Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, September 22, 2017

| September 22, 2017

EXCLUSIVE TALKERS DIALOGUE: Terminated and Embattled KXNT, Las Vegas Talk Show Host Heidi Harris Speaks with Michael Harrison about the Events Leading Up to and Following CBS Choosing Not to Renew Her Contract as Morning Host.  In an exclusive TALKERS interview conducted last evening (9/21), TALKERS founder Michael Harrison talks to former KXNT, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris about CBS RADIO’s decision not to renew her contract that was about to expire in a few weeks in the wake of a controversial social media comment about gay adoption posted by the broadcaster.  Although CBS has not cited the controversy as its reason for choosing not to renew Harris’ contract, the widespread speculation in the press and across the radio industry is that the host was let go because of negative blowback from organized activists in the gay community.  Discussing the interview, Harrison states, “I entered this conversation hoping to give Heidi the chance to present her side of the story, but, perhaps, wishfully to see if there was any chance to smoothen out the situation and set the stage for CBS to reconsider its decision if she clarified her position short of actually apologizing. Apologizing is not something I would expect or encourage her to do.  But it would be unfortunate if she left the station because of a misunderstanding of terms and today’s tendency for black and white thinking to rule the narrative.”  To listen to the interview, please click here.

Industry Mourns Passing of Gary Fries.  Former Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Gary Fries has died.  Details of his passing are few but current RAB president and CEO Erica Farber issued the following statement about the man who led the organization from 1991 through 2006: “It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Gary Fries.  Gary served the RAB and industry for 14 years and during his tenure as radio’s leading advocate he provided tremendous leadership and guidance.  Under his direction, the RAB increased its membership and introduced and advanced numerous sales training programs. He spearheaded radio to the forefront in media accountability, playing a dominant role in the development of RAEL working with advertisers, agencies and broadcasters to further the industry’s understanding of how radio advertising works. He also encouraged radio to embrace electronic data interchange, urging the industry to adopt electronic invoicing.  Upon his departure from the RAB, he left with the title of president emeritus and continued to hold a seat on the RAB Board to his very last day.  With a large physical presence and a strong personality, he always made his presence known.  On a personal note, Gary and I partnered together on many initiatives and I always found a welcoming partner and friend.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”

Senator Nelson Gets Behind FM Chip Activation. According to a story from WBBH-TV, Fort Myers, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is serious about pushing the government to require that smart phone manufacturers activate the FM chips in their devices.  The story says Nelson is citing the recent hurricanes that hit Florida and the public’s need to get emergency information in his efforts to see that action is taken.  Though no legal avenue to force manufacturers to activate the chips has been explained, Nelson wants to get the FCC involved.  Currently, Samsung, AT&T and T-mobile are agreeing to activate the chips but Apple has not been interested in conversations about the matter.  See the WBBH-TV story here.

CMG Names Two to Market Manager Posts.  This week, Cox Media Group named two radio management pros to new market manager positions.  Cathy Gunther assumes the market vice president position for the converged Tulsa operations that includes “FOX 23 News,” “My41,” and “MeTV” television stations and radio stations news/talk KRMG “News102.3 AM740,” classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle,” hot AC KRAV “Mix 96.5,” country KWEN “K95.5,” and Christian contemporary “Spirit 105.7.”  She was previously VP/GM for the TV stations.  In Jacksonville, Dan Lawrie takes on the market vice president position for the converged cluster that includes: “Action News Jax FOX30” and “CBS47” TV stations and radio stations news/talk WOKV “News 104.5,” urban contemporary W258CN “Hot 99.5,” adult contemporary WEZI “Easy 106.5,” CHR WAPE, classic hits WJGL :The Eagle 96.9,” hip hop W291CI/WJGL-HD2 “Power 106.1,” and alternative rock WXXJ “X102.9.”  CMG EVP Bill Hendrich comments, “Both Dan and Cathy are successful media veterans and proven leaders on the Cox Media Group leadership team.  We are fortunate to have great leadership within CMG to promote from within for these two new critical roles as we converge our Jacksonville and Tulsa media markets. They will work with our teams in these markets to take our award-winning brands to new heights.”

Ramsey Solutions Event Stops in Indy.  Pictured above is Ramsey Solutions personality Chris Hogan on stage at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis last night (9/21).  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money event took place there as Pilgrim Communications news/talk WFDM “Freedom 95” and WXLW “Freedom 950” joined forces with Ramsey Solutions to promote it.  Pilgrim Communications VP/GM Randy Tipmore says, “As usual, when Dave Ramsey or one of his team, such as Chris Hogan, comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm goes up as do station sales.  ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is the number one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’”

