Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Bubba the Love Sponge Countersues Nielsen and Files Third Party Complaints Against Cox Media and WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta. The battle between Florida-based, syndicated morning talk host Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a. Bubba Clem, and Nielsen Audio just got more complicated after Bubba’s attorneys filed a countersuit against Nielsen Audio and fresh complaints against Cox Media Group and WHPT, Tampa morning personality Mike Calta. As industry watchers are aware, Nielsen is suing Bubba claiming that his attempts to manipulate the PPM ratings in the Tampa market have caused damages to its business. During the discovery phase of this case, Bubba’s lawyers have requested documentation and Nielsen responded by ultimately providing some 71,000 pages, but not in a manner deemed timely by Bubba’s team. In fact, they state that their work in the discovery phase has been “seriously delayed as a result of Plaintiff’s untimely production of discovery materials and broad-brush approach to making confidentiality designations. Moreover, Defendants’ use of the discovery materials has been severely limited by the terms of the Protective Order. As a result, on November 18, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Amend Case Management and Scheduling Order to extend the discovery cut-off from December 9 to January 9, 2016. The Court entered an Order granting Defendants’ motion on November 29, 2016.” If Nielsen’s tactics were intended to cause Bubba to settle the matter, it didn’t work. He’s doubling down with the aforementioned countersuit and new complaints against Nielsen, Cox and Calta for: Defamation (Counts I and II), Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships (Counts III and IV), Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count V), and Civil Conspiracy (Count VI). Bubba’s lawyers say their counterclaims and third-party claims “are based on various documents that were produced by Plaintiff in response to Defendants’ discovery requests.” Here’s the breakdown according to the court filing: “In early 2015, Plaintiff entered into a conspiracy with Cox (one of Nielsen’s largest subscribers) to, among other things: (i) utilize Nielsen’s monopoly power over the audience measurement and ratings for the Tampa Market to prevent Defendants from broadcasting their morning radio show on WBRN in competition with WHPT; (ii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ contractual relationships with Beasley Media Group and their other affiliates; (iii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ current and prospective business relationships with WBRN’s advertisers and US-based syndication partners; (iv) improperly manipulate Nielsen’s ratings for the Tampa Market to simultaneously increase WHPT’s market share to the benefit of Cox, while decreasing the share of WBRN to the detriment of Beasley, Clem and BRN; (v) publish knowingly false, defamatory allegations of ratings distortion activities against Defendants in an effort to conceal the fraudulent conduct of Nielsen’s employees with respect to the data included in Nielsen’s monthly ratings reports; (vi) unfairly apply Nielsen’s rules and impose unprecedented sanctions pressure on Beasley to bring about the termination of its contract with BRN and Clem; and (vii) engage in unfair methods of competition, anticompetitive behavior, and various unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair acts or practices in violation of Chapter 501, Florida Statutes, in order to further the interests of a large Nielsen subscriber over those of a smaller subscriber. As a result of Nielsen, Cox, and Calta’s conduct, and the conduct of those conspiring with them, Defendants have incurred several million dollars in damages.” As noted, much of Bubba’s evidence for the complaints comes from Nielsen documents but it is heavily redacted to protect Nielsen’s proprietary PPM information. Regarding the complaint against Mike Calta, Clem’s lawyers allege Calta defamed him during an on-air phone conversation in which he made the following false statements: that Clem was cheating Nielsen’s ratings system; that Clem had control over PPMs; that Clem had PPMs on watch winders in a shed and/or a shipping container; that Clem had purchased a PPM from his dentist’s nurse; and that after Clem left WHPT, he stopped using the PPMs he allegedly had control over to benefit WHPT, causing its ratings to fall. Bubba also alleges that Cox conspired with Nielsen for the latter to de-list heavy listeners to Bubba’s WBRN show and that Cox and Nielsen concocted a “sting operation” to entrap Bubba into engaging into ratings manipulation. The complaint also states that “Nielsen admits that none of the PPM data obtained from any PPM panelist alleged to have engaged in ratings tampering activities with Clem was ever included in any of its monthly ratings reports and, therefore, it was unnecessary for Nielsen to reprocess or reissue any of its monthly ratings reports as a result of the ratings tampering activities allegedly engaged in by Clem. Nevertheless, at the urging of Cox, Nielsen imposed its most severe response to the alleged ratings distortion activity by delisting Beasley’s WBRN for the month of September 2015.” Neither Nielsen, Cox or Calta have commented publicly on the suit.
WEEI, Boston Promotes Alex Reimer to ‘Brand Personality.’ Sports media personality Alex Reimer has been part of the “third-chair rotation” for the “Kirk and Callahan Morning Show” on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston since the fall. Now, the company announces that he’s coming aboard full time as a brand personality. Calling it a “move designed to augment both the on-air and online components of its media ecosystem,” Reimer will join the WEEI.com staff “creating columns, blogs, and podcasts” while continuing his rotating co-host position on the morning show. The Boston University grad has previously served with Forbes, The Boston Herald and SB Nation. WEEI program director Joe Zarbano comments, “Since joining the Kirk and Callahan third-chair rotation last fall, Alex has done a terrific job delivering opinionated and entertaining sports talk. I’m excited that WEEI.com will now be an outlet for Alex’s insightful writing to our massive online audience.”
