Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Hits Kansas City. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” event to KC this week, presenting last night (10/20) at Church of the Resurrection. Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day event in KC on Wednesday. Ramsey, along with best-selling author Chris Hogan and Ramsey personality Christy Wright, presented common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 550 team members. This is the first time EntreLeadership 1 Day was made available by live stream and was broadcast to more than 13,000 participants. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate news/talk KCMO to promote the event. Pictured above are Cumulus Media Midwest regional VP Donna Baker (left), Ramsey, and Cumulus KC operations manager Lance Tidwell (right). Baker comments, “The KCMO “Talk Radio” team continues to expand relationships with our audience and clients thanks to our partnership with Dave, resulting in sold-out events both days in KC! Our ‘Evening with Dave’ event is a special opportunity to bring like-minded clients together. We hear feedback about how much it means to share time with Dave, make new friends and business contacts, and spend a fun evening with our programming and sales teams. This event ranks high on our list of favorites and has a meaningful impact on increasing revenue and ratings.”
Hooley to Exit WKNR, Cleveland. Afternoon personality (and former Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter) Bruce Hooley Tweets that he’s exiting Good Karma’s Cleveland sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN 850 Cleveland” for a new gig that’s yet to be announced. He did indicate that he’ll be heard in Cleveland “and elsewhere.” Hooley handled the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show, sandwiched between “Golden Boyz” with Aaron Goldhammer and Emmett Golden (heard from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mark “Munch” Bishop’s “Cleveland Tonight.” There’s no word from Good Karma what its plans are to fill the gap.
Sports Talker KKSE, Denver Announces New Program Lineup. In Denver, KSE Radio Ventures-operated KKSE “Altitude Sports Radio 950” has a new air talent lineup. The “Vic and Kyle” show breaks up with Vic Lombardi moving from afternoons to the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Kyle Keefe exiting the radio side (he remains an “Altitude Sports TV” personality). Scott Hastings and Tom Helmer leave the morning daypart to host 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in place of the syndicated Rich Eisen show. Marc Moser is partnered with Julie Browman for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, and the afternoon show hosted by Nate Kreckman and Tom Nalen moves to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The Presidential Race/Wednesday’s Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21. The 2016 presidential race remains at the top of TALKERS magazine’s weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. Related stories follow with voter fraud and election tampering concerns at #2 and the lingering backlash of the Hillary Clinton email server case at #3. Coming in at #4 was the military campaign against Islamic State in Iraq to retake the city of Mosul. The Talkers Ten TM is published every Friday at Talkers.com. You can this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime, former WOR, New York general manager Bob Bruno is taking to the airwaves for a weekly, two-hour show on Whitney Media’s WVOX-AM, New Rochelle, New York. Bruno’s program is titled “The Best of Everything” and he promises “eight fabulous decades of the greatest pop music ever recorded from Sinatra to Springsteen.”…..The weekly, Doug Stephan-hosted “American Family Farmer” talk program is added to the schedule at KRFE-AM, Lubbock, Texas.
Salem Has Deal to Buy KTRB, San Francisco for $5.1 Million. Camarillo, California-based Salem Media Group has been broadcasting the conservative news/talk format – as “860 Am The Answer” – on KTRB, San Francisco since July of this year under an LMA. Now, Salem’s East Bay Broadcasting is entering into a deal with station receiver Susan Uecker (she assumed control of the station from Harry Pappas in 2010) to buy the signal for $5.125 Million. Prior to Salem’s LMA of the station, it was airing Spanish sports under the operation of David Jacobs-run Deportes Media. Salem is programming the station with largely Salem Radio Network personalities including: Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Larry Elder, plus Jay Sekulow, Phil Grande and Steve Deace.
CORRECTION: Yesterday, TALKERS reported that WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” morning personality Mike Calta would begin co-hosting an afternoon show on SiriusXM with Gregg “Opie” Hughes. That is not the case. Calta’s agent – Tony Burton of Don Buchwald & Associates – tells TALKERS that Calta may be filling in on Opie’s SiriusXM program in December, schedule permitting, but that’s the extent of it. Our erroneous report was based on a Tweet sent out by Calta that misled a TALKERS reporter. Our reporter first learned about the Tweet in an article by Dan Jackson at Thrillist.com alleging the “shock jock” radio style is dead. You can read that piece here.
