Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Monday, December 18, 2017

| December 18, 2017

Pittsburgh’s All-News KQV to Shut Down at Year’s End.  According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the news does not mean a format change or sale to a new operator – the Dickey Family-owned station is signing off at the end of the year after 42 years as a news operation.  Robert W. Dickey Jr. (no relation to the Atlanta and Cumulus Dickeys) tells the paper, “Candidly, I think it’s a sad day for broadcasting.”  The Dickey family has owned or co-owned the station since 1982.  The historic signal has been on the air for almost 100 years.  Dickey Jr. adds, “It’s fair to say we’ve been trying to provide a community service.  The bottom line is I just can’t sustain the business model.  We’re an independent, labor-intensive format, and we were happy to take it on as long as we could financially do it.”  Barring some interest from a buyer or investor, the station – which employs about 20 people – will shut down on December 31.

Hubbard Announces Changes to Digital Leadership.  At the corporate offices of Hubbard Radio, EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler announces that Jeremy Sinon is being elevated to VP/digital strategy and Steve Goldstein is being named senior director of digital sales strategy.  Sinon was most recently the director of digital strategy for Hubbard Radio.  He will work closely with Bestler, Hubbard Radio president/COO Drew Horowitz, and Hubbard Radio chair Ginny Morris to oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals.  Goldstein will split duties in Washington, DC where he also oversees the local digital sales effort as director of digital sales.  Goldstein has been at WTOP and WFED in Washington, DC for the past 11-and-a-half years.  As senior director of digital sales strategy, Goldstein will work with the local Hubbard markets to utilize best practices and maximize digital sales opportunities.

WBEN-AM, Buffalo’s Tom Bauerle Recovering from Successful Bypass Surgery.  The Entercom news/talk station reports on its website that afternoon drive talk host Tom Bauerle underwent successful quadruple bypass surgery at Gates Vascular Institute on December 8.  Previously, TALKERS magazine reported that Bauerle had been experiencing chest pain and, at the insistence of his co-host David Bellavia and Bauerle’s fiancé, he went to a local urgent care clinic and was then transferred to Gates where his heart condition was being evaluated.  At that time, Bauerle stated he believed he’d miss time on the air to recuperate and may not return until later in January.

TALKERS News Notes.  Embattled public TV personality Tavis Smiley says PBS “made a huge mistake here” – referring to the pubcaster’s decision to cut ties with his firm to distribute “The Tavis Smiley Show” to PBS affiliates after allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled against him.  Speaking during a live, sit-down interview on “Good Morning America,” Smiley said he’s never groped women nor has he coerced any women into relationships with him.  He admits to romantic relationships with women while working on his show but says the relationships were consensual and he can prove that.  See the ABC News story here…..An MSNBC spokesperson is saying that NBC made a “separation-related payment” to a former staffer of talk show host Chris Matthews after a complaint of sexual harassment against him.   The amount paid as part of a severance package for the unnamed, former assistant producer for the “Hardball” program is in dispute, but the company says after a review of the accusation, Matthews was reprimanded.  The Daily Caller reports that MSNBC deemed Matthews’ behavior “inappropriate and juvenile,” but not to be taken seriously as propositions…..Singer-songwriter and Sportsman TV Channel host Andy Ross has just released a new song – one that perfectly touches on the intersection of the holiday season and the turbulent political times – titled, “Make Christmas Great Again.”  Ross, who has been a successful host of “Maximum Archery” on the Sportsman TV channel for years, was inspired to release the new song given the political climate.  You can hear the song here.  Ross makes a great guest on talk radio and is available for interviews.  To book him, call Janet Fallon at 703-469-3766 or email her at Janet.Fallon@gmail.com.

California Wildfires, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, GOP Tax Reform Bill, Sen. John McCain Health, ATL Airport Power Outage, North Korean Nuclear Program, Pope Speaks on Media ‘Sins,’ The Last Jedi, and NFL Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The now two-week-old Southern California wildfires; Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russian agents and Mueller’s acquisition of key emails; the state of the GOP tax reform bill; Arizona Senator John McCain’s health as he returns to Arizona for treatment for brain cancer; a power outage at the Atlanta airport causes massive U.S. air travel problems; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and threats against the U.S.; Pope Francis says sensational journalism and fake news are sins; the latest Star Wars film The Last Jedi, and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

