Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Monday, January 23, 2017

| January 23, 2017

Ajit Pai Nominated to Chair FCC.  According to a weekend report by Bloomberg, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is President Donald Trump’s nominee to chair the commission.  The radio industry is responding enthusiastically to the news because Pai has made no secret of his love for radio as is evidenced by his work to reform AM-band policy.paiajit  NAB CEO Gordon Smith comments, “Without qualification, NAB supports President Trump’s selection of Ajit Pai to the position of FCC chairman. Ajit Pai is a known quantity who brings integrity, good humor, and a fierce intellect to the commission.  We look forward to working with him and his colleagues on a pro-growth FCC agenda that benefits tens of millions of Americans who rely on free broadcast radio and TV for the most popular content, credible news, and lifeline local emergency alerts.”  Because the FCC is currently a two Republican to one Democrat commission, President Trump will nominate a Republican and likely a Democrat to fill the two open seats.

Odds & Sods.  There’s news to report from the NielsenBubba the Love Sponge legal war.  Bubba’s legal teambubba has been arguing that Nielsen’s arguments for keeping certain documents confidential are unfounded and that they should be made part of the public record.  However, Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore ruled against Bubba, stating that “challenging a confidentiality designation is not the proper procedure for a court to decide whether the public has a right to access a pleading.”…..Longtime CBS Radio News reporter Dan Raviv leaves the news organization in surprising fashion – with a tweet at the end of his coverage of the Presidential Inauguration.  He wrote, “Radio friends, I had the bittersweet honor of declaring (I swear it was short) at the end of our 90-min. coverage that it is my last on CBS.” Raviv had been with CBS Radio News since 1978.

Trump Sworn In/ObamaCare Executive Order, Women’s Marches, Trump Press Team’s Inauguration Crowd Dispute, Allegation of Trump Business Interests Conflicts, Cabinet Confirmation Hearings, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Friday’s inauguration of President Donald Trump and his signing of an executive order pertaining to the Affordable Care Act; the Women’s March on DC and the marches in various cities across the nation; the Trump press team’s offering of “alternative facts” regarding the size of the crowd at the inauguration; the planned suit by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington over Donald Trump’s business interests; the confirmation hearings of the several cabinet nominees; and Sunday’s NFC and AFC Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Louisville Non-Com Hacked; Anti-Trump Song Plays on the Air.  Non-commercial low power FM WCHQ, Louisville was the victim of a hack on Friday afternoon (1/20) that resulted in the rap tune “F*ck Donald Trump” by YG & Nipsy Hussle playing in a loop for about 15 minutes.  The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that station manager Kathy Weisbach was able get the digital song file to stop playing.  Station program director Gary Simpson tells the paper that whoever hacked the station got in via the software it uses for its FM audio and that the software permits EAS alerts from getting on the air.  He speculates that since other stations use the same software, other outlets could be vulnerable to a hack.  See the Courier-Journal story here.

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RadioInfo Web bannerDanny Meyers to Program ‘Movin’ 107.7’ in Norfolk.  Programmer Danny Meyers joins iHeartMedia’s Norfolk cluster to serve as program director and morning drive personality at urbanmeyersdanny contemporary WMOV “Movin 107.7, Hampton Roads’ Feel Good Music.”  The station says Meyers – who was most recently morning host at CHR WXLK, Roanoke – will oversee WMOV’s “on-air content and music programming, as well as broadcast the local morning show with his perspective on pop culture and community news.”  Meyers says, “I’m excited to start a new chapter at ‘Movin’ 107.7’ and become part of the iHeartMedia Norfolk family, especially after a record-setting revenue year for the station.  I know the team is ready for an even bigger 2017!”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Alternative KDGE, Dallas is no more but iHeartMedia is notEdgefest17 letting go of the annual “Edgefest” concert promotion.  Now, the company’s rock KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” is presenting “Edgefest 2017” scheduled for April 1, 2017 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  The acts signed up for the daylong, two-stage event are: Blink 182, The Offspring, 311, Chevelle, The Toadies, Naked and Famous, The Nixons, The Record Company, Goodbye June, Black Pistol Fire, Dreamers, Missio, Badflower and The Wrecks.  iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Patrick Davis comments, “This year’s ‘Edgefest’ has one of the strongest lineups we’ve ever had, with a variety of established and rising star artists.  As a nod to the 25th anniversary of the show, we are pleased that several of these ‘Edgefest’ alums are back to celebrate with us.”…..At the Saginaw, Michigan station group of Alpha Media, Joby Phillips is adding the program director responsibilities for hot AC WGER “MIX 106.3” to his workload.  He’ll continue to program country WCEN “94-5 The Moose” and host the station’s afternoon show.