GOP Health Care Bill Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 18-22.  The Cassidy-Graham bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation, focusing on Paul Manafort’s role.  Coming in at #3 was North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the new sanctions placed on the hermit kingdom, followed by President Trump’s Tuesday speech before the UN General Assembly 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.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Programming pro Michael La Crosse is appointed to the program director position for iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KKCW “K103” and classic hits KLTH “106.7 The Eagle” in Portland.  La Crosse, who begins his new duties on October 9, was most recently with the company in Los Angeles programming ACs KOST and KHHT.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming Tim Herbster states, “Michael’s skillset is a natural match for taking the reins of KKCW and KLTH in Portland.  His vast experience in programming for these formats and working with top talent is second to none.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Federated Media classic hits outlet WFWI, Fort Wayne adds Cliff to the program schedule, hosting the afternoon drive show.  He also serves the company as production director for the cluster…..Cumulus Media names broadcasting executive Cheryl Salomone to the vice president/market manager position at its for its four-station cluster in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Salomone was most recently serving at Pamal Broadcasting’s White Plains, New York offices as director of NTR and local sales manager for WXPK…..Emmis Communications’ WQHT, New York is bringing its “HOT 97 Summer Jam” back to Tokyo in November for the second year in-a-row.  The company is working with Japan’s Avex Entertainment on the concert.  Emmis president Patrick Walsh comments, “We’re thrilled to bring ‘HOT 97’ and ‘Summer Jam’ back to Tokyo as we take the next step in growing these venerable brands for the passionate and growing global hip hop audience.  Our collaboration with our partners last year laid the foundation for an even larger event in November and further expansion in the coming years.”

The Occasional RadioInfo New Music Review.  RadioInfo music editor Duane Doobie Jr. writes: The group Cold Engines brings together some of the finest musicians on Boston’s north shore. Together, they deftly weave soul, new wave, rock, and dance into an instantly identifiable sound that really drives triple-A playlists.  Founder/frontman David Drouin paired with former band mate Aaron Zaroulis after ‘The Brew,’ a long-running band from the Boston area dissolved amicably.  Both Drouin and Zaroulis are seasoned indie musicians with previous stages at popular venues of Boston including The House of Blues and The Paradise Rock Club. Additional hand-picked bandmates include Eric Reingold (Jamantics, Black Light Ruckus), a journeyman musician who brings his passion for the thundering bass, and Casey Herlihy (Slipkey, Flake), an award-winning musician whose insane chops on guitar seem to only be matched the spirit of his vocals, and Geoff Pilkington (Soul Rebel Project, Mighty Mystic, and Left Over Wine), brings his infectious grooves with each performance behind the drums and percussion.  After exploding on the Northeast scene in 2015, and releasing three records inside of 18 months, the band garnered national attention, playing well over 150-plus shows a year supporting musicians such as Black Keys, Gregg Allman, Bruce Hornsby, Michael McDonald, moe., and The B-52s.  Cold Engines dropped their most ambitions album, Physical Education, this summer setting the bar even higher. The title track has found a place in my ears and should be considered for a place in your station’s playlist. To listen, click here.

 

 

Receptionist/Office Manager Opportunity.  WDST-FM, Woodstock, New York “Radio Woodstock” is looking for an outgoing, friendly and highly motivated receptionist/office manager who is well-organized with the ability to follow directives and complete projects.  Candidates need to be able to multi-task, and assist various departments including the sales team, business manager and promotions manager.  Customer service experience is a plus.  Working knowledge of Microsoft Office is necessary.  Mail cover letter and resume to: Cynthia V. Huggins, WDST-FM, PO Box 367, Woodstock, NY 12498 or email cynthiah@radiowoodstock.com.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

| September 21, 2017

Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner Talks Culture Change in Chief Executive.  Two years into Mary Berner’s role as chief executive officer of Cumulus Media, Berner writes a piece for Chief Executive magazine about her work to change the culture of the company.  Calling it her “Culture Fix Playbook,” Berner says that in 2015, Cumulus “was in a free fall: four straight years of declines in radio listenership, four straight years of revenue declines, three straight years of EBITDA declines, and underperforming acquisitions which had saddled the company with an untenable debt load. We also had lousy systems, crumbling infrastructure, and unhappy employees who told us in surveys that the ‘dysfunctional,’ ‘toxic,’ and ‘lousy’ culture was the primary reason for the company’s poor performance.”  In the piece, she outlines her strategy for turning around the culture of Cumulus.  Read it here.

Monroe Named Production Director at WTMJ/WKTI Milwaukee.  The Milwaukee radio operations of E.W. Scripps announces that Frank Monroe is named production director.  In this role, he’ll be guiding the commercial production department for news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI.  He was most recently with Matrix Broadcasting’s Crystal Lake, Illinois radio group where he also was midday personality on hot AC WZSR.  Scripps Radio Milwaukee vice president Tom Langmyer says, “Frank is an experienced, creative leader who will drive results for our local advertisers.  His customer service, professionalism, voice work and commercial copywriting stand out.”

PodcastOne Debuts ‘Music Connection Podcast’ with Randy Thomas and Arnie Wohl. This new program from PodcastOne “brings to life Music Connection Magazine, a well-known industry publication led by publisher Eric Bettelli for 40 years.”  It presents exclusive interviews with music business legends including: Sting, Daryl Hall, Jimmy Page, and the hottest rising stars, such as Haim, Mondo Cozmo and Anderson Paak.  It’s co-hosted by voice-over star Randy Thomas (Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and more) and music biz manager and promoter Arnie Wohl (Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Coldplay).   Thomas says, “A giant ‘thank you’ to Norm Pattiz and the entire PodcastOne team for helping us bring the ‘Music Connection Podcast’ to life.  We are jazzed to be able to access the incredible resources at PodcastOne, as well as Music Connection’s network of musicians, producers, and executives from 40 years of incredible interviews about the music industry – which is why we call this a podcast from the people who make music, for the people who love music!”

