIntyre in the Morning” show on KABC.  Sivan’s TV news resume includes on-air work at KTTV-TV, Los Angeles and FOX News Channel in New York.  About her new gig, she says, “I am thrilled to join Dr. Drew as co-host and to launch the next generation of this dynamic and engaging show.  As a broadcast journalist, I love being able to talk with Dr. Drew and our listeners every day about issues that are relevant and topical – and often controversial.  It’s a great pleasure to not only tell stories on the show, but to break them down and hear what people are really thinking and what really matters to them.”

Popular Washington, DC Correspondent Victoria Jones Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Longtime talk media personality Victoria Jones, executive director of the DC Radio Company and recent senior White House correspondent for the Talk Media News Service, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”   Jones – a British-US citizen – whose commentaries on Washington-based news and issues have been heard for years on hundreds of talk radio stations around the English-speaking world, is a veteran talk show host of such stations as WWRC and WMAL, Washington, DC; WRKO, Boston; WLAC, Nashville; and WXYT, Detroit.  In a fascinating and unusual conversation with Harrison, she shares a candid, insider’s view of what it’s like to work as a member of the White House press corps.  She talks about the processes and working conditions of being behind the scenes on a daily basis at the iconic mansion/museum/office building on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Don’t miss this funny, eye-opening, and extremely informative conversation.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes.  Chicago news/talker WGN revives the “Sports Central” program on its digital platform, wgnradio.com and the WGN Radio app.  The program – for years an evening show hosted by David Kaplan (who’s now at crosstown WMVP) on WGN – will stream from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm daily and will be hosted by Adam Hoge.  He says, “Listeners can interact with ‘Sports Central’ live while also having the freedom to consume it on-demand throughout the day.  There’s no better place to launch than from radio row at the Super Bowl.  I can’t wait to get started!”…..Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher is pictured at left at the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas today (1/23) broadcasting his talk show.  The sportsmen/hunter/outdoor trade show is being held at the Sands Expo Center.  Gallagher says “As an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, I can’t think of a better — or safer — place to be this week than with friends from 111 countries at the biggest event in outdoor sports.”…..Independent sports website RealGM, teams with PodcastOne to debut the long-running “RealGM Radio” on PodcastOne’s SportsNet lineup.  RealGM Radio features “conversations with the NBA’s best thought leaders, along with in-depth analytics on the sport.” The podcast is hosted by RealGM, The Athletic, and Sporting News writer Danny Leroux…..After five years at their Trinity Centre location in the Financial District of New York City, Sun Broadcast Group announces it has relocate to Midtown Manhattan.  The new, multi-year lease, signed in December, has the network occupying the entire second floor of 363 Seventh Avenue, just steps away from Madison Square Garden.

Report: Mancow in Limbo at ‘The Loop.’  Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about his chat with WLUP-FM, Chicago morning host Erich “Mancow” Muller and what his status is now that Cumulus has made it known it wants out of its LMA of the station (and sister WKXQ) and it doesn’t want to have to buy the stations from Merlin Media for $50 million.  On the heels of Friday’s report in TALKERS that Cumulus has asked the bankruptcy judge to let it out of a number of financially onerous contracts, including the Merlin deal in Chicago, Mancow talks about possibly working for Merlin chief Randy Michaels.  Read what Mancow – who made a second career out of being a political talk host in the news/talk genre before returning to morning rock radio – told Feder here.

Government Shutdown Ends, DACA Status, Trump-Russia Probe/FBI Texts Issue, Pence in Middle East, Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl Matchup, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22).  The federal government shutdown ends with Democrats accused of caving to the GOP; the debate over the status of the Dreamers Act and the Trump Administration’s immigration policy; the investigation into possible connections between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian operatives and the related investigation into missing text messages from alleged pro-Hillary Clinton FBI agents; Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to the Middle East and the process for peace talks; the Super Bowl LII match-up between the Eagles and Patriots; and NBA 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. Chicago country outlet WUSN “US*99” names Kenny Jay program director.  He comes to Chicago from his most recent position as program director for Entercom’s former country KMPS, Seattle.  He’s also programmed KMNB, Minneapolis.  Jay will report directly to Entercom Chicago VP of programming Todd Cavanah, who will continue as program director of CHR WBBM-FM “B96.”…..In Miami, Entercom’s adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 LITE FM” names Tamara G., a.k.a. Tamara Gant, co-host of the morning program alongside Julie Guy.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “We are incredibly excited to partner with Tamara G. and bring back together two of South Florida’s most popular radio personalities.  Their chemistry is unmatched and our listeners will benefit from a fun, family-friendly morning show every morning.”  The two previously worked together co-hosting mornings on crosstown WFLC, Miami.  Most recently, Tamara G. was a cast member on the nationally syndicated Michael Baisden show.

