Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, September 20, 2019

| September 20, 2019

Nexstar Closes on Tribune; Former Clear Channel Exec Sean Compton to Lead WGN-AM. Just a day after the FCC approved Nexstar’s acquisition of Tribune Media’s television stations and lone radio asset, WGN-AM, the company closed on the $6.4 billion deal.  At least for now, Nexstar appears it is going to continue to operate news/talk WGN-AM and not put it on the block.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar has named Sean Compton executive vice president in charge of its programming acquisitions, the WGN America and Antenna TV cable networks, as well as WGN-AM.  Regular TALKERS readers may remember that Compton was a Clear Channel (before it was iHeartMedia) programming executive whom Randy Michaels brought from Cincinnati to Chicago in 2008 to serve as SVP of programming and entertainment when Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Compton remained with Tribune after Michaels exited his leadership of the company in 2010.

ABC Radio Rebrands as ABC Audio. In a memo to staff, ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku announces the company is now officially using ABC Audio instead of ABC Radio for its umbrella brand.  She says, “You’re all aware of the new platforms entering consumers’ lives, from podcast distribution to interactive voice and beyond. ABC Audio recognizes that technology is evolving, but the value of our work remains constant. So, this is as much a commitment to our listeners that they will find our storytelling anytime and everywhere, as it is to you that your excellent work will continue to find the audiences it deserves.”  At the same time, Deshishku announces that Heidi Oringer is promoted to executive director of business strategy, programming and distribution and Abe Velez is promoted to director of business development and strategy.  Oringer was most recently director of affiliate solutions.  Velez has been serving in the business development department.

Michael Savage Recounts Air Force One Experience.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage (above) was asked by President Trump to travel aboard Air Force One with him during his California trip this week.  The Westwood One personality tells a story about his lunch with the president: “While sitting with President Trump on Air Force One, two hot dogs are delivered for the president.  I’m starving at this point.  President Trump looks and he must have seen my eyes dart at the hot dogs, and he says, “You want one?” I said, “Sure.”  He takes one off his plate delicately onto another plate.  He says to me, “Would you like mustard or ketchup?”  Then he mentions, “No, you don’t want that ketchup with sugar on it.  Do you?” I don’t know how he knows this, but I found out that they know what I say on the radio.  President Trump then dollops out the mustard for me from his plate, showing a certain humility and generosity that you may not be aware of from him.  It is in the little things that you could see a person’s behavior.  Here’s the interesting part.  I’m from Queens but I grew up on the other side of Union Turnpike from the president.  He cut his hot dog in pieces and ate them with a knife and fork.  I ate it like I was at a baseball game because I never saw a hot dog eaten with a knife and fork.  That’s because he grew up on the other side of the tracks, but years later we wound up in the same place at the same time sharing his lunch because he’s a very generous and down to earth man.”

Giants Coach Cancels Radio Segment with WFAN’s Mike Francesa. As reported by NorthJersey.com, New York Giants coach Pat Shurmer has notified Entercom’s WFAN, New York that he is no longer going to do the weekly radio interview with afternoon drive host Mike Francesa.  The “Sports Pope” has been extremely critical of the Giants’ offseason moves and its performances in the first two games of the season and it appears Shurmer doesn’t want to be in the hot seat facing Francesa’s criticism each week.  That’s not how Shurmer put it, though.  He said yesterday, “Well, I think that was an organizational decision not to do that.  Most people aren’t aware of this, but I wasn’t contractually obligated to do that spot.  We did it as a courtesy and out of respect for our relationship with the radio station.  So, we just felt like for a while here we just put that to bed for a while and not do it and move forward.”  Francesa talked about it on his show saying, “Listen, not everybody’s cut out for handling what is the real intense spotlight that there is in the city, that comes with these jobs. Being the head football coach of the Giants is a very, very big job.  It gets a lot of attention.  It has a lot of light and heat in the center.  The Giants have unfortunately, from at least my estimation, have become very good at hiding and very good at losing.  That’s my take.  And they need to turn both around.”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/20).  The new episode titled “Storm Clouds of Military, Trade and Partisan War!” looks back at this past week of September 16-20, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe Pags, host, Compass Media NetworksThom Hartmann, host WYD Media; Tom Sullivan, host Talk Media NetworkDr. Daliah Wachs, host GCN; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

New “Scal & Pals’ Show to Stream on RADIO.COM. The new program will feature co-hosts Brian Scalabrine and Steve Ceruti and will stream live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports Digital Network.  It launches Monday (9/23) and will be dedicated to coverage of the NBA.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee says, “We are excited to launch a digital show that will have mass appeal to all hardcore basketball fans. The lineup of contributors headlined by Scal will feature an interesting and entertaining mix of personalities and perspectives.  We aspire to have this be the best basketball content fans can find anywhere and we are eager to engage with one of the most dynamic fan bases of any sport.”  Scalabrine spent 11 seasons in the NBA playing for the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls.  Ceruti is a long-time producer at ESPN with experience working under Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo.  The new show will also feature commentary from former players such as Caron Butler, current players like Admiral Schofield of the Washington Wizards, longtime sportswriter and broadcaster Ric Bucher, former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and more.

