Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, January 18, 2019

| January 18, 2019

News/Talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska Honored with NAB Crystal Heritage Award.  The Lincoln, Nebraska news/talk station will be honored at this spring’s 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas at the “We Are Broadcasters Celebration” on Tuesday, April 9.  The NAB Crystal Heritage Award recognizes stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards for exceptional year-round community service efforts.  Seven other stations have received this honor in the 32-year history of the NAB Crystal Radio Awards.  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade says, “KFOR AM/FM has proudly served the Lincoln, Nebraska region for over 94 years, and our commitment to the community has never wavered.  We are so proud of our team’s accomplishments both on and off the air and are honored that this dedication is being rewarded with a coveted NAB Crystal Heritage Award.”

FSR’s Clay Travis Hits 300-Affiliate Mark with ‘Outkick the Coverage’ Program. The Premiere Networks and FOX Sports Radio-syndicated “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” program hits the 300-affiliate mark with the recent additions of stations including: KKSE-AM/FM, Denver; WGFX-FM, Nashville; WEEX-AM/WTKZ-AM, Allentown; and WBCN-AM/W234BY, Charlotte.  Travis is entering his third year with the network. He also recently joined FS1’s first-ever, daily gambling TV show “Lock It In” as a co-host alongside Rachel Bonnetta, “Cousin Sal” Iacono, and Todd Fuhrman.  In a joint statement, Premiere SVP sports programming Don Martin and VP sports programming Scott Shapiro say, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the growth of ‘Outkick the Coverage.’  Clay and his team have consistently set new listening records, which promises for continued momentum and a lot more success in the future.  We are excited to share many more achievements with our affiliate partners around the country.”

Inaugural iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Take Place Tonight. The first-ever iHeartRadio Podcast Awards show will take place tonight in Los Angeles and the evening’s ceremonies will be streamed live via Twitter.  Hosts for the 90-minute event will include Premiere Networks syndicated personalities Bobby Bones, Charlamagne Tha God, and Mario Lopez, as well as podcaster Holly Frey.  There are 22 categories with 17 having been voted on by listeners while the remaining five will be decided by a panel of judges.

Blass to Leave Pirates Broadcast Booth After 2019 Season. At the end this year’s baseball season, former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher and longtime play-by-play crew personality Steve Blass will retire from his role with the team.  Blass has been working with the team’s radio and television crews since 1983.  The 76-year-old Blass has been calling only home games on radio and TV since 2005.

WTOP, Washington Traffic Reporter Dave Dildine Saves Woman from Drowning.  Washington, DC traffic reporter Dave Dildine was out in last Sunday’s snowstorm taking photos in Rock Creek Park when he heard a woman struggling in the creek under one of the park’s bridges. He called out to her and told her to swim to shore.  But as he prepared to call for help on his cell phone, he saw her go under and made the decision to walk out onto the ice to try to pull her in.  The ice broke and he fell into the creek but was able to drag 27-year-old Sarah Kirkpatrick out of the water and stay with her until emergency crews arrived.  Read the whole story at WTOP’s website here.

The Battle Over the Border Wall Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18. The battle between President Trump and House Democrats over funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the related federal government shutdown.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia investigation tied with the allegations of campaign finance violations against the Trump campaign, followed by the House Democrats’ legislative agenda and the potential 2020 presidential candidates 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.

SPOTLIGHT CHINA: Award-Winning Investigative Reporter Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Is the world’s most populous country, with a rich cultural history dating back thousands of years, a friend or foe to the United States?  Joshua Philipp is one of America’s most knowledgeable journalists on the subject of China and the existential threats it poses to US interests in the arenas of politics, economics, cybersecurity, and defense.  He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare and subversion.  Philipp is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  His on-the-ground investigations in 2008 onward into connections between Chinese consulates, spy networks, and organized crime circles in New York City – and more than a decade of research and investigations on this and related topics – give him unique insight into the global threat presented by today’s repressive Communist Chinese government.  Harrison and Philipp take a deep dive into the subversive ways in which China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operate both domestically and behind the scenes on the world stage giving clear insight into such lightly covered news topics as the nefarious activities of its telecommunications giant Huawei and its recently arrested CFO, Meng Wanzou, in Canada.  Harrison states, “The Epoch Times is an amazing worldwide news organization founded by Chinese-Americans as an objective counterpoint to Communist propaganda that should be on the radar of every American news/talk media host interested in the facts about the serious threat presented to US interests by our so-called ‘frenemy’ – China – and other worldwide events.”  To listen to this extremely important podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS daily newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

