Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, October 20, 2017

| October 20, 2017

Todd Schnitt Leaves WOR, New York Morning Show.  WOR, New York listeners woke up to morning personality Len Berman hosting the show solo after the departure of Todd Schnitt from the station yesterday (10/19).  Berman explained that Schnitt and iHeartMedia weren’t able to come to terms on a new contract.  Schnitt – who also hosts a separate, successful syndicated afternoon drive talk show for Compass Media Networks – joined WOR in 2015 as morning drive host.

Charges Against Former KOA, Denver Host Steffan Tubbs Dropped.  The charge of suspicion of domestic violence, disturbance by phone filed against Steffan Tubbs back in July cost him his job as co-host of “Colorado Morning News” at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA, Denver.  Yesterday, he revealed via social media that the charge has been dropped by prosecutors.  Denver alt-weekly Westword reports that the charge stemmed from his July 30 arrest for the content of voice messages that contained “vulgar language” with the “intent to annoy the victim.”  Tubbs reportedly had been in a relationship with the person for a period of time.  Saying he is the victim of domestic abuse, he Tweeted a photo of himself wearing a purple tie with the caption, “Always innocent. Prosecutors dismissed charges against me today. I wore this on #PurpleThursday for all DV victims, including me. End it.” See the Westword story here.

Former Producer Sues St. Louis Talker Frank O. Pinion.  The unnamed plaintiff alleges that St. Louis talk host Frank O. Pinion discussed the plaintiff’s stint in a rehab facility on his radio show on several occasions, thereby violating his privacy.  The allegations stem from Frank O. Pinion’s time at CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis (named as a co-defendant for failing to prevent the O. Pinion from talking about the matter).  O. Pinion, a.k.a. John Craddock, was not an employee of KTRS.  He brokered his show and the plaintiff was his employee.  (He currently is brokering his services to crosstown KFNS-AM.)  In the complaint, the plaintiff says that while in a rehab facility in August, he heard that his situation was being discussed by O. Pinion and it was also being posted on social media.  He’s seeking “in excess of” $50,000.  Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch coverage here.

Boston Herald Radio Talk Show Host, Adriana Cohen’s Star Continues to Rise.  Boston Herald newspaper columnist and Boston Herald Radio conservative talk show host Adriana Cohen has been added to Creators Syndicate’s all-star lineup boasting 44 million daily readers.  She will continue to write her popular exclusive columns for the Herald as well.  Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca tells TALKERS, “We’re very proud of Adriana’s work and so pleased she is getting this well-deserved national recognition.”  David Yontz of Creators Syndicate describes ­Cohen’s column as “dynamic, provocative and thoughtful.” He adds, “Hers is an important voice in today’s political climate.”  In today’s Herald Cohen says, “I’m proud that in the very liberal state of Massachusetts I have not been afraid to support our president or express my conservative opinions. I’m equally proud of the Herald, our top-notch editors and publisher for truly protecting free speech by not muting me or watering down my opinions in fear of losing readers or offending someone.  The fact that a conservative columnist’s content is resonating, even in the bluest state in the nation, is proof that there is a strong thirst for diverse opinions beyond what educational institutions and mainstream media spoon-feed us on a daily basis.”  In addition to her column, Cohen is host of Boston Herald Radio’s “The Adriana Cohen Show.” She is a regular guest on Fox News and mentors Harvard University female undergraduate business students.

Jim Bohannon to Host WW1 Vietnam Special on Veterans Day Weekend. Vietnam veteran Jim Bohannon is hosting a Westwood One News special radio program titled, “Pain & Pride: Remembering Vietnam – 50 Years Later,” available to Westwood One News affiliates, Westwood One music format stations, and Cumulus-owned stations for air the weekend of Veterans Day.  In their own voices, combat veterans share their stories with Vietnam War veteran and Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon, and former Westwood One executive, White House press secretary, and NBC News Vietnam War correspondent, Ron Nessen. Bohannon will look back 50 years on his own war experience and will cull new perspectives on the war in assorted interviews, including one with filmmaker Ken Burns, director of the recently broadcast, 10-part documentary, The Vietnam War.

CBS News Radio Brings Interview Show ‘The Takeout’ to Network Radio.  Host Major Garrett says the program “The Takeout” is “a dream come true for me.”  The CBS News chief White House correspondent and CBS News political director Steve Chaggaris co-host the weekly, one-hour program about politics, policy and pop culture.  The show was a podcast first and launches on radio tonight at 10:00 pm ET.  This show is produced in a casual atmosphere – each episode recorded over a meal in a Washington, DC restaurant.  Recent guests have included: Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX); Sen. Al Franken (D-MN); Carly Fiorina; Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD); Corey Lewandowski; and comedian Samantha Bee.  Tonight’s guest is Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  Garrett says, “‘The Takeout’ is a conversation, not an interrogation.  And we edit nothing.  Our guests never have to fidget about context.  They are heard fully.  We discuss news of the week and try to translate Beltway buzzwords so America can join the conversation.  I never stop learning from and enjoying this humble audio odyssey.”  It’s debuting on CBS RADIO’s KMOX, St. Louis; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; KXNT, Las Vegas and others.