Lauter to Lead iHeartMedia’s Madison Operations. Media executive Drew Lauter is named market president for iHeartMedia’s Madison brands.  Lauter, who will report to Minneapolis division president Jeff Tyler, will “oversee the market’s programming, advertising, and operations… as well as create new business and revenue opportunities.”  Tyler says, “I am very excited to welcome Drew’s experience and vision to iHeartMedia.  He’s excited about taking his family to one of the premier cities in the Midwest and I am thrilled that he will be leading a great team and some of our market-leading, legendary brands in Madison.”  Lauter has served with such companies as SonyLucent, Qello Concerts, and Qello Media.

U.S.-Iran Tensions/Saudi Oil Attack Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20. The military tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the related Saudi oil facility attack was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Lewandowski hearings, tied with the Democrats’ impeachment strategy, and the intelligence Trump whistleblower report.  Coming in at #3 was the new Kavanaugh allegations, followed by U.S.-China relations, the economy, and the Fed rates cuts tied 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

National Radio Talent System Names Alexus Parker Institutes Director. The National Radio Talent System announces the hiring of new institutes director, Alexus Parker. In this position, she will work directly with the broadcasters, universities, and students of the Radio Talent Institutes, and manage social media. National Radio Talent System president Dan Vallie states, “We talked to quite a few people about the position, but Alexus came highly recommended and is very impressive. She is a great fit for our team as we continue to grow the National Radio Talent System and the Radio Talent Institutes across the country.” Previously, Parker was the marketing director for iHeartMedia’s Raleigh, North Carolina station group.

Elizabeth Smart to Keynote Gracies Leadership Awards. The Alliance for Women in Media announces that author and children’s advocate Elizabeth Smart will deliver a keynote address at the Gracies Leadership Awards on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Smart is known for her 2002 abduction and since then has founded the “Elizabeth Smart Foundation” and worked for change related to child abduction, recovery programs, and national legislation. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to honor women for their extraordinary accomplishments.  It is our honor to have Elizabeth Smart, a past Gracie winner, as this year’s keynote speaker, as her address will surely inspire and empower all in attendance.”  Find more information on this event and to reserve your seat here.

SAVE THE DATE:  TALKERS and The Epoch Times to Co-Present a “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” in NYC on October 1. A 90-minute panel discussion will take place on Tuesday morning October 1, 2019 titled, “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations.”  The event will take place on the 70th anniversary of the Proclamation of the People’s Republic of China by the Chinese Communist Party.  The event will center around a panel discussion that will include radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio NetworkJohn Batchelor of Cumulus/Westwood One, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  The conversation will focus on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison will serve as moderator. Harrison states, “The Chinese Communist Party is determined to ultimately exercise worldwide control over economic, communications, intelligence and governmental activities in the 21st century.  There is no way the US can hide its head in the sand over this dire threat to American interests.  It is imperative that news/talk media hosts be as informed as possible about the subject of US-Chinese relations.  One key aspect to this situation is the growing urgency of the Communist-resistance movement by the Chinese people themselves, not only in mainland China but throughout the world – especially the growing population of Chinese immigrants presently living in the United States.  We are delighted to join forces with our friends at The Epoch Times in presenting this forum on October 1.   The Epoch Times is an amazing worldwide news organization provocatively positioned on the leading edge of this dramatic resistance and few media platforms are as plugged into the facts of this situation as they are.”  Harrison adds, “John Batchelor, Hugh Hewitt and Tom Sullivan are consummate talk media ‘heavyweights’ and will make wonderful panelists for this extremely significant forum bringing a high level of intelligence about policy and history to the table – exactly what we would expect at an event of this magnitude.  Nan Su, Joshua Philipp, and Dr. Dana Cheng are among the most informed reporters in the world about what is actually taking place in China and Chinese society around the globe outside the highly-censored and controlled propaganda of the official Chinese state media.”  The discussion will be video-streamed worldwide and available for future on-demand viewing.  This special event will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Theater in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  Doors will open at 8:30 am with the program beginning at 9:00 am.  Morning beverages and snacks will be served.  Admission to this special event is free but only open to members of the working media and all attendees must be pre-registered.  Seating is extremely limited.  To register, please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  Save the date, register early and stay tuned for more speakers and information!