“Yappy Tour” Rolls in the UK.  Pictured above being interviewed by famed British talk personality (BOB-FM, BBCGraham Mack in London, England is Bernadette Duncan, author of one of the most-discussed radio books in the talk media industry, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Boozers, Schmoozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).   Duncan, a former producer, chronicles her 26 years as the woman behind the glass on shows hosted by such legends as Sally Jessy RaphaelLarry KingTom SnyderLou DobbsGil GrossCharles Osgood and others covering a large swath of modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of quirky guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature including: Donald TrumpOmarosa ManigaultDavid LettermanJoe BidenMike HuckabeeGeraldo RiveraJoan Rivers and dozens more.  Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation and now internationally to both the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on into 2018.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 125 local and syndicated programs since the book’s release in September of 2016.  Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Guam Radio Broadcaster Ray Gibson of Choice Broadcasting’s ThePOINT is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Guam, a small tropical island in the Western Pacific, is the farthest outpost from the US mainland of all American territories.  Aside from its active tourism industry, Guam is home to a major US military presence and has long played a very important role in American geopolitical interests.  It is the American “tip of the spear” in terms of present-day heightened tensions between the US and North Korea.  In spite of its remote location, Guam has always been an active market for American-style popular media – especially radio – with a colorful history of outstanding deejays and popular music formats ranging from old-style, top 40 to CHR and adult contemporary.  Talk radio in Guam has mostly focused on local civic and lifestyle issues – until now.  In recent weeks, Choice Broadcasting has soft launched a new format called “ThePOINT” on KUSG 1350 AM and 93.3 FM that emulates the traditional American conservative news/talk radio featuring a local show in the morning and syndicated national stars throughout the day.  Such notables as Rush LimbaughSean HannityJim BohannonJohn Gibson and others have begun airing in this exotic land of Asian, Spanish and American culture located on the other side of the International Date Line.  The morning show that launches in January will be hosted by Choice Broadcasting managing partner and veteran Guam radio personality Ray Gibson who has been spearheading this initiative.  Gibson, a Guam native and second-generation radio personality (the son of Bill Gibson), is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  Don’t miss this fascinating and informative almost-8,000-mile telephone conversation!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Country programming pro T Gentry is moving from Beasley Media Group’s operations manager in the Tampa market (where he also programmed country WQYK) to the company’s Augusta, Georgia cluster where he’ll be operations manager and program director for WKXC “Kicks 99,” effective today (12/18).  Beasley Augusta VP and market manager Kent Dunn says, “T has done a tremendous job over the past 17 years at Beasley Media Group.  He did great in Tampa, but has decided to return to Augusta to be closer to his family.  We are absolutely thrilled to welcome him home to lead our team and ‘Kicks 99!’”  Chris O’Kelly remains on staff as assistant program director and music director of “Kicks 99.”…..Charlotte country outlet WSOC announces the 11th Annual Stout Pull Guitar Pull is taking place on Tuesday, January 9 at Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte.  The live event will feature Dylan Scott, Midland, and Devin DawsonBeasley Media Group says the annual show draws country music fans from across the Carolinas to see their favorite artists collaborate in an intimate stage setting.  The concert benefits Loaves and Fishes and ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music.  WSOC program director DJ Stout says, “The Stout Pull has become a staple in Charlotte for country music lovers.  It’s a unique environment with all artists performing on the stage at the same time.  We keep the cost of the tickets low, so not only is it affordable, but we also give back to the community through music.  It’s a great deal all around.”…..Classic rock WCSX, Detroit received a visit from rock legend Bob Seger last Thursday (12/14).  He appeared on the “Big Jim’s House” morning show during which he talked about his new album, I Knew You When, his late friend Glenn Frey, and more.  Pictured below are (from l-r): “Big Jim’s House” host Jim O’Brien, co-host Erin Vermeulen, Seger, and midday personality Juline Jordan.

Friday, December 15, 2017

| December 15, 2017

CRTV Expands Content in 2018; Andrew Wilkow to Host Thrice-Weekly Show.  The digital video platform CRTV is announcing new programming to launch in the New Year.  Joining the existing programming will be a program hosted by Andrew Wilkow that will offer new episodes three times per week.  Wilkow hosts the daily satellite radio show, “The Wilkow Majority,” on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel.  He says, “CRTV has been rapidly signing talent and creating content for dedicated followers on constitutional conservative and libertarian thought.  I am honored to join the team led by Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, Phil Robertson, Steven Crowder, Matt Kibbe, Deneen Borelli, and Gavin McInnes.  For those that love ‘The Wilkow Majority,’ this new TV program will be a natural extension.”  Two other new programs debuting in January are “Roaming Millennial: Uncensored,” starring YouTube sensation Roaming Millennial, and twice-per-week videos from Allie Stuckey.  CRTV is parent of the Conservative Review.

Friends and Stars Abound on Mike Francesa’s Penultimate WFAN Show.  Today’s final show will be a bit more subdued that Thursday’s program done live at the Paley Center for Media.  Mike Francesa says today it’ll be just callers and him, with the last half hour or so just him talking to his fans.  But, Thursday’s show involved a gaggle of friends and fellow broadcasters saluting – and ribbing – Francesa on the second-to-last day of his 30-year career at WFAN, New York.  Newsday reports the count of guests was 85 and included former WFAN partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, former WFAN colleague Don Imus, Carl Banks, Tiki Barber, John Calipari, Brian Cashman, Chris Christie, Bob Costas, Tom Coughlin, Victor Cruz, Dick Ebersol, Jim Fassel, Joe Girardi, Keith Hernandez, Eli Manning, Tim McCarver, Jim Nantz, Regis Philbin, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Tannenbaum, Lawrence Taylor, Suzyn Waldman, Bernie Williams and Kurt Warner.