PLAN AHEAD, DON’T BE SHUT OUT!  2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC.  The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Longtime Lansing, Michigan jock Deb Hart is retiring from the radio business and her morning drive gig with Townsquare Media’s classic rock WMMQ to pursue a career as a full-time yoga teacher.  Hart has worked in the market for decades.  She’s currently co-host of the WMMQ morning show with Joey Pants – who will continue with the station hosting mornings – and previously served with Midwest Communications’ crosstown rock WJXQ.  Her last show will be January 24…..iHeartMedia Atlanta is working with the Super Bowl Host Committee to open its iHeartRadio BoomBox Stage to activities from January 26 through February 2 during the 2019 Super Bowl LIVE week taking place at Centennial Olympic Park. The week-long stage of events will feature sets from iHeartRadio DJ’s and on-air personalities from the Atlanta cluster…..SiriusXM and legendary rock band KISS are presenting an invitation-only show for SiriusXM subscribers and VIPs on Monday, February 11 at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.  The exclusive performance will air on KISS’ exclusive SiriusXM channel, KISS Army Radio.  KISS’ performance at Whisky a Go Go will launch SiriusXM’s “The Party Continues,” a new, live series that will feature music’s top artists performing in an intimate venue for SiriusXM subscribers following music’s biggest night at the Grammy Awards…..Pictured below is Columbia Nashville star Maren Morris (center) appearing on the syndicated Ty Bentli morning show in which she discussed her newest song “GIRL” and the coming GIRL: The World Tour.  With her is Ty Bentli (left) and Chuck Wicks (right).

Thursday, January 17, 2019

| January 17, 2019

WOR, New York to Launch Live and Local Evening Show. Beginning February 4, iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York “The Voice of New York” adds the new “WOR Tonight with Joe Concha & Lis Wiehl” to the program schedule in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm daypart.  WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “The New York area is known for its diversity and 710 WOR will be able to offer listeners just that each night with a unique mix of issues.  Joe and Lis come from different sides of the political spectrum, which should make things quite interesting and unpredictable.”  Concha is a reporter and columnist for The Hill and Wiehl is a former federal prosecutor, former investigative counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, a best-selling author and a legal analyst.  The station says the new show “will be a New York-centric show spotlighting a mix of top news stories, politics, movies, television, Broadway, pop culture and consumer issues.  Additionally, the hosts will offer their views on the stories of the day from both sides of the political aisle and will take calls from listeners.”  Concha states, “Our show will obviously talk politics, but we’re also going to offer up the kind of news and views that people deal with every day. We want to tell stories people can relate to as well as empathize with and hope to make you laugh a few times in the process.”  Wiehl adds, “This show is going to be a one-stop shop in a three-hour package, delivered to your radio.  You’ll get hard news shared by two people who are news veterans and experts in the fields of law and media.  Plus, you’ll get ‘water cooler’ news delivered to you by two hosts who are parents, taxpayers, pet owners, and pop culture enthusiasts.”

Radio for the 55+ Listener.  Former WSYR-AM, Syracuse morning host Mark Wainwright writes a piece for TALKERS magazine in which he suggests that successfully reaching Baby Boomers with radio programming requires “rekindling their relationship with radio.”  Wainwright states, “The 55-72 ‘Boomer’ demographic is the last generation that genuinely cared about radio.  They grew up with radio, they were actively engaged with it, and it was an integral part of their lives.  At a time when our industry is struggling to stay relevant, we need to reconnect with listeners who still care about us and what we offer.”  Read the entire story here.

Mary Rogers to Lead Sales at Entercom’s Dallas Station Group.  Sales and management pro Mary Rogers comes to Entercom Dallas from Cox Media Group’s San Antonio cluster where she was most recently director of sales.  Effective January 28, she’ll assume the vice president and director of sales position for the cluster that includes news/talk KRLD-AM “News Radio 1080,” sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” and four music-formatted stations.  She says, “I am excited to join Entercom Dallas, working alongside [SVP and market manager] Brian Purdy and his amazing team.  I began my career in Dallas and it is a great feeling to be back working with these iconic brands and audiences.”

