Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Save the Date! Talkers 2017 Set for Friday, June 2, 2017 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled Talkers 2017: A New Era, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 2, 2017 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Theater and Event Space located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age at the dawn of the Trump Era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ Talkers 2017: A New Era will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary, Talkers 2017: A New Era 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. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, December 23. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
MMTC Calls for ‘Long-Term, Humane Decommissioning’ of the AM Band as Part of ‘12 Imperatives.’ The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council is presenting what it calls 12 imperatives to the Trump Administration that “address the persistent challenges in closing the digital divide, and advancing multicultural commercial ownership opportunities to create voices and participation in the telecommunications industry.” Of those 12 imperatives, #12 is “Create a ‘Glide Path’ for the Short-Term Survival and Long-Term Humane Decommissioning of the AM Band in a Manner that Preserves Minority Ownership.” It states, in part, that the FCC’s future policies “should facilitate the preservation of AM radio’s program services when the AM band disappears. It should seek to ensure that AM broadcasters receive fair compensation for the loss of their assets as well as assistance in transitioning their programming to other platforms. For that purpose, MMTC has formed the MMTC AM Glide Path Taskforce.” It goes on to suggest “we encourage the Commission to work with the MMTC AM Glide Path Taskforce to identify potential uses of the low-band spectrum now assigned to AM, such as maritime mobile, aeronautical fixed, and aeronautical mobile, as well as exploring new potential classes of users such as drones, driverless vehicles, rural irrigation, and the Internet of Things (IOT). Ultimately, these new users can be cobbled together into a market for AM spectrum that can enable AM owners to find buyers and leapfrog into newer platforms that can support their programming.” Read the entire “12 imperatives” from the MMTC here.
Mike North Launches Daily Podcast. Chicago-based radio personality Mike North is debuting a new, daily podcast titled, “Sticks and Stones,” that is being produced from North’s home studio. The longtime Windy City talent was most recently heard on the radio on the FOX Sports Radio network co-hosting “FOX Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman. “Sticks and Stones” will be a 30-minute show available daily around 9:30 am and will consist of North riffing on sports, pop culture, news or whatever’s on North’s mind. Occasional special guests will join North. Chicagoland Radio and Media reports this new podcast is a collaboration between North and Gow Media’s PodcastArena.com. Read the Chicagoland Radio and Media piece here.
The Trump Transition/Secretary of State Candidates, Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire, Trump’s Boeing-Air Force One Comments, Pentagon Waste Study Scandal, ‘Fake News’/Comet Ping Pong Incident, Pearl Harbor Anniversary, Merkel: Ban Full-Face Veils, Dakota Access Pipeline Case, Grammy Nominations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/6). The Trump Administration transition and the potential Secretary of State nominee, the aftermath of the deadly Oakland warehouse fire; President-Elect Donald Trump’s statement about cancelling Boeing’s Air Force One contract due to expense; the controversy over the Pentagon’s burying of a study revealing some $125 billion in waste; chatter about “fake news” and the related gun incident at the Comet Ping Pong eatery in DC; today’s 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor; German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to ban full-face veils in public; the re-routing of the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Army Corps of Engineers; the list of 2017 Grammy nominees; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Media Matters Names New President; Broadens Scope of ‘Bad Actors.’ In a report published by Politico’s Hadas Gold, anti-conservative media “police” Media Matters for America is naming current EVP Angelo Carusone to the president post, taking over for Bradley Beychok, who will remain with the organization as a senior advisor. Gold’s story quotes Carusone saying, “There was a period of time which we were, rightfully so, described as the ‘Fox antagonists.’ Now, our mission is to be principally focused on the value of journalism…It used to be simple, Fox News was the gate keeper, but now there are so many potential bad actors. Now there are places like Facebook who aren’t bad actors but can be enablers of misinformation.” Read the whole Politico piece here.
NAB Creates Podcast Addressing Photo Copyright Laws. A new podcast from National Association of Broadcasters is available that is designed to help content creators avoid legal troubles when using photos. The podcast is titled, “Navigating Photo Copyright Law: Protecting Your Station from a Lawsuit,” and is available here. NAB says, “The podcast explores strategies on how stations can avoid alleged and real copyright infringement claims. A recent series of copyright infringement lawsuits filed against radio and television stations highlight the importance of broadcasters fully understanding how to legally use photographs and other content on social media and websites. Securing proper permission ahead of time is necessary to protect against potential legal ramifications. Podcast presenters include Bart Stringham, senior vice president and corporate counsel, NAB, and David Ervin, partner, Crowell and Moring.”
Odds & Sods. In the category of year-end programming, Westwood One News is producing two long-form “Year in Review” programs: “The Year in Review – The Big Stories,” anchored by “First Light” host Evan Haning, and “The Year in Review – People, Sports and Entertainment,” anchored by “America in the Morning” host John Trout. Also, the news organization is offering a series of “Year in Review” reports – a total of 20 vignettes – for unlimited use by affiliates from December 22, 2016 through January 2, 2017…..WIBW, Topeka farm director Kelly Lenz was recently inducted into the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The Alpha Media news/talk station notes that “Lenz has been a leader and innovator in the farm broadcast industry for the past 38 years. In 1978, he was hired as assistant farm director for WIBW, and rose to farm director one year later. In 1983, he started the “Ag Issues” program on WIBW, one of the first agricultural talk shows in the nation. Lenz also began an annual agricultural conference for farmers and ranchers. The conference is now held in four different locations and has more than 725 producers in attendance.”
BFoA’s Holiday Giving Campaign Underway. The 2016 Holiday Giving Campaign has been launched by The Broadcasters Foundation of America – the charity that provides aid to broadcasters in acute need. As part of the campaign, an appeal letter was mailed to thousands of broadcasters across the country, encouraging individual donations to the Broadcasters Foundation’s Guardian Fund. BFoA chairman Dan Mason states, “Our grant recipients had robust careers as producers, managers, on-air talent, engineers, account executives, and more. Now, through disease, accident, or advanced age, they and their families are in need of our assistance. It is up to us to come together and help them through the Broadcasters Foundation of America.” Over the past year, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed more than $800,000 in aid, including nearly $100,000 in one-time emergency grants to broadcasters who were affected by the Louisiana floods. In addition to individual donations to the Guardian Fund, corporate contributions are accepted through the Broadcasters Foundation’s Angel Initiative and bequests can be made through its Legacy Society. For more information, please visit broadcastersfoundation.org, email email@example.com, or call 212-373-8250.
Will Art Bell’s Suit Against Michael Savage Be Successful? On Friday (12/2), TALKERS magazine reported that talk show host Art Bell and his wife are suing fellow talker Michael Savage in U.S. District Court in Northern California for defamation after Savage said the following on his Westwood One nationally syndicated program: “I generally avoid gun questions. I know this from the first day in radio. I learned you never do certain topics where you can destroy your show. Third rail… You say UFOs, you wind up in the Philippines with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in joke, by the way, for people who understand the business. There are other topics you can’t do…” For his take on Bell’s chance of success, we turned to TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman. He says, “It is hard for public figures to win defamation lawsuits because they have to prove actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth. More telling in this case, however, may be for Bell to prove that he was harmed. Rodney Dangerfield once won a defamation case against a tabloid that said he snorted cocaine with hookers in a hot tub. He won the case, but only was awarded a dollar because the judge said his reputation wasn’t harmed.”
Former Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver Joins WGAC Talk Host Lineup. Nine-year Augusta, Georgia Mayor Deke Copenhaver exited the mayor’s office in 2014. Now, he’ll join the on-air staff at Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WGAC, Augusta to host “There It Is” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daily. The station says that Copenhaver “will bring an exciting brand of talk radio through his relationships with local, regional and national government officials, as well as high-level executive decision makers throughout the Southeast and beyond. Beasley Augusta VP/market manager Mark Haddon comments, “We are delighted to have Deke join us on the air at WGAC. He brings a fresh approach to the current issues of the day that are important to our local community. We think Deke will have a little something for everyone, so it should be enlightening and entertaining…a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the Central Savannah River Area.”
Trans-Atlantic Conversation on the American Election and Brexit. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in an in-depth discussion about the election of Donald Trump and the UK’s recent public vote approving Brexit with award-winning British talk show host Graham Mack. The two compare notes on both the American and English points-of-view regarding the surprising state of world affairs as we wrap up the politically and culturally mind-bending year of 2016 on both sides of the Atlantic. It takes place on the latest installment of the hit PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Harrison states, “My dear friend Graham Mack really has his finger on the pulse of British public opinion and brings a refreshing objectivity and honesty to the discussion about the complex events taking place there following the Brexit referendum. He also offers a fascinating look at the election of Donald Trump from the English perspective.” Harrison adds, “This installment of the podcast also gives me the opportunity to express my own personal assessment of this past election and the impact it is having upon politics, journalism and the media in the US.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Chiasson to Lead Cumulus Lafayette. At the Lafayette, Louisiana cluster of Cumulus Media, Scott Chiasson is named vice president/market manager. The company says Chiasson is a Lafayette native with 18 years’ experience in broadcast sales and operations management. He’s previously served with E.W. Scripps in Wichita, iHeartMedia in Colorado and Florida, Metro Networks in Orlando, Cox Media in Lafayette, and CBS RARIO in Tampa/St. Pete. Cumulus Media SVP Jeff Brown states, “Scott is a great radio guy and a Lafayette native. That combination is a terrific match for our powerful brands and our talented team.”
Beasley Media Group Names Jami Beasley Associate General Counsel. Attorney Jami Beasley joins the family business as associate general counsel for Beasley Media Group. Beasley has most recently been serving as partner in Kopelowitz Ostrow P.A.’s Ft. Lauderdale office, where she focused on commercial and complex litigation, as well as her previous experience in real estate litigation. She comments, “It’s an honor to serve Beasley Media Group as associate general counsel. This is an exceptional opportunity and I am eager to contribute to the corporate team.” General counsel Joyce Fitch adds, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Jami to Beasley’s corporate headquarters. Jami’s experience will greatly enhance the legal department and I will rely on her talent and skills as we move forward in our dynamic, growing company.”
WMAL, Washington Raises $491,000 for Fisher House. The 13th Annual WMAL Fisher House Radiothon, benefiting Fisher House Foundation, raised a record-setting $491,064 from the station’s generous listeners in the Washington, DC area over the past weekend. The two-day event concluded with a live broadcast from The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. WMAL program director and Cumulus VP of news/talk Bill Hess states, “I remain in awe of WMAL listeners. They have generously donated some $5.4 million over the last 13 years in support of this wonderful organization and its mission.” Fisher House Foundation provides homes away from home for the families of injured servicemen and women while their partners are undergoing treatment and rehabilitation. Pictured above are (from l-r): WMAL morning co-host Larry O’Connor, mid-morning personality Chris Plante, and morning co-host Brian Wilson.
Steve Deace Book Gets Movie Deal. Talk show host and conservative media figure Steve Deace is getting a movie deal for his novel, A Nefarious Plot (2016 Post Hill Press). Believe Entertainment principals Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman – producers of the film “God’s Not Dead” – have purchased the film rights to Deace’s book and will begin developing the story for a film to be released in 2018. Konzelman states, “We’ve been looking for the right story to expand into the imaginative and compelling horror-thriller genre and we knew it was Deace’s book as soon as we read it. We’re into developing movies with spiritual themes, and A Nefarious Plot represents a way to explore those themes in a whole new way for the faith-and-values audience.” Deace, who writes about issues exclusively for Conservative Review, says of this project, “My goal with A Nefarious Plot was to literally scare the hell out of people. I’m very excited to see how Believe Entertainment will do exactly that.” A Nefarious Plot centers around a demonic force which has long sought to manipulate American history to the ruination of the world’s lone superpower.
Trump Names Carson HUD Secretary, Al Gore Visits Trump Tower, Trump Calls Taiwan President, Fake News/DC Pizzeria Incident, Iran Nuke Deal Status, Mistrial in Cop Shooting Death of SC Man, Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire, Dakota Access Pipeline Case, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). The Trump Administration transition and the naming of Ben Carson as nominee for HUD Secretary; Vice President Al Gore’s controversial visit to Trump Tower in New York; President-Elect Donald Trump breaks protocol and speaks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen; the ongoing controversy over “fake news” and the incident in which a North Carolina man fired a gun in a DC restaurant that he believed may have been operating a child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton; Iran’s concern over the status of its nuclear deal with Trump soon to be president; a mistrial is declared in the case against former officer Michael Slager, who shot unarmed black motorist Walter Scott to death in South Carolina; the aftermath of the deadly warehouse fire that took the lives of 36 people; the Dakota Access pipeline controversy and the recent Army Corps of Engineers’ ruling requiring the pipeline be re-routed; the four-team college playoffs tournament; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Northwest Missouri State to Host Radio Talent Institute. The Missouri Broadcasters Association is working with six radio companies to bring the Radio Talent Institute to Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville July 31 through August 9, 2017. The Institute is a 10-day radio immersion program bringing broadcasting students together with more than 30 broadcast professionals for on-air training in music radio, news and sports, as well as digital/social media, production, promotion, sales and more. Students will also become certified Radio Marketing Professionals by the Radio Advertising Bureau. Missouri will be one of six states in the country hosting an institute with the National Radio Talent System. Other locations are the Kellar Radio Talent Institute Appalachian State University in North Carolina, Confer Radio Talent Institute Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute Western Kentucky University, GAB Radio Talent Institute University of Georgia, and Hubbard Radio Talent Institute Central Washington University. Missouri Broadcasters Association president Mark Gordon states, “We are pleased to bring in a program taught by industry professionals that will help fill job openings at broadcast stations with quality employees who have a true understanding of how fun and rewarding a career in our industry can be.” Broadcasting companies taking part include: Hubbard Radio, Eagle Communications, Emmis Communications, Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group, iHeartRadio, and Mid-West Family Broadcasting.”
Sunday Night at CBS RADIO Philadelphia. On Sunday evening, WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Walter Sterling spoke with guests about Satan and the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are (from l-r): Sterling, former WYSP program director Tim Sabean, classic hits WOGL program director Anne Gress, and Get the Led Out author Denny Somach.
WISN, Milwaukee to Re-Align Programming in New Year; Dan O’Donnell Adds Daily Show. Milwaukee news/talker WISN is adding a new local, daily talk show featuring current news anchor, reporter and fill-in host Dan O’Donnell. The iHeartMedia station is also shuffling the lineup around a bit, effective January 3. In January, morning host Jay Weber’s show will be trimmed to 6:00 am to 9:00 am, O’Donnell’s show will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, and Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh will air live from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Vicki McKenna, currently heard from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, will be heard from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, followed by longtime afternoon drive personality Mark Belling from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Evenings will still feature Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Westwood One’s Mark Levin. WISN program director Jerry Bott comments, “WISN is blessed with a lineup of extremely strong, popular local talk show hosts. Adding someone with Dan’s level of talent is an excellent opportunity to make that lineup even better.” O’Donnell joined WISN in 2013 and is currently a drive-time news anchor, reporter, and a substitute host for all of WISN’s local talk shows. Dan also serves as a Wisconsin correspondent for FOX News Radio, HLN’s “The Nancy Grace Show,” ABC News Radio, Wall Street Journal Radio Network and CBS Radio News. In addition, O’Donnell is known for his extensive coverage of the 2007 Steven Avery murder trial in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and subsequent “Rebutting A Murderer” podcast following the 2015 Netflix special “Making a Murderer.” Previously O’Donnell served as a news anchor for Journal Broadcasting for almost 12 years.
WEEI, Boston Fills Roles with Rich Keefe. Boston writer and personality Jerry Thornton left Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and WEEI.com to return to Barstool Sports as a senior columnist. Now, Entercom announces that Rich Keefe is joining the company effective Tuesday (12/6) to serve as the third voice on the afternoon drive “Dale & Holley” show with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley and as a columnist for WEEI.com, penning his popular “Keefer Madness” blog. WEEI notes that Keefe is “a nine-year sports radio veteran in Boston and has worked in an array of capacities for CBS RADIO’s WBZ-FM, ‘The Sports Hub.’ He also hosts the pre- and post-game shows on Patriots.com and has substituted on play-by-play broadcasts for the Boston Celtics Radio Network.” In addition to his new role on the “Dale & Holley” program, Keefe will co-host with Mike Mutnansky, weekdays from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. WEEI program director Joe Zarbano says, “We are proud to add a rising talent like Rich Keefe to our team. Rich brings an entertaining, opinionated and fresh outlook on the Boston sports landscape, and I have no doubt he will be a great addition to the ‘Dale & Holley’ show.”
CBS Radio News Pros Take Buyouts and Exit. According to a story in the New York Post, a number of longtime CBS Radio News staffers are agreeing to take buyouts and exit the news organization as it trims its payroll. Last month, CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler announced he would be retiring from the company in early January after a 50-year career in the business and the last 18 years spent with CBS. Nagler’s retirement appears to be just that, but the Post is reporting that among those who took the early buyout are: executive producer Charlie Kaye; Washington correspondent Barry Bagnato; afternoon anchor Harley Carnes; and “CBS World News” anchor Bill Whitney. A source tells the Post that the new deal with Westwood One (for ad sales and affiliate sales) requires some cost-cutting on CBS Radio News’ part.
Trump Transition/Cabinet Nominations, Election Recount Effort, ‘SNL’ Trump Skits, Dakota Pipeline Project, Italian Referendum/Renzi Quits, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the Trump Administration during the transition period and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominations; the election recounts taking place in several states; Saturday Night Live’s skits poking fun at Donald Trump’s Twitter habit; the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline and the Army Corps of Engineers’ denial of the permit for its current planned route; Italy votes “no” on a referendum to shrink its legislature and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s promise to resign; the college football weekend games and the subsequent playoff seeding; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. It’s a name change for Radiate Media as the deal to be acquired by Global Traffic Network closes. Global’s American operation is now United States Traffic Network. In addition to the American business, Global also serves clients in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Brazil. United States Traffic Network begins providing traffic services for CBS RADIO beginning in April…..In the case of Nielsen Audio vs. Bubba the Love Sponge, the two sides have done an about-face and are telling the court that they believe – after new evidence from the discovery phase – a settlement can now be reached. The sides are asking for a U.S. Magistrate Judge to preside over a settlement hearing. Nielsen is suing Bubba for damages it claims to have suffered as the result of Bubba’s PPM ratings tampering.
Art Bell and Wife Suing Michael Savage and WW1 for Defamation. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, radio talk host Art Bell and his wife Airyn Ruiz Bell are suing Michael Savage, Westwood One and parent company Cumulus Media for defamation, defamation per se, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Bells are seeking damages “in the amount to be proven at trial.” The complaint stems from a September “Savage Nation” broadcast in which Savage said, “I generally avoid gun questions. I know this from the first day in radio. I learned you never do certain topics where you can destroy your show. Third rail… You say UFOs, you wind up in the Philippines with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in joke, by the way, for people who understand the business. There are other topics you can’t do…” The Bells argue that to anyone who knows the business, it was obvious Savage was referring to Art Bell and further, that the “10-year-old hooker” remark refers to his wife, Philippines national Airyn Ruiz Bell. The Bells say they petitioned Westwood One for a retraction but their request was not honored.
WEEI, Boston Names New Leadership Team. The Entercom sports talker announces its new programming management team. It is promoting assistant program director Joe Zarbano to PD, taking over for Kevin Graham, who announced his exit from the station back in June. This comes after a six-month search that resulted in the station promoting from its “in-house talent bench.” In addition to Zarbano’s promotion, senior producer Ben Kichen rises to executive producer. He’s been lead producer for both the Glenn Ordway and “Dale & Holley” programs. He also produces Kirk Minihane’s “Enough About Me” podcast and hosts “Soccercast” for WEEI.com. Carlson Mozdiez, currently director of integrated marketing strategies for Entercom Boston, assumes the director of operations role for the cluster with special emphasis on the company’s WEEI.com digital platform. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says the search was necessarily long and intensive. “With its massive broadcast reach and associated digital assets, the WEEI brand is arguably among the most influential and complex in all of broadcasting. Many of our outside candidates simply couldn’t get their arms around all of it. As each month passed, it became clear to me that we had the talent right here in Ben, Carlson and Joe. Plus they each have that inimitable DNA of the true Boston sports fan.”
Brandys Promoted to Baltimore SVP/Market Manager for CBS RADIO. From her most recent position as VP, director of sales, Tracy Brandys is elevated to senior vice president, market manager and director of sales for CBS RADIO’s Baltimore stations, including sports talk duo WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan,” WJZ-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1300,” adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9,” CHR WWMX “Mix 106.5,” as well as the CBS RADIO Up Close Performance Studio that hosts local and national sports figures and musicians. She replaces former Baltimore market manager Bob Philips who was recently named chief revenue officer for CBS RADIO. Company COO Scott Herman says, “Tracy’s years of sales and management experience, coupled with her intimate knowledge of our Baltimore stations and the overall market, made her the natural choice to take on this important role. Throughout her tenure with CBS RADIO Tracy has proven to be a powerhouse salesperson who has led and grown our revenue and market share in Baltimore and has been a trusted leader to our valued employees. We are delighted to reward her accomplishments with this well-deserved promotion.”
The News Media Alliance and National Association of Broadcasters Seeking Review of FCC’s Cross Ownership Rules. The News Media Alliance is going straight to President-Elect Donald Trump with a white paper that lays out its case for abandoning the 1975 rule that makes cross-ownership of electronic and print media illegal and the National Association of Broadcasters is petitioning the FCC for reconsideration of the 2014 Quadrennial Regulatory Review’s conclusion to maintain the ban (as well as other policies). Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the argument that the current state of media looks nothing like it did in 1975 and current regulations should reflect the current business conditions. News Media Alliance president and CEO David Chavern states, “While news organizations are innovating and adapting to a vastly different media landscape, antiquated government regulations and imbalanced policies are unnecessarily hindering investment and growth at news media companies. We encourage the new administration to revisit these regulations and policies as it charts a new course for our nation’s economic growth.”
Al Peterson to Cease Publication of NTS MediaOnline in New Year. After 10 years serving the spoken-word radio business, radio pro Al Peterson is announcing he’ll stop publishing his NTS MediaOnline Today and NTS MediaOnline Monthly come January. In a press release, Peterson says, “After serving as the News/Talk/Sports editor for 10 years at the top industry newspaper Radio & Records, to then creating NTS MediaOnline and building it into a reliable hub for news, information and conversation about talk radio for the last decade, it just feels right to start a new chapter in my life – one where I’m not waking before sunrise to a blank page and a daily deadline.” Working with Peterson during the last 10 years (and before that with R&R) has been his sales and marketing partner Brooke Williams. The statement says Peterson plans to enjoy more time with his family and pursue other interests outside the industry.
Report: Pandora and SiriusXM Talking Acquisition. According to CNBC, digital music pure play Pandora is talking with SiriusXM about being acquired by the satellite radio company. The report indicates that the talks are very preliminary but that this shows a change of heart after Pandora dismissed an informal offer of $15 per share from SiriusXM parent Liberty Media back in July. Liberty CEO Greg Maffei is quoted saying, “We think that the free space, whether it be commercial, terrestrial radio or Pandora, is still a very attractive space. And we talked about how we’d like to find a way to participate. I think the streaming business, which Pandora seems to have doubled down on, is a very unattractive business. So there are parts of Pandora that could be attractive. And there’s parts that we’d have questions about.” Read the CNBC piece here.
Trump Cabinet Nominees Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 28 – December 2. The growing list of cabinet nominees for the Trump Administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the election recount tied with Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Carrier deal, followed by Trump’s flag burning comments 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. News/talk WHBY, Appleton, Wisconsin is broadcasting in FM as well now with the addition of translator W287AU at 103.5. Woodward Radio Group brand manager Justin Hull states, “We are thrilled to be taking WHBY to the FM side of the dial. The new frequency, along with our revamped website and app, gives listeners another way to experience WHBY in all aspects.”…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of WVON, Chicago is hosting its 26th Annual Seniors Breakfast tomorrow (12/3) at the House of Hope. Seniors will enjoy a hot breakfast and live entertainment from three-time Grammy nominee Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues and Christmas carols from musical artist Uneqka…..Both satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM and digital platform TuneIn will be broadcasting live from the Baseball Winter Meetings starting this Sunday, December 4, through Thursday, December 8.
Six Days Left for Gracies Early Bird Deadline. The deadline for early bird entries for the 2017 Gracie Awards is Thursday, December 8. The annual awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, recognize “exemplary programming created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individual achievement.” All submissions must have been released, posted or aired between December 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. Please note, this is a change from previous years’ timeline for eligibility. The final deadline for submissions is January 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET. See how to register submissions here.
The Yappy Tour Rolls Through WABC, New York. The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadette Duncan (left), continues to burn up the airwaves. The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through New York City yesterday (12/1) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio grand dame Joan Hamburg for her Saturday show (12/3) on the legendary WABC. Duncan tells TALKERS, “It was one of the highlights of my career being interviewed by the great Joan Hamburg. Not only is she one of my personal idols, but I can safely describe her as one of the best radio talkers of any era and a national treasure. Being on her show and the airwaves of WABC is deeply gratifying to me and hopefully to the thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderful support.” Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. The interview is already posted as a podcast on the WABC website and can be heard by clicking here. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the first quarter of 2017. Duncan has already appeared on more than 40 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Cumulus Promotes Tacinelli at New York Cluster. Promoted from general sales manager of Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York to vice president of sales for the entire New York cluster is Glen Tacinelli. He’d been in the WABC post since July of 2015. He’s now responsible for sales at hot AC WPLJ, country WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” and urban contemporary WNBM “Radio 103.9,” plus the cluster’s digital assets. Prior to joining Cumulus, Tacinelli served as director of sales for Katz Radio for more than seven years. Cumulus New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez states, “Glen’s significant experience in the New York market will be an important asset to the entire Cumulus New York cluster. In this ever-changing and evolving industry, we are very excited to implement this integral role and have Glen lead all sales efforts in the top market in the country.”
Cavender to Retire as RTDNA/F Executive Director. After a six-year stint at executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation, Mike Cavender will retire from the position at the end of 2017. Cavender has served with the organization in numerous capacities over the past 20 years. The RTDNA/F says that “under Cavender’s leadership, RTDNA/F has served as a voice for journalism on such major legislative and regulatory issues as the use of drones for news gathering, the availability to the public of police body cam footage, transparency in government, improvements in the Federal Freedom of Information Act and FCC regulatory issues impacting broadcast news coverage.” The organization also says that under Cavender’s tenure, RTDNA membership not only grew by 52%, but it regained its financial stability. Cavender says, “Our work in Washington and around the country plays a significant role in bringing clarity and progress to the major issues facing our industry. For 70 years, RTDNA has been an unwavering advocate for our industry and I look forward to continuing to be part of those important efforts, especially with the advent of a new political administration.” The RTDNA/F board of directors has appointed a search committee to locate a successor to Cavender.
Voices Radio Will Miss in the New Year. Some sang; others reported the news, often heartbreaking. Some called play-by-play; others called it quits and hung-up the headphones. Some mentored budding broadcasters; and too many fell silent too young. Again this year, consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke salutes “Voices Radio Will Miss in the New Year.” Check it out here.
Trump Transition, Trump’s Carrier Deal, the ‘Fake News’ Phenomenon, Election Recount, the Status of ObamaCare, Syrian Civil War, U.S.-Russia Relations, Gatlinburg Wildfires, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30). The ongoing activities of the Trump transition team and Donald Trump’s nominees for cabinet positions; Trump’s deal with Carrier to keep some jobs in Indiana; controversy over the proliferation of “fake news” and its influence on the recent election; Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s move to force election recounts; speculation over the future of the Affordable Care Act; the desperation of civilians in Aleppo as the Syrian civil war pounds the city; the tenuous relations between the U.S. and Russia; the destruction caused by the Gatlinburg wildfires; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated overnight program “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” may continue in national syndication but it won’t be with Westwood One. The Cumulus Media-owned program syndicator will discontinue its four-year relationship with the KMOX, St. Louis-based show after December 31…..Genesis Communications announces it will bring New York Yankees play-by-play coverage to the Tampa market via sports talk outlet WHBO “Sports Talk 1040 AM The Team.” The station has been airing Yankees games since 2009.
Station Owner Raises Money for Local Humane Society. WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina co-owner/talk show host Anne Eller has gotten into the holiday spirit with her dog and station mascot Gracie to raise money for the local Humane Society. Anne and Gracie, pictured wearing matching outfits above, ran a silent auction on the station’s Facebook page video component in conjunction with Eller’s local jewelry, art and collectibles store, Sharp Facets Gallery. Gracie, one of the most popular dogs in the Carolinas, was also celebrating a birthday – a major annual event on WCRS.