TALKERS News Notes.  WABC, New York is adding a new show to the Sunday evening lineup featuring New York businessman Tom Maoli as host.  Titled, “Go Big or Go Home,” the program gives Maoli the platform to “spread his entrepreneurial, business and lifestyle messages to listeners all across the Northeast.”  Maoli says, “I was approached by WABC to do a radio show.  At first, I was unsure, but the more I thought about it, I began to think that with so many young people, not to mention mid-career executives, starting to think about starting their own businesses, the idea of doing a radio show would provide me with an opportunity to reach that audience and tell them about my story and how they can do the same.”  The program airs on the Cumulus Media news/talker at 7:00 pm.…..It’s a homecoming for the radio stations owned by News-Gazette Media in Champaign, Illinois as its three radio stations move into the same building with the News-Gazette newspaper.  Seventy years ago, WDWS-AM was co-located with the newspaper, but not since then.  Now, news/talk WDWS – named for then-publisher of the News-Gazette, David W. Stevick – along with sister stations adult contemporary WHMS and classic hits WKIO are moving into new, digital studios…..SiriusXM and Formula 1 announce a new, multi-year deal for the former to serve as the exclusive North American radio broadcaster of all Formula 1 races, starting with this weekend’s United States Grand Prix from Austin, Texas.  Listeners will hear the BBC 5 live radio broadcast for the races.

Trump Tax Reform Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 16-20. The effort of the Trump Administration to present its tax reform plans was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 position on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the deaths of four American servicemen in the deadly ambush in Niger and the related controversy over presidential condolences to the families of fallen soldiers. Coming in at #3 was the Harvey Weinstein sexual predation scandal and the #MeToo movement, followed by North Korea’s threats against the U.S. 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.

Sally Quinn Guests on This Week’s Harrison Podcast.  Longtime Washington Post journalist, columnist, television commentator, Washington insider, author and legendary social hostess, Sally Quinn is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  She candidly discusses her Watergate-era, wildly romantic, extra-marital love affair, and subsequent enduring marriage of more than four decades to legendary Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, as well as her idiosyncratic relationship with religion, sexual harassment in politics as well as media… and much more.  (She claims the late U.S. Senator John Tower tried to rape her in the back of a taxi.)  Quinn is currently promoting her new book, Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir (HarperOne, 2017) and Harrison was granted one of her first interviews.  To hear this fascinating 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.

 

 

Rascal Flats Surprises at Vegas Strong Fundraiser Concert.  Pictured above at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas last night (10/19) are (from l-r): Beasley Media Group EVP of programming Justin Chase, FOX News Channel/Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity, Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox, and KKLZ-FM PD/morning host Mike O’Brian.  Beasley Media Group organized the “Vegas Strong: A Night of Healing” concert featuring Big & Rich and Cam.  Country legends Rascal Flatts surprised the crowd with an unannounced appearance.  The proceeds from the concert benefit the Steve Sisolak Las Vegas Victims’ Fund.

Kip Moore Drops by ‘NASH Nights Live.’  Country artist Kip Moore (center) poses for a pic with “NASH Nights Live” hosts Elaina Smith (left) and Shawn Parr (right).  Moore stopped by the show to talk about “everything from his latest single to Halloween.”  Parr and Smith are decked out in the pink they were wearing to a breast cancer awareness event.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Country legend and radio personality Kix Brooks is hosting Westwood One’s tribute to the men and women throughout America’s history who served and are still serving in the U.S. armed forces.  The program is “A Salute to Our Military Veterans,” and is available for air Friday, November 10 through Sunday, November 12.  Brooks is joined by friends including: Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Chris Young, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, and more, who talk about their appreciation for the nation’s military…..SiriusXM announces a performance by Grammy Award-winning superstar Kelly Clarkson at a special, invitation-only show for SiriusXM listeners on Friday, November 3.  The performance will take place at the Highline Ballroom in New York City and will feature songs from her new album, Meaning of Life, along with some of her biggest hits.  The performance premieres on Wednesday, November 8 at 5:00 pm ET on SiriusXM Hits 1.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

| October 19, 2017

The State and History of Presidential Radio Rows.  This week’s Donald Trump White House talk radio row (10/17) created a huge buzz in the industry, sparking an interesting broadcast conversation last night between RT America TV evening host Ed Schultz and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison about the history and journalistic integrity of these events (pictured above).  Schultz, one of the longtime leading progressive host/commentators in talk media, criticized the event for its ideological one-sidedness, describing it as “propaganda,” and took the Democrats to task for not actively complaining about the use of taxpayer dollars to fund a media-targeted political rally within the Executive Office Building.  Harrison, one of the original creators and organizers of the presidential radio row concept back in the early 1990s, shared the history and evolution of these events over the years, explaining what they mean to talk radio, its hosts, and the national political discussion.  According to Harrison, they started out as bi-partisan events but as talk radio became increasingly ideologically targeted format-wise, the broadcast invitees reflected a political view friendly to the occupant of the White House at the time, left or right.  Harrison went on to say that the Trump presidency has provided fascinating “material” that has been good business-wise not just for talk radio, but talk television and newspapers as well.  He describes the Trump presidency as “the most compelling reality show of all time.”  To see the entire conversation, please click here.

