Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, February 5, 2016

| February 5, 2016

talkersten logoPresidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 1-5.  The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was Russia’s Syria military operations.  At #3 was the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the recently negotiated nuclear agreement, followed by concerns over the Zika virus at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Odds & Sods.  At its South Florida cluster, Entercom appoints Katerina Perez general sales manager ofperezkaterina alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark” and sports talk WAXY-AM, “The Ticket.”  Perez is a native Canadian who spent most of her life in South Florida.  Most recently she was SVP of sales at iHeartMedia’s Seattle cluster.  Entercom South Florida VP/market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Katerina has a proven track record of success and will be a valuable addition to our management team.  Her experience, relentless focus on the customer and her sales management skills will enable us to develop more hewitthughimpactful advertising campaigns for our clients and substantially grow our business.”…..Hugh Hewitt got some love from USAToday recently.  The publication wrote a profile piece of the Salem Radio Network-syndicated talk personality as the result of his increased presence in the national media this election season.  As regular TALKERS readers know, Hewitt has been participating in the GOP primary debates produced by CNN (and simulcast for radio by SRN).  As the story indicates, Hewitt has also beenlolliskaty a much-sought-after political pundit by such program hosts as CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, and NBC’s Chuck Todd.  Read the USAToday piece here.….Beasley Media Group promotes Katy Lollis to director of sales for the company’s Fayetteville, North Carolina station group.  Market manager Mac Edwards states, “Katy has been a valued employee of our company for nearly a decade.  Her experience, market insight and incredible work ethic have always been highly valued and deeply respected.  Now, we are confident Katy will take our sales team to new heights in 2016 and beyond!”

kinosianmikeComprehensive Holiday PPM Overview.  RadioInfo and TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2015 PPM survey.  The move to all-Christmas or Christmas-intensive music playlists on the part of AC, hot AC and CHR stations brings about an annual “anomaly” to the radio ratings.  Kinosian has detailed the performances of AC, hot AC and country stations recently but this report also shows the effects on other radio formats – including sports, news/talk and all-news.  Kinosian writes, “Among other tidbits, this comprehensive analysis summarizes all stations that finish #1 and #2 in Holiday 2015; differential between the top two spots; and perhaps most vital of all – formats most dramatically/negatively influenced by all-Christmas music programming.  For that, we have broken it out by format and by each PPM-market.”  See the entire report here.

nationalradiotalentsystem logoNational Radio Talent System’s Student Initiative Heads to Pacific Northwest.  The Dan Vallie-founded National Radio Talent System heads to the Pacific Northwest in conjunction with Hubbard Radio.  Four previous institutes have taken place in the South and the East but June 13 -22 the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will take place at Central Washington University in Washington State.  Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris comments, “Compelling and relatable on air talent is what separates local radio from all other audio entertainment services.  Our investment in the National Radio Talent System at Central Washington University is an extension of Hubbard Radio’s commitment to do our part to nurture and grow the talent pipeline for the industry.  We are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and his team in this important initiative.”  The school’s assistant dean of student development Keith Champagne says, “Having a nationally award winning college radio program in KCWU-FM, the partnership with Hubbard Radio and the National Radio Talent System was simply a perfect match. Giving student broadcasters opportunities they can’t find anywhere else is a cornerstone of Central Washington University. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will be another great example of that.”  The Radio Talent Institute says its curriculum builds upon “the already quality education students are receiving at the university and through working at their college radio station.  All sessions in the Institute are taught by professional broadcasters in each of their areas of expertise.”