RAB Study: Radio Ads Drive Search Results.  The press release says that this study, commissioned by the Radio Advertising Bureau, was conducted by Sequent Partners, Media Monitors, and In4mation Insights in June and July of this year in the top 31 markets.  Based upon its analysis of over 2,100 local radio ads across six different categories, the study concludes that these campaigns realized a “29% incremental lift in search results.”  Media Monitors president and CEO Philippe Generali says, “The study proves that radio significantly impacts digital behaviors and activities – and is even more relevant in a digital and e-commerce world.”  Sequent Partners’ Alice K. Sylvester adds, “Radio continues to be undervalued and we are uncovering incremental benefit that radio consistently provides to advertisers.  It was also clear that there is an opportunity to increase this benefit with smart, measurement-informed, placements and creative approaches.”  RAB makes the full study available to members.  It also offers the video presentation from the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show session on its website.

TALKERS News Notes. Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is making daily appearances on Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the form of commentaries.  The former governor also served as mayor of Charlotte during his political career.  During his first appearance on the WBT morning program, he criticized the Charlotte City Council and Mayor Jennifer Roberts for not having a prayer session prior to the meeting.  The tradition of a pre-meeting prayer is controversial in light of a recent court case ruling the Rowan County Commission’s pre-meeting prayer method was illegal…..ABC News is launching a new news series and podcast it calls a “multiplatform docu-series,” titled “A Murder on Orchard Street,” that investigates the cold case murder of Burke O’Brien in New York in 2003.  ABC News producer and reporter Christina Kiely, who covered the O’Brien case moment-to-moment in 2003, joins ex-NYC detective Kenny Silvia in a renewed effort to solve the crime and bring the murderer(s) to justice…..This afternoon WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” host Kevin McCullough is broadcasting live from Lower Manhattan restaurant Giardino D’Oro.  Show segments today will include: a debate of Italian food questions; should Christopher Columbus’ statue be taken down?; a debate among NYC mayoral candidates; plus a live, fried calamari eating contest.

A “Talk” Down Memory Lane: The Great Kiddie TV Shows and Hosts of the Past.  In somewhat of a change of pace, the award-winning PodcastOne media series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” explores the lost art and genre of the television “kiddie show” that was a mainstay of popular culture from the late ‘40s to the early ‘70s.  Harrison is joined by veteran broadcaster Brad Shepard, an entertainment industry historian and GM/morning host of Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com) in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Harrison and Shepard discuss such shows as “Howdy Doody,” with Buffalo Bob Smith; “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” with Fran Allison; Shari Lewis; “Andy’s Gang” with Andy Devine (and the infamous “Froggy the Gremlin” pictured at left), “Winky Dink” with Jack Barry; “Ding Dong School” with Miss Frances; Soupy Sales, “Wonderama” with Sonny Fox, Chuck McCann; “The Merry Mailman” with Ray Heatherton and so much more.  To listen to this fun and entertaining romp through fascinating media history, 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.

Cassidy-Graham Health Care Bill, Hillary Clinton Book Tour, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump at UN, Maria Ravages Puerto Rico, Deadly Mexican Earthquake, Climate Change Debate, ‘Sanctuary’ Issue, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action/TV Ratings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20).  The Cassidy-Graham health care bill with which Republicans hope to replace ObamaCare; Hillary Clinton’s What Happened book tour; the investigation into former Trump operative Paul Manafort and Russian agents; President Trump’s speech before the UN General Assembly and his meeting with African leaders; Hurricane Maria decimates Puerto Rico; rescue efforts after Mexico City’s deadly earthquake; the renewed debate over man-made climate change; controversy over California’s vote to make it a “sanctuary state”; the playoff push in Major League Baseball; and the week’s NFL action and talk of sinking television ratings for NFL games 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. New York hot AC WNEW-FM, “Fresh 102.7” announces a lineup shift as Mike Adam is promoted from his fill-in role to the afternoon drive slot.  That move bumps Cane from PMs to the evening show.   Adam previously worked part time at sister CHR WBMP “92.3 AMP Radio.”  WNEW program director Jim Ryan says, “Mike’s experience in CHR in Philly and on our sister station, ‘92.3 AMP,’ will help WNEW grow with an active audience.”  The station also announces that Matt Sneed is taking over the Saturday and Sunday midday shows…..Hubbard Radio moves Josh “JT” Holleman from evenings to middays at country WIL, St. Louis “New Country 92.3.”  Program director Scott Roddy says, “JT’s work ethic, positivity, willingness to take direction and follow strategy – in concert with his amazingly fun and interactive sound – make him perfectly appealing to our young female demo!”  The change means APD and music director Danny Montana now handles the evening shift…..Programming pro David Dean is named the PD at iHeartMedia’s country KWNR, Las Vegas “95.5 The Bull.”  Dean was most recently program director at the company’s country WNOE, New Orleans…..The new morning show at CBS RADIO’s CHR KEGY, San Diego “ENERGY 103.7” is Tonya Gonzalez and Sean “Sonic” Leckie.  The program launched back on September 12.  KEGY program director Chris Patyk comments, “There’s no mistaking the drive and passion Tonya and Sonic have for winning.  Their chemistry together is undeniable and they know this city and the ‘ENERGY’ listeners.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

