Talk Radio/Media Industry News
KMOX, St. Louis Extends Calhoun and Ackerman. St. Louis heritage news/talk KMOX announces it has signed staffers Michael Calhoun and Tom Ackerman to new, multi-year contracts that include some new duties for both. Calhoun and Ackerman are part of the CBS RADIO station’s “Total Information AM” morning drive program – Calhoun as co-host and news reporter and Ackerman as a personality and the station’s sports director. KMOX program director Steve Moore states, “Tom and Michael are talented personalities who play integral roles at the station. Tom was born and raised in St. Louis so reporting the news and sports in the city he loves is a natural progression for him. Michael is an award-winning field reporter who brings a unique voice to KMOX that instantly connects with listeners.” Ackerman expands his role to serve as co-host of “Total Information AM” alongside Debbie Monterrey and Calhoun. Calhoun adds field and spot news reporting to his responsibilities. Calhoun will also continue to serve as KMOX’s lead reporter on St. Louis’ “Start Up, Entrepreneurs and Innovation” initiatives and continue to host “Nothing Impossible,” a show that informs listeners about how innovators are transforming and revitalizing the St. Louis region.
Grayson Exits KMOX; Headed for Crosstown KTRS? A report by Joe Holleman in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Jon Grayson has exited CBS RADIO’s news/talk KMOX where he was hosting the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am show. Grayson’s “Overnight America” show had been syndicated nationally in a deal with Westwood One but that was shut down at the end of 2016. Now, after 16 years at KMOX, Grayson may be headed across the street to news/talker KTRS. Holleman reports that’s the industry chatter. KTRS reportedly has an opening for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show. The station also recently hired former KMOX personality Doug McElvein.
Madison Talk Host Mitch Henck Moves Forward on Digital Platform. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes about Madison talk radio personality Mitch Henck – one of a number of personalities cut free with the demise of the progressive talk format on iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison last fall. Henck has recently launched the web-based platform MadisonTalks.com, where his program and others continue to provide the market with “outside the box” digital content. Though he was heard on WXXM for years, Henck says his political leanings are not so easily qualified. “I am center-right on economics and more libertarian on social issues. I like splitting hairs and challenging callers to make their argument.” Read the whole story here.
11th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Scheduled for June 28-29. This year’s 11th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire/Let’s Make America Great Again radio row broadcast will take place on June 28 and 29 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is again producing the event at which talk hosts from across the country will broadcast live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, White House officials and those who live and work along the southern border. FAIR executive director Bob Dane states, “This event has always been about holding our elected leaders accountable and educating the public. In particular, this year, lawmakers must be reminded that Americans strongly support President Trump’s immigration policies. Otherwise, the noise made by vocal special interests – which the mainstream media loves to amplify – will dominate. Talk radio remains the bullhorn of the ‘silent’ majority.” Reservations are required and hosts/producers should contact event manager Cassie Williams at 202-328-7004 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve their spot. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and expenses are taken care of by FAIR. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews with an expected crowd of 60 talk hosts.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Touts AM Revitalization at NABA Symposium. The new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission addressed the attendees at yesterday’s “Future of Radio and Audio” symposium presented by the North American Broadcasters Association. Among the topics he discussed was AM revitalization. He kicked that off by stating, “It’s no secret that many stations in the AM band are struggling. The band’s overall listenership has declined, and advertising revenues along with it. This stems mainly from the band’s technical problems. Every day, it seems harder to get a quality AM signal.” Pai boiled his solution down to the two-pronged approach of making it easier for AM operators to acquire FM translators and encouraging the activation and use of FM chips in smartphones. Regarding FM translators, Pai said AM station owners have complained that it can be difficult finding a location for translators. “That’s why we’ve proposed a new reform that my fellow Commissioners and I will vote on next week. This measure would give AM stations greater flexibility in siting their translators. It’s a small step that would be a big help to AM broadcasters. This year, we also plan to open two new windows in which AM stations that still don’t have an FM translator can apply directly to the FCC to get one authorized. And we’ll keep working on ways to improve signal quality on the AM band and reduce AM broadcasters’ operating costs.” As for FM chips in smartphones, Pai said he’s against mandating those chips be activated – he’s a free-market guy who doesn’t approve of such a heavy-handed approach, and he thinks it’s outside of the FCC’s purview. He noted that in the U.S., “only about 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States have activated FM chips, and the percentage is lower in Canada. By comparison, in Mexico that number is about 80%…[but] despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%.”
