Talk Radio/Media Industry News
RTDNA and Journalism Coalition Seek Pow-Wow with Trump and Pence on Transparency. In an effort to discuss journalistic access to the Trump Administration and the U.S. Government, the RTDNA and 60 other journalism organizations are requesting a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The RTDNA is announcing the coalition sent a letter on Wednesday (1/18) to Trump and Pence, asking for a meeting or conference call. Among the issues the coalition wished to discuss are: the ability of reporters to directly interact with government employees who are subject matter experts, rather than interacting with Public Information Officers (or having all conversations monitored by Public Information Officers); access to the activities of the president; and ensuring that the Federal Freedom of Information Act remains as strong as possible. RTDNA executive director Mike Cavender states, “This is an unprecedented time for the American media and, as a consequence, for the American public. It is imperative that the incoming administration understand the importance of transparency in government and the cooperative spirit needed in working with the journalists who cover it. Only then will Americans be fully and fairly informed about the important decisions being made on their behalf.” Interestingly, this issue isn’t just about the incoming Trump Administration. Several similar letters were sent to the Obama Administration, beginning in 2013, regarding concerns about White House restrictions on photographers, transparency and public information officer restrictions. Three such letters were sent in 2013 and 2014. The Obama Administration’s reply in August of 2014 was deemed unsatisfactory by the journalism organizations. RTDNA provides a white paper and other articles on the matter for further background. Wednesday’s letter also issues the following requests: “We urge you to publicly affirm your commitment to transparency, to issue an executive order prohibiting the restrictive public information policies that have been the status quo, and to engage in a public discussion with us about the Trump Administration’s commitment to the free flow of information from the White House and all federal government, to the American people.”
Mayfield Promoted at Ramsey Media. Talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey announces some news from his organization. Eight-year staffer Brian Mayfield – most recently vice president of Ramsey Media – is promoted to senior vice president for the company. Ramsey Media states that Mayfield will “continue to lead the media department while taking on additional company-wide responsibilities as part of the Ramsey Solutions Senior Leadership Team. He will continue to report to Suzanne Simms, EVP of the business to consumer division. Ramsey Media includes all aspects of the Dave Ramsey show – currently heard on more than 575 radio stations and a variety of digital outlets – and other broadcast initiatives of Ramsey Solutions.
Trump Inauguration, Last Days of Obama Presidency, Cabinet Nominees Confirmation Hearings, Obama’s Chelsea Manning Commutation, Report of Earth’s Hottest Year, GOP ObamaCare Plans, NFL-Lady Gaga Flap/NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the Democrats planning to skip the event, and the planned protests; President Obama’s final press conference; the confirmation hearings of Trump cabinet nominees Betsy DeVos and Tom Price; controversy over Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks; the report that the planet’s mean temperature was the highest it’s been for the third year in a row; the status of the Affordable Care Act as the GOP plans to revamp the health care law; and the flap over whether the NFL is muzzling Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime performance, tied with the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Tomorrow’s presidential inauguration will be covered for its radio affiliates by FOX News Radio. Jared Halpern and Laura Ingle will co-anchor the main event, with correspondents reporting live from multiple locations in Washington DC…..Salem Radio Network News is also covering the inauguration tomorrow, beginning with a stand-alone, two-hour special titled, “SRN Inauguration Day 2017.” The special will be anchored live from the steps of the U.S. Capitol by SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston and SRN U.S. Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon. SRN News U.S. House correspondent Wally Hindes and SRN News Washington bureau chief Ken Lormand will also participate from inside the Capitol building…..AdLarge Media has entered into an exclusive ad sales agreement to represent the podcast “Little Known Facts with Ilana Levine,” a weekly celebrity interview podcast hosted by the stage and screen actress…..KHTE-FM, Little Rock “96.5 FM The Answer” afternoon drive host Dave Elswick (left) is pictured here interviewing Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison (right) during Elswick’s recent three-day broadcast from the state Capitol.
Radio Row at SHOT Show in Las Vegas. This week in Las Vegas, hunters and shooting enthusiasts are converging on the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades Show, a.k.a. the SHOT Show, presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The radio row at the event is hosting such talk radio personalities as Mike Gallagher, Lars Larson, Ben Ferguson and others. Pictured above is Tim Kennedy (right), host of the History Channel hit “Hunting Hitler” speaking with “The Dana Show” host Dana Loesch.