Eboni K. Williams Leaves WABC Radio Gig.  Announcing her decision to leave Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York after just four months co-hosting the midday show with Curtis Sliwa, Eboni K. Williams told listeners that it is with a “heavy heart” that she leaves the station.  Williams told listeners she accepted the WABC gig at about the same time that she was made part of “The Specialists” show on FOX News Channel.  But the departure of FNC’s Eric Bolling in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and FNC’s decision to cancel the show “had a domino effect” on Williams.  Saying that she’s a television host and needs to find another TV job, she’s been talking about possible gigs but has not accepted anything yet.  Williams replaced longtime Sliwa co-host Ron Kuby back in June.

RTDNA Co-Sponsors First Amendment Event Tomorrow (10/20).  Tomorrow in Washington, DC the Radio Television Digital News Association is collaborating with the National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and Reel Media Group to co-host a discussion on the First Amendment and reporters’ rights.  The event will take place at the National Press Club from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm ET.  It’s being streamed on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/RTDNA.RTDNF.  The panel includes: Vikram Bhagat, in-house counsel at American Public Media Group and Minnesota Public Radio; Ellen Crooke, VP of news for TEGNA and an RTDNA director-at-large; Scott MacFarlane, veteran investigative reporter for NBC Washington; Paul Safier of the prestigious Washington law firm Ballard Spahr.  Moderating the event will be Reel Media Group co-founders Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel and Bram Weinstein.  RTDNA notes that Free Speech Week is a yearly event to raise public awareness of the importance of free speech in America’s democracy and to celebrate that freedom.

Radio One Names Host of Philadelphia Public Issues Show.  At the Philadelphia station group of Radio One, Solomon Jones is appointed to the position of host for the new “Your Voice” talk show on Gospel-formatted WPPZ-FM.  The program, airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon Monday through Saturday.  Jones is a media pro who serves as a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and previously was the morning show host at WURD Radio-owned urban news/talk WURD-AM.  Radio One Philadelphia operations manager Karen Vaughn comments, “We want to engage our listeners with not only the inspirational music they love, but the information they need to be socially aware, community engaged and woke overall.  Solomon is a well-known local radio and media personality and is the perfect fit to provide this new music infused talk show format on ‘Praise.’”

Niger Ambush Aftermath, U.S.-China Relations, Trump Tax Reform Plan, Iran Nuclear Pact, North Korea Tensions, Weinstein Scandal-#MeToo Movement, Melania Body-Double Flap, Quebec Face-Covering Law, Richard Spencer University of Florida Appearance, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Protests-Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/18).  The controversy over the Niger ambush that left four U.S. soldiers dead and President Trump’s comments about consoling soldiers’ relatives; the tense relations between China and the U.S. over the South China Sea military installations and economic policy; the Trump Administration’s tax reform plan; the Iran nuclear deal and Trump’s intent not to recertify compliance; the military bluster from Kim Jong Un and concerns about the regime’s missile program; the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein sexual predation scandal and the related #MeToo movement; the social media-spurred suggestion that Melania Trump has a body double; Quebec’s new law making it illegal to cover one’s face in public; the controversial appearance at the University of Florida by white separatist Richard Spencer; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the NFL anthem protests and game 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.  After 23 years in the market, starting as the first general manager of hot AC KALC, Denver “Alice 105.9” and most recently as VP and market manager for Entercom’s cluster there, Amy Griesheimer exits the company.  Denver alt-weekly Westword reports her departure and reports that industry watchers are speculating that “the move was made because of ratings and revenue shortfalls in an industry that continues to struggle with the fallout from technological changes and shifting listener habits.”  The story says that current Entercom RVP Doug Abernathy will serve as acting market manager for the interim.  The Westword piece makes no mention of the pending Entercom-CBS RADIO merger.  Read it here…..In Columbus, alternative rock WWCD “CD 102.5” announces that staffer Lesley James is giving up her program director duties after eight years to focus on her afternoon drive program.  Taking over the PD role at the WWCD, LTD-owned station is evening personality Mason “Mase” Brazelle.  He’s served with alternative WKZQ, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and with iHeartMedia’s former crosstown alt rocker WXZX “105.7 The X.”…..Air talent and programmer Dylan Salisbury is named the new afternoon drive host at Entercom’s Indianapolis CHR WZPL.  He’ll also serve as music director.  He handled both duties at his most recent gig with iHeartMedia’s CHR KKDM, Des Moines “107.5 Kiss FM.”…..Buffalo Business First reports that Cumulus Media is planning to turn an 11-acre parcel of land close to its Buffalo studios into an open-air event space.  In that market, Cumulus operates WGRF-FM “97 Rock”, alternative WEDG “The Edge 103.3” and WHTT “Oldies 104.1.”  Cumulus Buffalo vice president and general manager Steve Bearance tells the publication, “We’re not talking about an amphitheater, but more of a place to do our special events.  It’s more like a festival grounds than anything else.”  As the article points out, for live events, stations cede control and add to their costs by having to rent space.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