Andy Pollin Joins WJFK-FM, Washington for Weekends and Fill-Ins. Washington, DC sports talk personality Andy Pollin is no longer a free agent. The market sports media figure was recently set free by Red Zebra’s WTEM “ESPN 908” after almost 25 years at the signal. Now, he’s being heard on CBS RADIO’s crosstown WJFK-FM on weekends and in fill-in situations. The Washington Post reports that Pollin will host a regular Saturday show with (also former WTEM) personality Thom Loverro from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon starting February 25. WJFK-FM program director Chris Kinard tells the Post, “It just gives us more great talent. You can never have enough good people, and to have someone the caliber of Andy Pollin available is a pretty rare thing. He hasn’t been available for 25 years, because he’s done such a good job. So to have someone like that available, we’d be crazy not to work something out with him.”
WQAM, Miami Re-Ups with the Miami Hurricanes. Miami sports talker WQAM inks a new multi-year deal to continue serving as the flagship station for University of Miami football and men’s basketball. Pictured at the contract signing in Coral Gables on Thursday (2/16) are (from l-r): WQAM program director Ryan Maguire, “The Voice of the Hurricanes” Joe Zagacki, WQAM host Curtis Stevenson, Miami football coach Mark Richt, Miami athletic director Blake James, and WQAM host Joe Rose.
Nielsen: 2016 Election Year Good for News Radio. Ratings giant Nielsen issues data – illustrated in the graphic above – showing the rise in listenership to news radio during the 2016 election year. Nielsen notes that just as in the previous election year of 2012, the number of people tuning in to all-news stations, news/talk stations and public radio NPR affiliates spiked, making it the most-listened-to radio format by persons 6+ in PPM markets during 2016.
Allegations of Trump Campaign’s Russia Connections and Michael T. Flynn’s Resignation Top News Talk Stories for Week of February 13-17. The allegations that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian agents prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Trump travel ban issue and the related Mexican wall matter. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s contentious relationship with the news media, followed by Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal as nominee for labor secretary 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Windy City radio programming pro Patty Martin is joining digital platform AccuRadio to program its world music and Celtic channels. He says she’ll also be involved in programming adult rock and adult alternative formats. Martin – who served in the market programming Hubbard’s classic hits WDRV and CBS RADIO’s triple A WXRT – tells Feder, “It’s all the fun of radio programming without the headaches!”…..KSWD, Los Angeles “100.3 The Sound” midday personality “Uncle Joe” Benson signs a new contract to continue with the Entercom classic rock station. Program director Dave Beasing says, “Joe is the best-known and most-loved classic rock DJ in Los Angeles. The reason is simple. He’s literally written the book on classic rock, and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”…..A new Sunday night show dedicated to the women of alternative rock is launching on Cumulus Media’s alternative KCJK, Kansas City “X1015” featuring host Lauren O’Neil…..iHeartMedia Fort Myers announces media personalities Lulu and Lala are joining hot AC WZJZ “Y100.1, 90s to Now” as 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight hosts effective immediately. The station says, “The ‘Y100.1’ night show with Lulu and Lala will feature the dynamic pair’s unique take on pop culture news and fun antics with listeners, along with special celebrity guest interviews and Y100.1’s unique blend of today’s hits and 90’s throwbacks.”
CBS Reports Q4 2016 and Full-Year Financials; CBS Presented as Discontinued Operation. The latter is due to the pending merger of CBS Radio with Entercom and it means that CBS did not present any revenue information or operating income metrics for the radio division. Here’s what the company has to say about the Entercom deal: “In connection with the transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to CBS Corporation and its stockholders, the Company intends to split-off CBS Radio through an exchange offer immediately prior to the merger. The merger will create a well-capitalized company with a market cap in excess of $2 billion, a strong balance sheet, significant free cash flow, and the ability to pay an attractive dividend. The combined company is expected to generate meaningful cost synergies within 12-18 months after the merger. The Company expects to complete the transaction in the second half of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.” In a press statement, CBS Corporation chairman and CEO Les Moonves states, “2016 was a phenomenal year for the CBS Corporation, with all-time highs in revenue, operating income, and EPS [earnings per share] that came in above $4 for the first time in our Company’s history; and as we begin 2017, I couldn’t be more excited about our growth prospects in the years ahead.” During yesterday’s investor conference call, COO Joseph Ianniello addressed the radio deal, saying, “CBS shareholders who participate in this split-off will own 72% of the combined company which will have best-in-class assets and will clearly be the best capitalized radio company in the industry. The combined radio business will benefit from increased scale, stronger cash flow and real operational synergies which should drive higher profitability. The new company will also have the ability to pay an attractive dividend.”