Friday, January 20, 2017

| January 20, 2017

Shocker: Dan Snyder’s WTEM, Washington Parts Ways with Andy Pollin.  Respected Washington, DC sports talk radio personality Andy Pollin was notified by management that his contract with WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” – coming to an end next month – would not be renewed and that his Thursday afternoon edition ofpollinczaban “The Sports Reporters” with co-host Steve Czaban was his last.  Pollin had been on the air talking sports in DC for the past 25 years.  Czaban will go forward as solo host of the afternoon drive show.  The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg covers the story and Pollin tells him, “I’m not in any way bitter about this.  I’m disappointed that it wouldn’t continue.  I thought Czabe and I were humming along there in our second run, but it didn’t happen. That’s life.”  Czaban tweeted that he is “gutted” by management’s decision.  He says, “Andy started this station 25 years ago, and he has done more and seen more than you can imagine in this business.  He hired me off a driving range in 1994, and I owe my entire career in sports radio to him from the opportunities that followed.”  Read Steinberg’s Post column here.

Mark Mason Returns to KEX, Portland for New Midday Talk Show.  Portland radio personality Mark Mason is returning after a three-year hiatus to iHeartMedia’s “News Radio 1190” KEX to host a new midday talk show, beginning Monday (1/23).  Mason co-hosted the “Mark & Dave” show with Dave Anderson on the stationmasonmark for 18 years.  Anderson lost his battle with pancreatic cancer last year.  Mason says, “After I lost my good friend and co-host Dave Anderson, my perspective on life changed and I wanted to return to the Portland kexcommunity that embraced me.  I’m excited to return to the KEX family and bring my 100% hate-free brand of talk radio back to Portland.”  KEX says the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program will offer Mason’s “uplifting perspective on pop culture, national news, politics and currents events, as well as reports on local news, traffic and weather.”  KEX program director Cort Webber comments, “We are thrilled to have Mark back home at KEX where he belongs.  The place just hasn’t been the same without him.  We’re excited to kick off a new year and a new administration with a new show from an old friend.”  Mason continues to serve as the public address announcer for the Portland Trailblazers, a role he has held for the past 21 years.

Emmis Promotes Conner to Lead Network Indiana.  Longtime Emmis Terre Haute general manager James Conner is taking over the general manager role for the company’s Network Indiana, effective January 30.  Network Indiana is a statewide service providing news, sports and business programming to affiliated radioconnerjames stations.  Emmis Indianapolis senior vice president and general manager Chuck Williams states, “James will lead Network Indiana with a mission to continue our history of building meaningful value with our Network Indiana team and for our affiliates.  Network Indiana is a strong brand and an important ingredient in the success of our Emmis Indianapolis Radio Division. James will be focused on helping our team grow Network Indiana relationships, operations and of course, growing value for this historic Emmis Brand.”  The company says Conner has successfully managed the radio stations in Terre Haute the last 22 years, noting that the cluster has consistently accounted for more than 40% of the market revenue.

talkersten logoTrump Inauguration Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 16-20, 2017.  The Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States and the protests against Donald Trump tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the last days of the Barack Obama presidency.  Coming in at #3 was the several cabinet confirmation hearings, followed by the Chelsea Manning commutation 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.

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Covering the Trump Inauguration.  Pictured above are staffers from two of the radio networks covering the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States in Washington DC today (1/20).  At left are (from left to right) Jeff Matzka, Salem Radio News chief engineer; Linda Kenyon, SRN U.S. Senate correspondent, and Greg Clugston, SRN News White House correspondent.  At right is Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini in position at Westwood One’s broadcast post overlooking the Inauguration at the West front of the Capitol.

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RadioInfo Web bannerBeasley Names Randy Bliss to Programming Role and Promotes Tap Money in Fayetteville.  At the Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster of Beasley Media Group, a new programmer comes aboard and another adds new PD duties.  First, Randy Bliss joins theblissrandy company as operations manager of the Fayetteville cluster, he takes on the program director role at adult contemporary WAZZ-AM/W232CI “Sunny 94.3,” and he’ll host the afternoon drive show on country WKML.  Market manager Erika Beasley comments, “Randy moneytapbrings his hands-on experience and success in a number of formats, which we welcome in Fayetteville.  From his extensive research skills to his ability to incorporate both sales and programming to ensure success, Randy has proven he is a tried-and-true radio pro!”  At the same time, hip hop WZFX “FOXY 99” program director Tap Money adds programming duties for sister rhythmic oldies WUKS “Old School 107.7 JAMZ” to his responsibilities.  Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase states, “Beasley is an organization that enjoys promoting good people from within and it is especially exciting when it’s a rock star like Tap Money!  Tap is a radio hero who has lifted WZFX to an entirely new level in ratings and revenue.  We have no doubt he will improve our urban footprint in Fayetteville as he begins working with WUKS.”