| October 18, 2017

Tax Reform Radio Row with the Trump Administration.  Pictured above is WMAL, Washington and Westwood One talk show host Chris Plante (left) interviewing President Trump (right) during yesterday’s radio row, organized by the Trump Administration to promote its tax reform policies, at the Old Executive Office Building in Washington, DC.  As TALKERS reported yesterday, talk hosts taking part in the daylong event that made not only the president and vice president available to talk hosts but numerous administration officials and tax reform experts included: Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher; Plante, WMAL’s Mary Walter, and Vince Coglianese; WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall; and WIBC, Indianapolis’ Tony Katz.  Pictured below (l-r) are WMAL “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese, Vice President Mike Pence, and morning show executive producer Heather Hunter.

WTMJ, Milwaukee Makes Lineup Changes.  Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ Radio moves 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Steve Scaffidi to the late morning slot and brings Jeff Wagner back to the early afternoon daypart where he’d been for more than 10 years.  When longtime station personality Charlie Sykes left the station, Wagner moved from late mornings to the early afternoon show and former Oak Creek, Wisconsin Mayor Steve Scaffidi joined the station to host late mornings.  WTMJ director of programming and news Eric Brooks comments, “Steve has grown tremendously since joining the station in early 2017.  He has capitalized on his unique perspective as a former politician and community leader.  His show is quickly growing and we are excited to put him in the daypart where our audience has come to expect political and issue-driven talk.  Meanwhile, Jeff Wagner will resume his early afternoon program where he consistently beat his competitors in Milwaukee – especially Rush Limbaugh and other shows piped in from out of town.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Tulsa operations of E.W. Scripps has a new general sales manager.  Dan Smith, most recently with Enid, Oklahoma-based Williams Broadcasting, is familiar with the market, having served with Cox Media Group’s crosstown cluster for 11 years.  Now, he’ll head the sales efforts for news/talk KFAQ plus sister country KVOO, CHR KHTT, classic country KXBL, and classic hits KBEZ. Scripps Radio Tulsa vice president and general manager David Abel comments, “Dan brings with him a tremendous track record of results and a deep understanding of the Tulsa market.  He’s a proven leader who has a long history of talent and business development, which make him a perfect fit to lead our veteran sales team.”…..At iHeartMedia’s Jacksonville, Florida cluster, Seth Harp is promoted to his new position as program director for sports talk WFXJ-AM “Sportsradio 930.”…..Sirius XM announces a new, one-hour weekly show starring Rickey Gervais set to launch on October 24 at 11:00 am ET on its Comedy Greats channel.  The show is called “Ricky Gervais Is Deadly Sirius,” and SiriusXM says the show will present Gervais “tackling more ‘sirius’ topics with some of the most respected experts in their fields.  Whether it’s a conversation with scientist and author Richard Dawkins about religion and the afterlife, or rocker Noel Gallagher on hijinks with his bandmates and his musical influences, Gervais will have thought-provoking discussions about the topics he feels the most passionate about, namely music, science, art, and ethics.”  Gervais states, “I started out in radio, and SiriusXM made me an offer to return that I couldn’t refuse.  With 32 million subscribers, editorial control, my own playlist and absolute freedom of speech, it’s the perfect platform for me, and hopefully the listener too.”…..Hearst-owned news/talk WBAL, Baltimore is adding an FM translator to its transmission after the company agreed to buy W268BA, Church Hill, Maryland from Hope Christian Church of Marlton for $650,000.  The FM 101.5 signal’s transmitter is located due east of Baltimore, across Chesapeake Bay.

Walter Sterling Featuring Talk Hosts ‘Who Should Be Working.’  On his Sunday night, WPHT, Philadelphia-based and Westwood One-syndicated talk show, Walter Sterling is unveiling a new feature in which he invites talented talk show hosts who are out of work – and who he says should be working – to appear and showcase their skills.  Sterling says that the guest star selects what they feel is the hot story, gives their opinion and why they should be hired.  He adds, “It’s ridiculous how many ratings-growing hosts are out of work and I want them to be heard — and to work.  Ed Tyll was the first to appear on the show and Casey Bartholomew is next.  Tyll got immediate response from the industry.  I welcome these amazing story tellers.”  You can reach Walter at: waltermsterling@gmail.com.