Cumulus Extends Early Tender Date for Note Exchange. This is the third extension of Cumulus Media Inc’s offer for its previously announced private exchange offer for 7.75% Senior Notes due 2019 issued by Cumulus Media Holdings Inc. Obviously not satisfied with the number of takers, the company is extending the early tender date to March 6 (5:00 pm ET). The company explains that “Eligible Holders tendering their Outstanding Notes prior to the Early Tender Date, as extended that are accepted for exchange, will receive the ‘Total Exchange Consideration.’” That exchange includes “revolving loans, the participation interests, the trust certificates and the shares of Class A common stock (or warrants, if applicable), Class D common stock and Class E common stock.”
TALKERS Editorial Board Tackling Freedom of Speech Award Decision. The TALKERS magazine editorial board has begun the sensitive and often-controversial task of deciding its annual roster of major award recipients in the categories of “Lifetime Achievement,” “Woman of the Year,” “Humanitarian of the Year,” and “Freedom of Speech” – the latter being the most potentially contentious of all – especially in today’s highly charged, politically polarized news/talk environment. In his weekly address to the editors, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This award is always a sensitive issue because freedom of speech is one of the most difficult concepts to explain and the award is doubly difficult to defend – especially when a significant percentage of people immediately assume that the organization presenting the honor necessarily endorses the political position of the recipient.” Harrison continued, “TALKERS has a distinguished history of non-partisanship in its editorial coverage of political news/talk media and this has been reflected in the diversity of positions held by the recipients of this prestigious award over the decades. The award is not a reward for saying something ‘controversial’ with which we necessarily agree but, rather, for conducting oneself as a broadcaster in a manner that clearly displays the tenets of the First Amendment in action, as well as showing the courage of one’s convictions in facing the negative blowback and consequences of one’s public stance.” Harrison cited Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and former WTMJ, Milwaukee host Charlie Sykes among worthy candidates to be considered for this year’s honor, stating, “Hannity showed amazing courage coming out early and unswervingly for Donald Trump when it was not clear which way his core audience would swing and what the outcome of the primary and general election would be. Medved, also a conservative, came out early against Trump and then stuck to his guns as an objective observer of the candidate and now-president’s pros and cons as he sees them – even against negative criticism from his listeners and even members of his own syndication company. Sykes actually let his cool job in Milwaukee slide away rather than back down from his perception of the truth.” Harrison concluded, “And there are many more examples of news/talk hosts having to take a principled stand with uncertain consequences as a result of this turbulent but exciting chapter of talk radio history in the making.” The TALKERS awards will be presented on Friday, June 2 at Talkers 2017: A New Era in New York City. For information about the 20th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest running and most important national convention, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Beginning with this year’s 2017 NFL season, Washington Redskins football play-by-play (including some pre- and post-game programming) will be heard on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. The games will continue to air on Red Zebra properties WTEM, Washington “ESPN980”; WWXT, Prince Frederick, Maryland; and WWXX, Buckland, Virginia. This is a homecoming of sorts for Redskins football; the team’s games have aired on WMAL-AM from time-to-time as far back as 1942. WMAL-AM/FM vice president and GM Jake McCann comments, “We are excited and honored to be working with the Redskins again. The Redskins and WMAL were partners during the team’s three glorious Super Bowl-winning seasons. We look forward to bringing the combined assets of WMAL to this exciting, renewed partnership.”…..NBA All-Star 2017 begins today and SiriusXM is offering coverage with special, live programming from New Orleans on its NBA Radio channel, in addition to the live broadcast of the 66th NBA All-Star Game. Coverage will be hosted by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jason Terry, former players Eddie Johnson and Tim Legler, as well as Frank Isola, Jason Jackson, Joel Meyers, Justin Termine and Brian Geltzeiler…..The Forbes on PodcastOne network premieres “The Forbes List” today (2/16), featuring an in-depth look at the world’s top billionaires. The show – hosted by Jordan Harbinger dives into the stories behind Forbes’ most famous lists, including the Forbes 400 list featuring the wealthiest Americans, as well as lists covering celebrities, music, sports, entrepreneurs, companies and the world’s most powerful people. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz comments, “This makes our third launch of a new Forbes podcast and points out the strong relationship between Forbes and PodcastOne. Jordan Harbinger has hosted “Art of Charm,” which consistently ranks in iTunes’ top 10. This provides a combination that’s tough to beat.”