| September 20, 2017

Heidi Harris Exits KXNT, Las Vegas After Post Critical of Gay Adoption. The report from KVVU-TV, Las Vegas “FOX 5” notes that talk show host Heidi Harris’ exit from CBS RADIO news/talker KXNT came just days after she posted to Facebook a critique of a local ad promoting adoption that featured a gay couple.  Harris told KVVU-TV that the company is not renewing her contract but “couldn’t say whether it was because of her Facebook post.”  Harris’ Facebook post took aim at an ad for the Clark County Department of Family Services promoting adoption that showed two gay men holding a child.  She wrote, in part, “Another not-so-subtle attempt to normalize something that is NOT normal.  Even if it is normal for YOU it is not the best thing for the baby…Babies who are eligible for adoption should go to MARRIED people of the opposite sex.  That is the IDEAL situation for a baby, and political correctness, changing laws or attitudes cannot alter that REALITY.”  Neither CBS RADIO nor Harris would comment about whether the post had anything to do with the station’s decision to not renew her contract.  But Harris posted a Bible verse clearly aimed at addressing the matter.  Her post: “Though they intended evil against you and devised a plot, they will not succeed. (Even though they think they have) Psalm 21:12.”  Since Harris’ departure, afternoon personality Alan Stock is hosting the morning show.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following comment in response to Harris’ exit from the station, “Certainly CBS has the right to employ or terminate talent based on whatever political or positioning sensibilities are in vogue at the moment.  However, it continues to be an unfortunately perilous situation for talk talent to be hired and encouraged on one hand to take controversial positions that fit either the left or right paradigm that constitutes radio ‘stationality’ and then cut loose for doing that exact thing if they just happen to step over the constantly moving and ever-subjective line of political correctness.  Heidi Harris is a longtime, major and important player in this business and the issue of gay adoption is one that has been openly and legitimately discussed in this medium for years.  Considering the fact that her contract was coming up for renewal, perhaps there is a financial component to this story.  There is also the possibility that they buckled in the tyrannical face of advertiser pressure. Regardless, I strongly advise those corporations that are serious about playing in the talk radio arena to be prepared in advance to take the heat of controversy that is a normal part of doing business and stand behind their talent in these instances.”

Guy Phillips to Exit KYKY, St. Louis AM Show to Host Afternoons on Crosstown KTRS.  According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, morning personality Guy Phillips is leaving CBS RADIO’s hot AC KYKY, St. Louis and will take over the afternoon show at CH Holdings’ crosstown news/talk KTRS.  The paper reports that Phillips will leave KYKY in November and will likely start at KTRS in January.  KTRS afternoon personality Frank O. Pinion recently exited KTRS and will join crosstown sports talk KFNS on October 2 (though O. Pinion will host a general issues program).  Currently hosting the afternoon show at KTRS are KMOV-TV meteorologist Kent Ehrhardt and local radio pro Paul Harris.  The Post-Dispatch says that the rest of the current KYKY morning show – Courtney Landrum, Jen Myers, Kevin Berghoff and Lance Hildebrand – will remain on as hosts of the wake-up program.

Francesa to Leave WFAN in December as Scheduled.  New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa will do his last show for CBS RADIO’s WFAN on December 15 as scheduled, according to the New York Daily News.  Francesa had said, in the immediate wake of the Craig Carton matter, that if the station needed him to stay on for a period to avoid revenue losses in both drive time dayparts, that he would consider it.  But that’s apparently not necessary as Francesa told his listeners he’ll leave in December and that “the station is comfortable with that (decision) and I am, too.”  Read the Daily News piece here.

Tedd Webb to Retire from WFLA, Tampa.  The Tampa Bay Times reports that market radio pro Tedd Webb will retire from radio and his current gig as co-host of the morning show on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WFLA-AM, Tampa at the end of January.  The 68-year-old Webb has been plagued by health issues – congestive heart failure and diabetes – and those issues have intensified recently.  Webb tells the paper, “I had a heart attack.  I’m on dialysis three times a week.  I’m drained.  My heart wants to go on, but my body won’t let it.”  Webb works with radio partner Jack Harris and personality Aaron Jacobson.  Harris says, “It’s going to be tough without Teddy.  It’s like Sonny without Cher, Cheech without Chong.”  Read the Times piece here.