Trump Tax Reform Plan, Fallen Soldiers Controversy, North Korea War Threats, Puerto Rico Devastation, Marino Drug Czar Withdrawl, Iran Nuclear Deal, Weinstein Scandal-#MeToo Campaign, Mandalay Security Guard Case, Travel Ban Halted, MLB Playoffs, NFL Protests-Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/18). The Trump Administration’s tax reform plans and yesterday’s White House radio row; President Trump’s comments about former presidents not meeting with families of fallen soldiers; North Korea’s missile program and its threats of war; the state of post-Maria Puerto Rico and the problems delivering aid; U.S. Rep. Tom Marino withdraws name from drug czar consideration after reports of his close ties to big pharma; the Iran nuclear deal and President Trump’s threat not to certify Iran’s compliance; the Harvey Weinstein sexual predation scandal and the subsequent #MeToo campaign; the “missing” security guard from Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay hotel appears on “Ellen” to talk about the deadly mass shooting; a Hawaii judge halts the latest version of the Trump travel ban; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the NFL anthem protests and weekend action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Tampa Launches Support Effort for Regional Businesses. Tampa Bay was spared a direct hit by Hurricane Irma, but many local businesses were greatly impacted by the storm that left them without power, with lost inventory, or even needing to close their doors for days.  Because of this, Cox Media Group is launching its philanthropic initiative, Cox Media Group Cares Tampa Bay.  The company says that “with the generous support of sponsors, The Miggs and Swigg Radio Show, DeBartolo Family Foundation, Pepin Distributing Company and Great Bay Distributors, Cox Cares will help small businesses recover after Irma through marketing and promotional outreach.”  Each Saturday between October 21 and Small Business Saturday – November 25 – local companies will be featured on Cox Media Group radio stations. The businesses will receive free on-air, online and social media promotion throughout the week. The supporting station will also be on-site at each business location that Saturday.  Cox Cares will provide assistance to more than 40 small businesses in the Tampa Bay area with approximately $250,000 in promotional support.  CMG Tampa VP and general manager Keith Lawless states, “CMG understands local businesses are an important part of our communities.  The disruption from Hurricane Irma has greatly impacted these businesses.  We are proud to help support them at a time when they need it most.  With the help of our local sponsors, we are promoting Tampa Bay area businesses across all six of our CMG radio stations.”

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Promoted at iHeartMedia’s Jacksonville, Florida station group is programmer G Wiz.  He rises to SVP of programming in addition to his roles programming hip hop WJBT “93.3 The Beat” and urban AC WSOL “V101.5.”  At the same time, country WQIK program director Cindy Spicer takes on the new title senior program director and Skip Kelly assumes the programming role at CHR WKSL “97.9 Kiss FM” in addition to his incumbent role as PD of adult hits WWJK “107.3 The River.” …..Making the switch from mornings at Townsquare Media’s CHR KSAS, Boise “103.5 Kiss FM” to afternoons at sister country KAWO “WOW 104.3” is Chris Cruise.  KAWO PD Rich Summers had been hosting the afternoon show but is giving it up to focus on programming.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

| October 17, 2017

Big Executive Changes at Townsquare Media.  The biggest surprise about the news released by Townsquare Media late yesterday (10/16) is that company founder and CEO Steven Price is leaving the CEO role and will now be the executive chairman of the board, a move that takes him out of the day-to-day operation of the radio and live events company.  It was seven years ago that Price – with backing from Oaktree Capital Management – founded the company.  Oaktree managing director and Townsquare board member David Quick announces that Bill Wilson and Dhruv Prasad are being promoted to the positions of co-chief executive officers who will report to the board of directors.  At the same time, the company announces that radio management pro Erik Hellum is promoted to chief operating officer, local media.  Townsquare reports that it “owns 318 radio stations and more than 325 local websites in 67 U.S. markets, a digital marketing solutions company serving approximately 11,750 small-to-medium sized businesses, approximately 550 live events with nearly 18 million attendees each year in the U.S. and Canada, and one of the largest digital advertising networks focused on music and entertainment reaching more than 50 million unique visitors each month.”  In 2015, Townsquare acquired mobile amusement company North American Midway Entertainment.  It also operates music and entertainment websites including: hip hop-focused XXLmag.com, TasteofCountry.com, hard-rock-oriented Loudwire.com and New York music site BrooklynVegan.com.

Entertainment Journalist Craig Marks Joins Townsquare.  Speaking of those genre-specific digital publications that Townsquare Media operates, the company says that it has hired “veteran editor and journalist” Craig Marks to serve as editorial director in which he’ll “oversee editorial content across web, social and video for eight of Townsquare’s music and entertainment brands including: TasteofCountry, Loudwire, PopCrush, ScreenCrush, UltimateClassicRock, TheBoot, Diffuser, and TheBoombox.”  He will work alongside Vanessa Satten, longtime editor in chief of XXLmag.com.  During his career, Marks has served as executive editor at Billboard, and as editor-in-chief at Blender magazine, Spin and Popdust. He comments, “I am thrilled to be joining such an innovative, multi-platform company as Townsquare.  I look forward to participating in the continued growth of the company and its industry-leading music and pop-culture brands.”

