Monday, September 17, 2018

| September 17, 2018

Newsmax TV to Be Carried on Comcast’s X1 Platform.  In a major move for the Newsmax TV channel, Newsmax and Comcast have signed an agreement for the latter to carry the 24/7 cable news channel on the Xfinity TV X1 platform.  Newsmax TV will initially launch to subscribers of Xfinity’s Digital Starter package that have an X1 device.   Newsmax Broadcasting CEO Michael Clemente says, “Comcast is the largest cable operator in the nation and we appreciate their decision to recognize Newsmax TV as a valuable, independent programmer for their viewers.”  Newsmax TV says it “consistently offers important viewpoints not covered elsewhere and continues to add talent to an impressive lineup that includes: Joe Walsh, Brett Winterble, Howie Carr, Wayne Allyn Root, Todd Schnitt, Joe Pags, and Jesse Lee Peterson, as well as Newsmax anchors John Bachman and Miranda Khan.”  It adds that it is currently available in 50 million U.S. cable/satellite homes and expects to reach as many as 80 million such homes by the end of 2019.  Clemente adds that the network plans to ramp up programming in the coming months as it prepares for 2020 presidential election coverage that will begin in earnest next year.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  Sports talk listening heated up during the August survey as 74% of sports talk stations saw their 6+ weekly AQH share rise compared to the July 2018 survey. Looking at changes from August 2017 to August 2018, 67% of stations were up from a year ago.  Entercom’s WFAN, New York – on the back of a three-tenths increase – ranked #1 (6+) in the Long Island market in August.  The company’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh ranked #4, and WFAN, New York and Cumulus’ KNBR, San Francisco ranked #5 in their respective markets.  See the whole report here.

RJ Bell and Chris Broussard & Rob Parker Host New FOX Sports Radio Programs. On the heels of last week’s end of the JT The Brick program and the “Steve Gorman Sports!” show, Premiere Networks today announces the launch of the shows that are rounding out the FOX Sports Radio network program schedule.  Beginning today (9/17), “Straight Outta Vegas with RJ Bell” debuts from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET as what Premiere calls “the first-ever national daily radio show focused on sports betting.”  Las Vegas personality and founder/CEO of Pregame.com RJ Bell hosts the program that also features FOX Sports Radio personality Jonas Knox, plus famed betting experts Brad Powers and Steve Fezzik.  Premiere says the weekday launch of the program comes after a successful year-long run as part of FSR’s weekend lineup on Friday and Saturday evenings.  Also moving up from its weekend status is “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard (left) & Rob Parker (right),” launching tonight from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET.  As part of the changes, “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” adds an hour, airing from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET.  Premiere Networks SVP sports programming Don Martin and VP sports programming Scott Shapiro say in a joint statement, “This historic new lineup further solidifies FOX Sports Radio’s standing as the preeminent sports network in the nation.  It’s now crystal clear that when you’re looking for the best, live sports-talk, this is the place to tune in.  Listeners who want to be entertained, informed, and emotionally invested with the most compelling personalities and storytellers in the industry will be rewarded with every listening occasion.”

Zak Burns Gone from ‘KIRO Nights.’ Talk show host Zak Burns is no longer co-hosting “KIRO Nights” with Gee Scott at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. Burns joined the station two years ago to co-host the evening show with Jason Rantz, who left the program last fall to assume the morning drive show hosting duties at sister conservative news/talk KTTH.  KIRO contributor Drew Barth has been sitting in with Scott since Burns’ departure.

Entercom to Relocate Offices to Philadelphia.  In an interview with David Field in Philly.com, the Entercom president and CEO declined to comment on the “worst-kept secret” in Philadelphia – that the company is moving its corporate headquarters from Bala Cynwyd to a building on the Schuykill River in Philadelphia that it will share with Aramark (according to a recent report in the Philadelphia Business Journal).  However, in the piece written by Bob Fernandez, Field acknowledges the intense work that the CBS RADIO merger has brought Entercom but says he’s happy with what the new-look company has accomplished so far.  Regarding the move, it’s being reported that the new facility will not only be home to the corporate HQ but will also house the various radio station offices currently in numerous sites throughout the Philadelphia area.  Read the piece here.

Rumor Confirmed: Mets Games to Air on WCBS-AM, New York in 2019 Season. The recent reports out of the Big Apple that Entercom has been wooing the New York Mets to bring their play-by-play to all-news WCBS-AM turn out to be true as the company announces it has struck a six-year deal with the MLB club.  Mets games have aired on iHeartMedia’s WOR since the 2014 season.  Entercom regional president and market manager Susan Larkin comments, “We’re pleased to be the new radio home of the Mets. We remain committed to bringing our listeners and partners the most exciting sports content from their hometown teams, especially in the New York metropolitan area, where we will be the radio home for both Major League Baseball clubs beginning in 2019.”  As part of the deal, Entercom’s other New York radio stations – alternative WNYL ALT 92.3,” hot AC WNEW-FM “NEW 102.7 FM,” classic hits WCBS-FM and fellow all-news WINS-AM – will provide promotional support.