Cassiday Proctor Joins 106.5 The Arch’s ‘Spencer’s Neighborhood’ Morning Show.  In St. Louis, radioproctorcassiday personality Cassiday Proctor becomes a cast member on the “Spencer’s Neighborhood” show at Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch,” effective January 30.  Proctor was most recently with Entercom in Atlanta appearing on the WSTR “Star 94” morning program.  During her career she’s served with CBS RADIO in Charlotte where she also did television, hosting “The Edge” on WCCB-TV.  WARH program director Scott Roddy says, “Hubbard is known to be the platinum standard for live, local talent.  Cassiday is not only pure class, but hilariously fun and genuine – the perfect complement to Spencer’s and Brando’s humor.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  The WMMS, Cleveland-based “Rover’s Morning Glory” show isroversmorningglory logo airing on iHeartMedia’s rock WBFX, Grand Rapids “101.3 The Brew,” effective Monday (1/23).  Shane “Rover” French comments, “We’re excited to be on ‘101.3 The Brew’ in Grand Rapids, a city that has more craft beer breweries than anywhere else on the planet.  It’s a perfect match since my staff has consumed more craft beer than any other radio show on the planet.”…..In Jacksonville, iHeartMedia debuts the new “Rumba, #1 Para Éxitos y Música Variada” simulcasting on translator W295AZ at 106.9 FM and the HD2 channel of country WQIK.  Rumba’s broadcasting a variety of Spanish tropical music…..Talk about dedication to the cause, in Peoria, WSWT PD and morning host Randy Rundle and WXCL afternoon personality Joe Greenwood spent 12 hours overnight in cardboard boxes in 25-degree weather to call attention to the homelessness problem in Peoria.  The “Gimme Shelter – A Night to End Homelessness” event took place last Friday and together the two jocks raised $2,675.  The event, as a whole, exceeded its goal of $50,000 – hitting the $63,000 mark.  Proceeds benefit the South Side Office of Concern and its efforts to provide permanent, supportive housing and to end homelessness in the community…..CBS RADIO Houston and BBVA Compass are teaming up to host “Live Bright Bash,” a free stadium party tomorrow (1/21) for city ambassadors and volunteers during Super Bowl week.  The event – intended to inspire the community to welcome visitors and encourage local volunteerism – will feature live music and speeches from city leaders and radio hosts.  wxrt logoRadio personalities from KILT-FM, KHMX-FM, KLOL-FM, and KILT-AM will be on hand to reinforce the “Live Bright” message…..CBS RADIO triple A WXRT, Chicago “93XRT” is presenting two nights with Los Lobos at the Tivoli Theatre on February 15 and 16.  XRT music director Kelly Ransford says, “Long-time XRT favorite Los Lobos is the ideal band for two nights of high-energy fun at the historic Tivoli Theatre in Aurora. Emerging from East LA in the early ‘80s, Los Lobos has become one of America’s greatest live rock ‘n’ roll bands and we couldn’t be more thrilled to host them for two special shows.”

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Laura Alaina Visits ‘NASH Nights Live.’ Stopping by the NASH Campus in Nashville on Thursday evening (1/19) was Mercury Nashville/19/Interscope Records artist Lauren Alaina (center) pictured here with “NASH Nights Live” co-hosts Shawn Parr (right) and Elaina Smith (left).  Alaina chatted about her new album, Road Less Traveled.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

| January 19, 2017

RTDNA and Journalism Coalition Seek Pow-Wow with Trump and Pence on Transparency.  In an effort to discuss journalistic access to the Trump Administration and the U.S. Government, the RTDNA and 60 other journalism organizations are requesting a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.  The RTDNA is announcing the coalition sent a letter on Wednesday (1/18) to Trump and Pence, rtdna logoasking for a meeting or conference call.  Among the issues the coalition wished to discuss are: the ability of reporters to directly interact with government employees who are subject matter experts, rather than interacting with Public Information Officers (or having all conversations monitored by Public Information Officers); access to the activities of the president; and ensuring that the Federal Freedom of Information Act remains as strong as possible.  RTDNA executive director Mike Cavender states, “This is an unprecedented time for the American media and, as a consequence, for the American public.  It is imperative that the incoming administration understand the importance of transparency in government and thecavendermike cooperative spirit needed in working with the journalists who cover it.  Only then will Americans be fully and fairly informed about the important decisions being made on their behalf.”  Interestingly, this issue isn’t just about the incoming Trump Administration.  Several similar letters were sent to the Obama Administration, beginning in 2013, regarding concerns about White House restrictions on photographers, transparency and public information officer restrictions.  Three such letters were sent in 2013 and 2014.  The Obama Administration’s reply in August of 2014 was deemed unsatisfactory by the journalism organizations.  RTDNA provides a white paper and other articles on the matter for further background.  Wednesday’s letter also issues the following requests: “We urge you to publicly affirm your commitment to transparency, to issue an executive order prohibiting the restrictive public information policies that have been the status quo, and to engage in a public discussion with us about the Trump Administration’s commitment to the free flow of information from the White House and all federal government, to the American people.”

Mayfield Promoted at Ramsey Media.  Talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey announces some news from hismayfieldbrian organization.  Eight-year staffer Brian Mayfield – most recently vice president of Ramsey Media – is promoted to senior vice president for the company.  Ramsey Media states that Mayfield will “continue to lead the media department while taking on additional company-wide responsibilities as part of the Ramsey Solutions Senior Leadership Team.  He will continue to report to Suzanne Simms, EVP of the business to consumer division.  Ramsey Media includes all aspects of the Dave Ramsey show – currently heard on more than 575 radio stations and a variety of digital outlets – and other broadcast initiatives of Ramsey Solutions.