FOCUS ON HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE: Dr. Daliah Wachs Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  There are many aspects of health and health care in the news from vaping, vaccines, flesh-eating bacteria, opioid abuse, and the high cost of prescription medicine to political debate over which way to go regarding the entire American health care system.  Should we maintain the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and simply build upon it as Joe Biden suggests?  Should we go to single payer universal health care and Medicare for all as promoted by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders?  Or should we go in a completely different direction with a new plan that has yet to be designed by President Trump and the Republicans?  Nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio talk show host Daliah Wachs, M.D. is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Wachs, a member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred,” is widely respected for her medical credentials and general political neutrality.  She and Harrison address today’s hot health issues and more from a non-political perspective.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Network News Opportunities. There are three news positions at FOX News open.  The first is an overnight freelance anchor at FOX News Radio.  The job description states: “We are looking for a Freelance Overnight News Anchor to join our Fox News family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. As a Radio News anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more and to apply here.  The company also has freelance writer position for FOX News Headlines 24/7 open – see that information here – and a freelance producer/news editor position open that you can learn more about here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1” has a new program director as Entercom appoints Jerry McKenna to the position, taking over for Ron Roberts.  McKenna was most recently serving as program director for Cape Cod Broadcasting.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

| September 19, 2019

Nick Reed Back in PD Chair at KSGF, Springfield, Missouri. News/talk KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri morning personality Nick Reed is promoted to program director of the SummitMedia station. Reed joined the station in 2010 as PD and morning host but, for the past several years, has focused solely on his morning show.  Now, he again takes on the program director role.  SummitMedia Springfield president Janelle Moffett says, “Nick’s insight and years of experience are a great asset to our group.  We’re fortunate to have him on our team!”  Reed comments, “I am so very happy to be with KSGF under SummitMedia right now.  There really is a positive energy underway that made me want to be back in the saddle as program director of KSGF.”

Cumulus Media Announces Pricing of $525 Million Senior Secured Term Loan B. In the process of announcing in the pricing of a new $525 million senior secured term loan B due March 2026, Cumulus Media says that upon the closing of the new term loan (expected next week), it “will have fully refinanced the $1.3 billion term loan that the company assumed upon emergence from Chapter 11 on June 4, 2018.”  The new term loan will have an interest rate of LIBOR plus 3.75% with a 1.00% LIBOR floor, issued at 99.5% of par. Proceeds from this issuance, along with cash on hand, will be used to pay down and refinance the company’s existing term loan. Cumulus’ debt will then consist of the $525 million new term loan and $500 million of secured bonds issued in June 2019, representing a $275 million reduction in total debt since emergence.  Cumulus says its financial position will be further improved by the lower interest rates and 2026 maturity of the new debt.

Erick Erickson Show Deep-Diving into Georgia Politics. The recently launched, WGAU, Athens, Georgia-based Erick Erickson show reports that it is doing what it intended to do when host Erickson and Cox Media Group first began considering the project – covering Georgia politics. Erickson’s new program is distributed statewide via the Georgia News Network, airing live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  The company says, “A month into the new Erick Erickson Radio Show, Georgia political leaders are taking advantage of having a new statewide radio program.  In just the last three days, Erickson has interviewed Governor Brian Kemp, Senator David Perdue, and Congressmen Doug Collins and Jody Hice.  Collins is the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and Erickson was able to interview Collins to update listeners on the headline-grabbing proceeding of that committee.”

WOR Live Event to Address ‘Rebuilding NYC’s Skyline.’  Next Wednesday (9/25), the “WOR Live” series at The Cutting Room brings in experts to discuss “Rebuilding NYC’s Skyline: Past, Present & Future.”  This event is being moderated by Len Berman, co-host of “Len Berman & Michael Riedel in the Morning” on WOR, New York. Joining Berman at the lunchtime event will be: Gary LaBarbera, president of Bldg & Construction Trades Council NYC; John Murphy, international rep for United Assoc Plumbers and Pipe Fitters; Thomas Hill, SVP of Boston Properties; and Mark Gregorio, president of TEI Group.