WBEN, Buffalo Afternoon Drive Personality Tom Bauerle’s Incredible Tale Told in Canadian Publication. The strange series of events that affected the life of popular Buffalo talk radio personality Tom Bauerle are chronicled in a piece in the Canada Free Press. This fascinating story of surveillance, cloaking technology and sleuthing that engulfed Bauerle’s life for much of the past five years can be found here.
WIP, Philadelphia Names Joe DeCamara and John Ritchie Midday Hosts. Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM is reconfiguring its midday and afternoon shows and announces that former crosstown WPEN-FM personality Joe DeCamara is partnering with sports broadcaster and former Philadelphia Eagles player Jon Ritchie for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm show, effective October 24. The CBS RADIO station says that it will make an announcement regarding a new afternoon show in the coming weeks and that it will include current midday personality Ike Reese, however Michael Barkann exits. CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “We are thrilled to add this new show featuring Joe and Jon. As a player, Jon Ritchie embodied the hard-working nature of our fine city. As a host, he will connect with the fans and share their passion for our local teams. Joe has proven himself to be a strong voice for the Philadelphia fans. We are excited to have them.” After retiring from football, Ritchie has worked at ESPN. He was co-host on the “Artie Lange Show” on DirecTV, served with NBC Sports Network and currently is on air all day Sundays as the color commentator for DirecTV’s Fantasy Zone channel, part of NFL Sunday Ticket.
Terry and Heather Dubrow Launch ‘Dr. & Mrs. Guinea Pig’ on PodcastOne. “Real Housewives of Orange County” stars Terry and Heather Dubrow (pictured at left) are starring in a new podcast on the PodcastOne platform called, “Dr. & Mrs. Guinea Pig.” The show brings the couple’s self-experimentation to the airwaves. PodcastOne says the couple goes “beyond their authored anti-aging secrets in this interactive show, and take calls to answer listener questions about beauty secrets, plastic surgery, exercise, style and more. Plus, they’ll share what they’re testing and learning along the way in this variety of categories. The first episode brings many stories and lots of advice, including conflicting views on weight loss technique. Most surprisingly, this week’s Housewives Fireball flask wasn’t the first time Heather traded in her “champs” for shots, as the couple reveals their test process of hangover IV hydration therapy.
Anderson New NTR Director at Beasley Tampa. Tampa radio promotions and sales pro Voncile Anderson is named director of non-traditional revenue sales for Beasley Media Group’s Tampa cluster. Voncile has worked in the market for two decades, including beginning as a promotion director at WRBQ, Tampa Bay. She has worked with notables in the industry, including Q105’s Mason Dixon. In this new position she’ll be responsible for assessing the area’s special event opportunities and determining the venues with greatest potential to grow revenue for the Tampa Bay cluster. Speaking about her new gig, Anderson says, “I like to say I have earned ‘market equity’ because I have invested my entire career doing events that entertain, raise money for charities, and help our Tampa Bay businesses grow. I’m so proud to have been chosen for this new, unique NTR opportunity!”
The Presidential Race/Wednesday Debate Build-Up, Voter Fraud/Poll Hacking Issues, Mosul Campaign, NYC Cop Kills Mentally Ill Woman, Russian Military Role in Syrian Civil Conflict, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The race for president and the build-up to last night’s debate; the concerns over potential voter fraud and poll hacking; the battle against Islamic State in the Iraqi city of Mosul; the shooting death of a mentally ill black woman by a NYC cop; Russia’s expanding military role in the Syrian civil conflict; the Major League Baseball Playoffs, and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Former NFL star Dante Hall is leaving his role as one-third of the midday show on CBS RADIO’s KILT-AM, Houston where he worked with sports talk personalities Cody Stoots and John Lopez, according to the Houston Chronicle. The paper reports that Hall told PD Ryan McCredden that the gig “just wasn’t for him.” McCredden will not fill Hall’s spot on the show…..SiriusXM names Jeff Cooper vice president, advertising sales sports. He’ll report to SVP of advertising and sponsor sales Bette Rockmore. The company says this is the first time it has named an executive to lead advertising sales across its sports related channels. Cooper joins SiriusXM from ESPN, where he served as publisher of ESPN The Magazine and led advertising efforts for FiveThirtyEight.com, Grantland, and more…..Pictured at right are ABC News’ Brad Mielke and Alex Stone covering last night’s presidential debate from Las Vegas. ABC News Radio provided coverage of the third presidential debate starting with an 8:00 pm ET preview program anchored by ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky from New York and continued with post-debate analysis until 11:00 pm ET. Joining Katersky were Mielke, Stone, Kenneth Moton from Washington, DC, and ABC News Radio political analysts Steve Roberts and Trey Hardin.….The nationally syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” show adds new affiliate stations KKLE, Winfield, Kansas; KELE, Mountain Grove, Missouri; and WNTW, Chester, Virginia in the Richmond market. Gresham’s program is syndicated by Talk Shows USA.….Earlier this week on the “WOR Sports Zone” with host Pete McCarthy (left), New York Mets radio voice Howie Rose (right) appeared on iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York to recap the 2016 Mets’ season on the flagship station. Mets fans had the opportunity to call in and talk with Rose who – earlier in his career – hosted a sports talk radio show.