allianceforwomeninmediaAlliance for Women in Media Announces New Board Members.  New board members have been announced for the Alliance for Women in Media and its FoundationKristen Welch, SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications will continue the role of chair for both organizations.  Continuing as chair‐elect of AWM/F is Sarah Foss, vice president of product management and media at Imagine Communications in New York City. The treasurer of AWM/F is Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corp. in New York.  The treasurer‐elect of AWM/F is Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships in New York City; and past chair of AWM/F is Kay Olin, principle of Kay Olin and Associates, in St. George Island, Florida.  Serving directors at large of AWM are: Robin Alston, director of business & legal affairs, A&E Television Networks; Karla Ballard Williams, founder and CEO of YING; Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency; Sandy Girard, vice president of entertainment at SiriusXM; Susie Hedrick, SVP sales, North America at Wide Orbit, Inc.; Annie Howell, founder and co-president at The Punch Point Group; Jill Luckett, SVP program network policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Kimberly Maki, corporate vice president, corporate communications & public relations, Bright House Networks; Laura Martinez, senior director, affiliate sales, Cumulus/Westwood One; Christine Merritt, president, Ohio Association of Broadcasters; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink/RBR-TVBR; and Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer, CBS Corporation.  Serving as directors at large of AWMF are: Karla Ballard Williams; Valerie Blackburn, project manager, CBS Radio; Heather Cohen; Michelle Duke, vice president, NAB Education Foundation; Sandy Girard; Annie Howell; Jill Luckett; Kimberly Maki; and Christine McLaughlin, of counsel, Sciarrino & Shubert, PLLC.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

| February 4, 2016

iheartmedia logo smallReport: iHeartMedia Considering Securities Sale to Retire Debt Due in 2019.  According to a report from Bloomberg News, iHeartMedia is looking at a plan to offer up for sale securities in one of its units to help retire some $1.4 billion in bonds.  The report states that the company would create a subsidiary called Broader Media LLC. Existing debtholders would be offered the opportunity to exchange for the new obligations.  According to Bloomberg, $8.3 billion in debt is coming due in 2019 for iHeartMedia.  “iHeart’s plan would erase $192.9 million of 5.5 % unsecured notes due December 2016 that are already considered current,” a source told Bloomberg.  “The proposal is also intended to retire the company’s $190 million revolving loan due December 2017, the $850 million of 10% unsecured notes due January 2018 and the $175 million of 6.875% unsecured notes due June 2018.”  Read the Bloomberg piece here.

knightbuzzGreater Media Promotes Buzz Knight to SVP of Program Development.  Fourteen-year Greater Media staffer Buzz Knight is promoted to SVP of program development for the company.  Knight’s new duties include responsibility for “overseeing programming development for all of Greater Media’s radio properties and collaborating with the individual stations to build winning content, digital and brand management strategies.”  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth comments, “Buzz has done an outstanding job overseeing our programming brands across the company over the past 14 years.  His insight and leadership plays an important role in the continued success of our company.”

Iowa Caucuses Aftermath/Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, $1.7 Billion Iran Payment Controversy, Zika Virus Concerns, Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case, Ken Stabler CTE Issue, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3).  The aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses, the focus on the New Hampshire Primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the U.S. military policy on defeating Islamic State; the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the nuclear agreement; fears about a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; the status of the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby; the results of the post-mortem on NFL great Ken Stabler and its effect on football’s CTE problem; and the week’s activities leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

miw logoMIW: Women Gaining in GM and SM Roles; Stagnating in Programming Management.  According to data from the most recent Gender Analysis Study from the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (culled from data from M Street Publications), since 2004 the number of women serving in general manager positions has risen from 14.9% to 17.3% in 2015.  However, a tally of women in program management positions shows a negligible increase of 10.9% in 2015 compared to 10.7% in 2004.  MIW spokeswoman Kay Olin states, “Tracking the leadership roles of women in media brings awareness to the continued need to reach back and lift up.  There is an incredible talent pool of strong and capable female leaders and they stand ready to make a difference.  It is the responsibility of all of us in the media industry to make sure that we are conscientiously and consistently practicing inclusion.”