TALKERS News Notes. At the “Drive to Digital 2019” conference taking place at London’s The British Library Knowledge Centre on October 30, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley will be featured in the “Driving the Digital Dash” automotive portion of the conference. Beasley, along with numerous audio and tech experts from around the world, will share her insights on key automotive technology trends and the impact on radio listening in cars…..Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform is announcing a new, original podcast for New York Yankees fans, hosted by legendary Yankees play-by-play man John Sterling, titled, “Pinstripes & Bright Lights.”  The weekly podcast will focus on baseball and Yankees history.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “As part of our ongoing content strategy, we seek to diversify on-demand audio offerings on RADIO.COM, the premiere destination for live and on-demand audio and sports content in the U.S.  John is a legendary broadcaster with an unprecedented reputation among baseball fans across the country and we’re looking forward to hearing his insider stories.”…..The nationally syndicated “Around The House with Eric G.” show – syndicated by Envision Networks – is added to the program schedule at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KVI-AM, Seattle “Talk Radio 570.”  Eric G. says, “After spending most of my design career in Seattle, it is good to be back home.”

Iran’s War Threats/Saudi Oil Attack, 2020 Presidential Race, Kavanaugh Allegations, Dems Impeachment Strategy, and New National Security Adviser Named Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18). Iran’s threat of “all-out war” after being accused of responsibility for the attack on a Saudi oil production facility; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and criticism of The New York Times’ opinion editor; the ongoing talk of impeachment of the president by congressional Democrats; and the naming of Robert O’Brien as the new national security adviser 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. In Northeastern Wisconsin, Roger Utnhmer is retiring, and his Nicolet Broadcasting is selling its five-station cluster – along with two digital local news platforms – to his sales manager, Bryan Mazur.  Nicolet owns adult standards WBDK, Algoma; classic hits WRKU, Forestville; country WRLU, Algoma; WSBW, Ephraim; and translator W277BP, Sturgeon Bay.   In a Facebook post, Utnhmer says, “I appreciate the great people who have made Nicolet Broadcasting a successful company.  Those include Jeff Wagner in Antigo, Bruce McNeill in Eagle River, Paul Eck in Park Falls and Paul Schmitt and Tim Kowols in Sturgeon Bay.  These guys made me look better than I really am… Thank you for being among the best of the best.  And now to Bryan Mazur I wish you all success going forward. You are inheriting a very solid staff and one of the most beautiful markets in American radio.”…..Pictured below is Beasley Media Philadelphia air personality Kathy Romano (left) with ABC News and “Good Morning America” chief meteorologist Ginger Zee (right) at the 95.7 BEN FM 3rd annual Her Story Luncheon, held yesterday (9/18) in Philadelphia.  Romano is co-host of WMMR’s “Preston and Steve” show as well as the weekly “Her Story” program on sister WBEN-FM. The program showcases dynamic women that are making a significant impact in the community via their business, their charity work or a combination of both.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

| September 18, 2019

‘Brock & Salk’ to Leave KIRO-AM, Seattle Airwaves for Podcast. Due to expanding duties in their other roles, KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” personalities Brock Huard and Mike Salk are ending their daily 7:00 am to 10:00 am talk show and will instead do a podcast.  The two have been together on the air for more than a decade.  Salk was recently promoted to director of programming, increasing his programming responsibilities at Bonneville Seattle, and Huard – a college football analyst – joined FOX Sports earlier this year.  The “Brock & Salk” show will wrap on September 27 and the podcast will launch on October 2.  The station has not said how it plans to fill the programming vacancy.

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Officially Debuts ‘Damon, Ratto & Kolsky’ Show. Although former San Francisco Chronicle and NBC Sports Bay Area columnist Ray Ratto and San Francisco Examiner columnist Matt Kolsky have been on the KGMZ-FM, San Francisco air with Damon Bruce for a couple of months now, the Entercom station announces that the two have officially joined the show and it’s now the “Damon, Ratto & Kolsky” program.  “95.7 The Game” says that Ratto recently agreed to a multi-year deal with the station.  The program airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Salem Reduces Board Members to Cut Expenses. Four of the Salem Media Group, Inc. board members – James Keet Lewis, Jonathan Venverloh, Stuart W. Epperson Jr., and Edward C. Atsinger – have resigned from the company’s board of directors.  Salem CEO Edward G. Atsinger III says in a statement, “The board members’ decisions to resign were not the result of any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to the company’s operations, policies, or practices.  During the last few years, Salem has faced several unique financial headwinds and we are looking for ways to cut costs while not impacting revenue.  These resigning board members agreed that a reduction in board fees and travel costs would help improve the bottom line.  I am grateful for the service of Messrs. Lewis, Venverloh, Epperson Jr. and Atsinger.  Their years of service on the board contributed significantly to the impact Salem is making.”  The Salem board now consists of: Edward G. Atsinger III, Stuart EppersonEric HalvorsonRich Riddle, and Heather Grizzle.