Monday, January 22, 2018

| January 22, 2018

Imus: Show Will End on March 29.  There’s no official word from Cumulus Media or Westwood One, but Don Imus announced on the WABC, New York-based morning program today (1/22) that he will end the “Imus in the Morning” program on March 29.  The iconic New York and nationally syndicated program has been part of the broadcast landscape in America since the early 1970s.  Stay tuned as more information about the change is revealed.

WTVN, Columbus Talk Host John Corby Dead at 61.  The Columbus Dispatch reports that afternoon drive host John Corby had been off the air a few days prior to his unexpected death at 61 on Saturday (1/20).  No cause of death has been announced but the Dispatch story says fellow station personalities said on the air that he passed peacefully at Mount Carmel West Hospital.  He is survived by his wife Jodi and a daughter.  He worked at WTVN from 1984 to 1994, when he left to host at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh.  He returned to WTVN in 1997.  Read the Dispatch obituary here.

Profile: Reliable Remote Royalty Comrex.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a profile of the company so many broadcasters have turned to over the years to provide them with the high-quality, American-made equipment to get “studio-quality” audio from remote locations to their transmitters.  The 60-year-old Comrex Corporation was born as a firm dedicated to providing wireless microphones to the Broadway theater and live events markets.  But, the company quickly transitioned into one that used telephone lines to deliver “higher-quality audio” from remote locations to broadcast facilities.  Comrex truly upped its game by leading the industry with its mastery of voice-over-Internet protocol in its line of ACCESS products.  Read all about it here.

Are Radio and Agencies Missing the Mark by Not More Heavily Targeting Boomers?  Two noted media consultants think that the radio and advertising industries are blowing a huge opportunity by not paying more attention to the increasingly growing 65-plus crowd.  TALKERS correspondent/columnist Holland Cooke and Jacobs Media CEO Fred Jacobs tackled the issue this past Friday on the latest installment of Cooke’s weekly TV talk show “The Big Picture” on RT America.  The two boomers make a very strong case for their generation’s radio marketplace pertinence showing statistics and examples of the affluence and influence wielded by today’s upper-demo audience.  To see the video of “Baby Boomers: The Most Consequential Generation,” please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. The sale of Boston AM signal WBIX, means the demise of the Salem Media Group conservative talk format in the market.  Salem is selling the station to religious entity International Church of the Grace of God Inc. for $685,000 — $185,000 more than it paid for the signal when it bought it from ABC/Disney almost three years ago.  The church is already airing a Portuguese-language format on the station under an LMA…..The fourth signal that made up Connoisseur Media’s “Talk of Connecticut” format is being sold to Trignition for $260,000.  WWCO, Waterbury and the construction permit for an FM translator were not part of the recent announcement of the sale by Connoisseur of WDRC-AM, Hartford; WSNG, Torrington; and WMMW, Meriden to Red Wolf Broadcasting for $8 million…..At San Diego’s Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas, Jenny Rose Gonzalez is promoted from her local sales manager post to general sales manager for the cluster that includes: sports talk XEPRS “The Mighty 1090,” sports XEPE “ESPN 1700,” and classic hits XHPRS “105.7 Max-FM.”  Station president and general manager Mike Glickenhaus comments, “It is always great when you can promote from within your organization.  This promotion reflects the dedication, creativity, passion, leadership, and great work ethic that Jenny Rose has demonstrated day in and day out since she walked in the door.”…..Nationally syndicated urban radio morning personality Steve Harvey is getting another year for his television talk show.  NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution announces that it is picking up a second season for the “Steve” program.   Of course, Harvey’s daily radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks.  NBCUniversal says that Harvey’s show delivered “a season high 1.5 rating for the week ending 1/7/18.”  The program “recently averaged a 1.4 national household rating for the November 2017 sweep, delivering the highest November sweep rating for a new, first-run, one-hour syndicated program in five years.”…..In Maine, Townsquare Media steals Boston Red Sox play-by-play away from Stephen King’s WZON, Bangor.  With the new affiliation with the WEEI, Boston-based Red Sox Radio Network, Townsquare’s WEZQ, Bangor “92.9 The Ticket” holds the play-by-play rights to all four Boston sports teams.