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert FederVioleta Podrumedic has left her role as afternoon traffic reporter on Tribune’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago to join the “Eric in the Morning” show – led by Eric Ferguson – on Hubbard Radio’s crosstown hot AC WTMX.  She’s been part of WGN’s afternoon drive Roe Conn program since 2016…..Entercom confirms that Howie Rose will continue to call the play-by-play for the New York Mets as all-news WCBS-AM begins serving as the flagship station for Mets broadcasts this season.  Rose will be joined by color analyst Wayne Randazzo.  He was previously pregame and postgame host for the Mets.  Longtime WFAN Mets beat reporter Ed Coleman will conduct pregame coverage, including the daily “Managers Show with Mickey Callaway.” Randazzo will host the station’s postgame coverage immediately following each game broadcast.  WCBS 880 morning sports anchor Brad Heller will serve as the utility player on the team presenting sports coverage for the station, as well as fill-in on pregame coverage…..In Fredericksburg, Virginia, Alpha Media’s four-station group – including news/talk WNTX-AM/FM – is working to aid furloughed federal workers by creating a web page with listings of businesses from Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland that are assisting federal workers during the government shutdown.  Many businesses are coming together to help the community during this time of need by providing free or reduced fee meals, services, groceries, and even temporary employment opportunities.  Alpha Media Fredericksburg market manager Beth Vickers comments, “The Washington DC market is severely affected by the furlough.  We feel Alpha Media Fredericksburg has a duty to provide support and information to government workers and their families during this time.”…..USA Radio nationally syndicated radio host Wayne Allyn Root reports that his television simulcast seen on Newsmax TV is getting a second daily airing on the cable TV network.  His program airs live at 8:00 pm ET each evening.  Now, repeats of the program will air on Newsmax TV the following day at 1:00 pm.  Additionally, Root says all three hours of his radio show are available on-demand via iHeartRadio.

Border Wall Battle, Government Shutdown, Trump-Russia Investigation, 2020 Presidential Race, Brexit Chaos, U.S. Soldiers Killed in Syria, Nairobi Hotel Attack, Gillette Ad Controversy, Netflix Price Hike, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16). The political battle over President Trump’s efforts to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the effects of the federal government shutdown; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the possible candidates for president in 2020; British Prime Minister Theresa May survives a vote of no confidence after her Brexit plan fails; four U.S. soldiers are killed in Syria; the deadly terror attack on a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya; the controversy over Gillette’s ‘toxic masculinity’ ad; consumer backlash over Netflix’s announced price increases; and the NFL playoffs 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. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Entercom’s CHR WBBM-FM names Julia Lepidi its new evening host.  She takes over for Corey B who left the station in November to transfer to the company’s alternative WNYL, New York “ALT 92.3.”…..As reported by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Ali Mac has exited the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5” where she worked alongside Cadillac Jack, who remains host of the AM program. Also, at the Cumulus Atlanta cluster, air personality Byron Cooper exits the evening show at CHR WWWQ “Q99.7” after 13 months in the position.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

| January 16, 2019

Cumulus Names Divello Market Manager for Abilene Cluster. Management and sales pro Paula Divello rises from director of sales for Cumulus Media’s Shreveport, Louisiana station group to vice president and market manager for its Abilene, Texas cluster that includes KTLT-FM “SportsRadio 98.1 FM The Ticket” and three music outlets. Divello says, “Thank you to Mary Berner and the Cumulus leadership team for this opportunity.  I am enthusiastically looking forward to leading from the front in Abilene.  It’s a strong cluster with an invested team, in a great market with tons of potential.  I’ve learned and grown so much with Cumulus, experienced FORCE values and culture – and how consistently they drive success. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to drive revenue, ratings, and community involvement for Cumulus as the new vice president/market manager in Abilene.”

Urban One Founder Cathy Hughes to Be Inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame. The founder and chairperson of Urban One, Cathy Hughes, will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2019 NAB Show during the “Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner” on Monday, April 8 at the Encore in Las Vegas.  Hughes built what was formerly Radio One after buying her first radio station – WOL-AM, Washington – in 1980.  She became the first black woman to own a station in a major market.  At WOL-AM, she created the “24-Hour Talk from a Black Perspective” format.  Today’s Urban One is a publicly traded company operated by Hughes’ son Alfred Liggins III.  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Cathy Hughes is a truly remarkable broadcaster and entrepreneur whose contributions continue to greatly influence and drive our industry.  We look forward to honoring Cathy with this well-deserved award at this year’s NAB Show.”

