Thursday, November 15, 2018

| November 15, 2018

Alpha Officially Files to Sell West Palm Beach Cluster to Hubbard for $88 Million.  When the Agreement in Principle was announced back in late September, Alpha Media said it was divesting of some of its stations to lower its debt leverage.  Today we learn that it has filed to sell the West Palm Beach cluster to Hubbard Radio for $88 million.  The station group includes news/talk WFTL-AM, sports talk WMEN-AM/WIRK-HD2; adult contemporary WEAT-FM; hot AC WRMF; country WIRK-FM; and urban contemporary WMBX-FM. Alpha Media’s Bob Proffitt states, “While we are sad to see these great stations leave the Alpha family, we are equally happy for Elizabeth Hamma and her excellent and dedicated team to join Hubbard Radio.”  Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris adds, “This is an exciting opportunity for Hubbard Radio.  West Palm Beach is a terrific market and the Alpha Media radio stations set the standard for excellence in south Florida.  We feel honored to welcome these great radio stations into the Hubbard Radio family.”  KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Minihane Remains with Entercom for RADIO.COM Presence; Callahan and Mut Continue in WEEI, Boston Mornings. Sports media personality Kirk Minihane has been off the “Kirk & Callahan” morning drive show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston since taking a medical leave back in early September.  Recent social media posts by Minihane hinted there may have been problems between he and the company but that no longer appears to be the case as Entercom announces Minihane will launch a new digital radio show, podcast, and column on the company’s RADIO.COM platform.  A press release states, “The new platform will expand Kirk’s reach to a national audience and explore wide-ranging topics in addition to sports.  Kirk’s podcast and column are expected to launch in January 2019 and his new, daily, weekday radio show, which will include a co-host to be named at a later date, is expected to launch in early 2019.”  Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton comments, “As an industry leader in compelling, proprietary content, Entercom is making sure RADIO.COM is populated with the very best programming available. Kirk Minihane fits this model perfectly.  His ability to entertain and engage is second to none, and there is no question Kirk will become a highly successful national audio personality.  He already conquered Boston.  Now on to the rest of the world!”  In Minihane’s absence from the morning drive program, Mike “Mut” Mutnansky has been co-hosting with Gerry Callahan and the two will continue to host the morning program with “with a rotating cast of Boston’s most charismatic and intriguing sports personalities.”  And it sounds as though there will be less talk of politics on the program as the press release adds, “The WEEI morning show is being re-envisioned as a more sports-centric show consistent with the station’s brand and position as Boston’s sports leader. For more than 25 years, WEEI has entertained and informed Boston sports fans with engaging, must-listen sports content and analysis in the country’s greatest sports city. Going forward, the morning show will focus predominantly on sports.”  For his part, Minihane states, “I’m extremely excited to return to the air and reach a national audience, with greater autonomy to focus on a variety of topics, and even more digital platforms to connect with my fans.  It’s been awesome to be part of WEEI and I know Gerry and Mut will continue to put on a great show.  I want to thank the listeners for their patience and loyalty over the past several weeks, and I can’t wait to get started on RADIO.COM.”

Hammerschmidt Named News Director at KYW, Philadelphia. All-news KYW, Philadelphia announces Kristina Hammerschmidt is the new news director, effective November 19.  Last year, the Philly native joined the station as an editor and writer from KYW-TV where she was a producer and writer.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “Kristina is a talented and dynamic leader with expertise that will take the KYW Newsradio team to the next level.  Her strong track record producing live newscasts will help us deliver on our mission of telling compelling stories and setting the agenda for news coverage in the Delaware Valley.”  Hammerschmidt says, “I am excited to lead such a talented and dedicated team of journalists.  KYW Newsradio has a rich history and plays an important role in the lives of nearly a million listeners in the Delaware Valley each week.  I look forward to helping KYW continue to serve our community with the news, weather, sports and traffic information they depend on.”

AWF Honors Seven at Gracies Leadership Awards Luncheon. On Tuesday (11/13), the Alliance for Women in Media hosted the inaugural Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon, formerly called Women Who Lead, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  The program featured keynote speaker FOX Sports television sideline reporter Pam Oliver and honored seven female leaders in media. Oliver (right) is pictured here with honoree Beth Neuhoff, owner of radio company Neuhoff Communications. AWMF board member and Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen states, “Now more than ever before, we have a responsibility to create conversation and shine the spotlight on the success and progress of women in media.  We not only want to honor those deserving recognition but show the next generation what is possible.  Our purpose at AWM is to bring intelligent, accomplished, dedicated women (and men) together to share ideas, experiences and some ‘you go, girls!’”

