Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Monday, October 5, 2015

| October 5, 2015

harrisheidiDrivetime Talent Changes at CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas.  Two former KXNT personalities return to the CBS RADIO news/talkers after periods away from the station.  Alan Stock and Heidistockalan Harris had worked at KXNT both separately and partnered together.  Today (10/5), they return with Harris hosting the morning drive show and Stock assuming the afternoon drive program.  Harris takes over for Dayna Roselli who exits for a gig in local television at KTNV-TV, Las Vegas.  Stock replaces Jim Villanucci, who exits the station.  In addition to their previous work at KXNT, both Harris and Stock have also served with Beasley’s crosstown news/talk KDWN.

podcastone bPodcast One Debuts Three New Podcasts from Tony Bruno, Brian Howie and Grant Cardone.  Sports talk radio pro Tony Bruno is one of three personalities to launch new shows on PodcastOne.  Bruno exited CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia this summer after becoming “disillusioned with the dumbingbrunotony down of terrestrial radio, decided to take control and give listeners what they want.”  New York Times bestselling author, business expert and motivational speaker Grant Cardone debuts the “Cardone Zone” which “features insight, advice and tips to help the middle class achieve true freedom in business, career growth and finance, while inspiring people to take control of their lives.”  Finally, The Great Love Debate creator Brian Howie, along with actress/writer Jill Bartlett and dating and social media expert Kate Edwards try to answer the question, “Why is everyone still single?”


conwaypuppy15Simon Conway Raises $6,000 for Puppy Jake Foundation.  WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway is pictured here with a puppy named after American Sniper Chris Kyle at a fundraiser for the Puppy Jake Foundation, which trains dogs to serve physically and mentally wounded American veterans.  This is the second year Conway has held a remote broadcast fundraiser for the charity.  Last year $4,000 was raised and this year the total was $6,000.  Conway, who enlisted a local market to donate more than 200 pounds of meat and a baker to donate 500 buns, tells TALKERS, “Once again my audience has stood up in a huge way to help Veterans in our community.  “We were non-stop with people driving through, picking up ‘free’ sandwiches and throwing heaps of cash in the donation buckets.  Not only did loads of people come out to support us, we even had a Navy SEAL team turn up!  Also on hand were dogs — lots of them — including the first dog to have been given to a veteran, the original Puppy Jake himself, my own chocolate lab, Reagan, and a couple of eight-week-old puppies.”

Friday, October 2, 2015

| October 2, 2015

cookenab15Cooke: NAB Radio Show Wrap Up.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke wraps his coverage of the 2015 NAB Radio Show in Atlanta with this report.  In it find HC’s takeaways from sessions that addressed radio commercial creative, selling radio in the multi-media world, consumers’ views of the state of the automobile dashboard, plus AM revitalization and the FCC.  Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Reilly was the only commish to attend and, regarding the contentious issue of an open window for FM translator applications by current AM station owners, he said, “The AM translator solution is the #1 solution.  How could it be left out of any package of reforms?”  Read Cooke’s report here.

potterdanNews and News/Talk Well Represented in NAB’s 2015 Marconi Awards.  All-news KYW, Philadelphia picked up the 2015 Marconi Award for Legendary Station, announced last night (10/1) at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at this year’s Radio Show in Atlanta.  Hubbard Radio’s all-newsbyersbrian WTOP, Washington grabbed the Marconi for Major Market Station of the Year and Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM, Tulsa was honored with the Medium Market Station of the Year award.  On the talent side, KRMG morning personality Dan Potter picked up the Medium Market Personality of the Year and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois morning host Brian Byers won the Small Market Personality of the Year honor.  In the spoken-word format categories, Cox’s WSB-AM, Atlanta won News/Talk Station of the Year and CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York was honored with Sports Station of the Year.  See all the winners here.