CMG Radio News Pro Jamie Dupree Profiled by Politico.  He serves Cox Media Group as radio news director of the Washington bureau.  But, about a year-and-a-half ago, Jamie Dupree became increasingly unable to speak due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as tongue protrusion dystonia.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for the rare affliction and it’s unknown if he’ll ever get his speaking voice back.  He still works for CMG covering the DC political beat because, as M. Scott Mahaskey writes in his piece in Politico, his Cox bosses realize that the connections and trust he’s built up in DC over the past 30 years are “really valuable.”  Back when his voice worked, Dupree was a regular contributor to not only CMG stations, but he made regular appearances on Sean Hannity’s Premiere Networks radio show.  Read more about Dupree’s story here.

SRN’s Greg Clugston Delivers Annual Christmas Poem.  News pro Greg Clugston continues the tradition he began 20 years ago – writing a politically tinged Christmas poem to the rhythm of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  You can read the entire poem here as USA Today printed the poem for international distribution.  Salem Media Group vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are proud to have Greg as part of our SRN News team and to know he has continued this annual tradition under both Democratic and Republican administrations for two decades.”  Clugston (left) is pictured here with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (right) after he read the poem to her and his colleagues from the White House Press Corps.

Roy Moore’s Loss to Doug Jones in Alabama Senate Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 11-15.  The special election for the vacant Alabama U.S. Senate seat that saw Democrat Doug Jones beat embattled Republican Roy Moore was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the various allegations of sexual misconduct against celebrities and politicians.  Coming in at #3 was the Republican tax reform plan, followed by the Trump-Russia investigation 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.

Live from London.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison sat in this morning for Doug “VB” Goudie, co-hosting with Kim Carrigan from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET on the WRKO, Boston morning show from his hotel room in central London using his trusted Comrex Access unit.  Harrison has been on a special UK radio tour gathering material on British media.  Harrison says, “It is amazing how reliable and in-studio-sounding Comrex equipment is, not to mention how easy it is to use.  We had to remind listeners throughout the show that I was several thousand miles away from Kim, producer Jim Clerkin and board operator Marita Mackinnon on the other side of the ocean and not in the same room with them.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull,” Alpha Media adds Jenn Hays to the “Tony and Jake in Mornings” and re-brands the show “Bull Mornings with Tony, Jake and Jenn,” effective January 8.  Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Lisa Decker says, “Following an exhaustive nationwide search it was clear that Jennifer Hays is uniquely qualified to join The Bull’s morning show.  She is very talented, a native of Portland, a huge country music fan and growing up, KUPL was her favorite country station.  She will bring her talent, wit, enthusiasm for Portland and country music home.  The next chapter for The Bull’s morning show is about to be written.  We look forward to a fun and compelling local show as Jenn joins her co-hosts Tony Russell and Jake Byron.”…..Spanish music radio pro Rico Hernandez is named by iHeartMedia Phoenix to the position of morning show talent and executive station producer for KOY-AM/K229DB “El Patron.”  Hernandez will continue to serve as midday personality on the company’s KXEW-AM, Tucson “Tejano 1600.”  iHeartMedia EVP of programming West Division Steve Geofferies comments, “We’re looking forward to Rico’s Spanish expertise and experience.  This is the start of a very exciting time for El Patron in Phoenix.”…..SiriusXM is presenting a special, invitation-only show at Los Angeles’ Troubadour on Tuesday (12/19) by Brian Setzer and his 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra.  This is the third consecutive year the show will happen.  The “Christmas Rocks!” concert will air Friday, December 22 at 8:00 pm ET on the Outlaw Country channel.

Music and Radio Pro Roxy Myzal to Retire.  Her career in the music and radio businesses spanned 42 years but now, Roxy Myzal is ready to take it a bit easier and is retiring from her current position with United Stations Radio Networks.  During her career, Myzal was music director at long-ago rock station WXLO-FM, New York; she worked promotions at Atlantic and Chrysalis Records; and served with Rolling Stone creating the “Rolling Stones’ Continuous History of Rock and Roll” radio show.  Most recently, she’s been with USRN overseeing its hardDrive brand.

Thursday, December 14, 2015

| December 14, 2017

Tribune Makes Management Changes at WGN-AM, Chicago; Manley Rises to Station Manager.  There’s a new management structure in place at Tribune’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago.  Yesterday (12/13), the company announced that VP of content and programming Todd Manley is being promoted to station manager and WGN-TV/CLTV president and general manager Paul Rennie will now have the radio station under his purview.  Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert made the announcements in a statement, making official changes to WGN-AM’s management for the first time since Jimmy de Castro exited the VP/GM position last fall.  De Castro is now serving in the same capacity at Cumulus Media’s Chicago operations.  Tribune is in the process of being acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose other radio properties are three stations in Seattle (including news/talk KVI and news KOMO-AM/FM).