TALKERS News Notes. Central New Jersey news/talk WCTC-AM “News Talk Radio 1450” is adding Compass Media Networks  syndicated “This Morning – America’s First News with Gordon Deal” in the 5:00 am to 9:00 am daypart, effective September 23.  The Beasley Media Group station makes the move two months after former morning personality Bert Baron left the station to take the public information officer position with New Brunswick’s mayor’s office.  Alan David Stein has been hosting the program in the interim. The station says Jennifer Kushinka, the current morning drive news anchor, will provide the latest breaking national headlines during the show and WCTC news anchor Racquel Williams will provide local updates at the top and bottom of the hour “for a seamless blend of local and national news, along with sports traffic and weather.”…..Bay Area radio personality Victor Zaragoza – most recently afternoon host at Entercom’s rhythmic oldies KRBQ “Q102.1” – is now serving with the company as a sports anchor and traffic reporter for all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco…..Pictured here is FOX News contributor Tomi Lahren (left) with relationship expert Jennifer Styers (right) after recording Styers’ “LoveAbility” podcast.  The two talked not politics, but “boundaries, putting up walls, confidence, and looking for love.” Lahren also gives her own raw and real relationship advice for women.  Styers says, “The ‘LoveAbility’ podcast is all about having the conversations around dating, relationships and love.  Tomi’s love story is a sweet one AND it is also full of the same challenges that each one of us face every day in our own personal relationships.”…..Public media company KQED held a groundbreaking for the renovation of its San Francisco headquarters.  KQED says the $91 million project “will transform KQED’s headquarters to accommodate the station’s significant staff growth over the past decade and the expansive nature of the services it provides audiences today.  It will also create brand new onsite spaces for in-person events, programs. and convening.”  Over the past 25 years, KQED has grown from 200 to nearly 500 employees.

Westwood One Uses LeadsRx for Attribution Measurement. Syndication and sales company Westwood One is using LeadsRx for its attribution measurement.  LeadsRx’s attribution software provides a comprehensive, quantitative analysis of how audio advertising drives advertiser search and site traffic.  LeadsRx’s platform also depicts business outcomes such as sales of products, form completions, in-bound phone calls, and more.  Cumulus Media EVP of corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “The LeadsRx platform gives Westwood One industry-leading marketing measurement capabilities that greatly benefit advertisers with comprehensive, digital-like attribution analytics.”

2020 Presidential Race, Lewandowski Testimony, Saudi Oil Attack, NYTimes Kavanaugh Story, Israeli Elections, GM Strike, Cokie Roberts Passes, and Imelda Threatens Houston Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17). The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee; the attack on a Saudi oil installation and allegations Iran is responsible; the controversy over the New York Times Brett Kavanaugh story; the Israeli elections and the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu; the UAW’s strike against General Motors; journalist Cokie Roberts dies after a battle with breast cancer; and Tropical Storm Imelda threatens Houston with severe flooding 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.  Air personality and programming pro Alex Mac moves from iHeartMedia’s “ALT 106.3” in Des Moines where he was afternoon jock and APD to Raleigh to serve as APD and afternoon drive host at CHR WDCG, Raleigh “G105,” effective October 1.  iHeartMedia Virginia-Carolina Region SVP of programming AJ says, “Alex’s passion for music and entertainment is like no other.  I look forward to him joining the team and I am thrilled about what he will bring to the Raleigh community as we build the next chapter of ‘G105.’”…..Public radio triple A WXPN, Philadelphia announces that it has named Raina Douris host of the nationally syndicated “World Café” program.  Douris was most recently host and writer for the daily, national morning program “Mornings” from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  Douris has also served as guest host and interviewer for various CBC Music and CBC Radio programs.  She succeeds Talia Schlanger who announced earlier this year she is leaving the program to pursue new creative endeavors…..iHeartMedia names Brent Johnson general sales manager for four of its music-formatted stations in the Louisville cluster: country WAMZ, hot AC WLGX “100.5 KISS FM,” hip hop WTFX “Real 93.1,” and CHR WNRW “98.9 Radio Now.”   iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana SVP of sales Kristy Beebe says, “We are proud to have Brent on our iHeartMedia Louisville team.  Our team is highly impressed by Brent’s previous digital experience.  His familiarity of the Louisville market will contribute greatly to the success of this team.”…..Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (left) is pictured below with Big Machine Label Group founder, president and CEO Scott Borchetta (right).  Borchetta joined Beasley for her podcast, “Beyond the Business.”  On it, the two discussed the transformation taking place at BMLG, as well as Borchetta’s thoughts on how the music industry is evolving to meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