Violent Tragedy Strikes Dominican Radio Station. Two radio journalists were shot dead and a third staffer was seriously wounded in a raid on a radio station in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Numerous news outlets are reporting that news presenter Luis Manuel Medina and station director Leonidas Martinez were killed when unidentified men entered the station and shot Medina while he read a newscast and Martinez as he sat in his office. Medina was streaming his newscast live on Facebook at the time of the attack. It took place at radio station 103.5 FM in San Pedro de Macoris, a town near Santo Domingo. The AFP reports that the organization Reporters without Borders states that journalists that investigate corruption and the drug business are often the victims of violent attacks.
Sports, Music, Politics and Talk Media. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined in a free-wheeling dialogue by his long-time friend, New York City radio broadcaster Richard Neer as his guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.” The two talk about the public’s and media’s obsession with Donald Trump, with an emphasis on the infiltration of sports and entertainment by political passions. Richard Neer brings his diverse background as a legendary Big Apple music radio host (WNEW-FM), sports talker (WFAN) and best-selling author of the landmark book FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) to the discussion which focuses on the rapid morphing of the traditional left/right talk media paradigm into a more complex resistance/revolution chess game. 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.
Trump Campaign Russia Communications/Flynn Exit, Puzder Withdraws From Labor Secretary Nomination, Reince Preibus’ Status, Trump vs Intelligence Community, Fate of ObamaCare, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The controversy over the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and questions about the depth of communications between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian agents; Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder withdraws from consideration for the cabinet position; questions about the status of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus after unconfirmed reports President Trump is unhappy with his work; the contentious relationship between Trump and the intelligence community; the fate of the Affordable Care Act after Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told the Wall Street Journal the program is in a “death spiral”; and NBA and NHL 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. The performer and host lineups have been announced for the March 5 iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place at the Forum in Los Angeles. The evening will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and will air live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET will be broadcast on iHeartMedia-owned stations nationwide, as well as on the iHeartRadio. Performers will include: Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Shawn Mendes, Thomas Rhett, Noah Cyrus and Big Sean, in addition to the previously announced Bruno Mars…..Entercom San Diego is expanding the platform for its culinary audio feature, “Lick the Plate,” which has been airing on alternative KBZT “FM94/9,” adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1,” and country KSON. The David Boylan-hosted program will now be available in podcast format via the stations’ websites. The radio stations will continue to promote the show via on-air teaser segments. These changes take effect on February 27…..Radio programming for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards from Westwood One is being announced. Westwood One and Cumulus Media are the official national radio partners for the ACM Awards. There will be a three-hour ACM Nomination Special, hosted by Thomas Rhett, on March 25 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight as part of “NASH Nights Live.” The ACM Radio Row will take place on Friday, March 31 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm ET and Saturday, April 1 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. Then, the five-hour ACM Night Of Event Coverage will happen on Sunday, April 2 from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight…..Beasley Media Group’s adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia is announcing a new weekend program featuring Kathy Romano. The show is titled, “Her Story,” and will air Sundays at 7:30 am. Romano – who works for sister rock station WMMR as part of the “Preston & Steve” show – says, “I’m thrilled to be the host of ‘Her Story’ on 95.7 BEN FM! This is giving me the opportunity for some girl talk that just doesn’t make sense on WMMR’s ‘Preston & Steve’ show. There are so many amazing women with fascinating stories that we just don’t get to hear. Every Sunday morning I’m going to bring listeners the great stories these dynamic women have to tell!”…..Radio One hip hop outlet WKYS, Washington announces that Danni Starr is joining “The Fam in The Morning” as co-host alongside QuickSilva. Radio One DC SVP and general manager Jeff Wilson comments, “Danni is the full package. She’s amazingly smart, well versed in music and community activism. Danni is authentic and transparent about her struggles and victories. That kind of energy and wit will serve our listeners well on-air, in social media and on the street.” Starr has worked in radio for more than a decade and is the face of TLCme on the TLC network.
Midland Pays Valentine’s Day Visit to NASH Campus. New country act and Big Machine recording group Midland is pictured here with “NASH Nights Live” co-hosts Elaina Smith (second from left) and Shawn Parr (second from right).
PPM Analysis: Country. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the ratings performances of country-formatted stations based on Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2016 PPM survey. In this report, see charts detailing country stations’ (6+) numbers over the past six PPM surveys, fluctuations from December to the Holiday survey, comparisons to performances in the Holiday 2015 and Holiday 2016 surveys, station market ranks and more. Click here for more.