WVLK, Lexington Names ‘Kruser’ Program Director. Eighteen-year WVLK-AM, Lexington air personality Dave “Kruser” Krusenklaus is appointed program director at the Cumulus Media news/talk station. As part of the change, Krusenklaus will move from his midday talk show slot to the afternoon drive daypart. Current station PD Scott Johnson transitions to the news director role for WVLK and the Cumulus Lexington cluster. Prior to his work as a talk host at WVLK, “Kruser” worked as a programmer and air talent in both the rock and classic hits formats. Cumulus Media Lexington vice president and market manager Scott Frazier states, “I look forward to ‘Kruser’ delivering the same powerful analysis and spirited attitude he has brought as an on-air personality to programming central Kentucky’s heritage news/talker, 590 WVLK!”
Trump Inauguration Protests, Trump NATO and EU Comments, Russian Hacking Allegations, World Economic Forum, GOP ObamaCare Plan, Istanbul Terror Suspect Caught, Wife of Orlando Terrorist Arrested, Eight Billionaires Statistic, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16). The planned protests for Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the boycott by numerous Democratic Members of Congress, and security plans; controversy over Trump’s comments about NATO being obsolete and his prediction about the end of the European Union; the allegations that Russia hacked the DNC emails in an attempt to influence the U.S. election; the World Economic Forum taking place at Davos, Switzerland; the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; the capture and confession of the man responsible for the deadly terror attack in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve; authorities arrest Noor Salman, wife of Orlando club shooter Omar Mateen; the report that eight of the world’s richest people hold more wealth than half of the rest of the world; and the weekend’s NFL playoff games were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WHAT ARE WORDS FOR? Michael Harrison Chats with the Editor-at-Large of Merriam-Webster. The organic English language has always evolved but the changes have been speeding up due to the influences of the digital era. In this week’s fascinating installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out,” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison talks with Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large of Merriam-Webster, about the rapidly accelerating evolution of words and the English language. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is the second-best-selling book (right behind the Holy Bible) during the past century-and-a-half of American history. The conversation includes a discussion of the famed publisher’s successful transition from being a print-based company fueled by book sales to a gigantic web-based digital advertising-based enterprise. To listen to this illuminating podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cooke: Recalibrating Talk for the Trump Era. Consultant Holland Cooke writes today with thoughts about what talk radio can do to take advantage of the Trump era. Cooke says that as social media flourishes, talk hosts should take that to mean that listeners expect to be heard and he adds that “the smartest thing talkers can do now is listen.” Read more here.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” show from Westwood One is being simulcast by C-SPAN during the Wednesday (1/18) broadcast from 1:00 am to 6:00 am ET. The full live show plus break banter with hosts Eric Harley and Greg McNamara will be simulcast by the cable news network…..“The Forbes Interview” podcast debuts today on the “Forbes on PodcastOne” network. The show is the first podcast to be developed jointly between Forbes and PodcastOne and delves into the minds of the most significant leaders of today – the people who have been, or easily could be, on the coveted cover of Forbes magazine. The first interview by Forbes senior editor Steve Bertoni is with podcast superstar Adam Carolla.
‘KISS FM’ Chicago’s Angi Taylor Joins ‘The Rendezvous.’ Chicago radio personality Angi Taylor is signed up for double duty as Premiere Networks announces she’ll partner up with Simon Marcel as the new co-host of the syndicator’s evening show “The Rendezvous.” Taylor will continue her role at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKSC “KISS FM” where she’s one half of the “Fred + Angi” morning show. “The Rendezvous” is described as “the nightly radio program featuring insightful love and relationship advice, coupled with radio station music playlists.” Taylor says, “I couldn’t be more excited to host ‘The Rendezvous’ along with the French captain of romance, Simon Marcel! I’m so thankful for everyone at Premiere Networks for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. Hosting a syndicated show is a dream come true, and I can’t wait to share the love, romance, and FUN with a national audience!”
Hubbard Re-Ups Eric & Kathy at WTMX, Chicago. Chicago morning show stars Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart sign a multi-year contract extension with Hubbard Radio to continue hosting The Eric & Kathy Morning Show on WTMX “101.9fm THE MIX.” The station says that over the past 20 years the show “has been a consistent market leader, ranking number one among advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old Adults, for most of their tenure at the station.” Hubbard Radio president and chief operating officer Drew Horowitz comments, “I’m thrilled to have the most successful morning show team in Chicago radio history continuing their run on ‘THE MIX’ and remaining an integral part of Hubbard Radio.”
iHeartMedia Announces Lineup for Fourth iHeartCountry Festival. The iHeartCountry Festival is coming back to Austin this spring. iHeartMedia announces the big country show will again take place at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday, May 6. The lineup will feature acts including: Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Rascal Flatts, Old Dominion, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini and The Raging Idiots, plus more to be announced. iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes comments, “The iHeartCountry Festival has become an annual family reunion for the biggest stars in country music. These artists grew up together and you can truly feel their deep friendships when they join each other on stage.”
Report: Laura Ingraham Considering Run for Virginia Senate Seat. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, talk show host – and Trump adviser – Laura Ingraham is seriously debating whether to throw her hat into the ring for a run for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat currently held by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, Tim Kaine. The Examiner’s Paul Bedard writes that “several party insiders have approached the media giant to run and that she is considering it. In preparation for a bid, her business partner, Peter Anthony, has begun buying website domains for Ingraham to use should she decide to move forward. It includes: ingrahamsenate.net, ingrahamsenate.com, ingrahamforvirginia.com and ingraham2018.com.” The story also notes that Virginia U.S. Representatives Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat – both Republicans – are considering challenging Kaine. See the Examiner story here.
iHeartMedia Execs Nab Big Bonuses. These bonuses – approved last Tuesday by the iHeartMedia board of directors – are retention bonuses. Here’s what the board approved: chairman and CEO Bob Pittman gets $1.75 million; COO and CFO Rich Bressler gets the same; and SVP of corporate finance Steven Macri is awarded $750,000. Because they are retention bonuses, the three must remain employed by the company for two years after the effective date of January 12, 2017 or they must repay 100% of the after-tax value of the bonus. If either is terminated without cause, leaves for a “good reason,” or due to death or disability before the first anniversary of the effective date, they must pay back 50% of the after-tax value. Additionally, the board of directors approved the 2017 Key Employee Incentive Plan in which Pittman and Bressler can earn bonuses of up to $7,000,000 and $3,000,000 respectively during the year for hitting quarterly performance goals set by the compensation committee of the board of directors.
Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner Pockets $1 Million-plus Bonus. Unlike the retention bonuses paid to iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and others (see story above), this payment to Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner is a “one-time discretionary cash incentive compensation award” of $1,087,500 for “her exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.” The board of directors notes that this award is in lieu of any award she may have received under its annual incentive plan for 2016.
Charlie Sykes to Take Part in Public Radio Show. The Milwaukee radio icon retired from E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of 2016 after a 23-year career with the news/talk station. Now, Charlie Sykes is part of a new, national call-in talk show being produced in what is a cooperative venture by WNYC, New York, Minnesota Public Radio and The Economist. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes will be one of four co-hosts of the program titled, “Indivisible.” The other hosts are: WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, The Nation features editor Kai Wright, and MPR’s personality Kerri Miller. Sykes will not be heard on the radio in his home market because his non-compete prevents local pubcaster WUWM from airing the show. Under the terms of Sykes’ deal with WTMJ, any radio show on which Sykes appears during the term of the non-compete must air on WTMJ. The station asked to air the new show but NPR is not giving consent.
Will Talk Show Hosts Get Access to Trump Press Conferences? On Sunday (1/15), Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer told FOX News that the president-elect is considering moving press briefings to a larger location due to “off-the-charts” interest in the new administration. Spicer said, “There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media, but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing. It’s more democratic.” The Brady press room (pictured) in the West Wing only holds 49 people. However, the White House Correspondents’ Association is concerned about the move, in part because it fears the media could be moved from the press work space behind the Brady press room, according to a statement from WHCA president Jeff Mason. He says that space is important because it is close to West Wing staffers whom the press rely on for news. Spicer says he’ll work with the WHCA on any changes.
Trump Inauguration Protests, ObamaCare Replacement Plans, U.S.-Russia Relations, Orlando Cop Killer Search, Davos Economic Forum, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ringling Brothers Circus to Close, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The planned protests and Democratic members of Congress planning to skip Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Friday; the GOP’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act; the relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the United States with Trump set to take office; the search for the man police believe killed Orlando police officer Debra Clayton; this week’s meeting of world leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland; today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; Ringling Brothers’ decision to shutter the 146-year-old circus; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates to its roster, including: WNIX-AM/FM, Greeneville, Mississippi; KLKS-FM, Brainerd, Minnesota; KHMO-AM, Hannibal, Missouri; and WBNW, Concord/Boston…..Teenage conservative talk show host Caiden Cowger announces his show is added to the program schedule at Kol Ami Havurah-owned WDUQ-LPFM, Benwood, West Virginia “Beautiful Music 99.1.” This is the fourth affiliate station for Cowger’s program. The one-hour show airs evenings at 9:00 pm…..In the San Antonio market, Cox Media Group drops the sports talk programming on KONO-AM after three years as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate and is now airing an oldies format.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, air personality Sam Bass moves from middays to weekends on hot AC KYXY for personal reasons. Moving into his slot on the CBS RADIO station is Joe Rosati, who slides over from sister CHR KEGY “Energy 103.7.” Program director Chris Patyk promotes evening personality Alexia Gloria to middays on KEGY to fill Rosati’s old slot…..There are a few promotions to report at the Nashville operations of Midwest Communications. First, Barbara Bridges – currently adult contemporary WJXA brand manager – is upped to operations manager for the entire cluster. Second, afternoon drive host Joe Breezy is adding brand manager duties to his work at CHR WNFN “i106.7.” Finally, WNFN midday personality Butter Harper takes on assistant brand manager responsibilities for the station…..Chad Valentine exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100” as the result of his position being eliminated. He was assistant program director and music director there…..Alexa Smith exits her role as program director at Sierra H Broadcasting’s hip hop KNRJ, Cordes Lakes, Arizona and rhythmic oldies KAJM, Camp Verde, Arizona after three months in the position. Prior to that, she’d been APD at CBS RADIO’s rhythmic AC KTWV, Los Angeles “94.7 The Wave.”
Report: ESPN to Break Up ‘Mike & Mike.’ According to a report in SI.com by Richard Deitsch – and picked up by numerous other news outlets – ESPN is moving ahead with plans to move Mike Greenberg from the ESPN Radio morning show he’s co-hosted with Mike Golic since 1998 and place him at the helm of the new morning show on cable TV’s ESPN. If true, what the sports giant does with the longtime – and reportedly revenue-producing – morning show includes a couple of options. Deitsch’s piece speculates that the odds-on candidate to move to mornings is current ESPN personality Trey Wingo. He could partner with Golic or – if Golic is not retained – head up a new morning show. Golic’s son, Mike Golic Jr., is a staffer with ESPN and it’s being reported that Golic Jr. could join a re-tooled version of the morning program. Deitsch reports that it’s not known when these moves will happen but his sources say the changes will happen sooner rather than later. Read the SI.com piece here.