| September 17, 2019

Key Networks Launches Audio Ad Sales Division. Two radio sales executives join Key Networks as the division of Sun & Fun Media begins providing audio advertising sales to producers and service/program providers.  Jim Higgins joins Key Networks as president and chief operating officer and Rich Baum comes aboard as executive vice president, advertising sales.  Higgins, previously president and COO at United Stations Radio Networks will be based in New York City and Baum, formerly EVP of sales at USRN, will be based in Chicago. Rob Koblasz, Sun & Fun and Key Networks CEO, says, “We are excited to now be a full-service network company for our existing as well as new clients, with the addition of advertising sales capabilities and an experienced and knowledgeable senior executive team.  Our goal when we started Key Networks was to be best-in-class, from the talent we represent, the producers we work with and the professionals on our team.  Both Jim and Rich fit that description perfectly. Their contacts in the ad sales and marketing world run deep and they are highly respected in the industry.  We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Jim and Rich to help build Key Networks into a successful full-service network audio company.”

FCC Approves Tribune-Nexstar Deal; Fate of WGN-AM Up in the Air. The Federal Communications Commission approved Nexstar Media’s acquisition of Tribune Media, a deal that will create the largest television station company in the country.  After closing, Nexstar will own almost 200 stations in 115 markets – plus a lone radio station: WGN-AM, Chicago.  Nexstar is a television company and it has not specifically addressed what it will or will not do with WGN-AM.  It wouldn’t be unique for a TV operator to also dabble in radio – Sinclair Broadcast Group operates four radio stations in addition to its large television holdings.  It’s certainly possible Nexstar continues to operate WGN-AM.  However, recent deals for heritage signals in the top markets – think WABC, New York and the several FM stations in New York and Los Angeles – indicate that the value of stations like these is on a steady decline and Nexstar may be better off selling WGN-AM before its value declines even more.

Learning from Entercom’s Ransomware AttackTALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in his column that the alleged ransom Entercom was facing is “much higher than most ransomware demands.  According to security company Coveware, the average demand this year is $12,762 — double the average demand in 2018.”  Though Entercom is reportedly not paying the ransom, Weisman says “the cost of repairing the damage will exceed the cost of paying the ransom.  Radio One paid $500,000 to repair the damage when it was victimized by a ransomware attack, which also resulted in a large amount of lost advertising revenue.”  Read Weisman’s entire column here.

Bortnick Promoted to Region SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia. Sales pro Danny Bortnick is promoted from senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC cluster to region senior vice president of sales for the Washington D.C./Baltimore markets.  iHeartMedia Washington/Baltimore region president Aaron Hyland says, “Danny has made a tremendous impact on the day-to-day operations of our sales organization since day one.  I am excited to see Danny take on this new leadership position and look forward to his continued success in developing and managing a best-in-class sales team for the region.”  Prior to joining iHeartMedia, Bortnick served as the vice president of sales for Entercom, vice president of sales for CBS Radio and general sales manager for WNEW-FM.

Saudi Oil Attack, Kavanaugh Allegations/NYTimes Criticism, 2020 Presidential Race, Another Vaping-Related Death, and ‘SNL’ Fires Comic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The attack on a Saudi oil facility, accusations Iran is responsible, and President Trump’s military threats against Iran; the allegation of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the related criticism of The New York Times; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the dangers of vaping after another person succumbs to respiratory ailments; and the firing of Shane Gillis from “SNL” after bigoted comments came to light were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Kansas City sports talk outlet KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and the MLB’s Kansas City Royals announce a five-year extension to their deal for the Entercom station to serve as the flagship for the team’s play-by-play broadcasts.  In addition to airing all 162 regular season games, KCSP will also broadcast all weeknight and weekend Cactus League Spring Training games from Arizona.  The weekly “Royals Hot Stove” show returns in January, and dates and times of the spring broadcasts and “Royals Hot Stove” show will be announced at a later date…..The New York Post and cabana announce the upcoming launch of “We Hear: A Page Six Podcast.”  The first episode of this new podcast dropped yesterday with Page Six editors Maggie Coughlan and Ian Mohr serving as hosts.  They bring insider stories and knowledge straight from the newsroom to the podcasts…..TALKERS founder Michael Harrison made a guest appearance this past weekend on the longtime nationally syndicated radio show “The Art of Living and the Science of Life” hosted by Danielle Lin that has generated quite a buzz in the metaphysics community.  The program deals with consciousness and anesthesiology – two subjects that are peripheral to Harrison’s usual beat of media and society, but he effectively ties them into his general theme of “rewiring the human nervous system” in the digital era.  To listen to the entire show, please click 

