Tuesday, September 24, 2019

| September 24, 2019

3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down FCC’s 2017 Ownership Changes. In the fourth round of The Prometheus Project vs the FCC, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed on the effects the 2017 ownership changes would have on the female and minority ownership front.  Judge Thomas Ambro writes: “We do, however, agree with the last group of petitioners, who argue that the Commission did not adequately consider the effect its sweeping rule changes will have on ownership of broadcast media by women and racial minorities.  Although it did ostensibly comply with our prior requirement to consider this issue on remand, its analysis is so insubstantial that we cannot say it provides a reliable foundation for the Commission’s conclusions.  Accordingly, we vacate and remand the bulk of its actions in this area over the last three years.  In doing so, we decline to grant the requested extraordinary relief of appointing a special master to oversee the FCC’s work on remand.”  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai disagreed with the decision and wrote: “For more than twenty years, Congress has instructed the Federal Communications Commission to review its media ownership regulations and revise or repeal those rules that are no longer necessary.  But for the last fifteen years, a majority of the same Third Circuit panel has taken that authority for themselves, blocking any attempt to modernize these regulations to match the obvious realities of the modern media marketplace.  It’s become quite clear that there is no evidence or reasoning—newspapers going out of business, broadcast radio struggling, broadcast TV facing stiffer competition than ever—that will persuade them to change their minds.  We intend to seek further review of today’s decision and are optimistic that the views set forth today in Judge Scirica’s well-reasoned opinion ultimately will carry the day.”  Pai is referring to Judge Anthony Scirica’s dissenting opinion in which he says the Citizen Petitioners overlook “that the Commission’s judgment regarding how the public interest is best served is entitled to substantial judicial deference.”  Further, Scirica writes, “The FCC reasonably predicted on the record before it that the new rules would not diminish or harm minority and women ownership.  The question whether the rules and ownership diversity are interconnected was aired over the course of the 2010/14 quadrennial review. The FCC invited comment and data that might shed light on this connection.  It concluded—based on its understanding of the broadcast markets, the evidence in the record, and the only data submitted—that repeal of the rules was unlikely to harm ownership diversity.”  He further reasons that “the effect the new rules will have on women- and minority-broadcast ownership may remain difficult to uncover until the FCC gains experience with the new rules.”

KTRS, St. Louis Names Wendy Wiese News Director. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that market radio and TV pro Wendy Wiese is named news director at CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS-AM, effective October 7.  Wiese has been with the station on a part-time basis, filling in for Kelly Jackson on Mondays as co-host of the McGraw Milhaven morning drive program.  In this new role, Wiese will anchor both the morning and afternoon newscasts with Jim Fairchild.  She’ll also handle fill-in duties in addition to continuing her Monday morning co-host role.  During her career Wiese has served with Entercom’s crosstown KMOX, KTRS (from ’96 to ’06), Relevant Radio, and St. Louis Regional Public Media’s KETC-TV, St. Louis where she hosts the public affairs program, “Donnybrook.”

Mike Francesa to Host Radio Hall of Fame Ceremony. Iconic New York City sports talk personality Mike Francesa will host the 31st annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Gotham Hall in New York on November 8.  The WFAN-AM/FM afternoon host and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee will preside over the ceremony in which Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter (Kevin & Bean), Joe Madison, Jim Rome, Ryan Seacrest, John Tesh, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer will be inducted.  Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Quintessential New Yorker Mike Francesa will bring big energy, humor, and great perspective to this year’s Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  We’re honored to have him as our master of ceremonies.”

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is broadcasting live from the 2019 Radio Show in Dallas this week.  Host Tom Griswold and his ensemble cast will be in the main lobby of the Hilton Anatole Hotel Wednesday through Friday (9/25-27) from 5:00 am to 9:00 am CT.  Celebrity guests will include comedians Donnie Baker, Greg Hahn, Al Jackson, and Alli Breen, comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo, and The Black CrowesSteve Gorman.  Griswold and cast member Kristi Lee will co-host the Marconi Radio Awards Dinner and Show with Premiere NetworksDelilah and Reach Media’s Rickey Smiley on Thursday night…..Play-by-play of the University of New Orleans men’s basketball and baseball will be heard on Cumulus Media’s country WRKN-FM, Picayune, Mississippi “106.1 NASH ICON” this season.  The games will be called by Jude Young and Emmanuel Pepis…..Entercom announces two new original podcasts are joining RADIO.COM starring former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast members.  “Eat Live Love Indulge with Kathy Wakile” and “The Lookover Ladies,” hosted by Laurita and friends Jill Ashley and Melissa Polo.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “We’re thrilled to welcome this stellar group of talented women to our best-in-class content portfolio on RADIO.COM and with them, more female-first programming to the platform.  They each lead full lives as professionals, mothers, wives and daughters, in addition to dedicating themselves to championing on behalf of various causes.  I look forward to hearing more of their inspirational and relatable stories of family, home life and inner strength.”

Trump-Ukraine Controversy/Hunter Biden Business Dealings, UN Climate Summit/Trump at the UN, 2020 Presidential Race, and Brexit Chaos Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/23). The controversy over President Trump’s conversations with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and the related questions about the legality of Hunter Biden’s business activities in the Ukraine; Monday’s UN Climate Summit and today’s UN appearance by President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; and the political and legal chaos in Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit tactics 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 David Bugenske becomes the newest cast member of “The Wake Up Call” on Entercom’s country KFRG-FM/KXFG-FM, Riverside “K-FROG.”  He’ll work alongside Kelli “Green” Barajas and Ginny Harman.  Entercom Riverside SVP and market manager Michael Valenzuela says, “We are so excited to welcome a champion for country music and country radio to the K-FROG family.  David’s remarkable personality, presence on social media, and love for serving the Southern California community is a natural fit for a heritage station such as ‘K-FROG.’  We look forward to creating great content with David.”  Bugenske was most recently on air at Mt Wilson FM’s country KKGO, Los Angeles “Go Country 105.”…..Portland rock radio personality Iris Harrison announces that she’s leaving Entercom’s classic rock KGON – the station at which she’s worked for the past 42 years – at the end of December.  Harrison says in a video posted on the KGON website that she plans to put her archive of interviews and other KGON classic content together in a new podcast format…..SuiteRadio and Envision Networks are offering tribute radio specials of Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek of The Cars for FREE to any station that wants to air them.  Each tribute is being shared as a sample of the forthcoming radio show called “Long Live Rock.”  Each tribute features six songs with nationally recognized radio personality Donna Mackenzie sharing stories of the “Money Man” and Ocasek. The special is fully produced and played together offer an hour’s worth of programming that includes all local commercial time available for radio stations to sell…..The staff at iHeartRadio’s hot AC WMXY-FM, Youngstown, Ohio “MIX 98.9” is mourning the untimely passing of Wes Miller, who died yesterday (9/23) at age 53.  The station says, “Our condolences go out to his family including his children and wife, Shelley.  Wes was a bright spot each morning on the radio and his infectious laugh will be missed in our hallways each day.”

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News