Facebook Announces Local News Initiative. Via a blog post by vice president of global news partnerships (former NBC and CNN news personality) Campbell Brown, social media behemoth Facebook announces “an expanded effort around local news in the years ahead.”  Brown writes that the goal of the initiative is two-fold: to support “local journalists and newsrooms with their newsgathering needs in the immediate future; and helping local news organizations build sustainable business models, through both our product and partnership work.  Over time, we think this work can have the added benefit of fostering civic engagement, which research suggests is directly correlated with people’s reading of local news.”  She says Facebook will invest $300 million over the next three years.  You can read about the breakdown of where that money is being spent here.  Brown also says Facebook will hold a two-day “Accelerate: Local News” summit early this year that will be “devoted to local news, in partnership with Knight Foundation and the Online News Association.  Our goal is to bring together top local US news organization leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists and funders to discuss, design and drive towards solutions that address today’s most pressing local news challenges.”

iHeartMedia and Fremont Street Experiences Announce Downtown Las Vegas Revitalization Plan. The Las Vegas operations of iHeartMedia announces a partnership with Fremont Street Experience in which it will move its regional office to downtown Las Vegas as part of an effort to revitalize and assist in the growth of downtown Las Vegas.   The new Fremont Street location is scheduled to open in August 2019 includes a 15-year lease. The company says in a press release that it has designed a new “state-of-the-art facility to house their iconic brands and franchises – both broadcast and digital – including ‘Sunny 106.5,’ ‘93.1 The Mountain,’ ‘95.5 The Bull’ and ‘Real 103.9.’ The studios will feature cutting-edge design elements as well as digitally advanced technology and resources for talent and programmers that will help them connect even faster and easier with listeners delivering even more great content to the Las Vegas community.” iHeartMedia Las Vegas’ partnership with Fremont Street Experience will also include co-promotions of current downtown concerts and events, with additional opportunities to co-produce and create new events and concerts to drive awareness and visitation to the area. iHeartRadio in-studio guests and musical acts can also perform on one of Fremont Street Experience’s three stages in downtown Las Vegas.

TALKERS News Notes. This Friday night (1/18), sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who hosts mornings on Entercom’s sports talk KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” – will star on the evening show at the company’s WEEI-FM, Boston.  The former University of Miami defensive tackle, who played his high school ball in Connecticut, will host “WEEI at Night” from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm two days before the hometown New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game…..Twin Cities sports media personality Mike Max is named the new sports director at CBS’ WCCO-TV.  He is currently host of “Sports to the Max with Mike Max” on Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM.  There’s no official statement from Entercom about his status with the station but it appears he’ll leave his radio show to focus on the new gig…..Detroit sports talk host Matt Shepard – host of the “Shep, Shower ‘n’ Shave” morning program based at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WDFN-AM – is named the new play-by-play personality for Detroit Tigers television broadcasts, according to numerous Motor City media reports.  Shepard’s radio program is syndicated regionally to a number of affiliate stations via the Michigan Media Network…..A number of new FM signals are added to the main 970 AM signal of iHeartMedia’s news/talk WFLA, Tampa.  The company drops the classic hip hop format on a trio of translators – W233AV, Gulfport at 94.5; W256CT, Bayonet Point at 99.1; and W290BJ, West Tampa at 105.9 – and assigns them to WFLA-AM.

Border Wall Battle, Government Shutdown, Russian Sanctions, Trump-Russia Investigation, Gillette Ad Controversy, Barr Confirmation Hearing, Rep. Steve King Troubles, Brexit Deal Fails, ‘El Chapo’ Case, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The political battle over President Trump’s efforts to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the effects of the federal government shutdown; Republicans join the Dem-led effort to rescind Trump’s easing of sanctions on Russian firms; the controversy over Gillette’s ‘toxic masculinity’ ad; the senate confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William Barr; the status of Rep. Steve King’s committee assignments in the aftermath of his ‘white supremacist’ comments; the failure of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan; the trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera; and the NFL playoffs 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. Longtime WTIC-FM, Hartford morning personality Gary Craig is retiring from the station after a 39-year career in morning drive radio.  He tells his listeners he’s leaving the “Craig and Company” program in June.  The 68-year-old Craig first worked for WTIC-FM in 1981.  He left in 1992 to go across town to competitor WKSS, where he would stay for four years.  He returned to WTIC-FM in 1996 and teamed up with John Elliott and has been there ever since…..iHeartMedia Barry Allen program director for adult contemporary KBFP “Sunny 105.3, Bakersfield’s Feel-Good Station,” effective January 22.  He was most recently program director at the company’s CHR duo KCEZ-FM, Chico and KEWB-FM, Redding.  iHeartMedia area SVP of programming Steve Weed says, “We’re excited to have Barry joining our iHeartMedia Bakersfield family.  When we launched ‘SUNNY 105.3’ last year, we filled a major void for Bakersfield listeners and we’re confident that Barry will continue to build out the ‘SUNNY 105.3’ brand.”…..Cumulus Media makes a time shift for hot AC WPLJ’s “Todd & Jayde in the Morning.”  It now airs from 5:30 to 8:30 to allow for the new “95 Minutes & More,” commercial-free music block from 8:30 am to 10:15 am.