Government Shutdown, DACA/Immigration Policy, Women’s Marches, Allegations Hillary Clinton Investigation Was Fixed, the SAG Awards, Middle East Peace Talks, Kabul Hotel Attack, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The federal government shutdown and the politics of crafting a solution to the impasse; the Trump Administration’s efforts to overturn the Obama era DACA act and its immigration policy; the weekend’s women’s marches that took place across the country; allegations that former members of Robert Mueller’s team knew that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted in the emails investigation ahead of time; Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild awards show; Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Israel after visiting Egypt and Jordan for Middle East peace talks; terror attacks at the International Hotel in Kabul; and Sunday’s NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Establishes Edward F. McLaughlin Memorial Fund.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the establishment of the Edward F. McLaughlin Memorial Fund to honor the iconic broadcaster who passed away last week at the age of 91 in Palm Beach, Florida.  McLaughlin was at the helm of ABC Radio Network for many years and is responsible for putting legendary talk host Rush Limbaugh into syndication in 1987.  McLaughlin was a longtime chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation and held the title of chairman emeritus at the time of his death.  To donate to the Edward F. McLaughlin Memorial Fund, visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, call 212-373-8250, or email: info@thebfoa.org.

Karen Hunter Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Described by Michael Harrison as “one of the most important talk media personalities in the industry whose time has definitely come,” SiriusXM Satellite Radio star Karen Hunter joins the TALKERS founder as this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.”  Hunter hosts a daily 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm talk program on the SiriusXM’s “Urban View” channel that has been receiving glowing industry acclaim.  She is also a prolific New York Times best-selling co-author; CEO of highly successful Karen Hunter Publishing; and a professor of film and media at Hunter College in New York City.  (The name is coincidental.)  Hunter is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was the first female African American news columnist at the New York Daily News.  Harrison and Hunter discuss today’s hottest issues regarding media, race, society, gender relations, education, science, religion and politics.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. If Cumulus Media gets its way and a bankruptcy judge allows the company to get out of its deal to buy WKQX and WLUP-FM in Chicago from Merlin Media, Merlin principal Randy Michaels says the company is prepared to step in and operate the alternative and classic rock stations, “essentially, as is.”  That’s according to Robert Channick’s piece in the Chicago Tribune.  Cumulus appealed to the court to get out of certain deals that are losing ventures – such as the White Sox and Bulls play-by-play contracts for WLS-AM that are revenue negative.  Cumulus told the court that the Merlin LMA of the two rock stations has cost it $8.4 million to date.  Merlin exercised the option in the contract to sell the stations to Cumulus for $50 million.  Cumulus is asking the court to allow it to get out of that deal, as well.  Cumulus and Merlin have been trying to negotiate a new deal but have not been able to come to terms that each side like.  A judge is set to decide on Cumulus’ requests by February 1.  Cumulus hopes to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by May 29…..Alternative rock radio pro Lisa Worden is adding program director for KSYR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7” to her responsibilities for iHeartMedia.  She was appointed vice president of programming for the station and alternative rock brand manager for the company’s National Programming Group when she joined it back in November.  She was previously assistant program director and music director for crosstown KROQ-FM, Los Angeles prior to the station’s sale from CBS RADIO to Entercom…..After two years in the St. Louis market as regional SVP of programming for iHeartMedia, A.J. moves to the company’s Charlotte market where he’ll be the new program director for CHR WHQC “Channel 96.1” and adult hits WLKO “102.9 The Lake,” effective February 12.  iHeartMedia EVP of programming Meg Stevens comments,  “Bringing A.J. to Charlotte is a game-changer for the market.  He is passionate and creative as well as analytical and strategic.  He’s the perfect addition to team Charlotte.”  In St. Louis, he programmed CHR KSLZ-FM “Z107.7” and Gospel KATZ-AM “Hallelujah 1600.”…..Entercom and KMXB, Las Vegas “Mix 94.1” agree to terms on a contract renewal for morning personalities Mercedes Martinez (right) and JC Fernandez (left).  Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney states, “‘Mercedes in the Morning’ is an integral part of the Las Vegas community’s morning and we are proud to continue our partnership with the iconic Mercedes and JC for the years to come.  Both bring an exciting energy to ‘Mix 94.1’ and we are looking forward to seeing them take the show to new heights.”…..Sean Stewart is the new program director and morning drive personality at Entercom’s rock WRXR, Chattanooga “Rock 105.”  Stewart, who moves to WRXR from his post as music director at crosstown CHR WDOD, says, “This role is a huge opportunity and I’m excited to bring new life into Chattanooga’s best rock brand.”…..Westwood One is again the official radio broadcast partner of the Recording Academy and the “60th Annual GRAMMY Awards.”  As part of its build-up to the January 28 awards show, Westwood One is presenting 13 “intimate performances for passionate music lovers and dedicated station listeners” live from the Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 high atop Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Hot AC WPLJ and country WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” are hosting the invite-only performances that will feature: Troye Sivan, Lauv, Bleachers, Cody Simpson, Logan Henderson, Shane Owens, Max, Marshmello, Jessie Chris, Lauren Alaina, PJ Morton, Midland, and Kelly Clarkson.