      here
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‘SuperTalk Mississippi’ Broadcaster Kipp Greggory Dies. Talk host, programmer, and WOSM, Biloxi “SuperTalk Mississippi” station manager Kipp Greggory died on Saturday (9/14).  Specifics of his passing were not made public but his final message to family and friends, passed on by his wife, alluded to an illness. “Well.. it got the best [of] me. So long my Biloxi Family. I hope they have Bacon in heaven and I can get the Saints channel.”  Station owner Telesouth Communications wrote in a tweet: “All of us at Telesouth Communications and ‘Supertalk Mississippi’ send heartfelt condolences to the family of our colleague and friend, Kipp Greggory.  Kipp’s passion was radio.  For many years, he could be heard daily on WOSM ‘Supertalk Mississippi Gulf Coast’ and often heard statewide on the ‘Supertalk Mississippi’ network.  He loved the Mississippi Gulf Coast and worked diligently each day to bring Coast residents the news and issues important to them.  Kipp also used his platform to highlight causes close to his heart and give back to the community.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jo and their daughters. Kipp loved them deeply.”

PPM Analysis: CHR. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on CHR.  Comparing data from the July 2019 survey and the August 2019 survey shows about as many stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up (43%) as saw it go down (39%), with 18% unchanged.  Year-over-year, slightly more are down (51%) than up (42%).  Two CHR-formatted stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the August survey: iHeartMedia’s KHKS-FM, Dallas “106.1 Kiss FM” and Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5.”  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and programming pro Mike James announces he’s retiring from his position at Hall Communications’ Lakeland, Florida station group – and the radio biz – effective at the end of the year.  James has been program director at WPCV, Lakeland “97 Country” since 2004, and operations manager for the four-station cluster since 2006.  He says, “My first radio job was in 1979, and I can remember thinking how great it was to be able to entertain people and get paid for it at the same time.  Forty years later, it’s still great, but I’m finally ready to kick back, relax, and spend more quality time at Anna Maria Island.  I want to thank Hall Communications owners Art and Bonnie Rowbotham for giving me the opportunity to work for one of the most respected radio groups in America.”…..The “Jagger & Kristi” morning show at Local Media San Diego’s rhythmic oldies XHRM-FM “Magic 92.5” announces that Samantha DeJesus is its new producer.  She has been serving as interim producer since the departure of Sheryl Love in July.  DeJesus says, “I cannot fully express the amount of gratitude I have to be given such an amazing opportunity.  Along with the rest of the city, I grew up listening to ‘Jagger & Kristi,’ so I feel like I’ve known them all my life. To be working alongside such an iconic radio duo, who are legends to the San Diego community, I am thrilled to learn and grow with the best in the business.”

Monday, September 16, 2019

| September 16, 2019

Monday Memo: When YOU Win, Congratulate THEM.  With all the cutbacks local radio has been through, relevant local news is all the more conspicuous.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke urges stations to enter news awards competitions and offers a way to tout wins on-air.  Read it here.

Saudi Oil Attack, 2020 Presidential Race, New Kavanaugh Claim, Purdue Parma Files for Bankruptcy, UAW Strikes at GM, Ric Ocasek Dies, and Antonio Brown Plays in NE Victory Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The drone attack on a Saudi oil processing facility and accusations Iran is responsible; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the allegation that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual harassment while a freshman at Yale; oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy; the UAW votes to strike against General Motors; The Cars co-founder Ric Ocasek dies at 75; and embattled football player Antonio Brown plays for New England in week 2 among top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Comparing weekly 6+ AQH share data from the July survey to the August survey, 46% of the stations on our panel went up while 40% went down (14% were flat).  Looking at the year-over-year comparison, 50% of stations saw their ratings go down, while 46% were gainers.  Four public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets (6+) during the August survey: KQED, San Francisco (7.1); WAMU, Washington (8.2); KPBS, San Diego (6.0); and WUNC, Raleigh (8.5).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Tom Tolbert Renews Deal with KNBR, San Francisco.  Bay Area sports talk radio personality Tom Tolbert signs a contract extension with Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM/FM.  The 23-year station personality currently co-hosts the afternoon drive program with Larry Krueger and Rod Brooks.  Tolbert played for two seasons with the Golden State Warriors during his seven-year NBA career.  He currently serves as host of KNBR’s “Dubs Countdown to Tipoff” pre-game shows.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “Tom is the heart and soul of the KNBR brand and we’re excited to have him stay in the family here at ‘The Sports Leader.’  He has a special bond with Bay Area sports fans and his unrivaled passion for the game can be heard every weekday during ‘Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks.’  We are extremely proud to extend our relationship with Tom for years to come.”