Story Questions Trump’s Absence from Talk Radio.  In a piece by Oliver Darcy published at CNN.com, the author wonders why President Trump has, except for one or two campaign-oriented appearances, not taken his message to conservative talk radio.  Noting that conservative talk radio hosts are, by and large, supporters of the president, reports that the administration says the president has “a great relationship with talk radio” but choses to use Twitter “to speak directly with his base.”  Some talk hosts offer their thoughts.  Former WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes is quoted saying, “The only thing that I can think of is that Donald Trump doesn’t listen to the radio.  He watches television.  He reads The New York Times. So he reacts to what’s in his world.”  WFTL, Fort Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman says she thinks he knows he’s vulnerable in the long-form interview with hosts who might pressure him on issues like immigration reform.  Read the whole story here.

Tax Reform Radio Row Today at White House.  The story above notwithstanding, talk radio has a presence in Washington today as the administration hosts a radio row at the Old Executive Office Building to promote its tax reform plans.  Talk show hosts taking part in the radio row include Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher, Cumulus Media hosts Chris Plante, Mary Walter, and Vince Coglianese, as well as WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall and WIBC, Indianapolis’ Tony Katz. Guests available to speak to talk radio hosts will include President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway and others. Pictured above is Salem’s Mike Gallagher (right) shaking hands with President Trump (left).  Pictured below is WPHT’s Chris Stigall (right) interviewing Vice President Mike Pence.

Salem Moves News/Talker in St. Louis to Make Room for Gospel Outlet.  As of yesterday (10/16), Salem Media Group moved its St. Louis news/talk format “The Answer” from WDSZ-AM/K236CS to KXFN-AM/K287BY and will install “Praise 95.1” on WDSZ and its translator.  In a statement about the move, Salem Media St. Louis general manager Greg Lhamon says that there’s an untapped market.  “Based on conversations with many in the St. Louis area, the community has been waiting to enjoy gospel on the FM dial.”

CBS Sports to Simulcast Jim Rome ShowVariety is reporting that CBS Sports is going to start simulcasting the Jim Rome radio show on cable’s CBS Sports Network, effective January 2.  The piece reports that the company is building a new studio to “reflect the new visual elements of his program.”  EVP of programming at CBS Sports Dan Weinberg says, “Jim is an engaging and dynamic host with an incredibly loyal and passionate fan base.  We are excited to provide one of sports talk radio’s most enduring programs a new national platform on television.”  Rome has been with CBS Sports Radio since 2012 after a long career syndicated by Premiere Networks.

North Korea Nuclear Program, McCain ‘Liberty Medal’ Speech, Weinstein Scandal, Puerto Rico Recovery Troubles, Kaepernick Lawsuit, Las Vegas Shooting Investigation, ISIS Driven Out of Raqqa, U. Florida-Richard Spencer Event, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  North Korea’s statement of no negotiations until it has ICBMs that can hit the U.S. East Coast; John McCain decries ‘half-baked’ nationalism during medal acceptance speech; the Harvey Weinstein sexual predation scandal and criticism of Hollywood’s history of ‘looking the other way’; the hampered recovery efforts in Puerto Rico; former NFLer Colin Kaepernick sues the league owners for collusion; the investigation into the motive behind the deadly Las Vegas shooting and the now-missing Mandalay security guard; U.S.-backed forces push ISIS out of Raqqa; Florida Governor Rick Scott’s concerns about public safety during white nationalist Richard Spencer’s pending University of Florida appearance; the Major League Baseball playoffs; 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.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  On Thursday (10/19), Beasley Media Group will present “Vegas Strong: A Night of Healing” at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.  The concert will honor all victims, survivors and first responders from the October 1 tragedy and feature country superstars Big & Rich and Cam, plus a surprise performance from one of country’s most renowned acts.  Beasley says 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Steve Sisolak Las Vegas Victims’ Fund that has, to date, raised nearly $11 million.  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Tom Humm states, “Due to the kindness and support of the Beasley family, Mega Country Recording Artists, the country community and The Orleans Arena/Boyd Gaming we have the opportunity to present ‘A Night of Healing’ for affected families and also give special thanks to our first responders.  It is our privilege and honor to help in any small way we can as proud members of this community.  Vegas Strong!”…..The new contract between urban morning radio star Tom Joyner and Reach Media is also signaling the end of Joyner’s radio show after December 31, 2019.  The two announced the new deal last week and now report that as Joyner celebrates his 25th year in national syndication, he “plans to launch a two-year-long celebration campaign, sharing events and experiences with his listeners highlighting the past, present and future of the Tom Joyner brand.  Joyner reportedly will reveal more as his show moves forward with events and activities as a lead-up to the conclusion of his iconic morning show.”…..A new talent search TV show is coming next year and iHeartMedia is collaborating with Fox Broadcasting Company, show creator Armoza Formats, and producer ITV Entertainment.  The show is titled, “THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM,” and iHeartMedia will use its radio station listenership to support auditions, assist in the search for talent, and boost the careers of artists throughout the run of the competition.  As part of the grand prize, the winner of the show will also be part of iHeartMedia’s “On the Verge” artist development program, which will support the winning talent with airplay across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide.  “THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM” begins with four super-talented singers, chosen from auditions by the show, defending their coveted spots on the stage as they are challenged individually by new singers determined to replace them.  If the existing four outperform their challengers, they survive to sing another week, until the end of the season, when the final four face off against each other.  Only one will claim the ultimate prize for an aspiring artist: a team of elite star-makers – the series’ panel of judges – all committed to launching and guiding the winner’s music career…..iHeartMedia is launching a new festival, this one aimed at the alternative rock audience, called “iHeartRadio ALTer EGO” and taking place on January 19 at the Forum in Los Angeles.  Artists scheduled to perform so far include: Mumford & Sons, Cage The Elephant, Beck, Spoon, WALK THE MOON, The National and Dashboard Confessional, with more to be announced later.  Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia president John Sykes says, “Alternative rock is experiencing an incredible renaissance.  Young bands in their 20s are making music with the same energy and power of the bands like U2, Depeche Mode and REM, that helped to create the format.”…..Alpha Media San Jose inks nationally syndicated morning duo “Brooke & Jubal” to handle the morning drive daypart at its hot AC KEZR “Mix 106.”…..Michael Tedesco shifts from director of business development with Educational Media Foundation to sales manager at Christian contemporary WAWZ, Zarepath, New Jersey “Star 99.1.”  He takes over for the retiring Lorraine Shaw.