Odds & Sods.  After just a year hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR-gabrielchristopherAM, Fresno “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400,” Christopher Gabriel exits the station.  On his Facebook page, Gabriel states, “Hey folks, here’s a little news: PowerTalk  96.7 and I have parted ways as of this morning.  I want to thank them for the opportunity to come to Fresno, work with a ton of talented radio artists and have some fun California adventures.  So… what’s next?  I guess we’ll see!”…..Former NBA star Dennis Rodman will appear as a special guest at WIP, Philadelphia’s “Wing Bowl 24” wipwingbowl24tomorrow (2/5) at the Wells Fargo Center.  The competitive eating event is pitting last year’s champion, Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, former champ Molly Schuyler, and the infamous LA Beast, against the field of local eaters.    Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos will act as the commissioner of Wing Bowl 24.  Local rock legend Tommy Conwell will perform the National Anthem.  Rodman will also be appearing at the WIP/SugarHouse Casino official after party of Wing Bowl 24.  WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese will broadcast from SugarHouse Casino from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the casino will feature food and drink specials all day long.

hochmanNSD16National Signing Day Remote for WQAM, Miami.  Remote broadcasts can present any number of technical and/or programming challenges, but the afternoon drive air staff at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM, Miami was able to put on a brave face and forge ahead as it broadcast on Wednesday (2/3) at a local Twin Peaks restaurant.  The “Hochman, Crowder, and Krantz” show broadcast live for National Signing Day – the day when top high school athletes announce which college they’re going to attend.  Surrounded by the hard-working service staff at Twin Peaks are (from l-r): Channing Crowder, Zach Krantz, and Marc Hochman.

doverbenjaminFormer Talk Host Benjamin Dover Dead at 57.  Former Texas talk show host Benjamin Dover died back on January 1 after complications from pneumonia, according to an obituary published in the Dallas Morning News.  Dover was born Lance Blumen.  As his obit states, he got into the consumer advocacy business after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1989.  He not only hosted a radio program on such signals as KLIF and KRLD-AM in Dallas and KFI, Los Angeles, he was a columnist for the Dallas Morning News from 1998 through 2004.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

| February 3, 2016

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Interviews Television Historian Jim Benson, Host of Radio’s Syndicated ‘TV Time Machine.’  In a wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from “What’s My Line?” to the future of television and time travel, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison discusses the role and impact of television in our society with historianbensonjim Jim Benson.  Benson is the host of the long-running KCBQ, San Diego radio show “TV Time Machine” that has just gone into national syndication.  Since 2003, Benson has been exploring TV’s past, present and future on radio and has tremendous insights into how the medium has impacted generations of Americans and how each generation – from the Boomers to the Millennials – approach it differently.  To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

siriusxm2015 a ‘Remarkable Year’ for SiriusXM.  Those were the words of SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer from yesterday’s investor conference call on the satcaster’s fourth quarter financial report.  Meyer said, “2015 was an incredible year for SiriusXM.  We exceeded all of our original operational and financial goals, and we are predicting continued growth in subscribers and all of our financial metrics this year.  Last January, we told you to expect 1.2 million net new subscribers.  We actually delivered 2.3meyerjim million, taking our paying subscriber base to an all-time high of approximately 29.6 million.  Lower-than-expected churn and higher auto sales were the primary drivers, and both new and used car conversions set new records for the fourth quarter and the full year.  We told you that we would do approximately $4.4 billion of revenue in 2015, and we actually reached nearly $4.6 billion.  We told you we would attain $1.6 billion of adjusted EBITDA and our final result was $1.66 billion.  And we told you we would deliver $1.25 billion of free cash flow, and we exceeded that, too, with $1.3 billion.  Quite frankly, 2015 was a remarkable year, and we did what we said we would do and more.  And this year, you should expect more of the same.  We expect continued growth, even as we make substantial investments across many areas of our business.  We expect to end 2016 with about 31 million subscribers and about $4.9 billion of revenue.”  Though Meyer didn’t offer how much SiriusXM is paying for Howard Stern or the recently re-signed NFL deal, he noted that those – along with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and FOX News – are now secured at “a fixed rate” for years to come.  Meyer also talked up the company’s SiriusXM17 platform with investors.  “Some of you may have seen our demonstration in Las Vegas at CES…For those of you who don’t know, SiriusXM17 is our next-generation platform for audio services that combines the benefit of satellite radio with two-way LTE connectivity in future cars.  It enables the seamless mixing and matching of satellite and IP-delivered content.  It allows us to obtain usage data from the radio in the car and let the users have a more personalized experience, including search and recommendations.  All of this will make our world-class content more discoverable and accessible in the car while maintaining ease of use.  Today, we’re doing significant in-field user testing and working with the engineering teams at various OEMs to implement SiriusXM17.  Believe me, we know better than anyone the changes in the OEM world take a long, long time and to build up meaningful numbers in the fleet of enabled vehicles for SiriusXM17 will take many years.”