McMahon: Lessons Learned from Rebuilding a Struggling Radio News Station. Consultant Bill McMahon details the myriad reasons he believes people tune in to – and stay with – a radio news station. He explains it in the context of rebuilding a major market news station that had lost its course and dove from being a leader to an also-ran in the ratings. McMahon says that delivering news is the mechanics of what a station does but “news stations are actually in the life enrichment business. News merely provides the vehicle and fuel for helping to make listeners’ lives more interesting, meaningful and fun.” With that, McMahon presents his beliefs about what constitutes meaningful content for listeners in order to attract and keep them. Read it all here.
SiriusXM’s Howard Stern Show Being Sued for Airing of Taxpayer’s IRS Call. This complaint is filed in US. District Court in Massachusetts as the result of an incident that happened on May 19, 2015. The crux of the suit against the IRS and the Howard Stern Production Company is as follows: IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe had called in to the Howard Stern show from his office and was placed on hold. During that time, plaintiff Judith Barrigas called the IRS with a question about “the potential misapplication of her tax refund” for the previous year. At some point, Stern staffers put her discussion with Forsythe on the air, during which Barrigas’ personal information, tax matters, etc. were aired. Barrigas says she learned of what was happening after receiving texts and calls alerting her that her conversation was being broadcast. She complained to the IRS which, she alleges, did nothing until she contacted WCVB-TV, Boston’s consumer helpline. After the TV station contacted the IRS, Forsythe was put on administrative leave. Barrigas claims she’s suffered monetary damages as a result of the incident in addition to various health issues. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, plus a recoup of legal fees.
Seattle Times Piece Highlights Medved’s Independent Prespective. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Michael Medved – whose show is based at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle and is distributed by Salem Radio Network – is featured in a story by Seattle Times staff reporter Nina Shapiro. Central to the piece is that Medved is one of a very few conservative talk show hosts who never got on board supporting President Donald Trump’s campaign. Now that Trump is in office, Medved continues to walk his own path – criticizing the administration for what he thinks is bad and praising it for what he thinks is good. Read the Times piece here.
Fresno’s “Power Talk 96.7” Jumps into Sanctuary City Issue. Pictured above is a still from KFSN-TV, Fresno’s coverage of a petition drive spearheaded by news/talk outlet KALZ, Fresno “Power Talk 96.7” requesting that the city’s mayor not allow Fresno to become a sanctuary city. Last night (2/14), the iHeartMedia-owned station held a remote broadcast as part of the signature drive. KALZ host Trevor Carey tells the TV station that he and other citizens are concerned that the mayor’s recent language on the matter was ambiguous, spurring the petition campaign.
West Palm Beach Host Joyce Kaufman Does WH Skype Session. WFTL, West Palm Beach talk show host Joyce Kaufman took part in the latest Skype Session portion of yesterday’s White House press briefing (pictured above). During the session, Kaufman asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer about the security issues relative to President Trump’s receiving word of North Korea’s missile launch while at dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. News outlets have been questioning whether sensitive issues were discussed in the vicinity of other diners, wait-staff, etc., as photos taken by other diners seemed to indicate. Kaufman asked if there is a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) at Mar-a Lago. Spicer answered that there is and it was used by Trump and Abe. She also asked if Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would discuss moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Spicer replied he would not “get ahead of” the president on that one.
TALKERS News Notes. The weekend talk program “Café Mocha” – co-hosted by comedienne and actress Loni Love, hip hop legend YoYo and broadcast veteran Angelique Perrin, and heard on numerous urban-formatted stations across the country – is celebrating its sixth anniversary. At the same time, the program announces that Compass Media Networks is working with the show to handle ad sales…..Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces the results of its 2016 Gender Analysis Study. The study was done by PrecisionTrak and concludes that, as of December 31, 2016, out of 11,229 AM and FM radio stations, 1,944 or 17.8% have women holding the general manager position – a 0.5% increase from 2015. In 2016, 31.5% of all stations had a women sales manager – up one full percentage point from the prior year. And in the top 100 markets, 31.4% of the stations have female sales managers. MIW says that the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be found in the programming department. Women currently program only 10.7% of all stations in the country, which compares to the same number 10 years ago. The news is better in the top 100 markets where women programmers now represent 12.2%, which is basically flat from last year.