Buchanan Exits Connecticut Talker. Afternoon drive talk show host Jim Buchanan announces via Facebook that he’s exited Cumulus Media’s Bridgeport, Connecticut news/talk station WICC, where he anchored the “Talk of the Town” program.    Buchanan had hosted the afternoon drive daypart at WICC since 1982.  The nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show is now airing in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.

TALKERS News Notes. A new, improved version of CBS RADIO’s Radio.com mobile app has been made available to consumers.  CBS says it has “a fresh new look and logo to complement an easy-to-navigate experience now with higher streaming quality.”  CBS EVP of digital J.D. Crowley states, “Audiences want choice and that’s exactly what we’ve given them with this relaunch of the Radio.com app.  By combining their favorite local radio stations and on-demand content, we are catering to the distinctive tastes of mobile-first audiences, giving them control over when and where they engage with our content through a free, best-in-class experience.”…..The nationally syndicated “America Outdoors Radio” program announces that it has surpassed the 50-affiliate mark after just 15 months on the air.  The John Kruse-hosted show is a weekly, one-hour look at fishing, hunting and the shooting sports…..As reported in SportsBusinessDaily, college sports marketing and media rights firms Learfield and IMG College are agreeing to a merger.  Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown will lead the combined companies, estimated by some to be worth $2 billion.  After completion, the new company will control the media rights to some 200 schools.

Trump UN Speech, North Korea Threats, Cassidy-Graham Health Care Bill, Hurricane Maria, Climate Change Debate, Hillary Clinton Book Tour, Trump-Russia Investigation, ‘Sanctuary’ Issue, MLB Payoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  Tuesday’s speech by President Trump before the UN General Assembly; North Korea’s threats against the U.S.; the move to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with the Cassidy-Graham health care plan; Hurricane Maria threatens a direct hit on Puerto Rico; the recent spate of hurricanes and the renewed debate over climate change after experts suggest it intensified the storms; Hillary Clinton’s What Happened book tour; the investigation into Paul Manafort by the special counsel as part of the Trump-Russia probe; Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ battle against the various “sanctuary” policies; the Major League Baseball playoff push; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cleveland Radio Personality John Webster Dead at 74.  Legendary Cleveland radio personality John Webster passed away recently at the age of 74.  Webster was one half of the morning show duo “Lanigan and Webster” with John Lanigan on WMJI from 1984 to 1997.  He was also a talk radio pioneer who served on morning shows on WERE and WHK.  Cleveland programming icon (and oWOW Internet radio chief) John Gorman commented on Facebook: “When I arrived in Cleveland I was blown away by John Webster’s creation: The ‘People Power’ tabloid-style news/talk format on WERE with Gary Dee (and Webster) in mornings and other characters including George Forbes – when he was the controversial Cleveland City Council president.  At the height of the ‘people power’ format, Webster pulled the plug.  He later told me that he felt he went as far as he could go with the format…”  Cleveland.com reports that Webster’s stepson Jason Fox said “Webster died during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida.  He said Webster was recovering from hip surgery when the hurricane hit, knocking out power to his home for over a week.  ‘I think that was the final straw for John.’”

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Chicago, classic hits WLS-FM morning show producer Daniel Wolfe is promoted by Cumulus Media to assistant program director.  He’ll continue to serve as producer for “The WLS Wake Up Call.” WLS PD and Cumulus VP/classic hits programming Brian Thomas says, “This puts Dan one step closer to his goals of becoming a PD at Cumulus after doing a great job as morning show producer.  I am looking forward to working with Dan in this new role.”…..At Cumulus Media’s West Michigan CHR WHTS, Coopersville (Grand Rapids market), air personality Ken Evans is partnered with current morning host Rachael Gray on the “105.3 Hot FM Morning Show.”  Evans previously hosted mornings in the market at iHeartMedia’s crosstown CHR WSNX.   Cumulus Grand Rapids market manager Jeff Cartwright comments, “We are excited at the direction ‘105-3 Hot FM’ will take with Ken now in our Cumulus Grand Rapids family.”…..Las Vegas radio pro Connie Breeze joins the MannGroup-syndicated weekend hip hop program “The Mack Attack” (with host Greg Mack) as chief entertainment correspondent.  Breeze also serves with Beasley Media Group at rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” as APD, music director, and afternoon personality.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

| September 19, 2017

It’s Official: Laura Ingraham to Host FOX News Channel Show.  As has been previously reported but now confirmed by FOX News Channel, conservative media figure Laura Ingraham will begin hosting the 10:00 pm ET hour on FOX News Channel with a new show called, “The Ingraham Angle,” beginning October 30.  Beginning Monday (9/25), Sean Hannity moves to the 9:00 pm ET hour (putting him up against MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow).  That means “The Five” returns to its original 5:00 pm ET start (that hour opened up with the dismissal of Eric Bolling and the cancellation of “The Specialists”).  The Los Angeles Times reports that Ingraham has been making about $2 million per year as a contributor to FNC and her full-time salary will be much higher than that.  The question left unanswered for now is whether or not Ingraham will continue to host her Courtside Entertainment-distributed, daily national radio talk show.