The Iowa Caucus Results/Presidential Race, Zika Virus Threat, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, European Refugee Troubles, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2).  The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; ongoing concerns about the potential spread of Zika virus; the low price of crude oil and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the controversy over reports of violence perpetrated by Syrian refugees in European host nations; and the run-up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

bensonchadChad Benson Show Adds Hours for Primary and Debate Coverage.  The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is adding two extra hours of live programming on three days this month for coverage of the upcoming Democratic debate and the New Hampshire primary.  Benson’s Radio America-syndicated program airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET daily, but on February 4, 9, and 11, the show will air live until 11:00 pm ET for expanded coverage of the debate and primary.  Radio America says stations that currently do not carry the show but would like to air debate or primary programming can reach out for information about carriage at 800-807-4703 ext. 250.

kbetNew Wayne Allyn Root Show Debuts on KBET, Las Vegas.  National talk media personality Wayne Allyn Root’s new daily radio show, “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show,” premieres on Monday (2/8) on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Lasrootwayneallyn Vegas “790 AM Talk Radio” at 6:00 pm.  Silver State CEO Ed Stolz comments, “2016 has become the year of the DC outsider and ‘power to the people.’  Wayne Allyn Root speaks to those trends.  He is the anti-politician, the anti-Obama and a champion of the forgotten middle class.  Wayne has enjoyed a remarkable career as a candidate, author, commentator, international business speaker and businessman, while arguing persuasively for a more limited federal government.  He is a perfect fiery, dynamic, charismatic and high-energy personality and patriot with a popular agenda for our country’s future.”

Odds & Sods.  Re-tooled evening shows launch on ESPN Radio next week.  The “Jorge & Izzy” will air from 9:00sedanojorge pm to 11:00 pm ET featuring Jorge Sedano and Israel Gutierrez.   Sedano’s been with ESPN hosting a solo show and co-hosting with Mark “Stink” Schlereth.  Gutierrez currently hosts a Sunday ESPN Radio show with fellow ESPN NBA reporter Amin El-Hassan.  Also on February 8, ESPN Radio reporter and host Ian Fitzsimmons will join the nightly Freddie Coleman show from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am…..Westwood One is presenting an exclusive simulcast of tonight’s “CNN Democratic Town Hall” from Derry, New Hampshire  with Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.  hardwickkishaCNN’s Anderson Cooper moderates the event that airs from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..At the Athens, Georgia cluster of Cox Media Group’s radio properties, Kisha Hardwick is named the new digital sales manager.  The company says she’ll work with the leadership team to “deliver integrated marketing solutions to valued clients while developing new profitable revenue opportunities for the” cluster that includes CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” sports talk WRFC “960 AM Thehickcox Ref,” adult contemporary WGMG “Magic 102.1 FM,” news/talk WGAU, and country WNGC…..Beasley Media Group welcomes promotions pro Jeff Hickcox back to its Southwest Florida cluster where he is serving as director of promotions and special events.  Beasley Southwest Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “With more than 25 years of radio experience in our dynamic Southwest Florida cluster, Jeff knows how to pitch, promote and host our events like a pro!”