WYM Media to Syndicate Devil’s Advocates Radio. The Devil’s Advocates Radio Show – co-hosted by Dominic Salvia and Mike Crute formerly aired on iHeartRadio’s progressive talk WXXM, Madison “Mic 92.1” prior to the station’s format flip late last year. Now, the issues talk show is going into national syndication via WYM Media with distribution by Westwood One. WYM says the show is launching on 16 affiliates in the Northeastern, Midwest, West, and Southwestern, as well as on the Armed Forces Radio Network. It airs live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. WYM adds, “The Devil’s will take their show back on the road, broadcasting events and protests from Donald Trump’s Inauguration week in Washington D.C. January 18-20. Additionally, the Devil’s will provide an anchored livestream from the Women’s March on Washington, on Saturday January 21.” The Devil’s Advocates is an independent production of DC Communication, LLC, based in Wisconsin.
Four New Shows to Launch on ‘Forbes on PodcastOne.’ Building on the recent partnership with the Norm Pattiz-founded digital platform PodcastOne, Forbes Media is preparing to debut four new podcasts on the “Forbes on PodcastOne” network. The new shows are: “The Forbes Interview,” “Forbes Under 30,” “Forbes Lists” and “Forbes Sports Money,” and will launch this month and next. Forbes Media chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin says, “Our focus this year is about taking Forbes content off domain and monetizing those experiences. Podcasts represent yet another avenue for us to diversify our revenue streams.” PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Forbes’ initial conversation podcast will feature Adam Carolla, the most downloaded podcaster of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Adam will discuss his own personal journey, the building of Carolla Digital, and a lot of other extremely interesting things from questions put forth by ‘The Forbes Interview’ podcast host, Steve Bertoni. Future shows will include leaders from business, technology, entertainment and sports – the kinds of people that you would likely see on the cover of Forbes. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership.”
Ryan Wrecker Exits WOWO, Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne’s Federated Media makes changes in the management structure at heritage news/talk WOWO and program director Ryan Wrecker exits after more than four years at the programming helm. During his time at WOWO, Wrecker was instrumental in creating the station’s podcast platform. WOWO won a Marconi Award from the National Association of Broadcasters in 2014.
Trump Press Conference Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 9-13, 2017. President-Elect Donald Trump’s first press conference after winning the November election was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the allegations of Russia’s hacking the DNC emails tied with the Trump ‘dossier’ purported to detail his bizarre sexual behavior while visiting Moscow. Coming in at #3 was the Trump cabinet nominee hearings, followed by the Justice Department’s announcement it would investigate its own and the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server matter at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WNDB, Daytona Beach’s Marc Bernier Hosts FOX News’ Brett Baier at Embry-Riddle. Pictured above are FOX News Channel personality Brett Baier (left) and WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) at the more recent installment of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Speaker Series. Bernier serves as the director for the series. At the event, Baier conducted his nightly “Fox Report” from the school’s campus before sitting down for a town hall-style interview with Bernier.
Michael Harrison and Sid Rosenberg Talk About Sports, News/Talk, Radio, Personal Demons, Redemption and Life. In a powerfully candid conversation, WABC, New York mid-morning co-host Sid Rosenberg is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” For the past year, Rosenberg has been successfully co-hosting the station’s 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program with his old friend, Don Imus show executive producer, Bernard McGuirk. The daily news/talk program, “The Bernie and Sid Show,” has done so well in attracting an audience and creating positive buzz in its first 11 months that WABC has just expanded it by an hour to a 9:00 am start. Rosenberg came up through the ranks of NYC and South Florida sports talk radio, recently making the transition to news/talk – although he still serves as a sports commentator on the Imus show that precedes the mid-morning program. Rosenberg has a colorful track record of landing big jobs based on his sheer talent and enthusiasm…and then losing them due to highly-publicized issues he’s faced battling personal demons. It seems that Rosenberg has gained control over these problems and as Harrison puts it, “is on a healthy track to redemption and success.” Harrison continues, “Sid Rosenberg is one of the most authentic, vibrant and ‘human’ radio personalities on the air today. He exudes infectious energy and captures the very essence of being a New Yorker – thus contributing greatly to WABC’s local flavor. What a great radio story! I’m rooting for him to stay on his present path and go all the way.” To listen to the entire podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Legendary Louisville Talk Host Milton Metz Dies at 95. The Louisville Courier-Journal writes in its obituary for Milton Metz that, according to former WHAS colleague Wayne Perkey, Metz was “a role model and father figure for a younger generation of broadcasters” that included himself, Terry Meiners, and Jack Fox. Metz began his lengthy career on WHAS in 1959 and the “Juniper 5-2385” show (named after the phone number) ran until 1993. His son, Perry Metz, is quoted saying, “If civility is old-fashioned, you could say he was old-fashioned.” Read the Courier-Journal obit here.
Odds & Sods. In the Hickory, North Carolina market, Long Communications adds an FM translator to the signal of news/talk WHKY. The station’s programming is now also heard on W272DU at 102.3 FM…..SiriusXM is announcing that in the lead-up to next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, it will broadcast a special series titled, “The Road to CPAC 2017” with hosts Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and his wife Mercedes Schlapp, columnist and FOX News contributor on its Patriot Channel. The inaugural show will feature the Schlapps in conversation with Steve Bannon, senior counselor to President-elect Trump and former host of “Breitbart News Daily” on SiriusXM.