Friday, January 19, 2018

| January 19, 2018

Ed McLaughlin Dies at 91.  The man who founded EFM Media Management and launched Rush Limbaugh into national syndication – and consequently changed the face of radio – has died at the age of 91 after a long illness.  Edward F. McLaughlin was in a hospice facility in Palm Beach, Florida.  As TALKERS magazine reported earlier this week, the Broadcasters Foundation of America announced it would be honoring McLaughlin with its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City during its Golden Mike Award event.  During McLaughlin’s 14-year career leading the ABC Radio Networks, McLaughlin oversaw the acquisition of “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem,” launched “American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley,” and grew the affiliate base of the Paul Harvey programs to some 1,000 stations.   In 1984, he formed EFM Media Management and began syndicating the Dr. Dean Edell show.  After hearing Rush Limbaugh on KFBK, Sacramento he moved him to WABC, New York and began syndicating his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program.  It provided the launch pad for Limbaugh’s rise to syndication success.  He sold the Rush Limbaugh program to Jacor Media in 1997.  McLaughlin’s work in national radio syndication included numerous achievements, including his teaming ABC with CBS and NBC in 1980 to establish the first digital satellite distribution system  — Americom Digital Delivery System (ADDS) — which replaced telephone lines in connecting networks with affiliated stations, the antiquated system that had been used since the early 1940s.  He also guided the creation and distribution of network music and entertainment programming circa 1979.  Prior to that it had largely been news and information.  McLaughlin was a chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  He succeeded Ward L. Quaal as chairman.  BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “He was a genius at creating content and talent development.”  Whitney Global Media chairman William O’Shaughnessey says, “He was a great raconteur who often held court at the ‘21’ bar where he did a lot of business entertaining out-of-town affiliates.”  The McLaughlin family will hold a private service and is planning a memorial celebration in June.

Sabo: ‘Make It Bigger’ Ed McLaughlin.  Consultant Walter Sabo writes today about the qualities that made the late Edward F. McLaughlin the legendary broadcaster that he was.  First and foremost, says Sabo, was his mandate that for a project to succeed, one had to “make it bigger.”  Sabo says, “Ideas that were big enough for Ed inspired him to become fully engaged in the project.  He would marshal every resource of ABC to make a project a success — from legal, to financial, to engineering, to marketing, to the television network.  When Ed called, the corporation cooperated.  He knew that a key part of his job was to give his team access to the resources of the corporation and he was a genius at persuading all of ABC to support the radio network.  When he supported a project, he believed it was his job to find the money.  And he always found the money.”  Read Sabo’s entire column here.

Cumulus Makes Hard Decisions in Chicago.  As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, Cumulus Media has announced it is shedding its unprofitable deals to broadcast Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls play-by-play.  It is also choosing not to acquire music-formatted stations alt rocker WKQX and classic rock WLUP-FM from Merlin Media (Cumulus has been operating the duo under an LMA).  As Feder notes, Cumulus is working through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and president and CEO Mary Berner says in a statement, “As part of our operational turnaround, we have been focused on taking proactive steps to address unprofitable areas of our business.  We are taking this action because the economic terms of these legacy contracts guarantee that we lose money and, as such, continuing them in their current form is not in Cumulus’s best interests.”