Nielsen LogoSeptember PPM Data and RadioInfo‘s ‘Twelve Takeaways.’ Rather than distributing ratings information for 12-PPM markets apiece over a four-day period as it generally does, Nielsen Audio doubled up its September 2015 schedule. It released data from 23 markets Tuesday (Tampa was delayed) and 24 markets the following day (Wednesday, 9/30).  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations in those 47 markets here.  Simultaneous with that, TALKERS magazine’s sister radio trade pub RadioInfo enthusiastically unveils an augmented modification of our already powerful ratings coverage as managing editor Mike Kinosian expands his “Top Ten Takeaways” to encompass all markets every month.  In this “Twelve Takeaways” overview, we focus on noteworthy happenings in Riverside, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, Columbus, San Jose, and Austin. The September 2015 survey period covered August 13 – September 9.  Check ’em out here.

cowgercaidenWest Virginia-Based Host Caiden Cowger Becomes ‘Youngest’ Syndicated Talk Personality.  Via his own Cowger Nation Media Network, 17-year-old Caiden Cowger embarks on a venture syndicating his eponymous talk show.  The program airs on WBUC, Buckhannon, West Virginia; WFSB, Quitman, Georgia; and newest affiliate WXMB, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and others.  Cowger says his interest in becoming a talk radio host began at an early age.  “When I was around seven or eight, I recall going with my grandpa into a bookstore and picked up a book titled, It’s My America Too, by Ben Ferguson (generally recognized as the youngest talk host – at age 20 – to be nationally syndicated ).  I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it would really be neat if I could do something like that.’ About five years later, I began my radio career.”  Cowger names Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin as his influences and also recognizes American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer and Fisher’s producer Jeff Reed as being supportive mentors for his talk radio career.  See Cowger’s website here.


Odds & Sods.  New York City sports pro Jared Max joins the FOX News organization.  FOX News Headlinesmaxjared 24/7 brings the radio pro aboard to serve as a sports reporter and provide up-to-the-minute sports coverage for the new SiriusXM satellite radio channel that launches on October 5.  Max’s resume includes time working for CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York; ESPN O&O WEPN, New York; WFAN, New York, and Bloomberg Radio…..The newly partnered Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell russillo&kanell15are getting a video simulcast for their ESPN Radio sports talk show.  Effective Monday, October 5, the Russillo & Kanell show will be simulcast from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the sports giant’s ESPNEWS channel…..A note from E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee – the station announces it has re-signed with the NBA’s Bucks to continue to serve as the flagship station for the Bucks Radio Network.  Station vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer comments, “The Milwaukee Bucks organization is in a tremendous building and growing phase, and is a vital part of our community.  WTMJ has been a proud partner with the Bucks for many years and we’re excited to continue to serve as the Bucks radio home for years to come.”…..In observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Entercom’s news/talk WORD,kochenauerjenna Greenville, South Carolina is presenting a two-hour special program on Tuesday, October 6.  The program is being hosted by the station’s Jenna Kochenauer – herself a victim of domestic abuse – with special guest panelists Sharon Totherow, director of local non-profit Domestic Violence Assistance; Judy Munson, assistant solicitor, domestic violence division, 13th Circuit Court; and Carl Smith, a local counselor with experience working with batterers through an intensive treatment and counseling program.

talkersten logoU.S.-Russia Syria Tensions Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of Sept 28 – Oct 2.  The military action begin taken in Syria by Russia and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin over the matter was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 was a tie between Donald Trump’s tax plan and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016.  Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., including his reported meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, followed by the House hearing with Planned Parenthood exec Cecile Richards 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  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

| October 1, 2015

cookenab15Cooke: 2015 Radio Show Report.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the 2015 NAB Radio Show in Atlanta today with a focus on the business of the business.  In this report, hear from notables including Wells Fargo senior analyst Davis Hebert, Connoisseur Media’s Jeffrey Warshaw, Entercom’s David Field, Beasley’s Caroline Beasley, Cumulus/Westwood One’s Pierre Bouvard, and CBS News correspondent Lara Logan.  Read some of the takeaways from the “Financing the Future of Radio” presentation, the radio company CEO panel and Bouvard’s presentation on the return on investment for advertisers using radio by clicking here.

ppmunitSecond Round of September PPM Data Released.  A scheduling change at Nielsen Audio for this month means the ratings giant is releasing September PPM survey data in two large batches, instead of the usual four groups of 12 released over four days.  The one anomaly is the Tampa market ratings are being held up due to the potential tampering issue.  In total Nielsen has now released the September 2015 PPM survey data for 47 markets.  The survey period was August 13 through September 9.  You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here.  Also, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” analysis here.