Crossover Media Group Sales to Handle Ad Sales Support for Sports Byline USA and BlueWirePods. Cross-platform content production and advertising sales rep firm Crossover Media Group Sales announces it is handling ad sales support for Sports Byline USA network. Sports Byline is led by founder and host Ron Barr and president Darren Peck and serves some 200 U.S. radio affiliates and some 500 additional stations globally as well as satellite radio, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, iTunes, CRN Digital, airlines’ in-flight channels and the American Forces Network.  The company is also working with newly launched podcast network Blue Wire that is aggregating content from sports talk personalities.  Bay Area-based Blue Wire was founded by former KNBR-AM, San Francisco host Kevin Jones.  CMGS managing member Scott Calka says, “CMGS is rapidly becoming one-stop-shopping for marketers to reach a variety of fans across the panoply of sports talk.”

23 Stations Off the Air as a Result of Hurricane Florence.  According to the FCC, as of yesterday (9/16), some 20 FM stations are off the air and three AM stations are off due to the impact of Hurricane Florence.  Also, four television stations report being out of service and 7.2% of the region’s cell towers were reported off-line, with Brunswick, Cumberland, and Carteret Counties in North Carolina reporting the largest loss of cell service.

Kavanaugh Accusation, Florence Drenches the Carolinas, Border Patrol Serial Killer Case, Trump-Russia Investigation, Bob Woodward’s Trump Book, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; Hurricane Florence’s arrival and the resulting historic flooding in the Carolinas; the case of the U.S. border patrol agent charged in connection with four deaths; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and the related plea deal of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; Bob Woodward’s book, Fear: Trump in the White House; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

WPG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley with Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin. Pictured above is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin (Miss New York) during Franklin’s visit to the station today (9/17). Franklin discussed the year ahead for her as Miss America, saying she will continue her work with the performing arts and several children’s charities that’s she supports.  Hurley presented the Miss America Foundation with a surprise $500 grant that will be designated to two charities of Franklin’s choice.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Dallas, Cumulus Media brings Nathan Fast aboard to co-host the morning show on KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” with current morning personality Lisa Taylor.  He was most recently with Entercom’s crosstown CHR KVIL “AMP 103.7” as morning host.   KPLX program director Mac Daniels says, “Nathan is an amazing, creative talent wrapped around the passion and work ethic of four people.  With his leadership skills and winning spirit, we’re excited about the bright future for Nathan Fast and ‘The Wake Up With The Wolf Show’ on one of America’s leading country music brands.  We’re excited to hear him and Lisa Taylor together in the morning.”…..iHeartMedia moves Vladimir “DJ Loui Vee” Scott from its Columbia, South Carolina station group to its Indianapolis offices to serve as program director for hip hop WZRL “REAL 98.3” and hip hop WTFX, Louisville “REAL 93.1.”   iHeartMedia Indianapolis SVP of programming Mike Killabrew comments, “Vladimir possesses the creativity, passion, and leadership we look for in programmers.  His direction and attention to detail will take WZRL and WTFX to the next level.”…..iHeartMedia Raleigh names Joe Johnson program director and afternoon drive personality for classic rock WRDU, Raleigh, effective September 24.  Johnson held the same positions at the company’s WROV, Roanoke-Lynchburg…..Classic hits KGOR, Omaha debuts the “Mornings with Montez & Shari” featuring Montez and Shari Stone.  Stone was most recently digital project coordinator and midday host at Salem Media Group’s crosstown Christian contemporary KGBI-FM. Montez was most recently afternoon host and music director at the iHeartMedia Omaha cluster’s CHR KISO “96.1 Kiss FM.”  The duo say, “Being from Omaha, we both couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to serve our community in a fun way because we love this town.  We can’t wait to entertain every morning and grow our big, radio family.”…..Envision Networks announces that the “Full Metal Jackie” program – hosted by Jackie Kajzer – is now airing on the American Forces Network, broadcasting to United States military servicemembers and their families at home and abroad. AFN Radio director Scott Stover says, “American Forces Network Radio is proud to bring Full Metal Jackie to our US military serving overseas as they listen to our alternative music channel ‘Freedom Radio.’ We thank ‘Full Metal Jackie’ and Envision Networks for partnering with AFN Radio to ‘serve those that serve.’”

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