wfas-amsportsCumulus Flips WFAS-AM, White Plains to Sports.  Using CBS Sports Radio content, the Cumulus Media news/talk station goes all-sports.  Exiting as a result of the change is morning drive personality Bob Marrone.  He writes on his NewRochelleTalk.com site that he plans to continue the program and expects to make an announcement about the show’s new home in the very near future.  There’s no comment from Cumulus on the change, but usually format flips such as this are budget related.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

| February 2, 2016

mikemikestudio16‘Mike & Mike’ Get New Studio Look; Molly Qerim Officially Joins Show.  Morning sports talk hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg – a.k.a. “Mike & Mike” – will begin working from a new set on Monday, February 8 (pictured here).  This set is in Bristol and not Manhattan as ESPN had originally planned last year.  The general speculation is that budget cuts put the kibosh on moving the show to New York.  As hinted by ESPN late last year, “First Take” host Molly Qerim officially joins Mike & Mike for the 8:00 am and 9:00 am hours of the 6:00 am to 10:00 am show.  ESPN explains the move stating that Qerim “will present a variety ofqerimmolly content including news and breaking news updates and the hottest trending topics on the sports social media scene.  Each edition of ‘Mike & Mike’ will end with an interaction between the show’s hosts and First Take’s Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, facilitated by Qerim, to bridge the transition between ESPN2’s morning programs.”  (“First Take” follows “Mike & Mike” at 10:00 am.)  Also, the main ESPN cable channel will launch a new show at 7:00 am on February 8 titled, “SportsCenter:AM.”  ESPN says it has “a new format for ESPN’s signature news and information program designed to serve sports fans as they go about their early morning routine.”

mediamonitors logoMedia Monitors: Fiorina Led Political Radio Buys in Iowa; Hillary Tops in New Hampshire.  More data from Media Monitors is released with regard to political ad buys in the primary season in both the Iowa region and the New Hampshire market during the month of January.  The company reports that Republican Carly Fiorina’s Carly for America super PAC bought 1,435 spots in the Des Moines, Quad Cities, and Omaha markets leading up to yesterday’s Caucuses.  Democrats Bernie Sanders (955) and Hillary Clinton (771) followed Fiorina’s lead.  The rest of the pack looks like this: Ted Cruz, 1,044 (317 from PACs); Donald Trump, 509; and Ben Carson, 632 (312 from a PAC).  Looking at New Hampshire, data was culled from the Boston and Portsmouth-Dover markets.  Hillary Clinton ran 2,535 spots from January 1 to 31.  Bernie Sanders followed with 2,211.  The Republicans ran far fewer spots starting with Donald Trump at 260, the Marco Rubio super PAC Conservative Solutions airing 253, and Ted Cruz airing 240 with added help from super PAC Courageous Conservatives (87) and the Keep The Promise (76).  Chris Christie bought 24 spots and his super PAC America Leads added 233 ads.  Finally, Carly Fiorina’s Super PAC aired 220 spots.

pagsjoeSaxProfile: Compass Media Networks and Premiere-Syndicated Personality Joe Pags.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a personality profile of WOAI, San Antonio-based, syndicated talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo.  Although he’s officially based at iHeartMedia’s heritage news/talk WOAI, Pags (pictured here enjoying his avocation as a saxophonist) is heard in numerous markets during weekdays and across the country on iHeartMedia’s “The Weekend with Joe Pags.”  Pags didn’t start in radio; his television news career led him into the genre.  Though he says his desire to express his opinions is what made him take a pay cut to leave TV for radio, it’s apparent that his proclivity for humor is a primary motivator.  To be sure, Pags is a conservative, but he doesn’t consider himself a traditional “conservative talk host.”  He says, “At the end of the day, I want the biggest possible audience and I want listeners to get something from what I am delivering.  Caller after caller agreeing with everything you say is bad, boring radio and listeners will shut you off.  I cannot do Obama-bashing for three hours – I just do not have it in me.”  Read Kinosian’s entire piece here.