Nielsen: News/Talk Top Format of 2017.  As the chart above indicates, ratings giant Nielsen Audio’s analysis of the AQH share ratings of radio stations across all the PPM markets shows that news/talk was the top format for all listeners (6+) in 2017.  Nielsen reports, “Overall in 2017, News/Talk improved on its success from last year, as did Adult Contemporary (AC) and Country. Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) had a down year compared with 2016, but it remained the top-ranked format in terms of audience share among kids 6-11, teens 12-17, Millennials aged 18-34 and persons 25-to-54. And listening to Urban Contemporary stations (also known as hip-hop) was much more prevalent among younger audiences, whereas News/Talk radio (the No. 1 overall format each year in PPM markets) rises dramatically as we age.”

Cumulus Launches Alex Skills for 300 Stations.  The company says it worked with XAPP Media on the rollout of Amazon Alexa skills for “300 local radio stations, popular Westwood One brands, plus the leading dedicated Christmas radio skill, Christmas Radio.  This is the largest collection of custom skills available with Amazon Alexa in the U.S.”  Cumulus Media adds that “this week marks the kick-off of a national consumer marketing campaign designed to educate listeners on how to find and enable skills, fueled by local on-air, video and social promotion.  Individual stations will create localized messaging that speaks directly to their unique listenership.”  Cumulus EVP of programming and content Mike McVay states, “Voice-interactive technology is bringing radio listening back into the home and office and will enable interactivity with our stations in the connected car.  Our strategy to create a custom skill for individual radio stations and programs, while educating consumers, is critical as smart speakers have created an entirely new, and rapidly growing platform to consume audio content.”  EVP corporate marketing/president Westwood One Suzanne Grimes adds, “At an aggregated network level, we will have access to valuable data and insights on this rapidly-evolving audio ecosystem.  We are dedicated to educating, testing, and learning to evolve the listening experience for our listeners and brand partners.”

PBS Severs Ties with Tavis Smiley After Sexual Misconduct Allegations.  This story was first published in Variety.  It says that PBS has “indefinitely suspended” distribution of the “Tavis Smiley” program that is produced by Smiley’s own company, TS Media.  After hiring an outside law firm to investigate, the public broadcaster states, “This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley.  The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”  Smiley’s talk radio program was syndicated by Public Radio International from 2005 through 2013.  Daniel Holloway’s Variety piece says, “The investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, sources said.  Some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley.  In general, witnesses described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment.  Several expressed concerns about retaliation.”

Lewandowski Packs House at WPHT ‘Speaker Series.’ WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli (left) interviews former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski during a standing-room-only appearance at the latest installment of the “WPHT Speaker Series.”  Zeoli says the capacity crowd heard insider tales from Lewandowski’s best-selling book, Let Trump Be Trump.

TALKERS News Notes.  Newsman Connell McShane leaves the “Imus in the Morning” show.  He replaced Charles McCord as the news anchor on the legendary program after his May 2011 retirement.  Don Imus delivered a glowing farewell “thank you” to McShane on the occasion of his final day with the show…..A change takes place at the executive level at the Radio Advertising BureauSharon Friedlander is named vice president, insights, effective January 2.  She takes over for Annette Malave who is leaving the RAB to pursue other interests.  Friedlander most recently served as partner/director at media planning agency MEC.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “We are extremely fortunate to have Sharon Friedlander join us at a time when insights and analytics have never been more important or more available for media, specifically, radio.  We’re delighted for Sharon to represent RAB throughout the research community, partner with RAB’s senior team, and to provide invaluable resources to RAB members.”…..SiriusXM is airing a schedule of 38 college football bowl games, including the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.  The schedule begins this Saturday, December 16, with a lineup of six games.  The National Championship game is Monday, January 8 at 8:00 pm at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Doug Jones Victory, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea Nuclear Program, Omarosa Exits White House, and NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13).  The victory by Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate; the Republican tax reform plan’s effects on taxpayers; new allegations of sexual impropriety against politicians and celebrities; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; North Korea’s nuclear program and threats against the U.S.; former “Apprentice” star Omarosa Onée Manigault-Newman exits her White House position; and NFL/NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Urban programming pro Ken Johnson returns to New York to serve as program director for Cumulus Media’s urban AC WNBM “Radio 103.9.”  He’ll continue his role as VP of urban formats for the company.  Johnson was PD when Cumulus launched the urban AC format on the station.  Since April of 2015, he’s been operations manager for the company’s urban AC WUHT, Birmingham “Hot 107.7.”  Cumulus New York president and market manager Chad Lopez states, “Everyone at WNBM 103.9 and Cumulus are excited to have Ken Johnson back in New York.  Ken’s expertise and experience in this format will only continue to build a very strong loyal listener base and grow audience.”…..Two more iHeartMedia alternative rock stations pick up Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show,” featuring Woody, Ravey, Greg Gory, Menace and Sebas.  The KYSR, Los Angeles-based morning show will be heard on WOLT-FM “ALT 103.3, Indy’s Alternative” and WDTW-FM “ALT 106.7, Detroit’s New Alternative” beginning January 3…..After two years hosting mornings at Townsquare Media’s country WPKQ, Portland, Maine “103.7 The Peak,” Dave Winsor messages his fans that he’s left the show.  “I’m no longer with ‘103.7 THE PEAK.’  The company did the best it could within its power to keep the show going, but it’s not to be.  Where will I go?  Who knows.  But, I’ll always be grateful to you!”