Cool SoCal Talk Gig. This position is in Los Angeles. Conservative SoCal fast growing blowtorch KRLA and KTIE are looking for ‘Morning Answer’ replacement for exiting Ben Shapiro. Must be a conservative for this particular slot on the morning show. Knowledge of politics/news/events required. Talk radio experience preferred but not required. Must be able to peacefully co-exist with other ‘Morning Answer’ show members. If you’re not interested in being part of a team environment, please look elsewhere. The “Morning Answer” focuses on today’s highest interest news and events, and the hosts opinions and commentary. It’s a fast-paced and generally upbeat take on mornings in Los Angeles. Now’s a great time for conservative radio…help us ride the wave and reflect the sentiment that ushered in unprecedented political change. Materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org. EOE.
‘Bootleg Kev’ Named Night Jock at ‘LIVE 101.5’ in Phoenix. Air personality Kevin Ratliff, a.k.a. “Bootleg Kev,” is named the new evening personality on CBS RADIO’s Phoenix CHR KALV “LIVE 101.5.” Phoenix vice president of programming Tim Richards states, “Kev is a radio vet and an incredible personality who brings a breadth of experience to ‘LIVE 101.5.’ He is a hometown guy who was born and raised in Phoenix – he knows the market and what our listeners want. We are excited to have him join the ‘LIVE 101.5’ family.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Hibbing, Minnesota country outlet KGPZ – owned by Midwest Communications – adopts the Envision Networks and Kroeger Media classic country format “DUKE FM” and takes on the brand “96.1 DUKE FM.”…..In San Diego, 23-year “Jeff & The Showgram” staffer Randy Hoag announces via Facebook that he’s been let go by the CBS RADIO hot AC KYXY…..Triple A KMMS, Bozeman, Montana brand manager Michelle Wolfe announces she’s leaving the Townsquare Media station to take time off from her career to pursue personal goals…..Cumulus Media Charleston, South Carolina parts ways with programmer Terry Base, who’s been with the company for the past 19 years. He served as PD for hip hop WWWZ “93Jamz,” and urban adult contemporary WMGL “Magic 107.3.”
Ed Sheeran Visits with CBS RADIO New York. Pictured above with artist Ed Sheeran (right) is CBS RADIO SVP of programming Jim Ryan (left). Sheeran appeared at CBS RADIO New York’s Adorama Live Theatre to chat WNEW-FM and WBMP-FM hosts about his new album, Divide. Sheeran spoke with “Fresh 102.7” morning show hosts Jeffrey Jameson and Karen Carson and “92.3 AMP Radio” personalities Shoboy and Nina. Photo: CBS RADIO New York.
WSCR, Chicago Unveils New Lineup; Windy City Native Parkins Comes Back from KCSP, Kansas City. The recent retirement of original “Score” personality Terry Boers led industry watchers to expect at least an addition to the staff and that’s what program director Mitch Rosen is announcing. Chicago native and recent six-year KCSP, Kansas City sports talk host Danny Parkins is heading home to partner with Matt Spiegel to co-host the 9:00 am to 1:00 pm “Spiegel and Parkins” show. Current midday personality Jason Goff moves to the afternoon drive slot (1:00 pm to 6:00 pm) to partner with Dan Bernstein for the “Bernstein and Goff” show. The changes take effect next Tuesday (1/17). Rosen states, “The retirement of beloved ‘Score original’ Terry Boers after 25 years, coupled with the exciting achievements of the station over the last year, led us straight to Jason as the perfect match with Dan in afternoons. As a hometown native, Danny brings passion to middays, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear what he and Matt create together for our loyal listeners.” Goff first started with “The Score” in 2000 as a producer. He’s worked on air at CBS RADIO’s WZGC, Atlanta, as well as SiriusXM.
Suit Against Glenn Beck and Others By ‘Clock Boy’ Family Dismissed. The family of Ahmed Mohamed sued Glenn Beck, his company The Blaze, Center for Security Policy’s Jim Hanson, talk host Ben Shapiro and others for defamation in the aftermath of the then-13-year-old’s 2015 arrest. The boy had made a homemade electronic device in a small briefcase using parts from a clock and batteries that he brought to school to show his teacher. The teacher mistook it for a bomb and called authorities. He was initially charged with making a hoax bomb but charges were soon dropped. But the media attention to the case made it a viral story. Beck and other defendants opined and speculated about the case, including whether the incident was planned by Mohamed’s father in order to draw sympathy. Some defendants questioned that he’d built a clock at all and suggested what he made was something that looked like a small suitcase bomb. Regardless, under a Texas anti-SLAPP suit measure, a Texas judge dismissed the complaints against all except Shapiro, whose motion-to-dismiss hearing will take place on January 30. NBC News is reporting that the family intends to appeal the dismissals.
2017 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Open for Entries; TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Named to Advisory Committee. The 2017 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards is now open for entries. The awards program – now in its 35th year – honors “the World’s Best Radio Programs,” receiving entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from more than 30 countries around the world. NYF Radio Program Awards executive director Rose Anderson says, “From hard-hitting investigative journalism to breath-taking theater of the mind, radio today engages listeners as never before across a growing spectrum of genres and platforms. Storytelling, the power of the individual voice, and the immediacy of the medium – all testify to the universal language of radio. And so, every year we augment our categories not only to be in sync with the industry but in order to stay ahead of the curve as visionaries around the world raise the bar of what is possible.” Additional categories added this year to address the breadth of radio programming emerging in today’s marketplace include: Best Live News Special and Heroes Documentary. NYF also added two new podcast categories for Music and Personal Lives. This year New York Festivals Radio Awards adds two new members to the Advisory Board: TALKERS magazine editor and publisher Michael Harrison and SiriusXM VP/talk production & operations Todd Stack. NYF calls Harrison “one of America’s leading authorities on radio, communications, and public opinion as it is expressed in the media.” The Advisory Board is comprised of prominent international executives recognized as thought-leaders in the radio broadcasting industry. These individuals function as a sounding board for the competition’s executive director, offering suggestions for category updates and sharing ideas, trends, and other concerns that impact radio broadcasting. Their guidance insures that the competition is relevant and in step with the ever-changing radio industry. For information about submitting entries, click here.