Odds & Sods.  Cyber Party presidential hopeful John McAfee is choosing “Business Rockstars” host Ken Rutkowski as his vice presidential running mate.  The anti-virus software magnate who has an admittedrutkowskiken “checkered background,” is running on a small government platform and says that his knowledge of the state of America’s cyber security (he says it’s really bad) is the reason he’s running.  He’s chosen Rutkowski for a running mate because “every businessman in America knows who he is.”…..The wife of Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes is no longer with CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM, Miami.  Miko Grimes – a contributor to daily shows and co-host of a weekend show with Miami Sun Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly – was arrested outside Sun Life Stadium in Miami last weekend after ignoring police orders and resisting arrest…..A new talk show that examines “how sports-related topics can drive the agenda in D.C.” debuts on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel on for a six-show run beginning on October 2 and co-hosted by ABC News political director Rick Klein and ESPN senior correspondent Andy Katz.  The inaugural guest will be former Florida Governor and current GOP presidential candidates Jeb Bush, who weighs in on the Washington Redskins name controversy and on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

WW1Gupta15WW1’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Team at 2015 Radio Show.  Pictured here at the Westwood One-hosted cocktail reception at the NAB Radio Show in Atlanta is “A Better Life” program host Dr. Sanjay Gupta (second from right) with the Westwood One affiliate team.  From left to right are: Bart Tessler, EVP news & talk; Dennis Green SVP, affiliate sales; Becky Bennett, affiliate operations manager; Gupta; and Stuart Greenblatt, senior director, affiliate sales.

U.S.-Russia Tensions Over Syria, Pope Francis-Kim Davis Meeting, 2016 Presidential Race, Planned Parenthood Congressional Hearing, Next House Speaker Controversy, and Hurricane Joaquin Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30).  Russia’s initiation of air strikes in Syria and questions about the U.S.’ military policy in the region; the controversy over a reported meeting between Pope Francis and Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of the House hearing on the funding of Planned Parenthood; the internal battle in the GOP over the next Speaker of the House; and the potential effects of Hurricane Joaquin on the Eastern U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

| September 30, 2015

cookenab15Holland Cooke: Atlanta Conference Coverage.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Atlanta covering both the RAIN Summit and the NAB Radio Show.  The NAB event kicks off today and runs through Friday morning while the RAIN Summit took place on Tuesday.  Cooke reports that attendees experienced panel discussions, key notes and interviews that explored two major questions: what makes good digital content and what is the most effective what to sell that content?  For a rundown of some of yesterday’s prime takeaways, check out Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

nielsen logoFirst Round of September PPM Data Released.  A scheduling change at Nielsen Audio for this month means the ratings giant is releasing September PPM survey data in two large batches, instead of the usual four groups of 12 released over four days.  The one anomaly is the Tampa market ratings are being held up due to the potential tampering issue, so only 23 markets have been released with the other 24 to be delivered after 5:00 pm today (9/30).  You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations in the first 23 markets here.  Also, Talkers and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” analysis here.

cbsradioCBS RADIO Names Paul Donovan VP of Engineering.  In this corporate role radio engineering pro Paul Donovan will be in charge of engineering, information technology, real estate and capital for the division’s 117 stations across the country.  CBS RADIO chief operating officer Scott Herman states, “Paul is recognized as one of the best in the business, and has been an integral part of the CBS RADIO engineering team.  With this elevated position, he will be able to demonstrate and share his vast knowledge and expertise with all of our stations.  I’m extremely excited to work with him, especially during such a time of change for our industry as we explore new operational technologies.”  This is a promotion from Donovan’s previous director of engineering, Northeast region position.

carrhowieHowie Carr Pens New Crime Novel, Killers. When it comes to organized crime, mobsters, thugs and punks — New England talk radio legend and elite Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable media practitioners in the world today.  His role in the bringing down of legendary mob boss Whitey Bulger (subject of the new movie “Black Mass”) is an intrinsic part of both men’s stories and the basis for Carr’s sizzling series of non-fiction best sellers on the topic of Bulger and crime.  Now, Carr has turned his talent for rendering the printed word into his second major work ofcarrKillerscover fiction with the release of a riveting new novel, Killers: A Novel (Forge Books, 2015).  Whitey Bulger is gone from Boston, but Carr’s fictitious Bench McCarthy is here to take his place.  Bench McCarthy is a thug’s thug, a hitman, an underworld jack-of-all-trades running his own mob out of Winter Hill in the Boston-area town of Somerville while simultaneously handling “wet work” for Sally Curto, a half-demented, totally obscene mob boss.  After years of gangland peace, Bench and Sally suddenly find themselves clay pigeons for unknown hit crews coming at them from every direction.  The motives are as murky as the hitmen themselves, but all roads seem to lead back to the State House, where corrupt pols are battling over a bill to legalize billions of dollars’ worth of new casinos.  In order to stay alive as he puts an end to the uprising, the wisecracking Bench must set aside his objections and enlist the help of Jack Reilly, a dodgy ex-cop turned private investigator.  The hunter has become the hunted. Killers is a ride through the dark underbelly of Boston crime and politics that could only have been written by the man novelist James Ellroy calls “the Bacon-Banging Boston Bossman”- Howie Carr, the newspaper columnist on whom Whitey Bulger first put out a contract and then called as a defense witness during his 2013 murder trial in Boston.  To inquire about booking Carr for a radio interview please contact Emily Mullen at Tor/Forge Books: 647-307-5413 or