Trump Inauguration, Last Days of Obama Presidency, Cabinet Nominees Confirmation Hearings, Obama’s Chelsea Manning Commutation, Report of Earth’s Hottest Year, GOP ObamaCare Plans, NFL-Lady Gaga Flap/NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the Democrats planning to skip the event, and the planned protests; President Obama’s final press conference; the confirmation hearings of Trump cabinet nominees Betsy DeVos and Tom Price; controversy over Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks; the report that the planet’s mean temperature was the highest it’s been for the third year in a row; the status of the Affordable Care Act as the GOP plans to revamp the health care law; and the flap over whether the NFL is muzzling Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime performance, tied with the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Odds & Sods.  On this weekend’s edition of “Legends of Success with John Resnick,” one of the topresnickjohn entertainment lawyers in America appears on the program.  John Branca – who’s represented some of the most successful musical acts in history, including: Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Carlos Santana, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, John Fogerty, and The Doors – talks about his rocky road to success and the many crazy situations he encountered.  He relates that his success has been, in part, because he has been an authority figure to his clients, choosing not to socialize or party with them.  The interview airs this weekend (1/22-23) and will be posted online on Monday…..Tomorrow’s presidential inauguration will be covered for its radio affiliates by FOX News RadioJared Halpern and Laura Ingle will co-anchor the main event, with correspondents reporting live from multiple locations in Washington DC…..Salem Radio Network News is also covering the inauguration tomorrow, beginning with a stand-alone, two-hour special titled, “SRN Inauguration Day 2017.”  The special will be anchoredelswickdaveARCapitol17 live from the steps of the U.S. Capitol by SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston and SRN U.S. Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon.  SRN News U.S. House correspondent Wally Hindes and SRN News Washington bureau chief Ken Lormand will also participate from inside the Capitol building…..AdLarge Media has entered into an exclusive ad sales agreement to represent the podcast “Little Known Facts with Ilana Levine,” a weekly celebrity interview podcast hosted by the stage and screen actress…..KHTE-FM, Little Rock “96.5 FM The Answer” afternoon drive host Dave Elswick (left) is pictured here interviewing Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison (right) during Elswick’s recent three-day broadcast from the state Capitol.

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Radio Row at SHOT Show in Las Vegas.  This week in Las Vegas, hunters and shooting enthusiasts are converging on the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades Show, a.k.a. the SHOT Show, presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  The radio row at the event is hosting such talk radio personalities as Mike Gallagher, Lars Larson, Ben Ferguson and others.  Pictured above is Tim Kennedy (right), host of the History Channel hit “Hunting Hitler” speaking with “The Dana Show” host Dana Loesch.

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RadioInfo Web banner‘Q100’ Atlanta Moves Adam Bomb to Afternoons.  On-air pro Adam Bomb has been holding down the evening show at Cumulus Media’s CHR WWWQ, Atlanta “Q100” in addition to his Westwood One syndicated, eponymous program.  Now, he moves to the livebombadam afternoon drive slot on “Q100,” and that leaves an opening for a hot talent to take over the evening daypart.  Reach out to program director Louie Diaz if you’re interested.  Meanwhile, Diaz says, “Adam’s local involvement with Atlanta schools and his popularity with ‘Q100’ listeners at night made him the perfect choice to drive Atlanta home every afternoon… We have a lot of great stuff in mind for afternoons on ‘Q100,’ so get ready to be entertained!”  He’ll continue to host the syndicated program.

Kramer to Host Mornings on ‘BIG 94.9’ Little Rock.  Little Rock native Doug Kramer comes home to joinkramer iHeartMedia’s classic hits KHKN “BIG 94.9” to host the morning show.  The station says ‘The BIG Fun Morning Show With Kramer’ launches on Monday, January 23.  Kramer says, “It is a dream come true to move home to Little Rock to be a morning personality on ‘BIG 94.9’ and raise my family.  I can’t wait to start working with the iHeartMedia Little Rock team and get involved in my home town’s community efforts.”  Previously, Kramer worked down the road at U.S. Stations-owned CHR KLAZ, Hot Springs.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At Cox Media Group’s classic hits WSRV, Atlanta “97.1 Thegreendebra River,” Debra Green rises from weekend talent to host of the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show.  WSRV director of branding and programming Chris Eagan says, “Deb is a great addition to our weekday lineup.  Her fresh sound and great content make her the perfect fit for ‘The River’ at night.  I’m proud of how hard she worked to get here!”…..In Anchorage, Alaska, Alexx Dupri moves from the afternoon show to AM drive alongside Mike LaJoie to co-host the “Alexx & Mike AM Takeover” at Ohana Media Group’s rhythmic CHR KFAT.