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

| December 13, 2017

Stationality Forces Cumulus’ Hand in Cancellation of Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano Show on WLS-AM.  Windy City news/talk WLS-AM is making a change to its programming lineup in January and husband-and-wife midday team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano are the casualties of the change.  WLS-AM will import Cumulus-syndicated Chris Plante for the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show and push Premiere Network’s Rush Limbaugh back to an 11:00 am start in order to air live.  Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder that he respects Sirott and Murciano greatly.  “The lane we’ve chosen to be in is the conservative talk station in this marketplace.  We just don’t think that’s what they bring to the table.”

Portland Sports Talker KPOJ Re-Branded; Cable-Radio Simulcast for New Local Shows.  A major co-operative effort between iHeartMedia’s sports talk KPOJ, Portland and NBC Sports Northwest is announced that will include a cable TV simulcast of the station’s local shows to be produced at “a new state-of-the-art radio studio being built at NBC Sports Northwest.”  The current morning show “Rip City Mornings with Dan & Nigel” and afternoon program “Rip City Drive with Travis & Chad” will be joined by the new “Dwight Jaynes & Aaron Fentress Show” (airing 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) for the simulcast.  Meanwhile, starting in January, the station will call itself “NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio.”  It will continue to air FOX Sports Radio’s Rich Eisen from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  iHeartMedia Markets Group president of Pacific Northwest Region Robert Dove says, “We are excited to partner with NBC Sports Northwest to bring ‘Rip City Radio’ listeners the best in local sports programming.  Our combined assets will provide even more access for Portland sports fans across both TV and radio, including enhanced audio and visual content for Trailblazer fans all in one destination.”

WABC’s Curtis Sliwa to Be Off Air While Recovering from Crohn’s Surgery.  New York radio personality Curtis Sliwa is undergoing surgery to alleviate the problems he’s been dealing with from Crohn’s disease over the past two years.  Sliwa tells TALKERS the Crohn’s has taken a toll on his health.  “I have lost my muscle mass and, in the process, 60 pounds.  The pain throughout has been horrific.  At times, it caused me to pass out and gather into a fetal position on the floor.  Often times the only way that I could keep broadcasting was to take ‘Hillbilly Heroin,’ a.k.a Oxycodone, to suppress the overwhelming pain.  The cause of the ulcerated intestines that will be removed during the procedure were the five gun shots I was hit with in my lower extremities in the summer of 1992, the result of a hit ordered on me by John Gotti for what I was saying on the radio about the Gambino Crime Family.  Best-case scenario is that it will take me a week of recovery at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.  Worst-case scenario, a month or more.”  Sliwa says WABC management will be using a series of replacements for both of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and the “The Drive Home” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Mike Francesa Hosts Penultimate WFAN Show from Paley Center. Tomorrow afternoon (12/14), New York sports talk radio legend Mike Francesa will broadcast his second-last show on Entercom’s WFAN “Sports Radio 660 AM – 101.9 FM” live before a studio audience from the Paley Center for Media.  Entercom is inviting the media to cover the event and is making Francesa available for one-on-one interviews prior to the show.  Francesa – who has been a bit cagey about his post-WFAN plans – has said he’ll broadcast solo on Friday with no guests or special content.  He is being replaced by the trio of Chris Carlin, Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray, effective in January.

WFDF, Detroit Suspends Reverend W.J. Rideout’s Show for Accusation Lacking ‘Journalistic Standards.’  As reported by the Detroit Free Press, WFDF, Detroit “910AM Superstation” founder and CEO Kevin Adell has suspended the program of local pastor Reverend W.J. Rideout III after the latter accused three members of the Detroit media of sexual harassment but was unable to point to any victims or reports of allegations.  Adell tells the paper that the suspension was handed down for obvious reasons.  “Rev. Rideout was making these accusations and I asked, where are the victims?  He had no victims…My question is where are the standards?  What are the journalistic standards?  Where are the victims?  Former victims?  You have to have journalistic standards.  I don’t want people to use my airwaves to feather a nest for media attention.”  Rideout said that WXYT-TV, Detroit general manager Mike Murri received complaints about anchors Malcolm Maddox and Steven Clark but refused to investigate.  He also accused Detroit Free Press journalist Stephen Henderson.

TALKERS News Notes.  Texas talk show host Sam Malone – based at Salem Media Group’s KNTH, Houston “AM 1070 The Answer” – was embedded with the Roy Moore campaign reporting for Salem Radio Network on the Alabama Senate special election, yesterday (12/12).  Malone (left) is pictured here with former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon (right), who is now co-hosting the “Breitbart News Daily” program on SiriusXM…..Tribune news/talk WGN, Chicago is debuting “The WGN Radio Holiday Spectacular,” – a live, variety show featuring the station’s talent – on Friday (12/15) from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  It’s being co-hosted by Bill Leff and Dometi Pongo.  Listeners will be treated to seasonal songs, classic stories, yuletide poetry and a live report from a certain workshop at the North Pole over the course of the two-hour show.  This holiday revue stars: Steve Cochran, Andrea Darlas, Roe Conn, Anna Davlantes, Nick Digilio, Patti Vasquez, Justin Kaufmann, Lou Manfredini, and many more with a dramatic reading from the great Bill Kurtis.  Retro rock and roll band Rosie and the Rivets will perform as the house band…..From December 18 through New Year’s Day, SiriusXM’s Howard 100 channel will feature the best of Howard Stern’s celebrity interviews from 2017.   Some of the stars featured on “Howard 101: The Interviews” include: Miley Cyrus, Kevin Hart, Scarlett Johansson, David Letterman, Adam Levine, Robert Plant, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, and more, as well as news figures ranging from Rachel Maddow to Robert O’Neill, the Navy Seal credited with killing Osama Bin Laden…..Speaking of Kevin Hart, he’s getting his own channel with SiriusXM called Laugh Out Loud.  The channel extends Hart’s Laugh Out Loud brand to radio for the first time. It will launch in 2018 and will feature a weekly show hosted by Hart.  He’ll also handpick a selection of diverse comedic voices to create, produce and star on the channel’s wide range of comedy programming…..…..Entercom Communications announces new call letters for “CBS Sports 910” in Hesperia, California from KRAK to KMPS-AM.  The announcement comes after Entercom’s merger with CBS RADIO…..The sale of translator W290AT, Plattsburgh, New York from Saranac Lake Radio LLC to Vox AM/FM LLC closes.  The buyer paid $20,000 cash at closing and the exclusive broker for the deal was Patrick Communications.

Roy Moore-Doug Jones Special Election; Larry King Allegations/NFL Network Suspensions, NYC Pipe Bomb Attack, North Korea Nuclear Program, Jerusalem Recognition Aftermath, California Wildfires, Bitcoin Activity, Last Jedi Criticism, Facebook ‘Guilt,’ NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12).  Yesterday’s special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat; allegations of groping against Larry King and the suspension of numerous NFL Network personalities during an investigation of sexual misconduct; Monday’s pipe bomb attack and information about the suspect; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and threats against the US; the effects of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel; the raging wildfires in Southern California; the hoopla over Bitcoin activity; the critical previews of the new Star Wars film The Last Jedi; a former Facebook exec’s public expression of remorse over social media’s effects on society; and NFL and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

PPM Analysis: CHRTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey, today focusing on CHR.  Comparing 6+ weekly AQH shares from October’s survey to this month, Kinosian says, “Nearly the same number of our mainstream CHR panelists are up October 2017 – November 2017 (47%) as are down (41%); the remaining 12% are unchanged.”  A year-over-year comparison shows different results.  “Six of 10 stations in this mainstream CHR sample are down November 2016 – November 2017 (60%); roughly one of three improve (35%); and 5% remain steady.”  The high-cuming format racked up 17 stations ranking in the top five in their respective markets in November.  But, just one – iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108 FM” – ranked #1.  See the entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At the Washington cluster of iHeartMedia, Elizabethany is the new assistant program director and afternoon drive personality for CHR WIHT “HOT 99.5.”  Beginning in January, she’ll host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show.  “HOT 99.5” program director Rob Kruz comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Elizabethany in this new role at iHeartMedia Washington.  Her energy and creativity both in and out of the studio, combined with a track record of ratings success, make her the perfect choice to take over afternoons on ‘HOT 99.5!’”…..iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles radio stations are launching the iHeartRadio So Cal Fire Relief Project to raise funds for victims of the ongoing Southern California wildfires. The effort is in conjunction with Westfield – owner of four malls in the LA area.  iHeartMedia talent will broadcast live from those locations, encouraging people to donate to the fund.  All donations are being distributed through three local organizations including the American Red Cross, The Humane Society of Ventura County and the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation…..Cumulus Media Des Moines is hosting the Big Country Bash 2018 – a two-day country music festival on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23, 2018 at Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in St. Charles, Iowa.  Artists including Brett Eldredge, Midland, Aaron Watson, and Russell Dickerson are already signed up to appear, with more artists to be announced later…..Entercom Philadelphia’s station group is producing the first annual “Holiday Hops Craft Beer Festival.”  Attendees aged 21 years and older are invited to revel in the holiday spirit by enjoying a wide variety of beers and wearing their ugly sweaters.  The festive event will include a photo booth with mistletoe, free parking and live music along with unlimited samplings from some 25 craft breweries…..Entercom announces it’s bringing new call letters to its Seattle adult contemporary “94.1 The Sound,” importing KSWD-FM from its longtime position as the calls for the Los Angeles classic rocker.  The station was sold to Educational Media Foundation as part of the company’s divestiture of stations prior to the CBS RADIO merger.  It’s now a Christian contemporary station with the calls KKLQ.

‘Radio’s Best Friend’ Honored in NYC.  “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo was “surprised out of his wits” last Saturday night when – while attending a private client party in Manhattan hosted by voiceover pro Steve Kamer and “Entertainment Tonight” producer Kevin Gershan – it was announced that Vuolo was a “special guest.”  Vuolo was presented with a cake and a microphone trophy with a gold plaque commemorating the event.  Vuolo says, “It’s truly special to be so appreciated.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Gershan, Kamer, and Vuolo.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

| December 12, 2017

Wisconsin Talk Host Admits to Sexual Misconduct.  What was so unusual about WHBY, Appleton talk host Josh Dukelow’s admission was that there was no accusation – Dukelow simply spoke on air about an incident in his past that made him realize he had sexually assaulted and harassed women, that he regrets his actions and hopes more men will come forward during this national conversation about sexual misconduct by men.  The Appleton Post-Crescent reports that he made the admission on Friday’s show and it caused quite a social media stir in the region over the weekend.  Woodward Communications has not fired Dukelow and, although he was off the air Monday, he’s expected back today.  The paper reports Woodward general manager Kelly Radandt released the following statement about Dukelow: “Following his comments Friday, we immediately began gathering information and have had several conversations with Josh.  As a company, we take sexual harassment very seriously and are diligent with incorporating employee training and policies.  We have never received any sexual harassment allegations against Josh.  At this time, given the details he has provided — both to us and now publicly — there will be no changes to his current employment with our station.”

Lenz to Co-Anchor Mornings on KOA, Denver.  Six months after KOA, Denver morning drive co-host Steffan Tubbs was let go after being charged with domestic violence (a charge that has subsequently been dropped), iHeartMedia announces that Marty Lenz will leave Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco to assume the morning host role at KOA, effective January 8.  Lenz will work alongside current KOA personality April Zesbaugh.  iHeartMedia Denver Region president Tim Hagar says, “Following an exhaustive nationwide search, it was clear that Marty Lenz is uniquely qualified to join KOA Newsradio.  Marty’s news prowess, engaging personality and Denver roots are sure to fuel the growth for ‘Colorado’s Morning News’ in 2018 and beyond.”

Ron Coomer Re-Ups with WSCR, Chicago for Cubs Broadcasts.  Chicago sports talker WSCR and the Chicago Cubs are announcing that radio color analyst Ken Coomer will return to “The Score” in that role alongside Cubs play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes.  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Ron is one of the most talented analysts in baseball and we are honored to have him on our team at ‘The Score.’  Ron brings the passion and success he had as former MLB All-Star to the airwaves of Cubs baseball and hits a homerun with Cubs fans.”  Coomer first joined the Cubs Radio Network in December of 2013 (succeeding Keith Moreland) on WGN.  He remained in the booth as games moved to then-CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM.

Salem Radio Network Presenting Alabama Special Election Coverage.  Today’s hotly contested U.S. Senate special election in Alabama is being covered by Salem Radio Network.  The company says that at the first sign of significant election results, SRN News will mount one-minute special reports on SNN left at :20-past and 40:00-past the hour.   They will have the latest trending results in SRN News top-of-hour broadcasts and SRN News half-hour updates.  Also, Salem Media Group Houston talk host Sam Malone is embedded at Republican candidate Roy Moore’s victory party in Montgomery and will provide perspective and analysis throughout the evening on both SRN News and TOWNHALL.com newscasts.

iHeartCommunications Files Intent to Sell CC Outdoor Stock.  The company doesn’t make clear in its brief filing with the Securities Exchange Commission what it would do with the money, but iHeartMedia parent iHeartCommunications, Inc. announces it’s “currently exploring a possible private capital-raising transaction supported by the value of some or all of the 100,000,000 shares of Class B common stock of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (“CCOH”) held by its wholly-owned subsidiary Broader Media, LLC and the 10,726,917 shares of Class A common stock held by its wholly-owned subsidiary CC Finco, LLC. Such transaction, if agreed upon and consummated on the terms being explored, would result in the pledge of these shares for the benefit of the investors.”

TALKERS News Notes.  In Chicago, Robert Feder writes here that Mark Pinsky is assuming general manager duties at Newsweb‘s progressive talk station WCPT-AM.  Pinsky has been serving with the company managing its five time-brokered radio stations in the Chicagoland market…..New affiliates have signed onto Westwood One’s “Checkpoint Radio,” a show dedicated to the world of esports and gaming.  New stations include: KTCT-AM, San Francisco; KKFN-FM, Denver; WOKY-AM,Milwaukee; and WNSR-AM, Nashville.  The program is hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard and Joe Sloan…..United Stations Radio Networks and Bloomberg Radio are teaming up to produce and distribute an original series of “Tax Tips” to be broadcast during the height of the 2018 tax season.   The 30-second tips are being written and anchored by Bloomberg correspondent Peggy Collins and the full series is slated for broadcast starting on February 5, 2018…..SiriusXM unveils a new programming collaboration with news website Shareblue Media for the satcaster’s Progress channel.  Shareblue Media is owned by Media Matters founder David Brock.   SiriusXM director of progressive programming Zerlina Maxwell states, “The election of Donald Trump has energized the Progressive base like never before.  We’re proud to team up with Shareblue Media and share their crucial voice with SiriusXM’s vast audience.  Together we will provide fellow progressives with not only information, but marching orders on how to push back against the Trump administration’s agenda.”

WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Takes Listeners on Tour of FOX News Channel.  Yesterday’s trip into New York City for WPGG, Atlantic City morning star Harry Hurley and his group of local listeners turned out to be even more eventful than they thought it would be.  Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that his group arrived four blocks away from the terrorist pipe bombing at exactly the time the explosion rang out.  As for the tour, Hurley (left) says, “Brian Kilmeade (right), Ainsley Earhardt, Steve Doocy, and Todd Starnes couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating, especially considering the circumstances.  Giving listeners the opportunity to see how the national news is gathered and reported from the inside-out versus the outside-in is extraordinary.”

NYC Pipe Bomb Attack, Roy Moore Candidacy, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Sexual Impropriety Cases, California Wildfires, Bitcoin Activity, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, Sanders vs Media, Sunday’s NFL Action and Attendance, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11).  Monday morning’s pipe bomb terrorist attack in New York; today’s special election in Alabama pitting embattled Republican Roy Moore against Democrat Doug Jones; the Republican-authored tax reform bill; the continuing allegations of sexual impropriety, including The New Yorker’s firing of journalist Ryan Lizza, and the NFL Network’s suspension of Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, and Heath Evans; the devastating wildfires in Southern California; the surging value of bitcoin; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; yesterday’s verbal sparring between White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the press; Sunday’s NFL action and analysis of attendance figures; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS and Hillsdale College Co-Present Major Talk Radio Discussion/Debate on “Media and Journalism in the Age of Trump.” TALKERS joined forces with Hillsdale College of Hillsdale, Michigan this past Tuesday (12/5) to present a conversation on the topic, “Media and Journalism in the Age of Trump.” The panel of seven diverse talk media hosts included (in alphabetical order): Scot Bertram, Hillsdale College Radio/WRFH; John Fredericks, John Fredericks Radio Network; Dom Giordano, WPHT, Philadelphia; Hugh Hewitt, Salem Radio Network; Joe Madison, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Janet Parshall, Moody Radio Network; and Bill Press, TYT Radio Network. The panel was moderated by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. The lively discussion covered a variety of issues ranging from the meaning and impact of “fake news” to the state of the First Amendment in 2017 exploring ethics in journalism, the impact of digital technology on the news, race relations in America, and the controversial demeanor of President Trump along the way. The event took place at Hillsdale College’s distinguished Washington, DC extension, the Alan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship. Reflecting on the event, Michael Harrison comments, “I knew it would be challenging keeping a discussion among such an opinionated, articulate group of talkers from going off the tracks considering the controversial and volatile nature of the topics at hand. However, I was delighted at the tremendous good spirit and collegiality displayed by all the participants. It was a productive and informative session. My thanks to all involved including our partners at Hillsdale.” To view the forum in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the third of four analyses of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey, today focusing on the adult hits format. He writes that although the number of stations airing adult hits is not large, as a format in the PPM markets, it’s performed well. “In fact, the adult hits format claims the strongest 6+ share (5.43) and best average 6+ rank (#6.47), easily outdistancing news/talk (3.80/#11.02) and the NBA flagships (2.63/#17.30) in those areas.” There are nine adult hits stations that ranked in the top five in their respective markets in November. Emmis’ KBPA, Austin “BOB FM 103.5” ranked #1; Entercom’s WSMW, Greensboro “98.7 Simon” ranked #2; and Saul Frischling’s WRRK, Pittsburgh “BOB FM 96.9” and Midwest Communications’ WCJK, Nashville “96.3 JACK FM” both ranked #3 in their markets. See the whole report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At Seattle country outlet KKWF, “100.7 The Wolf,” Ellen Tailor tells her listeners that she’s leaving the station this Thursday (12/14).  Tailor joined the Entercom station in 2011 as part of the morning show.  She moved to middays in September…..Yet another iHeartMedia alternative rock station adds Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” for the morning drive daypart.  This time it’s WTHR, Wichita “ALT 107.3, Wichita’s Alternative Rock.”  WTHR will carry the show Monday through Saturday.