WDRV, Chicago Seeks Associate Producer for ‘Sherman & Tingle’ Show. There’s a prime producer gig open in Chicago as Hubbard Radio is seeking an “incomparable call screener, celebrity guest-booker, street reporter, and content architect to join ‘The Sherman & Tingle Show’ as associate producer.  Applicants should have at least five years of on-air experience in an ensemble setting; exemplary audio production skills are required in this position, specifically time sensitive, on-the-fly editing aptitudes; robust social media savvy essential, including real time integration and a clear understanding of the ever-evolving nature of the medium; proven record of accomplishment in locating/booking/delivering premiere celebrities from major league sports, television, movies, and other arenas of pop culture preferred.”  To see the entire job posting, click here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

| January 15, 2019

iHeartMedia Asks Bankruptcy Court for More Time. In a motion filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston yesterday (1/14), iHeartMedia asks the court to grant it more time in which it (the Debtors) may remove actions from its Modified Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.  It is asking the court to give it until June 7, 2019 to address the matters.  It says, “Given the size and scope of the Debtors’ capital structure and business operations, expeditiously moving toward exit from these chapter 11 cases will require significant effort. Due to the Debtors’ efforts to date, they are on track to consummate a restructuring that will maximize value for all stakeholders.  As a result, the Debtors have not yet determined conclusively which Actions, if any, they will seek to remove. The extension requested herein will provide the Debtors with time to make informed decisions concerning which Actions to remove and will ensure that the Debtors’ rights to remove Actions can be exercised in an appropriate manner.”  iHM notes that the rights of parties to the actions will not be unduly prejudiced.  “If the Debtors ultimately seek to remove Actions pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9027, parties will retain their right to seek remand with respect to such Actions pursuant to section 1452(b) of the Judicial Code. Therefore, the Debtors submit that cause exists for the relief requested herein.”

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s Marty Griffin Cancer-Free. Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM announces that afternoon personality Marty Griffin – who’s been battling cancer since last year – is cancer free.  Griffin co-hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show with Wendy Bell on the Entercom station.  He had a PET-CT scan at UPMC’s Hillman Cancer Center yesterday (1/14) and the results indicate he is officially cancer free.  Griffin was diagnosed with HPV-related cancer near his throat and underwent weeks of chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy.  He’ll continue with three more months of immunotherapy to increase his survivability rate.  Griffin said upon learning the results of this latest test, “I won the lottery today, its Christmas morning, it’s just beautiful.”

Cattles Named PD at ‘ESPN Radio 94.1’ in Norfolk. Afternoon drive talk host Nick Cattles is promoted to program director at Max Media’s sports talker WVSP-FM, Norfolk-Virginia Beach “ESPN Radio 94.1.” Cattles served with the station from 2012 through 2017 when he left for a stint at now-Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  He returned to WVSP last June.  About his promotion, Cattles says, “I’m so grateful for being named the new PD of ‘ESPN Radio 94.1.’  “I’ve loved my time working as a host at the station and now enthusiastically jump into this next challenge. I’d like to thank Keith Barton, Rusty James, and the ownership at Max Media for this opportunity.”

TALKERS News Notes. New York news/talk WABC will have a place at the radio row for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. The “Bernie and Sid Show” featuring Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg as well as Rosenberg’s “Sid Sports Sunday” programs will broadcast from the Atlanta Sheraton.  The “Bernie and Sid” show will broadcast on Thursday and Friday. Rosenberg tells TALKERS magazine this is the first time a WABC show has gone on the road for the Super Bowl…..CBS News and Simon & Schuster announce a joint podcast/book project by popular “CBS SUNDAY MORNING” correspondent, humorist, and history buff Mo Rocca. His long love of obituaries has led him to write Mobituaries, an “irreverent but deeply researched appreciation of the people (and things) of the past who have long intrigued him — from an unsung Founding Father to the first Chinese-American superstar, from Neanderthals to the station wagon.”  The Mobituaries podcast premieres January 17 with eight weekly episodes in the first season…..Television talk host, game show host and Premiere Networks nationally syndicated morning radio star Steve Harvey is hosting the “NFL Honors” program live from Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on Saturday, February 2.  The two-hour primetime awards show is in its seventh year and is designed to recognize the NFL’s best players, performances, and plays from the 2018 season.  It will air at 9:00 pm on CBS TV.