Legendary Sales Consultant Irwin Pollack Passes.  After a battle with cancer, renowned radio sales consultant Irwin Pollack died yesterday (1/18).  His widow posted the following message on Pollack’s Facebook pollackirwinpage.  “Irwin, my amazing husband, incredible father and so much more to so many more has moved on to whatever challenge awaits him after this life.  Thank you all for your kind words and love.  A true gift from God to our family even if just for a short time. Thank you for sharing your stories, memories and feelings.”  Salem Radio Network VP of News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup recalls, “Over the years, I engaged Irwin to bolster our news/talk salespeople at KRLD, Dallas and at WLS, Chicago (his trademark self-confidence was his guarantee that if he didn’t enthusiastically brainstorm at least 24 revenue-generating ideas for our AEs we didn’t have to pay him for his training…we always paid. LOL!) and his 100% confidence in radio as the best-targeted and most efficient advertising medium in America was both hypnotic and contagious.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

| January 18, 2017

WNDE, Indianapolis to Debut New Local AM Drive Sports Talk Show.  There’s a new sports talk show set to launch on Monday, February 6 at iHeartMedia’s Indy sports talker WNDE-AM (and simulcast on translatorgunner W248AW at 97.5 FM) featuring sister rock WFBQ personalities Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck.  The morning drive show – called “Flagrant Foul” – will air on WNDE from 6:00 am to 9:00 am, stuckdonmaking it the only live and local Indy sports talk show in AM drive.   Crosstown competitors WXNT and WFNI air CBS Sports Radio’s “Gio & Jones” and ESPN’s “Mike & Mike,” respectively.  The Indianapolis Business Journal notes that “Mike & Mike” are far and away the current sports talk ratings leader in mornings, but with strong rumors that ESPN plans to end the “Mike & Mike” show very soon (moving Mike Greenberg to a more prominent role on ESPN TV), there could be an opening for “Flagrant Foul.”  Gunner comments, “Stuck and I have talked sports on bar stools for years.  Now, we’re excited to move our stools in front of microphones.”

David Moulton Exits Beasley’s WFCN, Fort Myers After Critical Comments About Station Decisions.  Fort Myers sports talk personality David Moulton tweeted yesterday (1/17) that he was fired from Beasley Broadcast Group’s WFCN “99.3 ESPN Radio” after 17 years with the station.  His exit from the station comes onmoultondavid the heels of a weekend story in the Fort Myers News-Press that delved into the break-up of Moulton’s and 10-year on-air partner Mark Miller’s show back in June of 2016 after the company did not re-sign Miller.  The story questioned the wisdom of the move and Moulton commented freely in the story, his main complaint being that he was never told why the station let Miller walk.  WFCN brought Gentry Thomas in to co-host with Moulton after Miller’s departure.  With Moulton now gone, Thomas and station PD Chris Beasley are hosting the midday show.  Read the News-Press story here.

Trump Inauguration Protests/Approval Rating Polls, Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence, U.S.–Russia Relations, Trump Cabinet Nominees Hearings, GOP’s ObamaCare Plans, World Economic Forum, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17).  Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the Democrats who plan to stay away from the event and reports of planned protests in Washington, tied with Trump’s approval rating polls; the controversy over President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence for turning classified documents over to Wikileaks; speculation about Trump’s future relationship with Vladimir Putin; yesterday’s confirmation hearings for Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; the GOP’s intent to replace the Affordable Care Act with its own plan; the meeting of global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM Remodels ‘Opie Radio’; Re-Brands as ‘Faction Talk.’  The former “Opie Radio”
channel is rebranded by SiriusXM as “Faction Talk.”  The satcaster describes the channel as “an unpredictable and provocative channel inspired by its punk-infused sister channel, the music and sports-focused “Faction.”  The new “Faction Talk” launches on Monday (1/23) and will feature the live talk lineup of Jim Norton and Sam Roberts from 8:00 am to 11:00 am ET; the Jason Ellis show from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; and the “Opie Radio Show” with Greg “Opie” Hughes from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

‘Radio Health Journal’ Celebrates 25 Years.  This month, the weekly public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating its silver anniversary.  Radio pros Shel Lustig and Reed Pence – co-founders of MediaTracks Communications – are recognizing their 25th year in the business recalling their humbleradiohealthjournal beginnings producing the program in Pence’s basement studio and relying on their contacts in the local Chicago radio scene to build an affiliate list and attract advertisers.  “Radio Health Journal” is co-hosted by the program’s original trio from 1992: Pence, Lustig, and Nancy Benson.  Each week the program interviews the most respected experts in the fields of health, medicine and science and has grown from its original 53 affiliates to more than 450 today.  Pence says, “Considering all the medical advances of the last quarter century, it’s a completely different world from when we first went on air.  But what hasn’t changed is the public’s need for reliable reporting on the health issues facing us as individuals, communities and as a nation.  I mean, our very first segment was on the crisis in health insurance, and 1,250 episodes later…we’re still talking about it.”