Trump Campaign-Russia Connection/Flynn Resignation, Russian Spy Ship and Missiles Deployed, ICE Raids, Oroville Dam Scare-State of Infrastructure, Kim Jong Un’s Half-Brother Assassinated, Paid Protests Allegations, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/14). New allegations the Trump campaign was in contact with Russian officials prior to the election and before the inauguration, plus the related resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn; reports of a Russian spy ship near the U.S. coast and the country’s deploying of a missile that reportedly violates current arms treaties; the raids being conducted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau; the concerns about the stability of a spillway at the Oroville Dam in Northern California and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s statement that the incident is emblematic of the country’s infrastructure issues; allegations that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s half-brother was assassinated with poisoned needles in Malaysia; speculation that the protests at GOP town halls are populated with people paid by Democratic Party operatives; and NBA and NHL 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. Rock radio pro Jeff Zito returns to Beasley Media Group’s rock WRXK, Fort Myers to host the midday show – 10:00 am to 2:00 pm – and serve as program director. Zito left the station last spring to head north to Tampa to program the company’s then-rock WBRN, Tampa. However, with the exit of Bubba the Love Sponge’s morning show in the fall, the station flipped to adult contemporary at the end of 2016…..The demise of Eric “Shmonty” Ashmont as host of the morning show on Lotus’ alternative KFMA, Tucson “Rock 102.1” has been greatly exaggerated. Yes, it’s true that Shmonty left the Tucson area to return to Rockville, Maryland for family reasons. But, now the station is keeping him on as morning host via remote. On-air producer Beef Vegan produces the show from the studios in Tucson…..In Erie, Pennsylvania, Kwame Dankwa joins Connoisseur Media as program director for CHR WRTS “Star 104.” Dankwa was most recently with iHeartMedia as afternoon personality and APD at CHR KPWK “Power 933.”
Alpha Media to Buy WFTL and WMEN in Palm Beaches. This deal brings two spoken-word formatted AMs into Alpha Media’s West Palm Beach station group, joining current holdings adult contemporary WEAT “Sunny 107.9” and hot AC WRMF. News/talk WFTL, West Palm Beach and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach are being sold by Mark Jorgenson’s ACM JCE IV B, LLC to Alpha for $ 2 million. Jorgenson’s firm acquired the stations from James Crystal in a 2015 bankruptcy auction. Alpha begins operating the two stations under an LMA until closing.
Westwood One and Entercom Partner to Syndicate ‘Beyond Reality Radio.’ Last August, Entercom launched the “Beyond Reality Radio” program across a number of its news/talk stations. Now, the company is partnering with Westwood One to put the program into national syndication. “Beyond Reality Radio” airs weeknights live from 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am ET and is co-hosted by Jason Hawes, co-founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society and the creator and star of Syfy’s hit “Ghost Hunters,” and JV Johnson, a long-time paranormal investigator and former publisher and editor of TAPS’ ParaMagazine. Entercom stations airing the show include: KJCE, Austin; WRKO, Boston; WBEN, Buffalo; KEZW, Denver; WSKY, Gainesville; WYRD, Greenville; WBZU/WKZN/WILK, Wilkes-Barre; KMBZ, Kansas City; WWL, New Orleans; WBT, Charlotte; and KNSS, Wichita. Westwood One will roll out syndication to stations nationwide and represent ad sales as it launches on March 6.
TALKERS News Notes. In the Triangle market, Capitol Broadcasting’s sports talk WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” and its affiliate digital platform WRALsportsfan.com partners with contributor Lauren Brownlow to present a special, eight-episode podcast investigating the “supernatural history” of North Carolina State University and the legendary “curse” that haunts Wolfpack Nation. Brownlow says, “Growing up in North Carolina and covering the area teams for over a decade, I’ve long been fascinated with the dedication of NC State fans in spite of a recent string of bad luck, which contrasts sharply with a rich and successful overall athletic history. When I learned about the recently conceived concept of ‘NC State Stuff – What can go wrong for NC State will go wrong,’ and that it had a name, I knew I had to learn more about it. I’ve never believed in it, but I kept an open mind going into this podcast and wanted to figure out, once and for all, if there’s anything to it.”…..Entertainment consulting firm Paragon Media Strategies names Michelle Conrad as social+mobile+digital consultant. Paragon CEO Mike Henry said, “It’s great to add a true Millennial to Paragon’s consulting ranks. Michelle Conrad is a native digital user and lifelong social media explorer. Michelle brings hands-on experience working with entertainment brands, including ABC, Nickelodeon and GoPro. She is uniquely suited to ensure that the social, mobile and digital experience is completely in synch with the overall brand experience.”…..Westwood One reports the results of a Nielsen study it commissioned to examine the return on investment for advertisers using WW1’s coverage of NFL football and NCAA basketball play-by-play. WW1 says some of the key findings of the study include that, 1) radio elevated key brand perceptions. For example, those exposed to Westwood One’s NCAA basketball audio were 37% more likely to indicate the motorcycle manufacturer was the brand for people like them versus those who were not exposed to the campaign; 2) the radio campaign had significant advertiser recall among key demographics for the brand. Among those who have ever owned a motorcycle, those exposed to Westwood One’s NCAA basketball audio were 72% more likely to recall the brand’s ads; and 3) radio had a stunning impact on every stage of the purchase funnel, including purchase intent: Compared to those who had not heard the campaign, those exposed to the radio campaign had a 63% increase in plans to purchase the brand. See more of the results in WW1 chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard’s blog post here…..The Radio Advertising Bureau names 17-year RAB staffer Tiffiney Wyatt to the newly created position, business development & insights associate. At the same time, joining the membership team at the RAB is Rita Landells.