Trump Press Conference, Russian Hacking Allegations/McCain Releases ‘Trump Dossier,’ Trump Business Separation Plan, Trump Cabinet Nominations Hearings, Obama Farewell Address, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). President-Elect Donald Trump’s first press conference since winning the White House; the allegations Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC emails and John McCain’s delivering the “Trump dossier” purportedly documenting bizarre sexual behavior by Trump while staying in Moscow to BuzzFeed; Donald Trump’s plan to put his business into a trust run by his sons in order to avoid conflicts of interest; the hearings of Trump cabinet nominees Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions; President Barack Obama’s Tuesday evening “Farewell Address”; the efforts by the GOP to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Medved’s New Book Cracks NYT Bestseller Top 10 in Religion Category. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved’s latest book, The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic (Crown Forum 2016), has cracked the top 10 in The New York Times Bestseller list in the religion, spirituality and faith category. The Salem Radio Network talk host’s book looks at important moments in the history of the United States and suggests that “at moments of crisis, when the odds against success seem overwhelming and disaster looks imminent, fate intervenes to provide deliverance and progress.” He writes that many notable leaders over the years have believed that the country’s good fortune came straight from the hand of God. Read more about the book here.
Talk Media Network Names Willis Damalt to Senior Affiliate Relations Post. Affiliate relations pro Willis Damalt joins talk radio programming syndicator Talk Media Network as senior affiliate relations representative. During his career, Damalt has served with the WOR Network as senior director of affiliate relations, at USRN, and SFX. Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “We’ve been on the lookout for the right person to join our fun, but focused team, and having Willis Damalt aboard at Talk Media Network is a great way to start the New Year. In the past 30 days, we’ve added 30 new show clearances, with Willis already contributing to our growth and providing great affiliate service.” Damalt will serve stations primarily in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Upper-Midwest and Southwest and affiliate relations director Ken Silverstein covers the rest of the country.
Odds & Sods. 77 WABC, New York is expanding the weekend “Always in Fashion” show featuring host and fashion business leader Mark Weber. The show, dedicated to business and fashion, has been airing Saturday evenings from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm for the past year. Beginning this Saturday (1/14), the program will now be broadcast Saturday evenings from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm and on Sunday afternoons from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Southern California journalist and award-winning public radio news host Alex Cohen will become KPCC-FM, Pasadena’s voice of “Morning Edition.” The native Angeleno is well known to KPCC listeners as co-host of “Take Two,” the station’s morning news magazine for the past four years…..Scripps announces that on this week’s “Cal Cast” podcast with Kentucky basketball head coach John Calipari, UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma will be the guest. Auriemma is on the verge of breaking his own record of consecutive wins with his UConn Lady Huskies. On January 10, Auriemma coached his team to its 90th consecutive win – tying the record his teams set in 2010. UConn faces Southern Methodist University on the road this Saturday (1/14), with a chance to notch a record-breaking 91st consecutive win…..Call for entry for the 26th annual Radio Mercury Awards is now open. Entries are being accepted for outstanding creative spots, campaigns and innovative radio work from advertising agencies, radio stations, production companies, colleges, universities, and advertisers. Chief judge Mark Gross, along with a soon-to-be-announced team of final round judges, will disburse over $87,000 in cash prizes including the $50,000 Best of Show prize. Winners will be announced at the 2017 Radio Mercury Awards event on June 1 in New York…..SiriusXM announces “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons is hosting a new, limited-run show on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM channel, Radio Andy. It’s titled “Jim Parsons Is Too Stupid for Politics” and will feature Parsons “breaking down today’s often confusing political climate, while exploring how U.S. citizens can become better participants in our government system.”
Debbie Mazella Named Program Director at AC WMGQ, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ten-year WMGQ staffer Debbie Mazella is promoted to program director for Beasley Media Group’s Central New Jersey adult contemporary outlet. Mazella has been assistant program director for the past nine years while serving as midday host at “Magic 98.3” – a duty she will continue in addition to her new PD responsibilities. Mazella states, “Ever since my childhood, I wanted to be involved in radio and I’m extremely grateful to the mentors who have influenced, encouraged and helped me on my career path. It’s even more exciting to know that I am the first female PD in Magic’s 40 year history!”