Dave Ramsey to Emcee NRHoF Induction Ceremony.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey is hosting the 29th Annual National Radio Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and celebration on November 2 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.  National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We’re honored to have Dave, a world-class speaker who regularly addresses audiences of 10,000 at his live events, serve as our master of ceremonies.”  The 2017 inductees include: Tom Barnard, Bobby Bones, Joseph M. Field, Bill Handel, Sean Hannity, John Records Landecker, Robin Quivers and Robert S. “Bob” Sievers.

TALKERS News Notes. With the sudden departure of conservative Jedidiah Bila from ABC-TV’s “The View,” CNN is reporting that former Premiere Networks radio host and former FOX News Channel personality Meghan McCain is in talks to join the daytime TV talk show.  McCain recently exited FNC and the “Outnumbered” program she co-hosted there…..CBS RADIO’s Los Angeles all-news KNX shifts some of its talent into different dayparts.  The morning drive daypart is still hosted by Dick Helton and Vicky Moore.  New to middays is Brian Ping, who leaves the nights and overnights he’s been working for the past six years to handle the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show.  The one-hour “KNX In Depth” show with Charles Feldman and Mike Simpson airs from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.  Simpson and Chris Sedens handle the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart and Diane Thomson hosts the 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm “Evening News.”…..TuneIn is debuting “First Play,” what it calls “a first-of-its kind podcast program offering early releases of new episodes from new and popular podcasts from networks like WNYC Studios, Gimlet Media, HowStuffWorks, Wondery, Feral Audio and StarTalk.”  New episodes will be available early, up to one week before they’re available on other platforms, and they will be free to all TuneIn users.  The company says, “With the launch of First Play, TuneIn enables podcast super fans to hear episodes early from a selection of more than 30 podcasts, produced by the most popular podcast creators.  Participating shows will debut their early releases throughout the initial run of the program, concluding December 31st.”…..Entercom sports talk WFNZ, Charlotte “The Fan” and the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets renew their partnership for the station to serve as the flagship for the team’s play-by-play.  Entercom Charlotte market manager Matt Hanlon says, “The Hornets are an outstanding organization in a great sports town. It makes so much sense for WFNZ to be the flagship station for the Hornets’ radio network.”

TalkersRadio Marks its Fourth Anniversary.  This Fall marks the fourth anniversary of the launch of TALKERS magazine’s experimental platform, TalkersRadio.  The station serves as both a workshop and industry showcase for new ideas in talk programing.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes it as “a vehicle for broadcasters to try out new concepts for talk shows, both long and short form, that might not otherwise have an opportunity to be exposed to industry decision-makers, as well as real listeners, at this moment in time.”  Commenting on the milestone, TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein states, “This has been one of the most exciting projects in which I’ve ever been involved as a programmer and manager.  As we begin our fifth year, I am pleased to say we have a fascinating line-up of shows and talent with more in the pipeline about to debut.”  Bernstein adds, “The system at TalkersRadio keeps shows up and running for as short or long a time as they need development or receive enough feedback to know what their next steps should be.  We’ve had some major properties get their start in this ‘experimental theater.’  For example, ‘American Family Farmer’ hosted by noted talk host Doug Stephan began on TalkersRadio as a laboratory project in which Doug – an independent farmer in addition to being a talk host – created a new forum in which he could act as an advocate for the beleaguered independent, small farmers across America.  Today, the show is a terrestrial radio weekend smash heard on about 150 stations around the country.”  The late Alan Colmes of FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel was working on a project titled “Healed Planet” – an exploration into the human consciousness movement and significant departure from his usual news/talk style – that was about to find a home on terrestrial radio at the time of his unexpected passing. (“Healed Planet” is still available for listening in the TalkersRadio archive section.)  The husband/wife chat show “Brent & Meg” (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) found a home on terrestrial radio shortly after launching on TalkersRadio when it was picked up by WPG, Atlantic City and GCN.   Current shows include “London Calling” – a weekly magazine hour hosted by internationally-known British broadcaster Graham Mack connecting popular culture in Great Britain and the United States that has developed a worldwide audience.  Veteran radio and TV star Claire Carter is heard discussing a variety of eclectic issues ranging from politics to health to changing cultural patterns in her feature called, “Good For You Radio.”  This week, she kicks off a new series of short form commentaries with a powerful warning about national security titled, “The Importance of Protecting the Grid.”  The aforementioned Meg McDonald has a new short form feature in which she discusses her observations of the common “everyday” situations of life titled “MEG!”  Michael Harrison describes McDonald as a female version of the late Andy Rooney.  This week also marks the debut of “The Animals’ Voice” hosted by animal rights activist and award-winning Voice of America and NPR news reporter, Lori Lundin.  World-renowned record producer Robbie Stevens is set to launch his new radio show titled “I Don’t Do Radio” in October.  For more information about TalkersRadio contact David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.