Odds & Sods.  With the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States taking place on Friday, radio news outlets are covering the event.  Westwood One is beginning live, long-form coverage at 11:30 am ET, anchored by Westwood One News correspondent Chas Henry with on-scene reports from correspondents Bob Costantini at the Capitol and Steve Kastenbaum across from the reviewing stand at the White House…..ABC News Radio will also provide extensive coverage.  Correspondent Aaron Katersky will lead coverage from the U.S. Capitol, joined by correspondent Karen Travers from the White House, correspondents Brad Mielke and Janai Norman from the Inaugural Parade, political director Rick Klein with analysis and commentary from Washington, DC, and contributor Steve Roberts with historical analysis and context of all the proceedings.  ABC News Radio will offer multiple status reports each hour on the events of the day and a one-hour special that will be available at 7:00 pm ET…..E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee – the flagship of the Green Bay Packers Radio Network is hosting “The Hometown Call at Turner Hall” viewing party for this Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.  The event is free with a big-screen broadcast of the game synched to the radio play-by-play broadcast on WTMJ…..CBS Sports Radio launches a dedicated channel on Apple Music.  CBS says “sports fans will now have access to CBS Sports Radio’s unique brand of coverage and commentary via Apple Music, available on a variety of devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, Mac, PC, Android, and Sonos.”…..SB Nation Radio is kicking off the new version of the Sean Salisbury show during its coverage of Super Bowl LI in Houston.  Salisbury’s new co-hosts are Robin Carlin, Brian Barrett and producer Adam Sager.  The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET during Super Bowl week and return to the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot on February 6…..United Stations Radio Networks names Donna Harrison its newest rep in the affiliate relations department for services and offerings for the news and talk formats…..WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire adds the GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show to its weekend program lineup…..The “What’s Cooking in the Mr. Food Test Kitchen” show is offering stations a free, one-month trial of the weekend food show with no contract obligation.  Mr. Food is seen on some 110 TV stations as well as the QVC channel.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallWHAT ARE WORDS FOR? Michael Harrison Chats with the Editor-at-Large of Merriam-Webster.  The organic English language has always evolved but the changes have been speeding up due to the influences of the digital era.  In this week’s fascinating installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out,” TALKERS foundersokolowskipeter Michael Harrison talks with Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large of Merriam-Webster, about the rapidly accelerating evolution of words and the English language. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is the second-best-selling book (right behind the Holy Bible) during the past century-and-a-half of American history.  The conversation includes a discussion of the famed publisher’s successful transition from being a print-based company fueled by book sales to a gigantic web-based digital advertising-based enterprise.  To listen to this illuminating 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.

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RadioInfo Web bannerRock WNNX, Atlanta Inks ‘Bailey & Southside’ for Three More Years.  The morning drive duo of Jason Bailey and “Southside” Steve Rickman signs contract extensions to remainbaileysouthside hosts of the AM show on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WNNX “Rock 100.5” for another three years.  Cumulus Media Atlanta vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “The ‘Bailey and Southside Show’ is the foundation of ‘Rock 100.5.’  Our goal is and has been to build the South’s premiere rock and entertainment station.  Renewing Bailey and Southside ensures that we deliver on that promise.”  Bailey and Rickman began their on-air partnership in January of 2015.

Randy Savage Named OM for Cumulus Media’s Wilkes Barre-Scranton Operations.  Programming pro Randy Savage, a.k.a. Bruce Murry, joins Cumulus Media to serve as the operations manager for the company’s Wilkes Barre-Scranton station group that includes: CHR WBHT, rock WBSX, adult contemporary WMGS “Magic savagerandy93,” country WSJR “NASH FM,” and sports talk WARM-AM “CBS Sports Radio.”  He’ll also serve as PD for WSJR.  Most recently, Savage was with Renda Broadcasting programming country WWGR “Gator Country 101.9,” adult hits WJGO “1029 BOB FM,” hot AC WSGL “104.7 The Mix,” and news/talk WGUF in the Fort Myers/Naples market.  Savage comments, “It has been the honor of my life to program these great radio stations in Southwest Florida.  They are near and dear to my heart but it’s time to move on.  I’m excited about joining Cumulus Media and the Wilkes Barre/Scranton cluster and look forward to working with the great staff there to continue to grow these brands.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In St. Louis, CBS RADIO inks KYKY “Y98” midday personality Jill Devine, to a multi-year contract extension with the station…..In Dallas, CBS RADIO re-brands CHR KVIL-FM “AMP 103.7.”  The station recently added Nathan Fast as new AM drive host…..The Radio Advertising Bureau announces iHeartRadio president Darren Davis and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes join its board of directors…..Air personality Pepper is the new midday jock at Entercom’s alternative KNRK, Portland “94/7fm.”  Pepper previously served with the company’s KNDD, Seattle “107.7 The End.”…..Programmer and air personality Kay Rich exits iHeartMedia’s hip hop KBOS, Fresno where he was music director and evening personality.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