Dave & Mahoney Return to CBS RADIO’s KXTE, Las Vegas. Sin City alternative rock KXTE “X107.5” welcomes back morning personalities Dave & Mahoney, effective Monday, February 6. The duo was most recently hosting the morning daypart at the company’s KHMX, Houston “Mix 96-5.” They hosted the morning show on “X107.5” beginning in 2009, before leaving the market. KXTE program director Ross Mahoney says, “Dave & Mahoney live and breathe Las Vegas and are ingrained in the history and lifestyle of ‘X107.5.’ They know the music, the community and understand what the ‘X107.5’ brand means to the listeners. I couldn’t be more excited to have the boys come home and do what they do best – entertain Las Vegas!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, program director and afternoon personality Mike Halloran exits Local Media San Diego’s alternative XETRA “91X.” His bio has been scrubbed from the station website…..At Entercom’s hip hop KQKS, Denver, 17-year station personality Kendall B. exits the “KS1075” morning show…..John St. John is named operations manager for Midwest Communications’ Duluth, Minnesota station group that includes: country KTCO, classic country KDKE “102.5 Duke FM,” classic rock KQDS, adult contemporary KDAL-FM, news/talk KDAL-AM, news/talk WDSM-AM/W251CD and sports talk WDUL…..Beasley Media Group’s Detroit classic rocker WCSX is hosting the “Cold as Ice,” ice fishing tournament at Lake St. Clair Metropark on Saturday, January 28. Fishermen (and fisherwomen!) participating have the chance to win prizes for the top 10 catches. First place prize of $1,000 goes to the fisher who catches the heaviest perch! The fisher who catches the largest pike will win $500 cash and the one who catches the heaviest pan fish will win $250.
Memorial Set for Legendary KLOS, Los Angeles Personality Bob Coburn. A memorial service for Bob Coburn is set for Saturday, January 21 at Malibu Presbyterian Church in Malibu, California at 2:00 pm. The service will be followed by a reception at Ollo Restaurant in Malibu. If attending, you are asked to RSVP either via Rockline@gmail.com or by texting or calling 818-636-6160. Coburn died in December at age 68 after a battle with lung cancer. His weekly, syndicated “Rockline” show aired from 1981 through 2014.
Jim Bohannon and Westwood One Sign New Pact. The overnight Jim Bohannon show is heard on more than 250 affiliate stations across the country via Westwood One. Today, the company reports that it has signed Bohannon to a new multi-year contract to continue hosting the show beyond its current 33rd year. As part of this new deal, Westwood One is launching a new Jim Bohannon podcast and “Best of Bohannon” program, already slated to air on affiliates including: WLS-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Dallas; KXL-FM, Portland; WTMJ, Milwaukee; and more. Bohannon comments, “I’m delighted and honored to continue working with Westwood One. It’s especially gratifying now that the new year finds me reaching even more stations with the weekly ‘Best of Bohannon’ broadcast. Here’s to a fantastic 2017!” ON a note unrelated to the new contract, Jim Bohannon has been selected to be one of the live crowd announcers for the Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC on January 20. He will be introducing and describing the participating organizations to the throngs gathered along his location on Pennsylvania Avenue.
E.W. Scripps Hires Schenek to Lead Digital Content at Milwaukee Duo. Most recently, Dan Schenek has been working for NBCUniversal’s “Access Hollywood” as a digital producer. He’ll leave Los Angeles for Milwaukee to take on the digital content director position for Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI. He’s being charged with expanding the stations’ digital products, including growing wtmj.com, kticountry.com and the stations’ social media accounts. In addition, he’ll support the rapidly growing demand for video and podcasts. Scripps Milwaukee vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “Dan is an experienced digital leader that will take us beyond typical coverage and lead us to places that expand the overall content experience – the way our consumers expect it today.” During his career, Schenek has also worked with CNN/HLN’s “Dr. Drew” show, with MTV in New York and CBS RADIO in Los Angeles.
Raback Named to Lead Pennsylvania Cluster for Cumulus Media. The York-Lancaster-Reading, Pennsylvania operations of Cumulus Media has a new vice president/market manager as 17-year radio sales exec Matt Raback is promoted to the position from his VP/sales post. The six-station cluster includes news/talk WSBA, York; sports talk WGLD, York; classic hits WSOX, York; adult contemporary WARM, York; country WIOV-FM, Lancaster; and sports talk WIOV-AM, Lancaster. York-Lancaster-Reading, PA. Cumulus Pennsylvania RVP Ron Giovanniello states, “We are thrilled to recognize Matt’s talent with this opportunity to lead our terrific Cumulus team in York-Lancaster-Reading. I’m very excited about the energy, enthusiasm and ideas that Matt will bring to our business in this great market and I’m looking forward to his contributions.”
Russian Hacking Allegations/Compromising Trump Material, Jeff Sessions Confirmation Hearings, Meryl Streep Golden Globes Speech, Obama’s Farewell Speech, Dylann Roof Sentenced to Death, Clemson Upsets Alabama for NCAA Football Title, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10). The ongoing allegations that Russia is involved in affecting the U.S. political system via hacking of the DNC emails and the new report published alleging that Russia has proof of compromising sexual behavior by President-Elect Donald Trump; the protests against attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions and yesterday’s hearings; the fallout from Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump Golden Globes speech; President Obama’s Tuesday evening farewell speech; Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof is sentenced to death for the murders of nine victims; Clemson’s upset of Alabama in Monday’s NCAA Football Championship game; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool News Gig in Buffalo. WBEN, Buffalo program director Tim Wenger alerts TALKERS magazine that the Entercom news/talk station has a rare full-time news opening. Wenger says, “We’re seeking the next great radio news rock star who can make a difference on the air, be aggressive on the street and be a multi-media news operative in the Buffalo market. WBEN is THE news leader in the market and operates a full morning news and information show and seven-day newsroom.” For more information and to apply, click here.