brownehabitat15Dr. Joy Browne Works on Behalf of Habitat for Humanity.  Continuing the kind of non-stop community service activities that earned Dr. Joy Browne a past TALKERS Humanitarian of the Year award, the GCN nationally-syndicated talk legend is pictured recently (9/24) moderating a discussion at Habitat for Humanity New York City’s “Women Build 2015” kick-off event at City Winery in lower Manhattan.  Dr. Browne (l) is joined on stage by two women —  Selina Sacasa (c) and Kima Payne (r) — who are each receiving a three bedroom house with a deck in Queens (they’ll be next door neighbors).  They are single mothers, one with two children and one with three.  Their mortgages will be $1200 per month.  The event raised nearly $300,000 surpassing its goal of $250,000 toward building new homes for low-income families in New York over the next 10 years.

madisonjoeSiriusXM’s Joe Madison to Launch New Series on ‘Race and Society.’  Urban radio personality Joe Madison – whose morning drive program is heard daily on SiriusXM – is beginning a new series on the satellite service called, “An American Conversation – We Are All Americans.”  The satcaster says the first installment of this “ongoing series focused on the need for a national dialogue about race in America” will be “a roundtable discussion on a hotly debated topic in the news: the school to prison pipeline.”  The panel will feature leading experts from the worlds of education and politics, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.); Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, Kaya Henderson; Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Richard Roberts; and many more.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Joe Madison is kicking off a series of candid conversations with the leaders of our nation and our communities.  Radio can do more than entertain and Joe is more than just a host behind a mic.  He regularly travels across America to hear directly from his listeners, encouraging them to have their voices heard.  This is just the start of a series where all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation, can learn from one another and lead our nation forward.”

gellervalerieGeller’s Beyond Powerful Radio Now Available as Audio Book.  The immensely popular – not to mention incredibly instructive – Beyond Powerful Radio from renowned radio consultant Valerie Geller is now available as an audio book.  Geller tells TALKERS magazine she can’t take all the credit because what excites her about the audio book is that the contributors each read their own parts.  “So there are actually lots and lots of voices!”  The audio version of Beyond Powerful Radio is some 16 hours of content and is available on iTunes and via here.

Obama-Putin Meeting at the UN, Trump Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Planned Parenthood House Hearing, Pope Francis Visit Aftermath, Post-Boehner GOP, Tropical Storm Joaquin Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29).  The meeting between President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin over Syria and ISIS; the tax plan laid out by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the House hearing on Planned Parenthood and the testimony by Cecile Richards; talk about the recent visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis; the state of the GOP as House Speaker John Boehner prepares to exit Congress; and the status of Tropical Storm Joaquin as it approaches the Eastern Seaboard were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

| September 29, 2015

cumulus logoCumulus Board of Directors Installs Mary G. Berner as CEO; Lew Dickey to Remain as Vice Chairman and Director.  New Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary G. Berner has been a member of the board of directors of Cumulus since May and she replaces company founder Lew Dickey as CEO – although Dickey will remain a director of the company as serve as vice chairman.  The Cumulus board of directors states Berner is a “seasoned media business operator” who previous experience includes her most recent post as president and chief executive officer of the Association of bernermaryMagazine Media.  From 2007-2011, she was chief executive officer of Reader’s Digest Association and, before that, chief executive officer of Fairchild Publications.   The press statement continues: “During the course of her highly successful career, she has led some of the world’s best known brands and content platforms, including Glamour, TV Guide, W, Women’s Wear Daily, Every Day with Rachael dickeylewRay and”  Cumulus board chairman Jeffrey Marcus – who also serves as a partner with Crestview Partners (which manages funds that own 27% of Cumulus stock) – says, “Under Lew Dickey’s leadership, the Cumulus team has built a formidable national and local footprint, becoming the second largest operator of radio stations in the country, with more than 460 stations across 90 markets, approximately 8,500 broadcast radio affiliates and numerous digital channels serving over 225 million listeners nationwide.  However, maximizing the value of these assets requires making them work together effectively and efficiently.  At a time when the media landscape continues to undergo seismic transformation, Cumulus needs a broad-based media operator who can leverage its outstanding resources – from its core strength in radio to its growing presence in digital, experiential and other emerging platforms – and capitalize on thedickeyjohn industry’s strong fundamentals.  The board has had the benefit of seeing Mary in action and is fully confident that she is the right leader for Cumulus.”  Berner comments, “I am honored to have been asked to lead Cumulus Media and am eager to work with the board and the company’s talented teams to implement Lew’s vision of building the next generation multi-platform media company.  As the director who led the Operations Review Task Force established by the board, I have insight into the issues that Cumulus faces, but I also know the operational leverage that can be generated by first focusing on execution.  Radio is a powerful and unique medium – the number one mass reach medium in the U.S. – and Cumulus possesses all of the elements to be one of the industry’s winners.  I look forward to bringing a renewed focus on operating excellence at all levels and in all functions to help Cumulus realize its potential and generate improved financial performance and increased value for shareholders.”  The press statement makes no mention of the status of John Dickey, EVP content & programming, but the New York Post is reporting he has exited the company and a “huge reorganization” is impending.  TALKERS has not confirmed those reports.  Cumulus stock, which has been battered in recent months, closed today (9/29) at 68 cents per share.

harrisonhurley15Michael Harrison Interviews Harry Hurley About “All Things New Jersey” – Including Host’s Two-Year Tenure as Senior Exec at Trump Atlantic City Hotel.  In a riveting one-one-one discussion about the various ways the Garden State has been recently evoked in the national presidential conversation, Michael Harrison interviews WPGG, Atlantic City “morning mayor” (and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member) Harry Hurley on the latest installment (9/29) of the Podcast One international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Prior to launching a stellar 25-year career as a major New Jersey radio personality, Hurley worked directly for Donald Trump as the senior executive of one of his four Atlantic City Hotels (a job for which “The Donald” personally interviewed and subsequently supervised him) and candidly discusses what it was like being with the current GOP front-runner during those heady days along the Jersey Shore.  Hurley worked with Trump personally every weekend for two years and shares important first-hand insights into the billionaire’s management style, business instincts and character.  In addition, the Jersey-born talker shares his insights, based on experience, into the economic role and cultural direction of casino gambling in the nation.  He also talks about his personal on- and off-air encounters with Gov. Chris Christie (including insights to “bridgegate” and the Dallas Cowboys/Jerry Jones debacle) as well as the effect that the Miss America pageant (for which Hurley has served as a preliminary judge) has on the region.  Michael Harrison states, “New Jersey is an enigmatic, colorful home to nine million with its own unique set of extraordinary assets, daunting challenges and notably engaged local media.  I can think of no one more qualified to provide outsiders with an accurate explanation of this endlessly intriguing, largely misunderstood state and its compelling connection to current national politics than WPGG morning master Harry Hurley.”  To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of and

Odds & Sods.  Radio industry services start-up DGital Media launches a production division called DGital Media Studios.  The company says the division “will focus on developing and producing proprietary audio content” and its first project is a fantasy sports platform called Fantasy Sports Voices…..AMG/Parade announces the launch of “Athlon Sports Radio” on SiriusXM.  The Monday and Tuesday evening program will air from 7:00 to 9:00 ET on Sirius XM’s College Sports Nation.  The program grows out of the company’s 10-plus preseason magazines covering college, professional and fantasy football, college basketball, professional baseball, golf and NASCAR.  AMG/Parade was formerly Athlon Media Group which consists of the newspaper-distributed magazines Athlon Sports & Life, Parade, American Profile, Spry Living, and Relish…..British soccer legend Sir Alex Ferguson will sit down for an in-studio Q&A at the SiriusXM studios in New York as part of its “Town Hall” series.  Sir Alex will chat with SiriusXM host Charlie Stillitano before a live, studio audience on Friday, October 9. 

Trump Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Pope Francis Visit Aftermath, Boehner’s Exit from Congress, Obama-Putin Meeting, and Water on Mars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28).  The unveiling of the Donald Trump tax plan; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; the state of the GOP in the wake of House Speaker John Boehner’s announced resignation from Congress; the tensions between Russia and the United States and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin at the UN on Monday; and NASA’s revelation of the discovery of water on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.