WOC, Quad Cities Names Dave Levora Morning Host.  New WOC, Quad Cities morning personality Dave Levora comes to the station from his most recent position as an account executive for WQAD-TV, Quad Cities.  He’s hosted morning radio programs in the market in the past on music-formatted stations, including KJOC, WXLP, and KIIK.  Levora will co-host the morning show at the iHeartMedia news/talk station with program director Dan Kennedy.  He’ll continue to host the half-hour “Quad Cities Brewed” program on WQAD-TV that explores the Midwestern Craft Brew scene.  Kennedy comments, “We’re excited to bring Dave into the WOC ‘News Talk 1420’ family.  He’s already familiar with radio in the Quad Cities and I have no doubt that our listeners will love him!”

WSKO, Syracuse Adds New Local Show to Lineup.  Programmer Tom Mitchell promotes executive producer Paul Esden to air personality with his own afternoon program called “Drive Time Sports” at Cumulus Media’s WSKO, Syracuse “The Score 1260.”  Esden has been the executive producer of the station’s Bud & The Manchild” late morning show for the past two years.  Mitchell says, “This is a marvelous opportunity for Paul.  His unique and energetic style, opens up a fresh perspective to cover not only local sports, but also the best in the national sports arena every day!”  Esden has also covered Syracuse University sports as a senior columnist for Inside the Loud House for the past two years.

SuperTalk Mississippi Adds Country Star Steve Azar to Lineup. The program is called “A Mississippi Minute with Steve Azar” – a reference to his song “Mississippi Minute” – and airs Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.  TeleSouth Communications says his show airs on the SuperTalk Mississippi format that’s heard on stations covering all of Mississippi’s 82 counties.  SuperTalk CEO Steve Davenport says, “We’re excited to add Steve Azar to the lineup.  His passion for Mississippi fits right in with our mission – to serve the millions of people who live in our state.”  In a press release, the company says, “Spend five minutes with Steve Azar and you’ll see why he is the Music and Culture Ambassador of Mississippi.  His love for the Magnolia State is evident in everything he does.  This modern-day Renaissance man is a hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer, philanthropist and now – radio host.”

Trump’s Alleged ‘Shithole’ Comment and Threat of Government Shutdown Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The allegations that President Trump called certain Caribbean and African countries “shitholes,” and the threat of a federal government shutdown tied for the most talked about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the status of the Obama era DACA, the Trump Administration’s larger immigration policy, and the issue of the Mexican Wall.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia probe and the related testimony of former White House senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon, followed by the report that 2017 was the warmest year on record at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio 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.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Classic rock WMMZ, Berwick, Pennsylvania is purchased by Vince Benedetto’s Bold Gold Media Group for $700,000.  The class A FM’s primary signal covers a region southwest of the Wilkes Barre-Scranton market.  The seller is Joseph Reilly’s Columbia FM Inc.  The station switched calls from WHLM-FM to WMMZ last year…..In New England, Townsquare Media begins airing “The Big Breakfast” – with hosts Bill Fox and Kira Lew (based at country WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire) – on sister station country WPKQ, Portland, Maine “103.7 The Peak.”  To make room, current WPKQ morning personality Annie Snook moves to the midday show on the station.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

| January 18, 2018

WCBS 880 Promotes Alex Silverman.  News radio pro Alex Silverman is promoted to assistant director of news and programming for Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York.  Prior to joining the station in 2011, Silverman served with Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  As an anchor/reporter with WCBS 880, he was honored with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award in 2017 for “Excellence in Sound.”  In his new role, Silverman will help manage the day-to-day news coverage for WCBS, its website and social media channels, in addition to his current reporting and anchoring responsibilities.  Entercom SVP and market manager John Fullam comments, “Alex is a talented news broadcaster and passionate storyteller.  His work on air, online, and on the station’s social media channels has helped set WCBS 880 apart from our competitors as a brand that delivers more than just the headlines.”