| January 17, 2017

Bubba the Love Sponge Countersues Nielsen and Files Third Party Complaints Against Cox Media and WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta.  The battle between Florida-based, syndicated morning talk host Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a. Bubba Clem, and Nielsen Audio just got more complicated after Bubba’s attorneys filed a countersuit against Nielsen Audio and fresh complaints against Cox Media Group and WHPT, Tampa morning personality Mike Calta.  As industry watchers are aware, Nielsen is suing Bubba claiming that his attempts tobubba manipulate the PPM ratings in the Tampa market have caused damages to its business.  During the discovery phase of this case, Bubba’s lawyers have requested documentation and Nielsen responded by ultimately providing some 71,000 pages, but not in a manner deemed timely by Bubba’s team.  In fact, they state that their work in the discovery phase has been “seriously delayed as a result of Plaintiff’s untimely nielsen logoproduction of discovery materials and broad-brush approach to making confidentiality designations.  Moreover, Defendants’ use of the discovery materials has been severely limited by the terms of the Protective Order.  As a result, on November 18, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Amend Case Management and Scheduling Order to extend the discovery cut-off from December 9 to January 9, 2016.  The Court entered an Order granting Defendants’ motion on November 29, 2016.”  If Nielsen’s tactics were intended to cause Bubba to settle the matter, it didn’t work.  He’s doubling down with the aforementioned countersuit and new complaints against Nielsen, Cox and Calta for: Defamation (Counts I and II), Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships (Counts III and IV), Violation of thecoxmediagroup Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count V), and Civil Conspiracy (Count VI).  Bubba’s lawyers say their counterclaims and third-party claims “are based on various documents that were produced by Plaintiff in response to Defendants’ discovery requests.”  Here’s the breakdown according to the court filing: “In early 2015, Plaintiff entered into a conspiracy with Cox (one of Nielsen’s largest subscribers) to, among other things: (i) utilize Nielsen’s monopoly power over the audience measurement and ratings for the Tampa Market to prevent Defendants from broadcasting their morning radio show on WBRN in competition with WHPT; (ii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ caltamikecontractual relationships with Beasley Media Group and their other affiliates; (iii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ current and prospective business relationships with WBRN’s advertisers and US-based syndication partners; (iv) improperly manipulate Nielsen’s ratings for the Tampa Market to simultaneously increase WHPT’s market share to the benefit of Cox, while decreasing the share of WBRN to the detriment of Beasley, Clem and BRN; (v) publish knowingly false, defamatory allegations of ratings distortion activities against Defendants in an effort to conceal the fraudulent conduct of Nielsen’s employees with respect to the data included in Nielsen’s monthly ratings reports; (vi) unfairly apply Nielsen’s rules and impose unprecedented sanctions pressure on Beasley to bring about the termination of its contract with BRN and Clem; and (vii) engage in unfair methods of competition, anticompetitive behavior, and various unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair acts or practices in violation of Chapter 501, Florida Statutes, in order to further the interests of a large Nielsen subscriber over those of a smaller subscriber.  As a result of Nielsen, Cox, and Calta’s conduct, and the conduct of those conspiring with them, Defendants have incurred several million dollars in damages.”  As noted, much of Bubba’s evidence for the complaints comes from Nielsen documents but it is heavily redacted to protect Nielsen’s proprietary PPM information.  Regarding the complaint against Mike Calta, Clem’s lawyers allege Calta defamed him during an on-air phone conversation in which he made the following false statements: that Clem was cheating Nielsen’s ratings system; that Clem had control over PPMs; that Clem had PPMs on watch winders in a shed and/or a shipping container; that Clem had purchased a PPM from his dentist’s nurse; and that after Clem left WHPT, he stopped using the PPMs he allegedly had control over to benefit WHPT, causing its ratings to fall.  Bubba also alleges that Cox conspired with Nielsen for the latter to de-list heavy listeners to Bubba’s WBRN show and that Cox and Nielsen concocted a “sting operation” to entrap Bubba into engaging into ratings manipulation.  The complaint also states that “Nielsen admits that none of the PPM data obtained from any PPM panelist alleged to have engaged in ratings tampering activities with Clem was ever included in any of its monthly ratings reports and, therefore, it was unnecessary for Nielsen to reprocess or reissue any of its monthly ratings reports as a result of the ratings tampering activities allegedly engaged in by Clem.  Nevertheless, at the urging of Cox, Nielsen imposed its most severe response to the alleged ratings distortion activity by delisting Beasley’s WBRN for the month of September 2015.”  Neither Nielsen, Cox or Calta have commented publicly on the suit.

WEEI, Boston Promotes Alex Reimer to ‘Brand Personality.’  Sports media personality Alex Reimer has been part of the “third-chair rotation” for the “Kirk and Callahan Morning Show” on Entercom’s sports talkreimeralex WEEI, Boston since the fall.  Now, the company announces that he’s coming aboard full time as a brand personality.  Calling it a “move designed to augment both the on-air and online components of its media ecosystem,” Reimer will join the WEEI.com staff “creating columns, blogs, and podcasts” while continuing his rotating co-host position on the morning show.  The Boston University grad has previously served with Forbes, The Boston Herald and SB Nation.  WEEI program director Joe Zarbano comments, “Since joining the Kirk and Callahan third-chair rotation last fall, Alex has done a terrific job delivering opinionated and entertaining sports talk.  I’m excited that WEEI.com will now be an outlet for Alex’s insightful writing to our massive online audience.”