Hofstra University Communications Students Produce Multi-Platform Election Coverage. Pictured above are some of the 200-plus Hofstra University students who played a role in the midterm election coverage, dubbed “Hofstra Votes Live,” that operated from two studios, three control rooms and six remote sites to gain “unprecedented reach” on the school’s radio station WRHU-FM, Hofstra TV, and Facebook (via Livestream).  The programming was led by students in the journalism master’s program at the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, a Hofstra alumnus and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the work being done at Hofstra to provide a fully prepared next generation of media professionals.  The school is a role model for what academia must do to be a vital link in the chain of American broadcasting greatness from generation to generation into the 21st century.”

All in the Family.  Legendary New York City rock personality Jim Kerr – heard in mornings on iHeartMedia classic rock WAXQ “Q104.3” – visited the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” program on sister news/talk WOR to talk about his induction (taking place this evening 11/15) into the Radio Hall of Fame.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Riedel, iHeartMedia chairman Bob Pittman, Kerr, and Berman.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago talk radio host William J. Kelly – heard nightly on WCGO, Evanston on “The Citizen Kelly Show” – is embarking on a multi-city live event called the “Listen to Me (Listening to You) Listening Tour” taking place this month through March 2019.  He’s scheduled 16 stops in cities around Chicagoland and Southern Wisconsin.  He says, “I’m very excited to bring the Citizen Kelly listening tour to cities and towns throughout Illinois and the Midwest.  America is at a crossroads and we need new leadership more than ever.  My fellow citizens deserve to have their voices heard and that is exactly what the Citizen Kelly revolution is all about.”…..Sun & Fun Media inks a deal to represent Digital Sound & Video in offering its radio imaging, commercial production, and video production services to stations across the country via barter.  Sun & Fun chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Sun & Fun Media prides itself on associating with top-notch companies that provide superior products and services to stations. Digital Sound & Video checks all the boxes and we are proud to be working with Ed and his team to give stations the option to obtain DSV’s first rate imaging and production services on a barter basis.”

CNN-White House Suit, House Democratic Leadership Battle, FLA Recounts/GA Gov. Race, Melania Ousts Ricardel, Trump-Russia Investigation, Deadly California Wildfire, Homeless GoFundMe Scam, Avenatti Domestic Violence Arrest, Brexit Chaos, Dow Dips, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The suit against the White House by CNN seeking the return of reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press credentials; the battle within the Democratic party for the next Speaker of the House; the election recounts in Florida and the yet-to-be-decided Georgia governors contest; First Lady Melania Trump fires deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible Trump campaign-Russian agent connections and talk of a bill to protect Mueller from being fired; the California wildfire that has claimed 56 lives; the allegation by authorities that the homeless man and couple who started a GoFundMe campaign that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars was a scam from the start; Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti is arrested on domestic violence charge; the political chaos surrounding British Prime Minister Theresa May; the stock selloff continues as the Dow drops another 200 points; and the week’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio station owner Steel City Media files a Plan of Reorganization in Federal Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis as the next step in its exit from Chapter 11.  Steel City owns hot AC WLTJ “Q 92.9” and adult hits WRRK “BOB FM 96.9” in Pittsburgh and country KBEQ “Q104” and KFKF “Country 94.1,” hot AC KMXV “Mix 93.3” and adult contemporary “KCKC” KC 102.1” in Kansas City.  The Plan has been approved by a majority of the company’s creditors and leaves the Frischling family in control of the company.  Steel City vice president Michael Frischling states, “In an environment where equity in radio companies is being wiped out, we are gratified that we have reached a consensual agreement with our creditors that enables us to maintain equity and operational control that sets the stage for future growth and profitability.  We look forward to emerging from Chapter 11early next year and we want to thank our employees and advertisers for their continued support.”…..Westwood One is offering country stations a four-hour, holiday weekend program called “A Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration with Brett Young,” featuring Young and his friends, including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, and many more. The program is available for airing any time between Thursday, November 22 and Sunday, November 25.

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News