Border Wall Issue, Government Shutdown, Barr Confirmation Hearing, Federal Birth Control Ruling, 2020 Presidential Candidates, Rep. Steve King Troubles, Jayme Closs Case, Today’s Brexit Vote in U.K., and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The ongoing battle over funding the U.S.-Mexico border wall; the issues surrounding the federal government shutdown; today’s senate confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William Barr; federal judges block President Trump’s birth control mandate rollback; the potential Democratic candidates for president in 2020; U.S. Rep. Steve King has committee assignments taken away after white supremacist comments in NYT story; missing teen Jayme Closs escapes captor in Northern Wisconsin; today’s Brexit vote in the U.K.; and the NFL playoffs 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. The LGBTQ-targeted “Channel Q” format comes to Seattle as Entercom adds it to KNDD-HD2 and translator K277AE at 103.3 FM.  Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “We are thrilled to bring ‘Channel Q’ to Seattle.  We’re passionate about giving a voice to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, and look forward to partnering with people and organizations that help the LGBTQ+ community thrive in Seattle.”…..“The Breakfast Club” co-host Angela Yee is named the first-ever BSE Global Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE) Ambassador.  As such, Yee will “play a prominent role in helping the organization build deeper connections to Brooklyn neighborhoods to further expand awareness of the company’s events and community initiatives. As part of her position, she will participate in BSE Global’s youth educational programs throughout the community.”  Her nationally syndicated morning program is based at iHeartMedia’s WWPR, New York “Power 105.1.”  Yee says, “As a Brooklynite, this borough holds a special place in my heart and I’m excited to represent BSE Global and identify opportunities that elevate our community to new heights.  Brooklyn has a strong, historic relationship with both music and basketball, and I look forward to working with BSE Global to find new ways to deepen and celebrate that relationship within our community.”…..In Southeastern Wisconsin, Magnum Communications names Mitch Morgan morning show host at country WVTY, Racine.  Morgan also hosts the afternoon show on the company’s sister country outlet WMBZ, West Bend “92.5 Buzz Country,” a position he’ll continue. Prior to his work with Magnum, Morgan served as music director at iHeartMedia’s country WMIL, Milwaukee for more than 25 years…..Two programming staff moves take place at Neuhoff Media’s Lafayette, Indiana station group.  Jared Jesulaitis gives up the program director position at CHR WXXB “B102.9” and takes on the dual roles of sports director for the cluster and morning co-host on sports talk WASK-AM/W269DJ “101-7 The Hammer.”  Rising from APD to program director for “B102.9” is Joe LeCay.  Cluster vice president of programming Mike Shamus comments, “These guys have both worked very hard over the last few years and we are happy to see them move into positions that will make Lafayette an even stronger market for Neuhoff Media.”

iHeartMedia and The CW Renew for Television and Streaming Deal.  Television network The CW and iHeartMedia announce a new, multi-year agreement for The CW to remain the exclusive television broadcaster and video streaming partner for the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the annual holiday iHeartRadio Jingle Ball event.  The two have partnered for the events since 2012.  Under the new agreement, The CW will air a “best of” special featuring one of iHeartRadio’s 2019 marquee events as well as live stream four of iHeartRadio’s Theater Shows from New York and Los Angeles.  The CW Network president Mark Pedowitz says, “The CW has really enjoyed the incredible relationship we’ve shared over the years with our friends at iHeart, as we’re able to showcase for our fans the best of the best in the world of music.  As the exclusive TV broadcast and video streaming partner, The CW is looking forward to continuing our tradition of starting our fall launch with the iHeartRadio Music Festival, celebrating the holiday season with Jingle Ball and adding some new events through the year.”