WNDE, Indianapolis to Debut New Local AM Drive Sports Talk Show. There’s a new sports talk show set to launch on Monday, February 6 at iHeartMedia’s Indy sports talker WNDE-AM (and simulcast on translator W248AW at 97.5 FM) featuring sister rock WFBQ personalities Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck. The morning drive show – called “Flagrant Foul” – will air on WNDE from 6:00 am to 9:00 am, making it the only live and local Indy sports talk show in AM drive. Crosstown competitors WXNT and WFNI air CBS Sports Radio’s “Gio & Jones” and ESPN’s “Mike & Mike,” respectively. The Indianapolis Business Journal notes that “Mike & Mike” are far and away the current sports talk ratings leader in mornings, but with strong rumors that ESPN plans to end the “Mike & Mike” show very soon (moving Mike Greenberg to a more prominent role on ESPN TV), there could be an opening for “Flagrant Foul.” Gunner comments, “Stuck and I have talked sports on bar stools for years. Now, we’re excited to move our stools in front of microphones.”
David Moulton Exits Beasley’s WFCN, Fort Myers After Critical Comments About Station Decisions. Fort Myers sports talk personality David Moulton tweeted yesterday (1/17) that he was fired from Beasley Broadcast Group’s WFCN “99.3 ESPN Radio” after 17 years with the station. His exit from the station comes on the heels of a weekend story in the Fort Myers News-Press that delved into the break-up of Moulton’s and 10-year on-air partner Mark Miller’s show back in June of 2016 after the company did not re-sign Miller. The story questioned the wisdom of the move and Moulton commented freely in the story, his main complaint being that he was never told why the station let Miller walk. WFCN brought Gentry Thomas in to co-host with Moulton after Miller’s departure. With Moulton now gone, Thomas and station PD Chris Beasley are hosting the midday show. Read the News-Press story here.
Trump Inauguration Protests/Approval Rating Polls, Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence, U.S.–Russia Relations, Trump Cabinet Nominees Hearings, GOP’s ObamaCare Plans, World Economic Forum, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17). Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the Democrats who plan to stay away from the event and reports of planned protests in Washington, tied with Trump’s approval rating polls; the controversy over President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence for turning classified documents over to Wikileaks; speculation about Trump’s future relationship with Vladimir Putin; yesterday’s confirmation hearings for Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; the GOP’s intent to replace the Affordable Care Act with its own plan; the meeting of global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
SiriusXM Remodels ‘Opie Radio’; Re-Brands as ‘Faction Talk.’ The former “Opie Radio”
channel is rebranded by SiriusXM as “Faction Talk.” The satcaster describes the channel as “an unpredictable and provocative channel inspired by its punk-infused sister channel, the music and sports-focused “Faction.” The new “Faction Talk” launches on Monday (1/23) and will feature the live talk lineup of Jim Norton and Sam Roberts from 8:00 am to 11:00 am ET; the Jason Ellis show from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; and the “Opie Radio Show” with Greg “Opie” Hughes from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
‘Radio Health Journal’ Celebrates 25 Years. This month, the weekly public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating its silver anniversary. Radio pros Shel Lustig and Reed Pence – co-founders of MediaTracks Communications – are recognizing their 25th year in the business recalling their humble beginnings producing the program in Pence’s basement studio and relying on their contacts in the local Chicago radio scene to build an affiliate list and attract advertisers. “Radio Health Journal” is co-hosted by the program’s original trio from 1992: Pence, Lustig, and Nancy Benson. Each week the program interviews the most respected experts in the fields of health, medicine and science and has grown from its original 53 affiliates to more than 450 today. Pence says, “Considering all the medical advances of the last quarter century, it’s a completely different world from when we first went on air. But what hasn’t changed is the public’s need for reliable reporting on the health issues facing us as individuals, communities and as a nation. I mean, our very first segment was on the crisis in health insurance, and 1,250 episodes later…we’re still talking about it.”
Odds & Sods. With the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States taking place on Friday, radio news outlets are covering the event. Westwood One is beginning live, long-form coverage at 11:30 am ET, anchored by Westwood One News correspondent Chas Henry with on-scene reports from correspondents Bob Costantini at the Capitol and Steve Kastenbaum across from the reviewing stand at the White House…..ABC News Radio will also provide extensive coverage. Correspondent Aaron Katersky will lead coverage from the U.S. Capitol, joined by correspondent Karen Travers from the White House, correspondents Brad Mielke and Janai Norman from the Inaugural Parade, political director Rick Klein with analysis and commentary from Washington, DC, and contributor Steve Roberts with historical analysis and context of all the proceedings. ABC News Radio will offer multiple status reports each hour on the events of the day and a one-hour special that will be available at 7:00 pm ET…..E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee – the flagship of the Green Bay Packers Radio Network is hosting “The Hometown Call at Turner Hall” viewing party for this Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. The event is free with a big-screen broadcast of the game synched to the radio play-by-play broadcast on WTMJ…..CBS Sports Radio launches a dedicated channel on Apple Music. CBS says “sports fans will now have access to CBS Sports Radio’s unique brand of coverage and commentary via Apple Music, available on a variety of devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, Mac, PC, Android, and Sonos.”…..SB Nation Radio is kicking off the new version of the Sean Salisbury show during its coverage of Super Bowl LI in Houston. Salisbury’s new co-hosts are Robin Carlin, Brian Barrett and producer Adam Sager. The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET during Super Bowl week and return to the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot on February 6…..United Stations Radio Networks names Donna Harrison its newest rep in the affiliate relations department for services and offerings for the news and talk formats…..WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire adds the GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show to its weekend program lineup…..The “What’s Cooking in the Mr. Food Test Kitchen” show is offering stations a free, one-month trial of the weekend food show with no contract obligation. Mr. Food is seen on some 110 TV stations as well as the QVC channel.
WHAT ARE WORDS FOR? Michael Harrison Chats with the Editor-at-Large of Merriam-Webster. The organic English language has always evolved but the changes have been speeding up due to the influences of the digital era. In this week’s fascinating installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out,” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison talks with Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large of Merriam-Webster, about the rapidly accelerating evolution of words and the English language. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is the second-best-selling book (right behind the Holy Bible) during the past century-and-a-half of American history. The conversation includes a discussion of the famed publisher’s successful transition from being a print-based company fueled by book sales to a gigantic web-based digital advertising-based enterprise. To listen to this illuminating 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.
Rock WNNX, Atlanta Inks ‘Bailey & Southside’ for Three More Years. The morning drive duo of Jason Bailey and “Southside” Steve Rickman signs contract extensions to remain hosts of the AM show on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WNNX “Rock 100.5” for another three years. Cumulus Media Atlanta vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “The ‘Bailey and Southside Show’ is the foundation of ‘Rock 100.5.’ Our goal is and has been to build the South’s premiere rock and entertainment station. Renewing Bailey and Southside ensures that we deliver on that promise.” Bailey and Rickman began their on-air partnership in January of 2015.
Randy Savage Named OM for Cumulus Media’s Wilkes Barre-Scranton Operations. Programming pro Randy Savage, a.k.a. Bruce Murry, joins Cumulus Media to serve as the operations manager for the company’s Wilkes Barre-Scranton station group that includes: CHR WBHT, rock WBSX, adult contemporary WMGS “Magic 93,” country WSJR “NASH FM,” and sports talk WARM-AM “CBS Sports Radio.” He’ll also serve as PD for WSJR. Most recently, Savage was with Renda Broadcasting programming country WWGR “Gator Country 101.9,” adult hits WJGO “1029 BOB FM,” hot AC WSGL “104.7 The Mix,” and news/talk WGUF in the Fort Myers/Naples market. Savage comments, “It has been the honor of my life to program these great radio stations in Southwest Florida. They are near and dear to my heart but it’s time to move on. I’m excited about joining Cumulus Media and the Wilkes Barre/Scranton cluster and look forward to working with the great staff there to continue to grow these brands.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, CBS RADIO inks KYKY “Y98” midday personality Jill Devine, to a multi-year contract extension with the station…..In Dallas, CBS RADIO re-brands CHR KVIL-FM “AMP 103.7.” The station recently added Nathan Fast as new AM drive host…..The Radio Advertising Bureau announces iHeartRadio president Darren Davis and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes join its board of directors…..Air personality Pepper is the new midday jock at Entercom’s alternative KNRK, Portland “94/7fm.” Pepper previously served with the company’s KNDD, Seattle “107.7 The End.”…..Programmer and air personality Kay Rich exits iHeartMedia’s hip hop KBOS, Fresno where he was music director and evening personality.
Bubba the Love Sponge Countersues Nielsen and Files Third Party Complaints Against Cox Media and WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta. The battle between Florida-based, syndicated morning talk host Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a. Bubba Clem, and Nielsen Audio just got more complicated after Bubba’s attorneys filed a countersuit against Nielsen Audio and fresh complaints against Cox Media Group and WHPT, Tampa morning personality Mike Calta. As industry watchers are aware, Nielsen is suing Bubba claiming that his attempts to manipulate the PPM ratings in the Tampa market have caused damages to its business. During the discovery phase of this case, Bubba’s lawyers have requested documentation and Nielsen responded by ultimately providing some 71,000 pages, but not in a manner deemed timely by Bubba’s team. In fact, they state that their work in the discovery phase has been “seriously delayed as a result of Plaintiff’s untimely production of discovery materials and broad-brush approach to making confidentiality designations. Moreover, Defendants’ use of the discovery materials has been severely limited by the terms of the Protective Order. As a result, on November 18, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Amend Case Management and Scheduling Order to extend the discovery cut-off from December 9 to January 9, 2016. The Court entered an Order granting Defendants’ motion on November 29, 2016.” If Nielsen’s tactics were intended to cause Bubba to settle the matter, it didn’t work. He’s doubling down with the aforementioned countersuit and new complaints against Nielsen, Cox and Calta for: Defamation (Counts I and II), Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships (Counts III and IV), Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count V), and Civil Conspiracy (Count VI). Bubba’s lawyers say their counterclaims and third-party claims “are based on various documents that were produced by Plaintiff in response to Defendants’ discovery requests.” Here’s the breakdown according to the court filing: “In early 2015, Plaintiff entered into a conspiracy with Cox (one of Nielsen’s largest subscribers) to, among other things: (i) utilize Nielsen’s monopoly power over the audience measurement and ratings for the Tampa Market to prevent Defendants from broadcasting their morning radio show on WBRN in competition with WHPT; (ii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ contractual relationships with Beasley Media Group and their other affiliates; (iii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ current and prospective business relationships with WBRN’s advertisers and US-based syndication partners; (iv) improperly manipulate Nielsen’s ratings for the Tampa Market to simultaneously increase WHPT’s market share to the benefit of Cox, while decreasing the share of WBRN to the detriment of Beasley, Clem and BRN; (v) publish knowingly false, defamatory allegations of ratings distortion activities against Defendants in an effort to conceal the fraudulent conduct of Nielsen’s employees with respect to the data included in Nielsen’s monthly ratings reports; (vi) unfairly apply Nielsen’s rules and impose unprecedented sanctions pressure on Beasley to bring about the termination of its contract with BRN and Clem; and (vii) engage in unfair methods of competition, anticompetitive behavior, and various unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair acts or practices in violation of Chapter 501, Florida Statutes, in order to further the interests of a large Nielsen subscriber over those of a smaller subscriber. As a result of Nielsen, Cox, and Calta’s conduct, and the conduct of those conspiring with them, Defendants have incurred several million dollars in damages.” As noted, much of Bubba’s evidence for the complaints comes from Nielsen documents but it is heavily redacted to protect Nielsen’s proprietary PPM information. Regarding the complaint against Mike Calta, Clem’s lawyers allege Calta defamed him during an on-air phone conversation in which he made the following false statements: that Clem was cheating Nielsen’s ratings system; that Clem had control over PPMs; that Clem had PPMs on watch winders in a shed and/or a shipping container; that Clem had purchased a PPM from his dentist’s nurse; and that after Clem left WHPT, he stopped using the PPMs he allegedly had control over to benefit WHPT, causing its ratings to fall. Bubba also alleges that Cox conspired with Nielsen for the latter to de-list heavy listeners to Bubba’s WBRN show and that Cox and Nielsen concocted a “sting operation” to entrap Bubba into engaging into ratings manipulation. The complaint also states that “Nielsen admits that none of the PPM data obtained from any PPM panelist alleged to have engaged in ratings tampering activities with Clem was ever included in any of its monthly ratings reports and, therefore, it was unnecessary for Nielsen to reprocess or reissue any of its monthly ratings reports as a result of the ratings tampering activities allegedly engaged in by Clem. Nevertheless, at the urging of Cox, Nielsen imposed its most severe response to the alleged ratings distortion activity by delisting Beasley’s WBRN for the month of September 2015.” Neither Nielsen, Cox or Calta have commented publicly on the suit.
WEEI, Boston Promotes Alex Reimer to ‘Brand Personality.’ Sports media personality Alex Reimer has been part of the “third-chair rotation” for the “Kirk and Callahan Morning Show” on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston since the fall. Now, the company announces that he’s coming aboard full time as a brand personality. Calling it a “move designed to augment both the on-air and online components of its media ecosystem,” Reimer will join the WEEI.com staff “creating columns, blogs, and podcasts” while continuing his rotating co-host position on the morning show. The Boston University grad has previously served with Forbes, The Boston Herald and SB Nation. WEEI program director Joe Zarbano comments, “Since joining the Kirk and Callahan third-chair rotation last fall, Alex has done a terrific job delivering opinionated and entertaining sports talk. I’m excited that WEEI.com will now be an outlet for Alex’s insightful writing to our massive online audience.”
WVLK, Lexington Names ‘Kruser’ Program Director. Eighteen-year WVLK-AM, Lexington air personality Dave “Kruser” Krusenklaus is appointed program director at the Cumulus Media news/talk station. As part of the change, Krusenklaus will move from his midday talk show slot to the afternoon drive daypart. Current station PD Scott Johnson transitions to the news director role for WVLK and the Cumulus Lexington cluster. Prior to his work as a talk host at WVLK, “Kruser” worked as a programmer and air talent in both the rock and classic hits formats. Cumulus Media Lexington vice president and market manager Scott Frazier states, “I look forward to ‘Kruser’ delivering the same powerful analysis and spirited attitude he has brought as an on-air personality to programming central Kentucky’s heritage news/talker, 590 WVLK!”
Trump Inauguration Protests, Trump NATO and EU Comments, Russian Hacking Allegations, World Economic Forum, GOP ObamaCare Plan, Istanbul Terror Suspect Caught, Wife of Orlando Terrorist Arrested, Eight Billionaires Statistic, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16). The planned protests for Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the boycott by numerous Democratic Members of Congress, and security plans; controversy over Trump’s comments about NATO being obsolete and his prediction about the end of the European Union; the allegations that Russia hacked the DNC emails in an attempt to influence the U.S. election; the World Economic Forum taking place at Davos, Switzerland; the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; the capture and confession of the man responsible for the deadly terror attack in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve; authorities arrest Noor Salman, wife of Orlando club shooter Omar Mateen; the report that eight of the world’s richest people hold more wealth than half of the rest of the world; and the weekend’s NFL playoff games were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cooke: Recalibrating Talk for the Trump Era. Consultant Holland Cooke writes today with thoughts about what talk radio can do to take advantage of the Trump era. Cooke says that as social media flourishes, talk hosts should take that to mean that listeners expect to be heard and he adds that “the smartest thing talkers can do now is listen.” Read more here.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” show from Westwood One is being simulcast by C-SPAN during the Wednesday (1/18) broadcast from 1:00 am to 6:00 am ET. The full live show plus break banter with hosts Eric Harley and Greg McNamara will be simulcast by the cable news network…..“The Forbes Interview” podcast debuts today on the “Forbes on PodcastOne” network. The show is the first podcast to be developed jointly between Forbes and PodcastOne and delves into the minds of the most significant leaders of today – the people who have been, or easily could be, on the coveted cover of Forbes magazine. The first interview by Forbes senior editor Steve Bertoni is with podcast superstar Adam Carolla.
‘KISS FM’ Chicago’s Angi Taylor Joins ‘The Rendezvous.’ Chicago radio personality Angi Taylor is signed up for double duty as Premiere Networks announces she’ll partner up with Simon Marcel as the new co-host of the syndicator’s evening show “The Rendezvous.” Taylor will continue her role at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKSC “KISS FM” where she’s one half of the “Fred + Angi” morning show. “The Rendezvous” is described as “the nightly radio program featuring insightful love and relationship advice, coupled with radio station music playlists.” Taylor says, “I couldn’t be more excited to host ‘The Rendezvous’ along with the French captain of romance, Simon Marcel! I’m so thankful for everyone at Premiere Networks for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. Hosting a syndicated show is a dream come true, and I can’t wait to share the love, romance, and FUN with a national audience!”
Hubbard Re-Ups Eric & Kathy at WTMX, Chicago. Chicago morning show stars Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart sign a multi-year contract extension with Hubbard Radio to continue hosting The Eric & Kathy Morning Show on WTMX “101.9fm THE MIX.” The station says that over the past 20 years the show “has been a consistent market leader, ranking number one among advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old Adults, for most of their tenure at the station.” Hubbard Radio president and chief operating officer Drew Horowitz comments, “I’m thrilled to have the most successful morning show team in Chicago radio history continuing their run on ‘THE MIX’ and remaining an integral part of Hubbard Radio.”
iHeartMedia Announces Lineup for Fourth iHeartCountry Festival. The iHeartCountry Festival is coming back to Austin this spring. iHeartMedia announces the big country show will again take place at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday, May 6. The lineup will feature acts including: Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Rascal Flatts, Old Dominion, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini and The Raging Idiots, plus more to be announced. iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes comments, “The iHeartCountry Festival has become an annual family reunion for the biggest stars in country music. These artists grew up together and you can truly feel their deep friendships when they join each other on stage.”
Report: Laura Ingraham Considering Run for Virginia Senate Seat. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, talk show host – and Trump adviser – Laura Ingraham is seriously debating whether to throw her hat into the ring for a run for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat currently held by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, Tim Kaine. The Examiner’s Paul Bedard writes that “several party insiders have approached the media giant to run and that she is considering it. In preparation for a bid, her business partner, Peter Anthony, has begun buying website domains for Ingraham to use should she decide to move forward. It includes: ingrahamsenate.net, ingrahamsenate.com, ingrahamforvirginia.com and ingraham2018.com.” The story also notes that Virginia U.S. Representatives Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat – both Republicans – are considering challenging Kaine. See the Examiner story here.
iHeartMedia Execs Nab Big Bonuses. These bonuses – approved last Tuesday by the iHeartMedia board of directors – are retention bonuses. Here’s what the board approved: chairman and CEO Bob Pittman gets $1.75 million; COO and CFO Rich Bressler gets the same; and SVP of corporate finance Steven Macri is awarded $750,000. Because they are retention bonuses, the three must remain employed by the company for two years after the effective date of January 12, 2017 or they must repay 100% of the after-tax value of the bonus. If either is terminated without cause, leaves for a “good reason,” or due to death or disability before the first anniversary of the effective date, they must pay back 50% of the after-tax value. Additionally, the board of directors approved the 2017 Key Employee Incentive Plan in which Pittman and Bressler can earn bonuses of up to $7,000,000 and $3,000,000 respectively during the year for hitting quarterly performance goals set by the compensation committee of the board of directors.
Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner Pockets $1 Million-plus Bonus. Unlike the retention bonuses paid to iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and others (see story above), this payment to Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner is a “one-time discretionary cash incentive compensation award” of $1,087,500 for “her exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.” The board of directors notes that this award is in lieu of any award she may have received under its annual incentive plan for 2016.
Charlie Sykes to Take Part in Public Radio Show. The Milwaukee radio icon retired from E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of 2016 after a 23-year career with the news/talk station. Now, Charlie Sykes is part of a new, national call-in talk show being produced in what is a cooperative venture by WNYC, New York, Minnesota Public Radio and The Economist. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes will be one of four co-hosts of the program titled, “Indivisible.” The other hosts are: WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, The Nation features editor Kai Wright, and MPR’s personality Kerri Miller. Sykes will not be heard on the radio in his home market because his non-compete prevents local pubcaster WUWM from airing the show. Under the terms of Sykes’ deal with WTMJ, any radio show on which Sykes appears during the term of the non-compete must air on WTMJ. The station asked to air the new show but NPR is not giving consent.
Will Talk Show Hosts Get Access to Trump Press Conferences? On Sunday (1/15), Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer told FOX News that the president-elect is considering moving press briefings to a larger location due to “off-the-charts” interest in the new administration. Spicer said, “There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media, but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing. It’s more democratic.” The Brady press room (pictured) in the West Wing only holds 49 people. However, the White House Correspondents’ Association is concerned about the move, in part because it fears the media could be moved from the press work space behind the Brady press room, according to a statement from WHCA president Jeff Mason. He says that space is important because it is close to West Wing staffers whom the press rely on for news. Spicer says he’ll work with the WHCA on any changes.
Trump Inauguration Protests, ObamaCare Replacement Plans, U.S.-Russia Relations, Orlando Cop Killer Search, Davos Economic Forum, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ringling Brothers Circus to Close, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The planned protests and Democratic members of Congress planning to skip Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Friday; the GOP’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act; the relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the United States with Trump set to take office; the search for the man police believe killed Orlando police officer Debra Clayton; this week’s meeting of world leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland; today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; Ringling Brothers’ decision to shutter the 146-year-old circus; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates to its roster, including: WNIX-AM/FM, Greeneville, Mississippi; KLKS-FM, Brainerd, Minnesota; KHMO-AM, Hannibal, Missouri; and WBNW, Concord/Boston…..Teenage conservative talk show host Caiden Cowger announces his show is added to the program schedule at Kol Ami Havurah-owned WDUQ-LPFM, Benwood, West Virginia “Beautiful Music 99.1.” This is the fourth affiliate station for Cowger’s program. The one-hour show airs evenings at 9:00 pm…..In the San Antonio market, Cox Media Group drops the sports talk programming on KONO-AM after three years as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate and is now airing an oldies format.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, air personality Sam Bass moves from middays to weekends on hot AC KYXY for personal reasons. Moving into his slot on the CBS RADIO station is Joe Rosati, who slides over from sister CHR KEGY “Energy 103.7.” Program director Chris Patyk promotes evening personality Alexia Gloria to middays on KEGY to fill Rosati’s old slot…..There are a few promotions to report at the Nashville operations of Midwest Communications. First, Barbara Bridges – currently adult contemporary WJXA brand manager – is upped to operations manager for the entire cluster. Second, afternoon drive host Joe Breezy is adding brand manager duties to his work at CHR WNFN “i106.7.” Finally, WNFN midday personality Butter Harper takes on assistant brand manager responsibilities for the station…..Chad Valentine exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100” as the result of his position being eliminated. He was assistant program director and music director there…..Alexa Smith exits her role as program director at Sierra H Broadcasting’s hip hop KNRJ, Cordes Lakes, Arizona and rhythmic oldies KAJM, Camp Verde, Arizona after three months in the position. Prior to that, she’d been APD at CBS RADIO’s rhythmic AC KTWV, Los Angeles “94.7 The Wave.”