Renewed ObamaCare Repeal Move, Trump’s UN Speech, Hillary Clinton Book/Election Challenge, California Sanctuary State Bill, Climate Change Debate, Hurricane Maria Threatens Caribbean, Georgia Tech Student Killed/Protests, Rolling Stone for Sale, Toys ‘R’ Us Files Bankruptcy, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18).  The GOP revives its move to repeal and replace ObamaCare with the Cassidy-Graham Plan; anticipation of President Trump’s Tuesday address before the UN General Assembly; Hillary Clinton’s book tour supporting What Happened and her statement she’d consider challenging the election results; California’s legislature passes bill making California a sanctuary state; the renewed debate over climate change; Hurricane Maria hits the Caribbean and threatens Puerto Rico; the shooting death of a Georgia Tech student and the resulting protests; iconic magazine Rolling Stone is up for sale; retailer Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy protection; the Major League Baseball playoff push, and the weekend’s NFL 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.  On-air pro Chris Randolph is named afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s country WFMS, Indianapolis, effective October 2.  Randolph comes to WFMS from his recent position with Alpha Media hosting morning drive at hot AC WXMA, Louisville.  He’d also served with iHeartMedia at crosstown WMXL, Louisville.  WFMS program director Stephen Giuttari comments, “We’re very excited to have Chris join the team here in Indy. He’s one of the top talents in our industry and I’m confident that he will be a great addition to our team at WFMS and that ‘Indy Country’ listeners will love him!”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Sound Management, LLC has sold three signals to Artistic Media Partners for $3.4 million.  The Indiana stations are: CHR WNDV, South Bend; rock WYXX, Goshen; and 80s-pop WYET, New Carlisle (102.3fm, New Carlisle)…..In Atlanta, morning show personality C.J. Lusk has exited Cumulus Media’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5” where he’d been part of the “Cadillac Jack and Ali Mac Morning Show.”…..Rowdy Yates has left E.W. Scripps’ country KVOO, Tulsa where he co-hosted the morning drive show with Sunny Leigh…..iHeartMedia’s alternative WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” is releasing volume nine of its “Radio 104.5 Studio Sessions” albums, sponsored by Blue Moon.  The annual benefit album features the best live-recorded studio sessions from Radio 104.5’s Performance Theater.  The project will benefit Delaware Valley hunger relief organization Philabundance.  Artists on this year’s CD include: Vance Joy, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Weezer, AWOLNATION, alt-J, Kaleo, Grouplove and more.

Radio One Sues Former Jock and Twitter; Alleges Hijacking of Twitter Account.  In a case filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia, Radio One is suing former WCDX, Richmond “iPower 92.1” air personality Amir Shabazz, alleging that he, immediately after being let go from the station, illegally used its @iPowerRichmond Twitter handle to promote his own business ventures, Tweeted pornographic images, and changed passwords.  Saying that the Twitter account is a valuable business tool for the station – by some standards worth $2.50 for each follower – it values the account as being worth more than $31,000 per month.  The complaint says Shabazz, who went by the air name Henny Hardaway, is taking these actions willfully and maliciously.  It’s suing Twitter, alleging that the company has taken no action to stop Shabazz.  Radio One is asking the court to stop Shabazz from “squatting” on the @iPowerRichmond account and is seeking unspecified damages, plus attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Monday, September 18, 2017

| September 18, 2017

Cramer Says Market Is Wrong About Entercom-CBS Merger.  Markets and investment expert Jim Cramer – a former radio talk show host himself – said on his “Mad Money” program on CNBC that the market may be wrong about its ho-hum attitude toward the EntercomCBS RADIO merger.  About the post-merger Entercom he says, “They’ll be the #1 creator of local audio content in America.  More important, they’ll also have a gigantic sports business, broadcasting games from 45 professional teams [and] numerous college teams.”  He also noted that the new Entercom will become the second-largest radio company by revenue with the best balance sheet in the radio biz.  The CNBC.com story says Cramer believes that Entercom “will also create a bustling live events business with some 4,500 live events a year.  Cramer says This alone should make the stock a strong play on the rise of the experiential economy, one of his favorite trends.”  Read the whole story here.

Not So Fast! Leslie Marshall Show to Stay on AM/FM Radio.  Last week’s report from WYM Media Management that progressive media personality Leslie Marshall would be ending her eponymous AM/FM syndication efforts and focus on Internet broadcasting of her radio program was premature.  WYM tells TALKERS magazine that they “were able to work out an agreement” with new partner Progressive Voices to feed the program to Marshall’s terrestrial radio affiliates. Progressive Voices will air the show live weekdays from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET beginning October 2 and will continue building relationships with terrestrial radio partners.

Herskovitz: Light in the Darkness.  Talk radio sales pro Al Herskovitz writes today about his experience in his Florida home dealing with Hurricane Irma.  He points to the importance of radio during emergencies such as catastrophic weather.  His story – and so many others like it – backs up what a lot of Americas are saying as they ask smartphone manufacturers – especially Apple – to turn on the FM chip in smartphones.  Read Herskovitz’s piece here.