Odds & Sods.  The weekly New York-focused political talk show “Effective Radio with Bill Samuels” issamuelsbillMorgan16 syndicating and will be heard in Westchester County on WVOX, New Rochelle Mondays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  The program – featuring host Bill Samuels (left) and co-host Morgan Pehme (right) – debuted on Sunday mornings on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” in October…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio show, hosted by Chris Hill, is added to the program schedule at Salem Media Group’s WWMI, Tampa “AM 1380 The Biz.”…..Yahoo! Sports Radio is among the sports radio networks broadcasting from the NFL’s radio row in San Francisco this week.  Personalities Sean Salisbury, Steve Bunin and others will broadcast in advance of Super Bowl 50 on Sunday…..Cumulus Media Dallas reports its charitable works for the calendar year 2015 totaled more than $1.2 million.  Its stations – country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” “99.5 The Wolf,” news/talk WBAP, “The New Hot 93.3,” sports radio KCTK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” news/information KLIF, and sports talk KESN “ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM” – together raised funds, supplies and awareness for multiple charitable organizations through events and on-air and online promotions throughout 2015, including: $205,449 for Cook Children’s Hospital of Fort Worth; $303,157 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and Norm-A-Thon, which raised $500,400 for Austin Street Center.

Iowa Caucuses/Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Zika Virus Scare, Cheap Oil/Financial Markets Activity, Marijuana Verbal Memory Study, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1).  Monday’s Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; the battle against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email server for State Department business; concerns over the Zika virus in South America and the possibility of a pandemic; the low cost of oil and its effect on the world’s financial markets; the conclusion of a study indicating regular marijuana users can be affected with poor verbal memory later in life; and the run-up to this weekend’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, February 1, 2016

| February 1, 2016

kitchinkraigKitchin Departs as The Blaze CEO. In a company-wide email, Kraig Kitchin describes the reason for his exit as chief executive officer of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is owing to outside business obligations. He writes, “The Blaze deserves and needs an exclusively focused leader. That is something I cannot provide, given existing commitments I choose to honor.” The co-founder and former chieftheblaze logo operating officer of Premiere Radio Networks says he is not leaving The Blaze. “I will stay, working every day as the interim head of sales with a focus on finding the right person for that position, assisting in the transition, on advertiser growth, program development, and industry relations.” In a separate email, Beck remarks, “I know much of what has happened since December 2014 has been structural and behind the curtain. We were a company swimming in debt. With the hard work of Kraig, [Beck advisor and president of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts] Jonathan Schreiber, and now [chief financial officer Misty Kawecki], we will be debt-free by summer. This is miraculous and takes all of the downward pressure off of us.” Kitchin’s replacement, digital startup entrepreneur Stewart Padveen, joined Beck’s company last summer; he will be the fourth leader of The Blaze since late-2014. Kitchin took over operations of Beck’s subscription digital and cable television operation last June. Also stepping down, according to The Daily Beast, are director of advertising sales Jeremy Price, and director of marketing Liz Julis.

Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Boko Haram Murders 86 in Nigeria, ‘Grease: Live’ TV Show, Zika Virus Outbreak, and European Immigrant Troubles Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories.  The activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for State Department business; the weekend attack on a Nigerian village by Boko Haram that left 86 dead; the Sunday evening production of a live performance of the musical “Grease”; concerns over the spreading Zika virus in South America; the violence and crime being associated with Syrian refugees in European countries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

streamguysStreamGuys-Cox Media Group Partnership Produces Platform for Digital Broadcasts and On-Demand Content.  Streaming media provider StreamGuys and Cox Media Group have partnered to produce a “turnkey SaaS streaming platform for live ad-supported broadcasts, on-demand podcasts, and detailed business metrics and reporting across its entire radio network.”  The platform is now live across all 60 CMG radio stations in 11 markets.  A statement from the companies indicates StreamGuys has “built a rich toolset around its robust, reliable cloud-based content management and delivery network in alignment with the broadcaster’s goals.  [Stream Guys’] SaaS approach cleanly and cost-efficiently integrates several recent, innovative StreamGuys SGsuite products and services into the network that enrich streaming player data, accelerate podcast creation, enhance royalty reporting, and monetize streaming initiatives.”  CMG senior director of digital audience Tim Clarke comments, “In StreamGuys, we have found an ideal technology partner that understands the same opportunities we see to evolve our radio products.  Their infrastructure and technology, along with competitive pricing and expertise in broadcasting, give us incredible flexibility in the management and delivery of our network-wide streaming initiatives.”  Clarke also states that StreamGuys’ HTML5 multimedia player – SGPlayer – has rich metadata support that “delivers the relevant information that online audiences seek alongside the audio stream, including song/artist data, album art, recently played tracks and social media links for sharing the experience with other listeners.  SGplayer is also an approved Nielsen SDK player, delivering client-side analytics that offer greater insight into online listener demographics than what was possible before.”  For on-demand content, StreamGuys’ SGrecast software allows multiple operators to quickly turn linear broadcasts into podcasts and side channels of any length, with near-immediate turnaround to consumers.  Clarke notes SGrecast has been “a phenomenal success,” and is used for brief news, traffic and weather in every market; and 24/7 rebroadcasts of high-profile shows after initial airings.  StreamGuys EVP Jason Osburn says, “We are elated to deliver a comprehensive SaaS [software-as-a-service] service that, along with our turnkey support, will at once help Cox Media Group solve problems and generate new ideas to push online radio and podcasting forward.”