Monday, October 16, 2017

| October 16, 2017

Former FCC Chairman Wheeler Criticizes Ajit Pai on Silence Regarding Trump License Revocation Comments. During an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” program yesterday (10/15), former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler criticized current Chairman Ajit Pai, saying Pai’s silence regarding President Trump’s tweet about revoking broadcasters’ licenses makes him complicit in the president’s attempts to coerce the media.  Wheeler stated, “He is making himself complicit in the coercion that the president was engaging in when he was trying to send a message to broadcasters saying, ‘We’re watching, and we control your right to be alive.”’  Also on CNN, current Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel added, “History won’t be kind to silence.  It’s important for all the commissioners to make clear that they support the First Amendment, and that agency will not revoke a broadcast license simply because the president is dissatisfied with the licensee’s coverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. On Friday (10/13), Courtside Entertainment nationally syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham (pictured above at right) broadcast her program from Liberty University’s Convocation, which kicks off the school’s homecoming weekend.  Ingraham’s show was co-hosted by author and Eternal Word Television Network news director and lead anchor Raymond Arroyo (above, left).  Ingraham is also scheduled to begin her nightly FOX News Channel program, “The Ingraham Angle,” on October 30…..Bonneville’s Seattle talker “KIRO Radio 97.3 FM” announces the addition of a new, weekly lifestyle show called “Cask Club Radio” created with partner Heritage Distilling Company, Inc.  The program launched on Saturday (10/14) at 3:00 pm and focuses on the growing craft spirits, cocktail, beer and wine culture. It’s being hosted by Heritage co-founder and CEO Justin Stiefel, co-host Lydia Cruz, and producer Maura Dooley.  Bonneville Seattle VP and market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Heritage Distilling has earned its reputation as a big-thinking innovator.  With this new audio project, Heritage once again takes the broad view of how its products fit into the overall lifestyle and passions of people around the Pacific Northwest.  We’re proud to partner with Heritage, and to help them blaze another new trail as a forward-thinking marketer.”…..Media sales pro John Fitzgerald returns to the ESPN Audio team as vice president, ESPN Audio ad sales.  Fitzgerald, who has spent his entire 21-year career with The Walt Disney Company, will oversee all aspects of ESPN Radio national network ad sales, including talk programming, event play-by-play and Audio on Demand, which includes podcasts.  He will report to ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller.

Iran Nuclear Deal, North Korea Saber Rattling, Harvey Weinstein Scandal, Deadly California Wildfires, Kaepernick Files Suit, College Football, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs, Happy Death Day Film, Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The state of the Iran nuclear deal and President Trump’s intent not to certify compliance; the ongoing saber rattling between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Trump; the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal; the battle against California’s deadly wildfires; Colin Kaepernick files a suit against NFL team owners alleging collusion to keep him unsigned; Saturday’s college football games; the weekend’s NFL action; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the new horror film, Happy Death Day were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Hyper-Local High School Football Play-By-Play.  It was a scene out of “Friday Night Lights” (10/13) as hyper-local Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com), serving Springfield and its surrounding communities in Western Massachusetts, launched its new sports department with live play-by-play coverage of high school football games.  Pictured above in the press box calling the PBP between the home team Longmeadow High School “Lancers” and visiting Chicopee Comprehensive High School “Colts” is TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (c) joined by color callers Eddie Garibian (l), a Longmeadow senior, and Graham Topor (r), a Chicopee junior.  TALKERS magazine is headquartered in Longmeadow, MA.  Pioneer Valley Radio was launched in 2015 by publisher Michael Harrison and former WHYN, Springfield morning personality Brad Shepard as an experiment in local “personality-oriented, hyper-local public affairs radio.”  Since then it has gained tremendous traction and become what Shepard describes as “a serious business and an important local media platform that is making a difference.”  The expressly non-partisan station has expanded its menu to include a wide variety of programs covering local politics, civics, business, education, public health and safety, arts and entertainment and now, sports. According to Casey, who heads up the new sports department, “One of the most satisfying aspects of this project is giving local high school students the opportunity to sit in the broadcast press box and call color on the radio.  These two great kids, Eddie and Graham, were fantastic!  We plan to expand our coverage beyond football to include basketball and other sports and get lots of kids from area schools involved in our broadcasts.”  All Pioneer Valley Radio live broadcasts are powered by Boston-based Backbone Networks.