WVLK, Lexington Names ‘Kruser’ Program Director.  Eighteen-year WVLK-AM, Lexington air personality Dave “Kruser” Krusenklaus is appointed program director at the Cumulus Media news/talk station.  As part krusenklausdaveof the change, Krusenklaus will move from his midday talk show slot to the afternoon drive daypart.  Current station PD Scott Johnson transitions to the news director role for WVLK and the Cumulus Lexington cluster.  Prior to his work as a talk host at WVLK, “Kruser” worked as a programmer and air talent in both the rock and classic hits formats.  Cumulus Media Lexington vice president and market manager Scott Frazier states, “I look forward to ‘Kruser’ delivering the same powerful analysis and spirited attitude he has brought as an on-air personality to programming central Kentucky’s heritage news/talker, 590 WVLK!”

Trump Inauguration Protests, Trump NATO and EU Comments, Russian Hacking Allegations, World Economic Forum, GOP ObamaCare Plan, Istanbul Terror Suspect Caught, Wife of Orlando Terrorist Arrested, Eight Billionaires Statistic, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16).  The planned protests for Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the boycott by numerous Democratic Members of Congress, and security plans; controversy over Trump’s comments about NATO being obsolete and his prediction about the end of the European Union; the allegations that Russia hacked the DNC emails in an attempt to influence the U.S. election; the World Economic Forum taking place at Davos, Switzerland; the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; the capture and confession of the man responsible for the deadly terror attack in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve; authorities arrest Noor Salman, wife of Orlando club shooter Omar Mateen; the report that eight of the world’s richest people hold more wealth than half of the rest of the world; and the weekend’s NFL playoff games were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

cookehollandCooke: Recalibrating Talk for the Trump Era.  Consultant Holland Cooke writes today with thoughts about what talk radio can do to take advantage of the Trump era.  Cooke says that as social media flourishes, talk hosts should take that to mean that listeners expect to be heard and he adds that “the smartest thing talkers can do now is listen.”  Read more here.

Odds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” show from Westwood One is being simulcast by C-SPAN during the Wednesday (1/18) broadcast from 1:00 am to 6:00 am ET.  The full live show plus break banter with hosts Eric Harley and Greg McNamara will be simulcast by the cable news network…..“Thecarollaadam Forbes Interview” podcast debuts today on the “Forbes on PodcastOne” network.  The show is the first podcast to be developed jointly between Forbes and PodcastOne and delves into the minds of the most significant leaders of today – the people who have been, or easily could be, on the coveted cover of Forbes magazine.  The first interview by Forbes senior editor Steve Bertoni is with podcast superstar Adam Carolla.

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RadioInfo Web banner‘KISS FM’ Chicago’s Angi Taylor Joins ‘The Rendezvous.’  Chicago radio personality Angi Taylor is signed up for double duty as Premiere Networks announces she’ll partner up with Simon Marcel as the new co-host of the syndicator’s evening show “Thetaylorangi Rendezvous.”  Taylor will continue her role at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKSC “KISS FM” where she’s one half of the “Fred + Angi” morning show.  “The Rendezvous” is described as “the nightly radio program featuring insightful love and relationship advice, coupled with radio station music playlists.”  Taylor says, “I couldn’t be more excited to host ‘The Rendezvous’ along with the French captain of romance, Simon Marcel!  I’m so thankful for everyone at Premiere Networks for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.  Hosting a syndicated show is a dream come true, and I can’t wait to share the love, romance, and FUN with a national audience!”

erickathy17Hubbard Re-Ups Eric & Kathy at WTMX, Chicago.  Chicago morning show stars Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart sign a multi-year contract extension with Hubbard Radio to continue hosting The Eric & Kathy Morning Show on WTMX “101.9fm THE MIX.”  The station says that over the past 20 years the show “has been a consistent market leader, ranking number one among advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old Adults, for most of their tenure at the station.”  Hubbard Radio president and chief operating officer Drew Horowitz comments, “I’m thrilled to have the most successful morning show team in Chicago radio history continuing their run on ‘THE MIX’ and remaining an integral part of Hubbard Radio.”

iHeartMedia Announces Lineup for Fourth iHeartCountry Festival.  The iHeartCountry Festival is comingiheartcountry17 back to Austin this spring.  iHeartMedia announces the big country show will again take place at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday, May 6.  The lineup will feature acts including: Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Rascal Flatts, Old Dominion, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini and The Raging Idiots, plus more to be announced.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes comments, “The iHeartCountry Festival has become an annual family reunion for the biggest stars in country music.  These artists grew up together and you can truly feel their deep friendships when they join each other on stage.”