Beshore to Lead iHeartMedia Indianapolis Cluster.  Radio management pro Brett Beshore is named the market president for iHeartMedia’s Indianapolis station group that includes sports talk WNDE “FOX Sports 97.5 and 1260 AM,” classic rock WFBQ, alternative WOLT “ALT 103.3,” and hip hop WZRL “Real 98.3.”  Beshore most recently served as region president for Fairway Outdoor Advertising.  He’s also managed for Times-Shamrock and Cumulus Media.  Beshore comments, “I’m thrilled to return to iHeartMedia to lead this heritage market.  iHeartMedia has tremendous brand recognition in the market and a highly talented team.  I look forward to delivering results for our advertisers and providing great radio entertainment for our listeners.”  Beshore takes over for Brad Polston, who exits the company.

Hopeck Named Chairman of NYMRAD.  There’s a new chairman and executive committee for the New York Market Radio Association.  The organization announces that iHeartMedia New York president Scott Hopeck rises from secretary to chairman.  Emmis New York’s Charlie Morgan remains on the executive committee as vice chairman, CumulusChad Lopez joins the committee as secretary and Spanish Broadcasting SystemsEric Garcia is named treasurer.  Hopeck says, “I’m committed to evangelizing the clear advantages of using Audio to engage consumers.  I look forward to working with [executive director] Debbie Beagan and New York’s top radio leaders to inspire marketers with the most compelling cases of audio attribution in building brands and increasing sales for advertisers.”

Government Shutdown Threat, Trump-Russia Probe/Bannon Testimony/Mexican Wall, Trump on DACA/Immigration Policy, Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Awards, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Larry Nassar Trial, Soaring Dow/‘Cryptocollapse,’ NFL Playoffs, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17).  The threat of a federal government shutdown; the Trump-Russia investigation, the testimony of former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon, and the issue of the Mexican wall; the Trump Administration’s reversal of the Obama DACA policy and its overall immigration stance; President Trump issues his “fake news” awards and the media’s reactions; the nuclear threats against the U.S. by North Korea; the trial of former Olympic gymnast doctor Larry Nassar and the victim impact statements; the continued rising of the Dow Jones industrial average and the sinking value of cryptocurrencies; the NFL playoffs; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes.  WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley interviewed former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in what he calls the “definitive exit interview.”  Hurley’s interview with Christie lasted an hour and 15 minutes and was broadcast without interruptions.  You can hear the interview here…..SiriusXM announces the launch of “Women In Trucking,” a live, call-in show airing exclusively on its Road Dog channel and hosted by Ellen Voie.  SiriusXM says the program will feature listener call-ins and interviews with professionals from the trucking industry and will also address gender diversity issues, pushing for more women to join its ranks…..Six-time WWE champion Chris Jericho is adding two new shows to his Jericho Network podcasts being distributed and sales repped by Westwood One. The Jericho Network is an extension of Jericho’s diverse array of subjects and guests featuring other entertaining podcast hosts.  It debuts on Monday, January 22.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Gig alert!  Cumulus Media Indianapolis is seeking a program director and operations manager with strong country experience.  The company says the “winning candidate will be responsible for all programming of WFMS-FM, one of America’s most-storied country stations with a passionate following, and for helping to grow our dominant classic hits station WJJK and our exciting new CHR station ‘ENeRGY 93.9.’  The WFMS PD/OM will be responsible for leading WFMS to continued market dominance through precise music curation and scheduling; expert coaching of a veteran, winning air staff; and development of eye- and ear-catching promotions, NTR events-concerts and contests; finding new ways to increase ratings and revenue while ensuring WFMS remains essential to the people of Indianapolis and Central Indiana.  If this sounds like the job you’ve prepared for and aspired to for your whole career, we want to talk to you!  Send resume, ratings history, references and mp3 in confidence to Tom.Stemlar@cumulus.com with the subject line “Indianapolis PD.”…..In Columbus, Ohio, alternative WWCD program director Mase Brazelle assumes the afternoon drive show, taking over the daypart from Lesley James, who exited at the end of 2017.  Mase also hosts the station’s “The Stash” evening program.  He’ll continue to do that show in its new time of 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..Saga Communications Portland, Maine brings country programming pro Crash Poteet aboard to serve as brand manager and afternoon drive personality for country outlet WPOR.  Poteet comments, “I’m beyond excited to join the WPOR team and its legendary brand.  Thanks to Saga for allowing me the opportunity to share in the ‘POR passion for creating fun and compelling country radio.  I can’t wait to get started.”…..In the Peoria market, Marc Alghini exits Advanced Media Partners’ rock WWCT, where he was program director and morning drive personality.  At least for the interim, Chris Watters is serving as the morning co-host alongside Roxy Baker…..United Stations Radio Networks reports that “The Billy Madison Show” adds three new affiliate stations – Hearst’s WIYY, Baltimore “98 Rock,” Western Rockies Radio’s KDXT-HD2/K237DZ “95 3 The X,” and Lotus Communications’ KFMA, Tucson “Rock 102.1.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