Monday, January 14, 2018

| January 14, 2019

Talk Radio Host Lars Larson Banned from Twitter for 12 Hours. The story in the Willamette Week has the details of KXL, Portland-based, nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson’s 12-hour ban from Twitter for his exchange with a Portland activist over a recent police shooting that resulted in the death of man reportedly schizophrenic and legally blind.  Former Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone tweeted, “We know the police kill. [The] question is whether we will ever stop funding this deadly paramilitary force and start funding things that actually keep the people of Portland safe.”  Larson was suspended for the following response, “Gee @sarahforpdx you think the cops make PDX dangerous? Read the story and you find the dead man was 1) paranoid schizophrenic 2) invaded a stranger’s home 3) fought with the officer 4) pulled a knife. What’s your millennial snowflake solution to that situation without the cops?”  Responding to the ban Larson received for the tweet, Iannarone said Larson’s words “may not seem like much on the surface.”  But complained that “whenever that account retweets me, it brings commenters into my sphere who hurl insult and innuendo my direction. I reported three other accounts resulting from the retweet that day that Twitter admins agreed were abusive or harmful.”

Ron & Don Fans Baffled by Show’s Abrupt, Unexplained Exit. This story in the Seattle Times was published on Saturday (1/12) and includes comments from TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.  Friday’s launch of a new afternoon drive program – “Candy, Mike and Todd” – on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM Seattle caught fans of the “Ron and Don” show off guard.  The story notes some 1,000 comments on the “Ron and Don Nation” Facebook page expressing their dismay at the show’s departure and anger with the lack of Bonneville’s explanation.  Ron Upshaw and Don O’Neill had been with the station for 13 years.  They didn’t shed much light on the controversy, either, probably due to a non-disparagement clause in their contracts.  They wrote, “Life is not about what you got, it’s what you give. We are very appreciative to all our great advertisers and everyone in the Ron and Don Nation for giving so much of your time, your energy, and your resources over the last 22 years. Together we raised over 11 million dollars for causes in the community we all care about. From our families to yours, Thank You Seattle, Tacoma, Fife, and Fremont.”

KSTP-AM, Minneapolis Re-Brands as ‘SKOR North.’  Tomorrow (1/15) will be sports talk KSTP-AM’s first day as “SKOR North” as it shucks the “1500 ESPN” brand.  Hubbard Radio says in a press release that the brand is now “a digital-first sports brand that will create and distribute content across multiple traditional and digital platforms, including 1500 AM, 94.5 FM HD2, streaming, a dedicated SKOR North app, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.”  In September, Hubbard dropped the “Garage Logic” show with host Joe Soucheray from the lineup, as well as Patrick Reusse’s show (PD Brad Lane exited as well).  The new program schedule will still consist of ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” in morning drive, followed by the “Dan Le Batard with Stugotz” show.  Local afternoon program includes the new “SKOR North Live with Matthew Coller,” followed by the drive time “[PhilMackie and Judd [Zulgad] Show with Ramie,” and a return to the airwaves of Patrick Reusse as one of the four 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm programs that will rotate throughout the year, depending on the season.

Monday Memo: CES 2019.  Consultant Holland Cooke’s Monday Memo here at TALKERS magazine summarizes some of his takeaways from last week’s enormous CES 2019 in Las Vegas.  Cooke reports that Consumer Technology Association vice president of market research Steve Koenig says we’re at the beginning of the “Data Age of Consumer Tech” and that means, “information about our listeners – whom advertisers want as customers – is gold.” See his entire report here.

WICC, Bridgeport Announces Programming News. Connecticut news/talk WICC-AM, Bridgeport announces it will continue to serve as an affiliate for New York Yankees baseball.  In addition, the Cumulus Media station is adding FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot.  It also is carrying Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro in the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart.

Mike Rich to Lead Townsquare Media Danbury. Radio management pro Mike Rich is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Danbury, Connecticut group of sports talk WINE-AM “Sports Radio 940,” rock WRKI-FM “i95,” and WDBY-FM “Kicks 105.5.”  Rich comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as CEO of digital media firm Irish Studio.  He’s also served with Time Inc., Radio One, and AOL.