Barnett Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Sales pro Dave Barnett moves to Denver from his most recent position with iHeartMedia’s WDAE, Tampa.  As senior vice president of sales in Denver, Barnett will be responsible for overseeing the spoken word and sports stations – KOA, KDFD-AM/K299BS “Freedom 93.7,” and KHOW – as well as the company’s sports partnerships with the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and University of Colorado.   In Tampa, Barnett was vice president of sales for “NewsRadio WFLA” and sports talk WDAE.  He also served as the director of sports where he worked closely with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Lightning.  He says, “I am thrilled to be back in Denver and working with the variety of legendary brands including KOA, ‘Freedom 93.7’ and 630 KHOW.  Denver is a very special place and an incredible radio market – I look forward to working with our incredible partners as well as the legendary voices that you hear on each of our stations and sports properties.”

‘America’s 1st News’ Announces KTTH, Seattle New Flagship. The nationally syndicated “America’s 1st News” with Matt Ray is now emanating from new flagship station KTTH-AM, Seattle.  The program – airing live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET – is heard on 85 affiliate stations.  Ray says, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with [KTTH program director] Jason Rantz and the engineering staff [at KTTH] in the past and they’re the best in the business.  We’re thrilled to join the team on a permanent basis.”

Becki West Rises to VP Sales/Director of Agency Partnerships. Philly sales pro Becki West is promoted from general sales manager with iHeartMedia to vice president of sales and director of agency partnerships.  In this role, West will be responsible for overseeing the sales team as well as continuing to offer marketing solutions to the company’s agency partners.  She will continue to oversee sales for adult contemporary WISX “106.1 The Breeze.”  Senior vice president of sales Jeff Moore says, “Becki has been crucial to the growth of our sales team and sales management team.  Her relationships with our clients in the market are second to none and are an essential element to helping us cultivate our major initiatives.”

Cumulus Names John Toohey VP of Finance. In this new role of vice president, finance with Cumulus Media, John Toohey will handle financial planning and analysis, budgeting, and special projects.  He will report to EVP and chief financial officer John Abbot.  Toohey was with Charter Communications (and predecessor Time Warner Cable) for 12 years, most recently as group vice president, media sales finance, Spectrum Reach.

Beasley Supports Greater Boston Food Bank. Pictured above are staffers from Beasley Media Group’s Boston operations at the Greater Boston Food Bank on September 11 helping sort and pack 12,206 lbs. of food that will provide 10,172 meals or feed a family of four for 2.3 years.  The effort was part of the company’s ongoing Community of Caring Initiative.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “This is the second year that the Beasley Boston Team sorted thousands of pounds of food at the Greater Boston Food Bank.  It feels good to work together to help others in need.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee,” former artist manager and radio personality Ayisha Jaffer is named afternoon drive host and promotions coordinator, effective today (9/16). Her duties will include booking the station’s weekly “414 Live” on-air performance show featuring Milwaukee artists.  Station PD Jordan Lee says, “When I think of Milwaukee success stories, I think of Ayisha.  Born and bred here in Milwaukee, she’s traveled the world and worked with some of the coolest artists in contemporary music.  She brings knowledge, industry experience, and passion to the ‘Radio Milwaukee’ team.”…..Podcaster Cadence13, via its C13Originals division, is presenting a documentary series titled, “Long May They Run,” dedicated to chronicling iconic touring bands who’ve had a lasting impact on music culture, the industry, music streaming, touring, their fans and beyond.  Season one focuses on the jam band Phish. The series is created, directed, and produced by C13Originals, and hosted and written by Dean Budnick, a veteran music journalist, editor-in-chief of Relix Magazine, author, and filmmaker…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces the appointment of Erin Voden as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions for its Washington, D.C. market, effective immediately.  She’ll oversee and manage sales at the company’s television and digital media properties serving the Washington market…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is now airing in two new markets. WSVM-AM, Charlotte, North Carolina and KBST-AM, Odessa, Texas add the program to their weekly program schedules.

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