Report: ESPN to Break Up ‘Mike & Mike.’ According to a report in SI.com by Richard Deitsch – and picked up by numerous other news outlets – ESPN is moving ahead with plans to move Mike Greenberg from the ESPN Radio morning show he’s co-hosted with Mike Golic since 1998 and place him at the helm of the new morning show on cable TV’s ESPN. If true, what the sports giant does with the longtime – and reportedly revenue-producing – morning show includes a couple of options. Deitsch’s piece speculates that the odds-on candidate to move to mornings is current ESPN personality Trey Wingo. He could partner with Golic or – if Golic is not retained – head up a new morning show. Golic’s son, Mike Golic Jr., is a staffer with ESPN and it’s being reported that Golic Jr. could join a re-tooled version of the morning program. Deitsch reports that it’s not known when these moves will happen but his sources say the changes will happen sooner rather than later. Read the SI.com piece here.
WYM Media to Syndicate Devil’s Advocates Radio. The Devil’s Advocates Radio Show – co-hosted by Dominic Salvia and Mike Crute formerly aired on iHeartRadio’s progressive talk WXXM, Madison “Mic 92.1” prior to the station’s format flip late last year. Now, the issues talk show is going into national syndication via WYM Media with distribution by Westwood One. WYM says the show is launching on 16 affiliates in the Northeastern, Midwest, West, and Southwestern, as well as on the Armed Forces Radio Network. It airs live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. WYM adds, “The Devil’s will take their show back on the road, broadcasting events and protests from Donald Trump’s Inauguration week in Washington D.C. January 18-20. Additionally, the Devil’s will provide an anchored livestream from the Women’s March on Washington, on Saturday January 21.” The Devil’s Advocates is an independent production of DC Communication, LLC, based in Wisconsin.
Four New Shows to Launch on ‘Forbes on PodcastOne.’ Building on the recent partnership with the Norm Pattiz-founded digital platform PodcastOne, Forbes Media is preparing to debut four new podcasts on the “Forbes on PodcastOne” network. The new shows are: “The Forbes Interview,” “Forbes Under 30,” “Forbes Lists” and “Forbes Sports Money,” and will launch this month and next. Forbes Media chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin says, “Our focus this year is about taking Forbes content off domain and monetizing those experiences. Podcasts represent yet another avenue for us to diversify our revenue streams.” PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Forbes’ initial conversation podcast will feature Adam Carolla, the most downloaded podcaster of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Adam will discuss his own personal journey, the building of Carolla Digital, and a lot of other extremely interesting things from questions put forth by ‘The Forbes Interview’ podcast host, Steve Bertoni. Future shows will include leaders from business, technology, entertainment and sports – the kinds of people that you would likely see on the cover of Forbes. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership.”
Ryan Wrecker Exits WOWO, Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne’s Federated Media makes changes in the management structure at heritage news/talk WOWO and program director Ryan Wrecker exits after more than four years at the programming helm. During his time at WOWO, Wrecker was instrumental in creating the station’s podcast platform. WOWO won a Marconi Award from the National Association of Broadcasters in 2014.
Trump Press Conference Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 9-13, 2017. President-Elect Donald Trump’s first press conference after winning the November election was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the allegations of Russia’s hacking the DNC emails tied with the Trump ‘dossier’ purported to detail his bizarre sexual behavior while visiting Moscow. Coming in at #3 was the Trump cabinet nominee hearings, followed by the Justice Department’s announcement it would investigate its own and the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server matter at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WNDB, Daytona Beach’s Marc Bernier Hosts FOX News’ Brett Baier at Embry-Riddle. Pictured above are FOX News Channel personality Brett Baier (left) and WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) at the more recent installment of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Speaker Series. Bernier serves as the director for the series. At the event, Baier conducted his nightly “Fox Report” from the school’s campus before sitting down for a town hall-style interview with Bernier.