TALKERS News Notes.  A new content partnership between NPR and iHeartRadio brings more than 30 of the former’s podcasts to the iHeartRadio digital platform.  iHeartRadio says that it has seen a 60% uptick in listenership from its more than 100 million registered users.  They are now able to access podcasts including: “Up First,” “Fresh Air,” “Invisibilia,” “Planet Money,” “How I Built This” and more.  The addition of the NPR shows means iHeartRadio now offers more than 9,000 shows across 19 different categories…..FOX News Radio announces the premiere of the new podcast “Children of Song.”  It is a new show hosted by music author and historian Robert K. Oermann and former New York Times theatre critic Charles Isherwood.  Each week, “Children of Song” features interviews with artists who were exposed to the music business through their famous parents, as well as performers who began playing music at an early age. The artists share their backstories and the inspiration behind many of their biggest hits, as well as sing their most memorable songs that highlight those remarkable journeys.  Guests featured on the show include: Vince and Jenny Gill, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, the Orbison boys, Kristin Chenoweth, David Cassidy, Neil Sedaka, Steve Cropper, Felix Cavaliere, and many more.

St. Louis Protest Violence, California Sanctuary State Bill, Irma and Harvey Aftermath/Climate Change Debate, North Korea Sanctions/Trump at UN, Harvard-Chelsea Manning Controversy, Emmy Awards, MLB Playoff Push, College Football, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The arrest of more than 80 after three days of protests in St. Louis after the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley; California’s move to pass a bill making it a “sanctuary state”; the social and political effects of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and the related debate over man-made climate change; the sanctions levied against North Korea, Kim Jong Un’s threats against the U.S., and President Trump’s appearance at the UN this week; criticism of Harvard University for naming Chelsea Manning a visiting fellow; Sunday evening’s politically laden Emmy Awards show; the MLB’s playoff push; the weekend’s college football games; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

BFoA Golf Tourney Raises $250,000.  Last week’s Celebrity Golf Tournament benefitting the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $250,000 to help broadcasters in need.  This year, the annual fundraiser took place at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason states, “The funds come at a time when more broadcasters than ever are in need of emergency assistance.  Our colleagues braved dangerous winds and rain from these massive hurricanes to remain on the air, broadcasting vital, life-saving news and information to their communities.  It is up to us to help these dedicated broadcasters now, in their time of need.”

Renee Brady Passes at 68.  Media figure Renee Brady, wife of radio industry pro Bill Brady (currently CEO of Futures & Options, Inc.) died recently at age 68 after a battle with cancer.  Renee Brady was an “acclaimed astrologer with an impressive media career.  She hosted radio programs in the New York, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach markets and appeared on hundreds of radio programs across the country.  Her work would also take her to London and the U.K. where she was seen on the nationwide Channel 4 Network and heard on BBC Radio.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Minneapolis radio personality Tom Barnard is being sued by the estate of his late attorney, Ron Rosenbaum.  The Ron Rosenbaum Trust – led by his widow Lucy Quinlivan – alleges that Barnard is in violation of his contract with Rosenbaum that requires him to pay five percent of his salary to Rosenbaum through the duration of the contract, which is the end of 2019.  Rosenbaum died in May of 2016.  Barnard made payments to Rosenbaum, and then the Trust, from January 2015 through February of 2017 for Rosenbaum’s work negotiating Barnard’s current contract with rock KQRS.  KSTP-TV reports that Barnard attorney Chris Madel says, “Tom Barnard has done so many charitable things, not only for the Rosenbaum family but for others in the community.  To me, this is sad someone else is trying to take advantage of him like this.”…..Radio management pro Lori Heerden joins Alpha Media’s San Jose duo as market manager.  She’ll oversee classic hits KBAY “Bay FM 94.5” and hot AC KEZR “Mix 106.”  During her career, Heerden has served with CBS RADIO, Beasley Media Group, Americom, and EZ Communications…..KRRL, Los Angeles “REAL 92.3” announces the lineup for its annual “The REAL Show” hip hop concert event.  It takes places at The Forum on November 18 and performers will include: J. Cole, French Montana, Yo Gotti, Cardi B, Jessie Reyez, Zoey Dollaz and Cozz, with a special performance from Young California…..Connoisseur Media Connecticut launches alternative rock “Mod 102.3” on FM translator W272DO, fed by WPLR’s HD2 channel.  Connoisseur Connecticut operations manager Keith Dakin is programming the station.  The company says it made the decision to bring current alternative music to the signal after an extensive music study for sister stations in the New Haven market.  The study showed a clear void for the format, making it a natural fit to launch “Mod” on 102.3.  Station personalities include Ed Oliveira and Christian TurnquistTristan Haller is handling the marketing for “Mod.”

PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHR.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the fourth and final analysis of radio station performances based on data from the August 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, focusing on rhythmic CHR.  Kinosian reports that “only about three of every 10 rhythmic CHR panelists are up July 2017 to August 2017 (29%, 6+), while more than half (55%) are down; the remaining 16% of the sample is flat.”  He adds that comparisons of August 2016 to August 2017 pretty much mirror the month to month changes; 60% of rhythmic CHR stations in the sample are down year-over-year.  Entercom’s WJMH, Greensboro is the rhythmic CHR station that ranks highest in its respective market, ranking #3 in August.  See the whole report here.