| January 17, 2018

Jennifer Seelig Promoted to Director of News and Programming for KCBS All News in San Francisco.  Seventeen-year KCBS-AM, San Francisco broadcast journalist Jennifer Seelig is named director of news and programming for KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco.  The UC-Davis grad has been serving the Entercom all-news station as acting news director (and prior to that, assistant news director).  Entercom regional president and San Francisco market manager Susan Larkin states, “I’m incredibly excited that Jennifer will be leading KCBS’s strong team and very important brand.  KCBS has a legacy of success serving our community and I’m certain that with Jennifer’s talent and direction, we will take it to the next level.”  Seeling comments, “I am honored to lead the KCBS team of award-winning journalists.  KCBS is justly celebrated for its incisive news stories and coverage.  The station has always provided timely news to the public and we will continue and enhance that tradition.  We are committed to providing the best news product to both our on-air listeners and digital audience.”

‘LI News Radio’ Adds KC Armstrong for Evening Show.  Long Island-based JVC Media announces that former Howard Stern show cast member KC Armstrong is joining its Long Island news/talk station – WRCN, Riverhead, New York “Long Island News Radio 103.9 FM” – to host a one-hour, evening program airing at 7:00 pm.   LI News Radio operations director Frank Brinka states, “KC will really round out this news/talk staff.  Part of what he learned from Howard Stern is total, non-negotiable honesty at all times and it shows in his interview style and on-air presentation.”  Armstrong will host his show from the station’s window studio at Long Island MacArthur Airport.  He comes to this gig after battling through serious health problems.  He says, “I had a really bad drinking problem.  I had pancreatitis. I had been in and out of the hospital over 30 times.  I had bled out one time and almost died.”  But he says he’s excited for this opportunity.  “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live-and-local radio organization like ‘LI News Radio.’  I am looking forward to bringing out the best in other people on the air.  I feel that that’s what my role here is.  I know I make a lot of people feel really good. And selfishly, it makes me feel good, too.”

WW1’s Harlan Named ‘Sportscaster of the Year.’ Sports play-by-play pro Kevin Harlan is being named “2017 National Sportscaster of the Year” by the National Sports Media Hall of Fame.  Harlan is Westwood One Sports’ “Monday Night Football” announcer – he’ll be behind the mic for Westwood One’s coverage of the NFC Championship game and for Super Bowl LII.   He also currently calls play-by-play for CBS Sports’ coverage of both the NFL and NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  This was his 33rd consecutive season broadcasting the NFL and with his additional role as play-by-play announcer for the NBA on TNT, this also marks his 30th season broadcasting the NBA.

Tom Birch Joins Media Services Group as Director.  Radio ratings company founder and station owner Tom Birch is joining Media Services Group as a director, effective February 1. Birch is currently owner of the nine-station Lakes Media company.  He’s well known in the radio business as the founder and CEO of Birch/Scarborough Research.  Media Services Group managing director Eddie Esserman says, “Tom Birch brings a wealth of industry, financial and market research experience to Media Services Group.  He has raised millions of dollars in investment capital, authored numerous business and financial plans, was involved in successful radio acquisitions and turnarounds and built a major, industry-changing business.  He will be an enormous asset. All of us at Media Services Group are thrilled to have Tom’s experience, perspective and involvement in the industry on our team.”  The press release notes that “at its peak in the 1980s, Birch/Scarborough employed more than 1,200 people nationwide and maintained sales offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas.  The company interviewed over 100,000 persons per month in 260 markets and its client base included major radio broadcast groups such as Clear Channel, CBS and ABC, national advertisers such as McDonalds, Anheuser-Busch and Delta Airlines and major national advertising agencies such as BBDO, McCann-Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather.”