NOT TO BE MISSED: Alex Jones and Michael Harrison Engage in Candid Dialogue About the State of Media and the Talk Industry. Prolific conspiracy theorist and mega-successful independent broadcaster, Alex Jones is this week’s guest on the newly-posted (10/10) installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” During the fascinating, uninterrupted hour of fast-paced conversation, the two discuss Jones’ role as a pioneer in the rise of digital, spoken-word broadcasting touching upon the balance between news and entertainment, the corporate effect on broadcasting, the influence of Hollywood on popular culture, Jones’ relationship with Donald Trump, 21stcentury entrepreneurism, the value of direct marketing as a method of generating revenue and much more. Harrison states, “Like him or not, there is no denying the fact that Alex Jones is one of a select handful of the most influential and important talk broadcasters of the modern era and has been for years. I am glad to have the opportunity to present him to the media world from that perspective.” 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.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At classic hits WRBQ, Tampa “Q105,” radio and television pro Rich Fields is named the new afternoon drive personality.  Beasley Broadcast Group says in announcing the addition that Fields most recently served as a meteorologist at KCBS-TV, Los Angeles.  His radio resume includes stops at KCBS-FM, Los Angeles; WCOF, Tampa; KODJ, Los Angeles; WFJO, Tampa; KNX-FM, Los Angeles; WYUU, Tampa; WSUN, Tampa, and KRTH, Los Angeles.  He also served as Bob Barker’s announcer on “The Price Is Right” for nearly a decade…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes today that Windy City radio personality Gary Spears did his last show on CBS RADIO’s classic hits WJMK on Friday, taking calls from Chicago listeners and from fans across the country.  Spears is retiring from the station and plans to relocate to Florida.  Feder notes that Spears “was one of the original jocks when CBS RADIO turned WBBM FM 96.3 into a Top 40 station.  His first run there from 1982 to 1984 was followed by a second from 1990 to 1994.”…..Country station WCKN, Charleston, South Carolina “92.5 Kickin’ Country” names Jess Jennings program director.  She comes to the Charleston Radio Group station from her most recent gig at country KUPI, Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Group operations manager Stephen Crumbley says, “After an intense search, we are very happy to have Jess join our team here at CRG.  Her on-air talent and programming skills are a perfect fit…..Denver radio personality Kendall B is back on the air in the Mile High City at Max Media’s rhythmic AC KJHM “Jammin’ 101.5” in the morning drive daypart.  Kendall B had most recently been at Entercom’s crosstown rhythmic CHR KQKS “KS1075.”  Max Media Denver general manager Jeff Norman says, “Kendall B has been waking the Denver market for over 15 years and I couldn’t be prouder to have him apart of the Max Media and ‘Jammin’ 101.5’ family.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports that iHeartMedia names Bo Money program director at hip hop WZRL, Indianapolis “Real 98.3.”  Money is also hosting afternoons on the station and will serve as a regional urban programmer for the company…..Also from Indiana Radio Watch, the price tag for WKHL, West LaFayette that Woof Boom Radio is paying for the class A FM station is $608,000.  The seller is non-profit operator Educational Media FoundationIRW reports that “once the sale closes, Woof Boom Radio Lafayette will own 90% with managing partner Jim Ducey, a.k.a. Jim Stone, owning 10%.  Ducey will become GM of WKHL.”

PPM Analysis: Adult Contemporary.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the final analysis of radio station performances based on data from the September 2017 Nielsen Audio PPM survey, today focusing on adult contemporary.  Comparing September performances to data from the August 2017 survey, Kinosian notes that “only one of every three eligible adult contemporary facilities in our sample (33%) improves between August 2017 – September 2017 (6+), while 57% are down; the remaining 10% of the panel is steady (6+).”  Going back to the September survey a year ago, “approximately four of every 10 stations (39%) on this particular adult contemporary sample improve year-to-year, while 56% regress; 5% of the panel is unchanged from September 2016.”  A total of seven AC-formatted stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the September survey: WLTW, New York; WBEB, Philadelphia; WNIC, Detroit; WDUV, Tampa; KSFI, Salt Lake City; WWLI, Providence; and WRCH, Hartford.  See the whole report here.