Trump’s Travel Ban Battle, North Korea Missile Incident/Trump Security Questions, Michael Flynn Under Fire-Resignation, California Dam Concerns, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketches, Tumultuous GOP Town Halls, and Sunday’s Grammy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13). The court battles over his original travel ban and potential new executive travel orders from President Donald Trump and related protests over his perceived anti-immigration stance; North Korea’s weekend test of an ICBM and related questions about presidential and national security after Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe learned of and discussed the matter in the Mar-A-Lago dining room; National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn resigns after ongoing questions about his improper communications with Russian diplomats; the status of a Northern California dam spillway as it threatens the residences of some 200,000 evacuees; the flap over the series of Trump Administration spoofs aired on “Saturday Night Live”; the raucous town hall receptions some GOP lawmakers are receiving in their districts; and Sunday night’s Grammy Awards 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. Music radio pro Zakk Babb stays in the Entercom family in his new position as afternoon drive personality and imaging director for CHR WZPL, Indianapolis. Babb has been hosting evenings at Entercom’s hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” – a position he’ll continue to hold as he’ll voice track the show from Indy…..Due to his ongoing cancer treatment, John Thomas is stepping away from his SVP of programming role at iHeartMedia’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster in which he oversees programming at news/talk WHYN-AM, hot AC WHYN-FM, and country WRNX. In a Facebook post, Thomas writes, “After a lot of prayer, weighing the pros & cons and deep soul-searching – I’ve decided to resign from my position @ iHeart in order to FOCUS 100% on my HEALTH! Over the course of the next several weeks – I’ll be transitioning in order to put myself in the BEST possible position to benefit from the clinical trial that I started a few weeks back.”…..Cumulus Media announces that the nationally syndicated Kidd Kraddick show – starring Kellie Rasberry, Big Al Mack, J-Si Chavez and Jenna Owens – is the new morning program on its CHR KBIU, Lake Charles “HOT 103.3.”…..In the Lafayette, Louisiana market, programming pro Tyrone Davis exits Delta Media’s urban contemporary KFXZ “Z105.9” where he’d been serving as program director and music director. His duties will be assumed by operations manager Erik Tobias.
Feature Story: Internet Radio’s Backbone. As far as TALKERS magazine is aware, nobody gets audio content on the Internet with the ease and sophistication (not to mention affordable rates) the way Backbone Networks does. In this piece published Friday (2/10), managing editor Mike Kinosian delves into how Backbone – in the words of president and CEO Rich Cerny, “the only completely integrated radio station service comprising live production, automation, storage, streaming, syndication, live assist, and call-in phone system,” works for content creators. Plus, interwoven into this feature is how Cerny’s past experience in fiber optics and television broadcast production played into the creation of Backbone Networks. Read it all here.
Hillman to Lead Sales at Beasley Media’s Southwest Florida Group. Sales pro Allyson Hillman is named director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Southwest Florida cluster that includes news/talk WJBX, sports talk WWCN, CHR WXKB, rock WRXK, adult contemporary WJPT, and Spanish music W251AL. Beasley says, “Allyson brings three decades of broadcasting and advertising to this position. She served in management for 10 years in Detroit radio and has relocated to Southwest Florida from Savannah-Hilton Head. Allyson has worked in the radio, television, Internet, digital and outdoor industries, including careers as retail sales manager, local and general sales manager, director of business development and director of sales.”
Steve Deace Show Thriving on CRTV. In our recent reporting Salem Radio Network’s addition of Chicago-based talk host Joe Walsh to its evening lineup, TALKERS wrote that the Steve Deace show had been bumped from the schedule by Walsh. But Deace tells us there’s more detail to how the change took place. Deace’s show is, and has been, produced by Conservative Review TV (CRTV). Late last fall, CRTV and Deace chose to move the show from SRN to CRTV’s own platform. That initiated the change in SRN’s evening schedule. Deace says, “Fifteen months ago, we debuted on Salem with 11 affiliates. We’re leaving with approximately 70. They did a great job for us, never interfered with my content on the air, and I have no complaints whatsoever. I still have the same high regard for [Salem SVP] Phil Boyce I’ve always had.”