Edward F. McLaughlin to Be Honored with BFoA Lifetime Achievement Award.  Legendary radio syndication executive Edward F. McLaughlin is being named the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  McLaughlin will be honored at the BFoA’s Golden Mike Award dinner on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  During his 14-year career leading the ABC Radio Networks, McLaughlin oversaw the acquisition of “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem,” launched “American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley,” and grew the affiliate base of the Paul Harvey programs to some 1,000 stations.   In 1987, he formed EFM Media Management and began syndicating the Dr. Dean Edell show.  Shortly thereafter, he put KFBK, Sacramento talk host Rush Limbaugh into national syndication, providing the launch pad for Limbaugh’s rise to syndication success.  McLaughlin currently is chairman emeritus of the BFoA.  He says, “Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the charitable organization that I have believed in and supported for many years means a great deal to me.  I am grateful for the generosity of the broadcasters who make it possible for the Broadcasters Foundation to help our colleagues.”  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Ed is a visionary who took chances that led broadcasting into uncharted territory and tremendous success.  His dedication and leadership of the Broadcasters Foundation helped advance our mission. It is with great pride that we honor his innovation and recognize his years of service.”

‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ Creator Hugh Wilson Dies at 74.  Television writer and producer Hugh Wilson – the man who created the classic radio station sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” – died on Tuesday (1/16) at the age of 74.  “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo tells TALKERS magazine, “What most people don’t know is that Wilson never checked to see if there was a WKRP in the Queen City – and there wasn’t – but there is iHeartMedia’s WKRC.  It was widely reported that mail that was addressed simply to: WKRP in Cincinnati went to WKRC!  Oddly enough there was a station with the WKRP call letters at the time – in Dallas, Georgia.”

Trump DACA Policy-‘Shithole’ Controversy, Government Shutdown Threat, Trump-Russia Investigation/Bannon Subpoenas, Trump-Acosta Incident, North Korea Nuclear Threats, California Captive Kids Case, Dow Hits 26,000, Cryptocurrency Value, Intense Flu Season, NFL Playoffs, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16).  The Trump Administration’s Reversal of the Obama DACA policy and the related controversy over President Trump’s alleged use of the word “shithole” during a cabinet meeting; the threat of a federal government shutdown; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, and the subpoenas issued to former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon; President Trump kicks CNN’s Jim Acosta out of presser after Acosta’s aggressive questioning; the North Korean nuclear threat; the case of 13 California children held in prison-like conditions by their parents; the Dow Jones industrial average tops 26,000; the fluctuating value of cryptocurrencies; the intense strain of influenza sweeping the U.S.; the NFL playoffs, and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘The Infinite Dial’ Expands to Canada. The annual radio study from Triton Digital and Edison Research titled “The Infinite Dial” is expanding into Canada.  The firms say that the study is currently being fielded using a telephone survey representative of all Canadians that “will provide a comprehensive look at the digital media consumption habits of Canadian consumers, including time spent with digital audio, podcasts, smart speakers, social media, video, mobile, and more.”  The study was launched to track Americans’ use of audio back in 1998.  Edison Research and Triton Digital expanded the study outside of the U.S. for the first time last year with the unveiling of ‘Infinite Dial Australia’ in June.  Edison SVP Tom Webster comments, “The ‘Infinite Dial’ studies explore the penetration of online audio and other digital media in a way that no other study does.  A wide audience across the world, including broadcasters, ad agencies, and the financial community at large, have come to rely on the insights that the ‘Infinite Dial’ provides year after year.  With data derived using the highest-quality research standards, we are proud to be expanding our insights to Canada in 2018, in addition to our parallel work in the U.S. and Australia.”

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Nationally syndicated, ‘Z100’ New York-based morning radio star Elvis Duran is being inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  The induction will take place at the “Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner” on April 9 as part of the NAB Show…..Entercom’s adult contemporary KSWD, Seattle “94.1 The Sound” announces that Seattle radio pro John Fisher is its new morning show host.  Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “We couldn’t be more excited to announce John Fisher as the inaugural host of mornings on ‘94.1 The Sound.’  With his 20-plus year relationship with the Seattle community, John is morning radio royalty to the Puget Sound.”  Fisher first joined Entercom in 1992 as morning host for “103.7 The Mountain” (KMTT), a role he held for over 20 years.  Fisher served with Hubbard’s KRWM “Warm 106.9” for three years.