Michael Harrison and Sid Rosenberg Talk About Sports, News/Talk, Radio, Personal Demons, Redemption and Life. In a powerfully candid conversation, WABC, New York mid-morning co-host Sid Rosenberg is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” For the past year, Rosenberg has been successfully co-hosting the station’s 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program with his old friend, Don Imus show executive producer, Bernard McGuirk. The daily news/talk program, “The Bernie and Sid Show,” has done so well in attracting an audience and creating positive buzz in its first 11 months that WABC has just expanded it by an hour to a 9:00 am start. Rosenberg came up through the ranks of NYC and South Florida sports talk radio, recently making the transition to news/talk – although he still serves as a sports commentator on the Imus show that precedes the mid-morning program. Rosenberg has a colorful track record of landing big jobs based on his sheer talent and enthusiasm…and then losing them due to highly-publicized issues he’s faced battling personal demons. It seems that Rosenberg has gained control over these problems and as Harrison puts it, “is on a healthy track to redemption and success.” Harrison continues, “Sid Rosenberg is one of the most authentic, vibrant and ‘human’ radio personalities on the air today. He exudes infectious energy and captures the very essence of being a New Yorker – thus contributing greatly to WABC’s local flavor. What a great radio story! I’m rooting for him to stay on his present path and go all the way.” To listen to the entire podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Legendary Louisville Talk Host Milton Metz Dies at 95. The Louisville Courier-Journal writes in its obituary for Milton Metz that, according to former WHAS colleague Wayne Perkey, Metz was “a role model and father figure for a younger generation of broadcasters” that included himself, Terry Meiners, and Jack Fox. Metz began his lengthy career on WHAS in 1959 and the “Juniper 5-2385” show (named after the phone number) ran until 1993. His son, Perry Metz, is quoted saying, “If civility is old-fashioned, you could say he was old-fashioned.” Read the Courier-Journal obit here.
Odds & Sods. In the Hickory, North Carolina market, Long Communications adds an FM translator to the signal of news/talk WHKY. The station’s programming is now also heard on W272DU at 102.3 FM…..SiriusXM is announcing that in the lead-up to next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, it will broadcast a special series titled, “The Road to CPAC 2017” with hosts Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and his wife Mercedes Schlapp, columnist and FOX News contributor on its Patriot Channel. The inaugural show will feature the Schlapps in conversation with Steve Bannon, senior counselor to President-elect Trump and former host of “Breitbart News Daily” on SiriusXM.
Cool SoCal Talk Gig. This position is in Los Angeles. Conservative SoCal fast growing blowtorch KRLA and KTIE are looking for ‘Morning Answer’ replacement for exiting Ben Shapiro. Must be a conservative for this particular slot on the morning show. Knowledge of politics/news/events required. Talk radio experience preferred but not required. Must be able to peacefully co-exist with other ‘Morning Answer’ show members. If you’re not interested in being part of a team environment, please look elsewhere. The “Morning Answer” focuses on today’s highest interest news and events, and the hosts opinions and commentary. It’s a fast-paced and generally upbeat take on mornings in Los Angeles. Now’s a great time for conservative radio…help us ride the wave and reflect the sentiment that ushered in unprecedented political change. Materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org. EOE.
‘Bootleg Kev’ Named Night Jock at ‘LIVE 101.5’ in Phoenix. Air personality Kevin Ratliff, a.k.a. “Bootleg Kev,” is named the new evening personality on CBS RADIO’s Phoenix CHR KALV “LIVE 101.5.” Phoenix vice president of programming Tim Richards states, “Kev is a radio vet and an incredible personality who brings a breadth of experience to ‘LIVE 101.5.’ He is a hometown guy who was born and raised in Phoenix – he knows the market and what our listeners want. We are excited to have him join the ‘LIVE 101.5’ family.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Hibbing, Minnesota country outlet KGPZ – owned by Midwest Communications – adopts the Envision Networks and Kroeger Media classic country format “DUKE FM” and takes on the brand “96.1 DUKE FM.”…..In San Diego, 23-year “Jeff & The Showgram” staffer Randy Hoag announces via Facebook that he’s been let go by the CBS RADIO hot AC KYXY…..Triple A KMMS, Bozeman, Montana brand manager Michelle Wolfe announces she’s leaving the Townsquare Media station to take time off from her career to pursue personal goals…..Cumulus Media Charleston, South Carolina parts ways with programmer Terry Base, who’s been with the company for the past 19 years. He served as PD for hip hop WWWZ “93Jamz,” and urban adult contemporary WMGL “Magic 107.3.”
Ed Sheeran Visits with CBS RADIO New York. Pictured above with artist Ed Sheeran (right) is CBS RADIO SVP of programming Jim Ryan (left). Sheeran appeared at CBS RADIO New York’s Adorama Live Theatre to chat WNEW-FM and WBMP-FM hosts about his new album, Divide. Sheeran spoke with “Fresh 102.7” morning show hosts Jeffrey Jameson and Karen Carson and “92.3 AMP Radio” personalities Shoboy and Nina. Photo: CBS RADIO New York.