TALKERS News Notes. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM’s new afternoon drive personality – former, longtime rock KZRR “94 Rock” morning personality T.J. Trout – is an unabashed “left of center,” “social liberal” who will take over 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s conservative news/talk station on January 22.  Trout talks about getting the gig and how he views his role on the station in a piece with Albuquerque Journal here…..The podcast “Red Pilled America” – an iHeartRadio original podcast – got some love from The Washington Times recently in an article about story-focused podcasts that target conservative listeners.  The podcast is the work of husband and wife creative duo Patrick Courrielche and Adryana Cortez and the piece delves into how the program highlights stories rather than monologues to get the message across to listeners…..The NHL’s Boston Bruins and the Boston Bruins Foundation are holding the second annual Patrice Bergeron & 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Pucks & Paddles event on Thursday, February 7.  The table tennis tournament will feature players from the active Boston Bruins roster, on-air personalities from Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” and patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center with all proceeds to benefit the hospital…..Beasley Media Group announces Jennifer Sulik is named to the newly created position of vice president of strategic partnerships at Beasley XP, the company’s esports division.  Sulik was most recently founder and chief executive officer of Go Media Detroit, a digital media advertising agency.  Previously, she worked in the digital sales division at WXYZ-TV, Detroit and UBM Tech in San Francisco, where she developed integrated business-to-business media campaigns targeting game developers and game industry influencers, including Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra.com and Indiegames.com…..Across the pond, “Fix Radio” – the station for builders and tradespeople – will launch in Manchester, England today (1/14).  Fix Radio is programmed by British talk radio pro Graham Mack and is based in London.  Mack and Gaz Drinkwater present the daily morning show on the format.

The Trump-Putin Relationship, U.S.-Mexico Border Wall, Government Shutdown, Jayme Closs Case, Paris Bakery Bombing, Bezos Divorce, 2020 Presidential Race, Dems in Puerto Rico, Winter Snow Storm, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Reaction to weekend stories indicating the FBI was concerned about President Trump’s relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the battle over funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border; the ongoing government shutdown; missing teen Jayme Closs is found after escaping her captor; the deadly bombing at a bakery in Paris; the divorce of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; potential presidential candidates in the 2020 election; Democrat legislators are criticized for “partying” in Puerto Rico with lobbyists; the winter storm that swept across the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic; and the weekend’s NFL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend according to ongoing research from TALKER magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Terri Avery is the new PD at Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR, Atlanta “Kiss 104.1,” effective January 22. Avery was most recently radio station manager and an instructor at Carolina School of Broadcasting in Charlotte.  Prior to that, she was OM/PD at WPEG and WBAV in Charlotte for 14 years. CMG Atlanta director of operations Chris Eagan says, “Terri is well-regarded in the radio industry.  She is smart, engaging, a champion in talent coaching and an expert in urban AC.  Her years of diverse experience make her a great addition to the ‘Kiss 104.1’ team.”…..Cumulus Media rock KSAN, San Francisco “107.7 The Bone” officially names Chasta Michaelis midday personality.  She’s been interim host of the daypart since Steven “The Weedman” Seaweed in 2017.  Chasta also serves as a cast member on the station’s “Lamont& Tonelli Morning Show,” a role she will continue along with her daily production of her daily Facebook Live chats from “The Bone” studios following each morning show…..Through a partnership between iHeartMedia and LiveXLive Media Inc – a global digital media company focused on live entertainment – the 2019 iHeartRadio ALTer Ego concert at the Forum in Los Angeles on January 19 – will stream live. LiveXLive chairman and CEO Rob Ellin comments, “Our mission is to bring our global audience of music fans the ‘best seat in the house’ for musically diverse concerts by the most popular artists.  iHeartMedia, with its massive reach across radio, digital and social, and its culture-defining marquee events such as ALTer Ego, is undeniably a perfect fit.”…..According to a report by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Roots” show with Bob Stroud that’s heard weekly on Hubbard Radio’s classic rock WDRV “97.1 The Drive” is getting another play.  The show has been airing Sunday mornings from 7:00 am to 10:00 am but, as program director Rob Cressman says, “The ‘Stroud Crowd’ has been relentless in their quest to get ‘Roots’ scheduled a bit later in the day.”  So, now the show also airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Kelly J moves from evening jock to a member of the Jeff Pope morning show on All Pro Broadcasting’s hot AC KHTI, Riverside-San Bernardino…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio personality Michael “Mike” Walker, who died on January 7 at the age of 60.  Walker worked at numerous radio stations during his career, including WIFM, Elkin; WKBC North Wilkesboro; and WWWC, Wilkesboro in North Carolina.  He was the founder/operator of The Production Room where he produced and voiced more than 530 weekly episodes of the syndicated “Saving the 70s” show that focused on 1970s music and pop culture.

PPM Analysis: Contemporary Christian. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on contemporary Christian. See the report here.