Workhouse Media and ICM Partners Form Strategic Partnership. Talent and literary agency, ICM Partners, announced entering into a strategic partnership with Workhouse Media, a leading boutique agency representing professional voices of radio and audio broadcasting. Led by Paul B. Anderson and offering the services of noted radio talent agent/executive John McConnell, Workhouse Media represents some of the most recognizable personalities in radio across many formats, including syndicated personalities in talk, country, urban, rock, and CHR. ICM Partners, a full-service talent agency, will represent clients of Workhouse Media as content creators and performers in the areas of film, television, publishing, touring, branding, and digital entertainment, while Workhouse Media will represent the interests of ICM Partners’ clients wishing to extend their reach in radio. “We have worked collaboratively and successfully with ICM over the past couple years on a number of premium talent and content deals and very much look forward to having our teams work even more closely together to optimize our talent brands and cross-platform opportunities,” Workhouse principal Paul B. Anderson tells TALKERS. “Workhouse Media represents many of the best storytellers in broadcasting,” states ICM managing partner Chris Silbermann. “We are proud to partner with Paul and his team to help our shared clients reach new audiences with premium content.”
Odds & Sods. Kansas City sports talk personality Danny Parkins is exiting Entercom’s KCSP after six-plus years with the station to take a yet-to-be-announced gig outside of KC. Parkins co-hosts “The Drive” with Harrison Carrington in afternoons and the Kansas City Star reports that Carrington will continue to host the show with producer Ben Heisler…..After learning of a series of car break-ins perpetrated against Gwinnett and Forsyth County firefighters while they were out on call, WSB-AM, Atlanta talk show host Mark Arum solicited listeners to his show to donate to a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the personal items stolen. Initially, the goal was $1,000, but after hitting that mark, Arum raised it to $2,000. Arum states, “I couldn’t believe the story when I heard it over the weekend. Who would steal from people that risk their lives every day? I know first responders don’t make a lot of money, so I wanted to help them out and try to replace the items that were stolen.”…..ESPN officially announces the move of the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” from sports talk WEPN-FM to Spanish sports WEPN-AM in New York City. The move happens on January 17. Le Batard says, “We are glad New York has embraced our particular brand of nonsense. We appreciate the opportunity to continue making fun of Jets fans now on 1050 AM. Being on the ESPN Deportes station makes sense for us because Stugotz still hasn’t learned how to speak English.”…..Talk WZZR, West Palm Beach “Real Radio 94.3” recently partnered with Tito’s Handmade Vodka for the second annual “Touchdowns for Charity” fundraiser that involved Tito’s pledging to donate $350 to Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities for each touchdown pass scored by the Miami Dolphins during the football season. The team’s 27 TDs resulted in a $10,000 donation. WZZR personality The Greek promoted Tito’s commitment on-air throughout the program during the season on his midday show, “The Penthouse.”…..ABC Radio announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by ABC News chief business, economics and technology correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, titled “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis,” focused on leading women in a variety of industries. Each week Jarvis will speak with women in Hollywood, business, technology, fashion, comedy, food, sports and startups about how they built their empire and their wide-range of accomplishments.
Gracie Awards Deadline Extended. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is announcing it has extended the call for entries for the 42nd annual Gracie Awards to January 19, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET in response to high requests for extensions. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair Kristen Welch says, “Now is a time, more than ever before, where we need to celebrate women for their exceptional work and contributions, especially in the media industry.” The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, cable and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and non-commercial markets as well as among students. The AWMF will accept all entries submitted after the originally published deadline of January 12 through January 19 with an additional $50 late fee. Honorees will be announced in mid- to late-March. The Gracies are the largest fundraising event by the AWM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AWM that supports educational programs, charitable activities and scholarships to benefit women in the media.
MIW Radio Group Mentoring Program Application Deadline Extended. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio group is extending the application window for the 2017 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program through next Wednesday, January 18. This experience pairs up-and-coming women who currently work in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. MIW Radio Group’s Mentoring Committee chair Lindsay Cerajewski comments, “This provides a wonderful opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge and access to some of the most influential women in radio.” A total of four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry – within the sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2017 program. To apply, click here.
Luvv Joins Hip Hop WRWM, Indy. Moving west along I-70 is Justin Luvv, who leaves Radio One’s Columbus, Ohio cluster where he was an air personality, imaging coordinator and mix DJ for hip hop WCKX “Power 107.5 and its sister urban outlet WBMO “Boom 106.3” to join Cumulus Media in Indianapolis to serve as afternoon jock and imaging director for hip hop WRWM “93.9 The Beat.” WRWM program director Jay Michaels comments, “Justin’s on-air skills and amazing imaging expertise make him stand out from the crowd. I’m really excited to have him on board as we take ‘93.9 The Beat’ full throttle into 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The “Full Metal Jackie” show – syndicated by Envision Networks – is being added to the program schedule at Alpha Media’s KMKO-FM, Mankato, Minnesota. The Jackie Kajzer-hosted metal show will air Sunday’s at 10:00 pm CT…..Programmer Garett Michaels is exercising his option to leave rock KFMB-FM, San Diego where he’s been PD and afternoon host as the joint operating agreement between Midwest Television and Local Media San Diego ends. He’ll remain in a consultant capacity…..The syndicated Walton & Johnson morning show is finding a new home at Townsquare Media’s rock KFTE, LaFayette, Louisiana “Planet Radio 105.1.” It had been heard on Guaranty Broadcasting’s classic rock WDGL, Baton Rouge. Guaranty is suing the show on the grounds that it was not given the notice required by the contract…..Tamara Grant joins the Superadio-syndicated Michael Baisden show as senior producer.
Foo Fighters Visit ‘Jonesy’s Juke Box.’ KLOS, Los Angeles midday host Steve Jones (second from right) poses for a photo in the studio where he hosts “Jonesy’s Juke Box” from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm each day. Joining him on the occasion of the release of his memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from A Sex Pistol (Da Capo 2017), are (from l-r) former Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear, and Foo Fighters members Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl.