Talk Radio/Media Industry News
FCC’s Wheeler Refuses to Loosen Cross-Ownership Regulations. Perhaps it’s not shocking, but broadcasters are disappointed by the news that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is not going to relax the newspaper-radio cross-ownership ban. Wheeler announced to the rest of the commission his intentions for the 2010/2014 Quadrennial review and rules. Wheeler says that if these rules are adopted, they “will take into account the evolving media marketplace and the Commission’s obligation to conduct timely review of the rules.” Many broadcasters would disagree that Wheeler’s unwillingness to budge on the cross-ownership ban takes into account the evolving media marketplace. The NAB issued the following statement: “We’re disappointed that Chairman Wheeler continues to ignore the will of both the courts and Congress by proposing to retain broadcast ownership rules that long ago outlived their usefulness. It is shocking that regulators who bless mammoth mergers like AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner Cable would still bar common ownership of two TV stations or broadcast/newspaper combinations in a local market. Ultimately, NAB hopes the five-member FCC, Congress, or the courts end this indefensible FCC charade, and that meaningful ownership reform is adopted for the benefit of the millions of Americans reliant on free and local broadcasting.”
Salem to Operate KTRB, San Francisco; Will Air SRN Programming on ‘860 AM The Answer.’ In the San Francisco market, Salem Media Group announces it is entering into an LMA with Susan L. Uecker, Receiver of the estate of Pappas Radio California, to operate KTRB. Salem will air the entire slate of Salem Radio Network on the full-market AM as “860 AM The Answer.” This is the 26th station Salem has branded “The Answer” and Salem Media Group president David Santrella says, “We are thrilled and excited to enter market #4 with a station that reaches the entire metro population. Just in time for the run-up to the biggest presidential election of our lifetime, we’re adding the entire lineup of Salem’s outstanding network talk talent.” The lineup will be: Hugh Hewitt, 3:00 am to 6:00 am; Mike Gallagher, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dennis Prager, 9: 00 am to 12:00 noon; Michael Medved, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and Steve Deace, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.
What Exactly IS a Podcast? On the new episode of the PodcastOne award-winning weekly program, “Up Close and Far Out,” host Michael Harrison opens the show with a discussion about the very definition of the term “podcast” itself. Harrison expresses two perspectives on the concept. The first is the current popular view – that a podcast is a pre-recorded program (mostly audio) delivered directly and instantaneously to the consumer on a digital device via the Internet and available for play “on demand” without delay or interference from a radio station schedule, transportation vehicle or brick-and-mortar store. He then takes the broader approach to the concept showing how video and text files (programs) also enjoy that same convenience in the digital age – making the point that a file containing a movie, song, article or book are similarly “podcasts” although we don’t necessarily call them that. Harrison says that the vinyl phonograph record was an early version of a pre-Internet-era podcast insomuch as the consumer could buy the file and then have access to play it on demand without having to make an appointment or be subject to the whims of a DJ or playlist by waiting to hear it on the radio. Harrison says this is basically obvious but he is surprised by the number of people who still find podcasting “mysterious and daunting” and ask all kinds of questions about how they can go about hearing his show. They ask questions like, “Do I need special equipment to hear it?” or “How do I find it?” According to Harrison, he is even asked these kinds of questions by people already in the broadcast business. “How do I record a podcast?” “Do I need a special microphone or device?” “What’s the secret?” Part two of this week’s episode contains excerpts from earlier episodes of the “Up Close and Far Out” series including conversations with pop legend Linda Ronstadt, planetary scientist Alan Stern, former governor Jesse Ventura, cosmic consciousness guru Deepak Chopra, former FEMA director (now talk show host) Michael Brown, talk host Mark Levin, sports talker Mike Francesa and “digital goddess” Kim Komando. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
‘Brexit’ Vote Aftermath, the Presidential Race, SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, U.S. Immigration Policy, SCOTUS Overturns McDonnell Bribery Conviction, and MLB Action Among Top News/talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). The aftermath of Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, including the effects on the world’s financial markets; the activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the Supreme Court overturns abortion regulations enacted by Texas; the ongoing conversation about immigration policy in the United States; former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s bribery conviction is overturned by the Supreme Court; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KARN, Little Rock News Anchor Donna Kelley Dies at 66. Little Rock radio news pro Donna Kelley – a longtime anchor and reporter for Cumulus Media’s KARN “Newsradio 102.9” – died at her home on Sunday (6/26) from natural causes. Cumulus Media Little Rock VP/market manager Keith Liesmann made the following statement: “All of us at Cumulus are tremendously saddened by the sudden and shocking passing of Donna Kelley. Donna was an outstanding reporter/anchor who served with the highest degree of journalistic integrity at KARN for a decade-and-a-half. Donna was at her happiest when she was working on a news story and never let anything keep her from getting her job done. She was a friend to everyone she worked with. We will all miss her.” This is the second death at KARN in a month. Morning news personality Gary DiGiuseppe died in a car crash on June 1 after a driver traveling the wrong direction on I-430 crashed into his car.
Herskovitz: Yelling and Obfuscation. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today about the rampant “yelling and obfuscation” he’s hearing (and seeing) too much of in today’s advertising. He suggests that what might serve clients better than the cryptically worded claims or annoying splash ads is a well-done radio campaign using the techniques that have worked so effectively for the medium over the years. Read Al’s piece here.
Health and Wellness Syndicated Host Optimistic About State of Radio Industry in Mixed Media Environment. Long-running talent/entrepreneur Danielle Lin, C.N. – host and producer of the successful, independently syndicated program, “The Danielle Lin Show: The Art of Living and the Science of Life” – believes that the combination of old media, new media and specialized, targeted programming with built-in advertising prospects is a winning combination for successful radio going forward into the digital age. In an exclusive article posted today (6/28) in TALKERS, Lin states, “Advertisers and agencies see the marriage of terrestrial radio with streaming, as the perfect way to enhance audience continuity. Quality weekend programming is seeing an increasing audience and the locking in of frequencies.” To read the entire article, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Three nationally syndicated shows from Genesis Communications Network add new affiliates: Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” morning program is now airing on Cumulus Media’s KBGG, Des Moines; the “Daren Streblow Comedy Show” is added to the program schedule at Northeast Colorado Broadcasting’s KPRB, Fort Morgan, Colorado; and “America’s Health Care Advocate” joins the lineup at Eastern Sky LLC’s WZXI, Lancaster, Kentucky…..This Friday (7/1), WEPN-FM “ESPN New York 98.7FM” is presenting “The Ultimate Kickoff Party” with “The Michael Kay Show” and “Hahn & Humpty” to mark the beginning of summer. The event is being held at Martell’s Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant, New Jersey from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm and will feature the hosts of both shows – Michael Kay, Don LaGreca, Peter Rosenberg, Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro – will welcome guests including Yankees great Bernie Williams, Super Bowl champion and former New York Jet Willie Colon and entertainment provided by Willie Wilson and the 98.7 All Stars.….Producer Tom Delach (left) and host John Trout (right) show off their Bronze Trophy from the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards. The Westwood One program “America in the Morning” was honored with the trophy for its achievements in the “News Magazine” category.
TALKERS 2016 Video Presentations Launch Today! A special feature presenting Livestream video recordings of the recent TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations gathering launches today on Talkers.com. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention took place on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Friday, May 20. Beginning today, the industry will be able to view the event’s main panels and presentations kicking off with three outstanding sessions – event emcee, Dr. Joy Browne’s “Welcoming Remarks;” media consultant Holland Cooke’s presentation, “Talk Media: The Next Generation;” and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk radio and television star Sean Hannity being interviewed by Michael Harrison in a one-on-one “Fireside Chat.” More speeches, panels and presentations from the dynamic event including WFAN, New York icon, Mike Francesa’s “Morning Sports Radio Keynote;” the TALKERS “Awards Ceremony;” the “Talk Rumble” and much more will be added in the days and weeks to come. To view this must-see presentation, please click here.
WGN, Chicago Renews Steve Cochran Through 2020. This is the latest in a series of contract renewals at Tribune’s news/talker WGN Radio. Morning drive host Steve Cochran’s pact with the station is extended through 2020. Station VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Steve makes it look easy with his affable brand of intelligence, but nobody works harder to gather and share the stories Chicagoans care about. He’s got the raw talent and work ethic we need for many years to come.” The Cochran morning show team includes co-anchor and reporter Andrea Darlas, news by Steve Grzanich, sports by Dave Eanet and traffic by Mary Van De Velde. Last week, the station made public new deals for afternoon drive star Roe Conn and, on Friday, an extension for programmer Manley. Cochran worked at WGN from 2000 through 2010 when he was let go. He rejoined WGN in 2013. In a story this morning by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cochran speaks glowingly about the new regime at WGN – and rather frankly about the one that fired him. You can read Feder’s piece here.
Melissa Harrison Named AM Co-Anchor at KRLD, Dallas. News pro Melissa Harrison becomes part of the KRLD Morning News alongside Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, beginning Friday, July 1. Harrison has most recently been working as a freelance reporter for KXAS-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth. She formerly worked as a television news reporter in New York, Birmingham, Jackson, Waco, and Abilene. KRLD director of news and programming Paul Mann says, “Melissa’s extensive journalism experience will further strengthen the award-winning KRLD news team. As with co-anchors Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, Melissa’s roots run deep in North Texas and she is passionate about our community.”
‘Brexit’ Vote/Financial Markets Activity, The Presidential Race, SCOTUS Immigration Ruling, Coming SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, Sacramento Rally Violence, and MLB Action and Copa America Final Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the reactions by the world’s financial markets; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton plus the hiring of former Trump aid Corey Lewandowski by CNN; the effects of the recent Supreme Court ruling halting President Obama’s immigration executive orders; this week’s expected ruling by the Supreme Court on Texas’ abortion laws; the violent clash of protestors at a ‘white power’ rally in Sacramento; and MLB action and the Copa America soccer final were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Radio personality Anthony Cumia has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges – third-degree assault and a charge of blocking someone’s breathing – related to an incident with his then-girlfriend in December of 2015. Cumia – former partner of Gregg “Opie” Hughes on both SiriusXM and AM/FM radio – currently hosts an internet talk program. Newsday is reporting that Cumia must complete six months of outpatient alcohol abuse treatment and a six-month batterer’s intervention program. Upon completion of those programs, he can get the charges reduced to non-criminal harassment counts…..Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tips TALKERS magazine that Chicago media writer Robert Feder is celebrating his 36th year in the business of covering radio and television in the Windy City. Tradup and Feder recently shared a lunch in Chicago where Tradup was once president and general manager of news/talk WLS-AM…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive live coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon 2016 beginning today through the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10. The broadcasts are airing courtesy of rightsholder ESPN Audio…..Audio content aggregator TuneIn is now offering Scripps-owned Newsy’s daily news reporting. TuneIn premium subscribers can access two weekly podcasts focused on politics — “Newsy Politics” — and culture — “Givin’ Takes” – plus three daily podcasts focused on U.S. and world news; tech, science and health; and current events…..Alpha Media’s Salina, Kansas news/talker KSAL-AM “NewsRadio 1150” collects two honors in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. KSAL was named “Favorite Radio Station.” KSAL personality Clarke Sanders was chosen “Favorite Radio Host.” Fellow staffers Rich Alexander and Mike Hammett were finalists in the host category. Alpha Salina market manager Bob Protzman says, “We’re very proud of Alpha Media’s representation in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. Once again, ‘News Radio 1150’ KSAL takes ‘Favorite Radio Station’ showing that AM radio is alive and well – all it takes is quality local programming.”
BIA Kelsey Releases State of Radio Industry Report. As part of its state of the radio industry report, BIA Kelsey releases “The Position of Local Radio Stations: Trends for 2016 & Beyond.” Using data from Nielsen Audio, Edison Research, Miller Kaplan, and more, the study looks at AM/FM radio’s reach and revenue over the past five years and projects where radio is likely to be five years down the road. It notes recent industry-wide dips in local station revenue. “We believe local radio stations will be able to turn around this negative over-the-air revenue growth slightly. As long as the economy maintains moderate growth in the next few years, we expect total radio advertising to grow in the 1.0 % to 1.25 % CAGR range.” The BIA Kelsey study also points to digital and live events as pieces of the radio revenue pie that have helped AM/FM survive spot sales declines that will continue to be crucial to radio’s bottom line in the years ahead.
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Annual Conference a Success in Atlantic City. The 69th annual NJBA convention just wrapped up two-days at Caesars Atlantic City (6/22-23) and by all measures was a successful event. Several hundred broadcasters from the Garden State and beyond gathered to discuss the state of the radio industry both regionally and nationally. The theme of the conference was “The Power of Broadcast” and it included sessions on programming, sales and technology as well as an awards ceremony, Hall of Fame induction and radio row. TALKERS/RadioInfo special features correspondent Jeff McKay was in attendance and provides coverage of the sessions and speakers. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
WGN Extends Its Programming ‘Man’ Through 2019. Six-year vice president of content and programming for Tribune Chicago talker WGN, Todd Manley will continue in that role through (at least) December 2019. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Todd makes it fun to come to work every day. He is a content musician that drives our incredible spoken-word content across a multitude of platforms.” Manley remarks, “I am in awe of the effort our personalities and producers put forth each day. They are each driven to make sure WGN listeners never ever miss a story. I am grateful to Jimmy de Castro and [president, Tribune Broadcast Media] Larry Wert for the commitment to continue building this great team.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “I am so pleased to hear this news. Todd Manley is one of the most thoughtful and creative programmers in the talk field today.” Manley’s prior titles at WGN include imaging director and creative director. Before joining the station, he was program director/brand manager of KTRS, St. Louis. In addition, he has worked at cross-town Chicago outlets WXRT (as director/creative content) and WCKG (as production/imaging director). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s May 2016 PPM survey period, WGN ranks seventh (3.7); CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.4 (6+).
MLB Flagships: Part Three. In the third of a multi-part series, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian recaps the performance of Major League Baseball‘s radio flagships. In a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2016 PPM survey period, Mike highlights each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; flagships by league/division; and he unveils a new component to this overview. More than twice as many MLB flagships are in their markets’ top five in May (31%) versus March (14%). Average (6+) year-to-year decreases of MLB flagships in March, April, and May though far outweigh typical increases. See the third installment of this exclusive special feature piece regarding MLB flagships here.
Media Outlets Seek Access to Orlando Shooting 911 Calls. Nearly two-dozen media organizations filed a lawsuit Thursday (6/23) against the city of Orlando asking for the release of city phone recordings related to the mass shooting earlier this month at the Pulse nightclub. The suit challenges the city’s contention that those calls are exempt from public records laws because they record the killing of a person. The media consortium argues that the Orlando shooting is similar to the Sandy Hook school shooting, in which a Connecticut court ruled that related 911 calls were not confidential despite state laws that restricted the release of child abuse records. The media organizations argue that, “There is strong public interest in fully evaluating how first responders and police reacted during the most critical phases of this incredible tragedy. To be sure, the news media do not approach this petition with any preconceived notion that the city somehow acted inappropriately. Indeed, the audio recordings may well serve to substantiate and justify any action taken.” The city of Orlando made its own filing with the court, arguing release of the recordings is exempt under Florida public records law and that the FBI says releasing the recordings could damage the ongoing criminal investigation into the attack that left 49 people dead.
Townsquare Media Atlantic City & The Shore Officially Names Ruble Market President. It is “official,” in that, Michael Ruble had been market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media‘s Atlantic City & The Shore’s (New Jersey) properties on an interim basis. He now handles both of those responsibilities without the “interim” prefix. Senior vice president of operations Rob Williams notes that, “Mike has been an exceptional leader in Atlantic City for years, building a terrific team that has consistently performed at a high level. In Toms River, we have a team with significant strengths and talents; wonderful brands; and the foundation to grow to new heights with Mike’s leadership.” Three of the company’s Monmouth and Ocean County stations include talkers WOBM-AM, WADB, and WPGG. The rest of its outlets in that area are adult contemporary WOBM-FM “Soft Rock 92.7”; hot AC WJLK “The Point”; AC WFPG “Lite Rock 96.9”; sports WENJ “97.3 ESPN“; hot AC WSJO “SOJO 104.9”; classic rock WCHR “The Hawk”; and WPUR “Cat Country 107.3.” Ruble joined Townsquare Media five years ago as market manager-general sales manager. He previously was a market manager-general sales manager with Millennium Radio Group; national sales manager for Citadel Broadcasting; and an account executive with Spring Broadcasting.
WDNC, Raleigh Shifts Reese & Kmac to Mornings. The midday “Sports Shop with Reese & Kmac” is moving into morning drive on Capitol Broadcasting’s WDNC, Raleigh “The Buzz.” According to Capitol’s sports radio operations manager Dennis Glasgow, the program will be the first African-American sports talk morning show in the Raleigh-Durham market. Glasgow comments, “We’ve wanted to bring more diversity to our listeners that would reflect the Raleigh-Durham population, and we will do that by bringing a very entertaining and energetic show with ‘The Sports Shop.’” Reese & Kmac replace “The Morning Show with Mike, Lauren & Demetri.” The company says Mike Maniscalco and Demetri Ravanos have exited the station but Lauren Brownlow will continue regular, on-air appearances on both WCMC-FM “The Fan” and “The Buzz.” In addition to her radio appearances, Brownlow will continue to contribute to WRALSportsFan.com. “The Sports Shop” will be made available via WRALSportsFan.com and with the WRALSportsFan App.
“Brexit” Fallout Felt in U.S. Following yesterday’s “Brexit” vote by Brits to separate from the European Union (Thursday, 6/23), several major United States-based media companies such as Fox, Viacom, Netflix, and Apple opened their stateside trading days down billions of dollars in stock valuation. Netflix and Apple though were among those surging back within the first 10 minutes of the U.S. trading day. The Pound dropped to its lowest valuation in decades, and stock prices overseas sunk. British Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped down, vowing there will be a new PM in place by October. In a statement of support from the White House, President Barack Obama comments, “The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.” Given economic implications domestically and abroad, this is bound to be among talk radio’s biggest topics today.
The Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the TALKERS TenTM. At #2 was the gun legislation push in congress tied with the investigation into Omar Mateen and the Pulse nightclub massacre. Following at #3 was the Supreme Court’s deadlock on a challenge to President Obama’s immigration executive orders, and at #4 was Thursday’s “Brexit” vote by Britons. 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
iHeartMedia Promotes Josh Everett to Louisville-Based Director of Spoken Word Position. Louisville native Josh Everett is coming home to serve as director of spoken word programming for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana region. He’ll take over for the retiring Kelly Carls. In addition to his broader duties, Everett will program WHAS, Louisville “NewsRadio 840” – the station at which he got his start as a board operator after graduating from the University of Louisville. Everett has been program director for the company’s KHOW and KDSP in Denver. He’s also previously programmed WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky and WGY and WOFX in Albany. iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Region president Earl Jones says, “Josh understands the spoken word brands and our listeners’ expectations.” Kelly Carls and his team have built a strong foundation for WHAS by providing quality news, weather and traffic coverage. We’re confident that Josh will keep us moving forward and help us reach new listeners with all of our spoken word brands.”
Day Two of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s Annual Convention Underway in Atlantic City. The annual two-day NJBA conference wraps at the end of today. Speakers taking part in today’s program included TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who spoke during the Morning Opening Session. Harrison addressed the future of radio, spoke about the state of talk radio and the state of music radio as both battle for attention in the rapidly growing audio entertainment space. He cautioned radio broadcasters to never forget that radio’s greatest strength is the specialness of audio – the ability to create theater of the mind. He also noted that one of the most important things broadcasters can do is remain vigilant in protection of the First Amendment. Harrison is pictured here (left) appearing on WPGG, Atlantic City’s morning program with personality Harry Hurley (right).
The Presidential Race, House Gun Legislation ‘Sit-In,’ ‘Brexit’ Vote, Battle Against Islamic State, Orlando Massacre Investigation, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The activities of the candidates for president, including Donald Trump’s “attack speech” on Hillary Clinton; attempts to take up gun legislation in the U.S. House and the “sit-in” by U.S. Representatives; today’s vote by Britons on whether to leave the European Union or not; the ongoing military campaign to fight Islamic State in the Middle East and the charge domestic authorities face in preventing attacks in the U.S.; the investigation into the motives and actions of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cooke: Notes from the Connected Mobility Conference. AM/FM radio’s relationship with the automobile is its lifeline, so any time business professionals are getting together to talk about the state or future of the auto, it’s important to radio. Consultant Holland Cooke is on the scene in New York at CE Week and yesterday took in the Connected Mobility Conference. Cooke reports on some of the data and thoughts from industry leaders on the effects of Car-Sharing and Ride-Sharing, as well as a look to the future of autonomous cars. Read it here.
Day Two of Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Today (6/23) is day two of the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC. This year’s event is the ninth annual one to take place in DC and is organized by Federation for American Immigration Reform. Some 50 talk show hosts from all over the country are broadcasting their shows and debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. Just a few of the personalities taking part in this year’s radio row include: Westwood One’s Phil Valentine; Genesis Communications Network’s Mike Siegel; Anne Eller, WCRS, Greenwood, NC; Neal Larson, KID, Idaho Falls; Kevin Miller, KIDO, Boise, and Bill Meyer, KMED, Oregon who is pictured here (left) interviewing FAIR executive director Bob Dane (right).
Cumulus Makes Change at CFO Role; Abbot Succeeds Hannan. There has been chatter in the industry lately about looming personnel changes in the corporate tier at Cumulus Media and now the company reveals a new face in the chief financial officer post. John F. Abbot is appointed executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer effective July 1. He replaces Joseph P. “J.P.” Hannan, who the company says resigned his position after six years in order to pursue other interests. Hannan will assist the company for several months to ensure a smooth transition. Abbot comes to Cumulus from his most recent position as EVP and CFO of Telx Holdings Inc., a provider of connectivity, co-location and cloud services in the data center industry. Abbot’s experience also includes spent as EVP/CFO for cable’s Insight Communications Company, Inc. and as managing director for the Global Media and Communications Group of the investment banking division at Morgan Stanley. Abbot says, “I am excited to join Mary [Berner] and the senior leadership team at this important juncture in the company’s evolution. I join Cumulus with an appreciation for the headway that has already been made around the company’s four key strategies as well as a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I look forward to using my skills and experience to help maximize value as we work to deliver on the turnaround.”
Day One of FAIR’s Immigration Radio Row Underway. This year’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC is the ninth annual such event and this Federation for American Immigration Reform production is comprised of 50 talk show hosts from all over the country broadcasting their shows and debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event will focus on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is at the event today speaking with hosts about talk radio’s role in the national discussion of immigration issues. He reports back that “it’s very apparent from the very beginning of this event that there is a more thoughtful attitude toward immigration reform among the hosts and expert guests this year. It seems to be understood that, even among Republicans and conservatives, there are many points of view with regard to the issues surrounding the security of our nation’s borders.” Pictured here at today’s event are some of the talk show hosts taking part in day one – Rob Carson from KCMO, Kansas City; Gary Sutton from WSBA, York; and Tom Marr from WCBM, Baltimore. At bottom left are Michael Harrison (left) and FAIR’s Bob Dane (right).
WEEI, Boston Parts Ways with Evening Personality Mike Adams. Longtime WEEI, Boston personality Mike Adams – host of the evening “Planet Mikey” show on Entercom’s sports talker – exits the station after almost 11 years in the daypart. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary did not cite ratings or any other specific measuring stick regarding the decision to change the evening show, but said, “We made a tough call on Mike but, at the same time, we feel there are some innovative opportunities we’d like to explore over the next few months. As you know, WEEI has extensively – and successfully – revamped every major weekday show over the last three years. The time is right to extend that thinking to nights.” During baseball season, Red Sox baseball airs in the evening daypart most nights, so the station has some time before unveiling anything permanent. Read Finn’s Globe piece here.
The Presidential Race, Former Secret Service Agent’s Clinton Book, ‘Brexit’ Vote, Battle Against Islamic State, Orlando Massacre Investigation/Gun Legislation, and Olympics-Zika Virus Concerns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The activities of the candidates for president; former Secret Service agent Gary Byrnes’ tell-all book about the Clinton White House; tomorrow’s vote by Britons on whether to leave the European Union or not; the ongoing military campaign to fight Islamic State in the Middle East and the charge domestic authorities face in preventing attacks in the U.S.; the ongoing investigation into the events at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub massacre and the attempts at gun legislation changes in Washington; and the increasing number of athletes choosing not to compete in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over concerns about the Zika virus were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Fashion Figure Mark Weber to Host WABC, New York Weekend Show. This Saturday (6/25) is the debut of the new weekend program “Always in Fashion” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. Hosted by fashion industry business leader Mark Weber, WABC says, “The one-hour weekly business talk program features luminaries from fashion’s most successful and innovative brands. Weber and his guests share insights from the heights of the glamorous, fast-paced and highly competitive business of fashion in an exciting, engaging and highly entertaining talk format.” The show is airing on 77 WABC at 10:00 pm ET. Weber says, “Throughout my entire career I worked and commuted to New York City. 77 WABC was my pre-set on my radio and people like Don Imus and Michael Savage are my role models. I listened and learned from these storytellers, and now I have my own stories and lessons that can teach, inspire and entertain listeners interested in business and fashion. I am thrilled to be on the air at 770 WABC!” WABC is the first station of a planned syndication rollout through KMG Networks, a division of Krantz Media Group, in association with Sungate Partners, Inc.
More Murrow’s to Announce. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine wrote about a number of winners of Edward R. Murrow Awards bestowed in 2016. Here are a couple of more: For the fourth year in a row, CBS Radio News wins the Murrow award for “Best Newscast.” The RTDNA recognizes excellence in numerous categories. This award is for CBS’ “World News Roundup” from June 19, 2015, covering the aftermath of the Charleston church shootings. The first section of the broadcast was anchored from Charleston by CBS EVENING NEWS anchor Scott Pelley. It was a comprehensive look at the investigation, the suspect, the victims and how the city was coping. The rest of the broadcast was anchored from New York by CBS Radio News anchor Steve Kathan and covered the Colorado movie shooting trial and the manhunt for two escaped prisoners in Northern New York. Also, CBS RADIO O&O WBZ-AM, Boston – in the Large Market category – received the top honor for “Best Newscast” for its morning report, which included updates on the 2015 snow storm. The company’s WBBM-AM, Chicago was awarded “Best Breaking News Coverage” for its continued coverage following the public release of the video capturing the shooting of Laquan McDonald.
WABC’s Joan Hamburg Honored with Lifetime Achievement Gracie. The 41st Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon took place at Cipriani on 42nd in New York yesterday (6/21). The ceremony was presented by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. Host Robin Meade led the program alongside presenters Beverly Bond, Emme, Erica Hill and Ginger Zee. The Gracie Awards were presented to honorees which were previously announced on March 21 in recognition of their successes in the media industry. Lifetime Achievement Honoree Joan Hamburg was presented her award by close friend Alan Alda (pictured at right). Ginger Zee was not only a presenter but an acceptor for Good Morning America’s win for Outstanding Talk Show- News. In presenting Hamburg with her honor, Alda said, “In a media industry where talk radio is overwhelmingly dominated by men, Joan is a woman’s voice that is graceful and lively but authoritative.” As part of the program, Canadian singer/songwriter Ruth B performed her viral hit “Lost Boy” and her unreleased single “In My Dreams.”
Odds & Sods. According to a report in the New York Daily News, radio personality Zev Brenner was hit with a fine of $2,500 and will serve a year’s probation for failure to file income tax returns. Brenner hosts an online radio show. He was previously with WMCA, New York hosting his “Talkline” program. The Feds charged Brenner with failure to file for tax years 2003 through 2011. He’s already paid $63,764 in restitution…..The audio of NBC Sports Radio – the NBC Sports Group/Westwood One joint venture – is now available for live-streaming via Apple Music. NBC Sports Ventures SVP Rob Simmelkjaer says, “Now, through Apple Music, with its broad reach and immediate availability, NBC Sports Radio content is even more accessible.”…..Lisa Gillespie joins Louisville Public Media’s WFPL, Louisville as the station’s health and innovation reporter. She was most recently working in Washington for Kaiser Health News. Her beat with WFPL will be public health and health care policy…..Pictured here is nationally syndicated “Gun Talk” host Tom Gresham (right) with the host of television’s “Into the Wild,” Jack Hanna (left). The two appeared at the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s annual conference in Kalispell, Montana where Hanna spoke about the role of hunting in conservation and his belief that hunters are the original conservationists.