TALKERS News Notes. The FCC filing for Michael Crute’s purchase of WRRD-AM, Waukesha (Milwaukee market) from Good Karma Broadcasting is public, so we now know the price of the signal is $767,000. Crute, who with partner Dominic Salvia co-hosts the progressive talk show “Devil’s Advocate,” is programming a
progressive talk lineup on the station. The duo was formerly based at iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison, Wisconsin when it was progressive talk outlet “92.1 The Mic.” The station flipped formats after the holidays. The “Devil’s Advocate” airs in afternoon drive on WRRD…..Berkshire Broadcasting’s news/talk WLAD-AM, Danbury, Connecticut is now heard in the market on the FM dial after the station adds translator W231DJ at 94.1 FM to the station’s broadcast.
Trump’s Travel Ban Strategy, ICE Raids/Cost of Mexico Wall, Russia-Snowden Relationship, Flynn-Russia Talks Controversy, North Korea ICBM Tests, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketches, Nordstrom-Ivanka Trump Flap, Yale Changes College Name, and Al Jarreau Dead at 76 Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing legal clash over President Donald Trump’s travel order and the possibility he writes a new order this week; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau begins raids to capture “known criminals” and the related issue of the U.S.-Mexico wall and Trump’s promise to reduce the cost; conflicting reports about whether Russia will turn Edward Snowden over to the U.S. to curry favor with President Trump; the status of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over reports he engaged with Russia prior to Trump being sworn in as president; the test of a mid-range ICBM by North Korea; the numerous sketches poking fun at Trump and administration officials on “Saturday Night Live”; Nordstrom’s dropping of the Ivanka Trump lines; Yale changes name of Calhoun College due to John C. Calhoun’s advocacy of slavery; and musician Al Jarreau’s death at age 76 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dr. Dave Returns to Dayton Air on 80s Rock WZLR. Radio personality Dave Gross, a.k.a. Dr. Dave, is back on the radio in Dayton on Cox Media Group’s 80s-intensive classic hits simulcast WZLR/W266BG. Back in the late 1980s, Dr. Dave was the ringleader of the “Z93 Morning Zoo” on then-CHR WGTZ – the program that dominated the morning ratings in the market. His new show, “Dr. Dave and the Eagle Morning Zoo,” is the first show with a live personality on the station. In a piece in the Springfield News-Sun, Cox Ohio VP of marketing Nick Roberts says the Dayton market is one of the biggest in the nation for 80s rock. See the whole story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At its urban contemporary WHQT, Miami “HOT 105,” Cox Media Group announces syndicated personality Michael Baisden is taking over the afternoon drive show, effective February 20. WHQT director of branding and programming Phil Michaels-Trueba states, “Michael was a part of the ‘Hot 105’ super brand from 2007 to 2013 with a proven track record of success. I am happy to welcome Michael, George Willborn, and Tamara G back home to our already stellar lineup of icons.”…..iHeartMedia names Todd Zarnitz, a.k.a. Carson, afternoon drive personality for CHR stations KPWK, Seattle “Power 93.3” and KKRZ, Portland “Z100.” Pacific Northwest Region SVP of programming Tim Herbster states, “We are excited to add Carson to our teams here in Portland and Seattle. His passion, enthusiasm and wealth of experience will be a great addition to help us grow ‘Z100’ and ‘Power 93.3.’”…..In Indianapolis, WLHK “HANK FM” afternoon personality JD Cannon announces he’s retiring from the station – and from full-time work in radio – on April 28. Cannon will remain with the Emmis station as “brand ambassador.” In announcing his semi-retirement, Cannon says he’s been blessed to have had a 44-year career on country music…..Townsquare Media announces programming pro Dusty Hayes is assuming the operations manager role at its Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana station group that includes news/talk KEEL, country KXKS, adult contemporary KVKI, CHR KRUF, and rock KTUX…..Townsquare Media names Braden Smith operations manager for its Amarillo, Texas cluster consisting of news/talk KIXZ, country KATP, adult contemporary KPRF, hot AC KMXJ, and CHR KXSS. He’ll serve as brand manager for KATP. He comes to Townsquare from his previous position with Alpha Media country outlet WLFV, Richmond “The Wolf.”