Odds & Sods.  Like most other sports media, SiriusXM is present this week in Santa Clara and San Francisco for the build-up to Super Bowl 50.  In addition to programming emanating from NFL Radio Row on the satcaster’s NFL Channel all week, play-by-play of the game will air in seven foreign languages including: Spanish, French, Hungarian, Japanese and Cantonese…..The seventh annual “Let’s Kick Hunger Day” radiothon produced by CBS RADIO’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis and Taste of the NFL took place on Thursday, January 28 and raised more than $261,901 for hunger relief.  The seven-year total raised from the event is more than $1.4 million.  The event is an all-day live radio broadcast designed to generate awareness of hunger in the heartland and to raise funds to help end it. The proceeds benefitted Second Harvest Heartland.

wnymlogoMichelle Jerson to Host Lifestyle Show on ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC.  The new program launches on February 7 at 2:00 pm on Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  Dubbed “Michelle Jerson’s Passport,” the program isjersonmichelle being promoted as “a fresh new lifestyle show” that will “focus on travel, wellness, dining and the arts.” In a press statement, the station notes that Jerson “has represented brands like Travelzoo.com in television and radio segments across the country, showcasing destinations, resorts, airlines and tour companies.  She is a longtime travel writer and contributes content to Foxnews.com, The Daily Meal, The Examiner, and her website, Passport Romance.  Michelle has spent much of her radio career hosting lifestyle and relationship talk shows on ‘New Jersey 101.5’; WJFK, Washington; and SiriusXM and reporting for Howard Stern’s news team.”  Jerson comments, “I am extremely excited to combine all of my passions into one show and can’t wait to bring New Yorkers a fun, entertaining program that will enhance their everyday lives.  A huge thank you to Jerry Crowley, Phil Boyce and Darren Yelin for making this happen.”

gallagher SHOT16Talk Hosts Broadcast from SHOT Show in Las Vegas.  A number of talk radio personalities broadcast from the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas during the 38th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades Show held January 19-22.  Pictured here is Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) interviewing National Shooting Sports Foundation president and CEO Steven Sanetti (right).  Other hosts broadcasting from the radio row were Compass Media Networks host Lars Larson, Radio America personality Dana Loesch, Zimmer Radio’s Gary Nolan, KMED, Medford, Oregon morning driver Bill Meyer and more.  Sanetti comments, “America’s firearms industry and the 2nd Amendment have a great friend in talk radio.  Our radio row operation adds an extra measure of excitement to the SHOT Show and it’s a real pleasure to have so many broadcasters joining us.”

schumanbobplaqueRadio News Pro Bob Schuman Dead at 65.  The industry is mourning the death of radio news pro Bob Schuman.  His wife reports that he passed away on Saturday (1/30) at his home in suburban Detroit after a battle with congestive heart failure.  During his career, Schuman worked at Detroit signals including WJR, WOWF, WYCD and WOMC.  He also worked at WNOE, New Orleans; WSAI and WKRQ, Cincinnati; KLIF, Dallas; WROR, Boston and WZGC, Atlanta.  Schuman is pictured here receiving a plaque commemorating his induction into the WYCD Hall of Fame upon his retirement from the station.  View this video of Schuman’s farewell from WYCD, produced by Art Vuolo, here.