Melanie Morgan to Leave KSRO, Santa Rosa. Bay Area news and talk pro Melanie Morgan tells her listeners that she will be stepping down from her position hosting the “Sonoma County’s Morning News” at Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned news/talk simulcast KSRO/K278CD, Santa Rosa, California before the end of the year. Telling her listeners that she’s basically tiring of the lifestyle of a morning radio personality, i.e. getting up hours before dawn, she wants to spend more time with her husband – KCBS, San Francisco director of news and programming Jack Swanson – and dedicate more time to her Move America Forward group. Morgan, who co-hosts the program with Larry Olson, has not set a specific date for her exit.
The Presidential Race, Trump’s Rigged Election Claim, the Hillary Clinton Document Dump, Battle with ISIS for Mosul, Ecuador Restricts Assange’s Internet Access, Philippines Anti-U.S. Protest, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Nominees, MBL Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/18). The race for president and the build-up to this evening’s final debate; Donald Trump’s ongoing claim that the election is being rigged; the effects of the Wikileaks document dump on Hillary Clinton’s campaign; the campaign against Islamic State in Iraq to take control of Mosul; the restricted Internet access of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange by the Ecuadoran embassy; anti-U.S. demonstrations in the Philippines as President Rodrigo Duterte courts China for a new military partner; debate over which nominees for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame should be included; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NPR Reporting Big Ratings Increases in 2016. From a story posted at NPR.org, the public media organization is announcing that multi-platform journalism efforts have seen across-the-board audience growth this year. President and CEO Jarl Mohn is quoted saying, “NPR’s increased ratings and digital engagement can be attributed to first-rate journalism, riveting storytelling, revamped newsmagazines, live reporting, and better user platforms. And that means we are all doing a far better job of our public service mission, community engagement and local impact.” Mohn concedes that the unusual election cycle is certainly part of the reason for the growth but says that NPR stations have outperformed many of their commercial news counterparts, who’ve also experienced growth during the period. “Commercial news radio, which operates in the same news cycle and is affected by the same events, is up 15% in the morning; NPR is up 26%. In the afternoons, commercial news radio is up 19% in the top markets; NPR is up 43%.” NPR says that “All Things Considered” hit an all-time weekly audience high of 13.3 million, and “Morning Edition” is at its second-highest at 13.5 million.
Talk Radio Pioneer Barry Farber Being Honored by Hungarian Government for Role Assisting Refugees of 1956 Revolt. This Saturday, talk radio pioneer Barry Farber is being honored in Budapest, Hungary for his role in helping Hungarians revolting against Soviet oppression escape from Hungary into Austria. Faber was one of two correspondents for the Greensboro Daily News at the Austro-Hungarian border in October of 1956. Farber met an old friend from Norway who was part of a team of Norwegians assisting fleeing Hungarians. Farber volunteered on the spot to work the “Freedom Navy” – an old rubber raft with two oars. When the refugees, about forty at a time, would gather on the Hungarian side of the border canal the two oarsmen would row across, load the boat with about five refugees at a time. They would pull the raft over to the Austrian side. Then the oarsmen would row back and repeat the process. Farber and the others helped about 200 refugees out on Christmas night of 1956. Hungarian Consul-General Ferenc Kumin reports that the government asked Hungarian communities around the world to look for people who’d taken part in the refugee exodus. Of all the names on the 60th anniversary, Barry Farber is the one still alive! Farber, who still hosts a show on CRN Digital Talk Radio, says, “We owe the Hungarians big time. That heroic freedom fight marked communism’s high-water mark. Things went steadily downhill from there.”
Entercom to Acquire Four Charlotte Signals from Beasley for $24 Million. In order to stay under the FCC ownership cap in the Charlotte market, Beasley Broadcast Group has to sell some of its holdings that would put if over the cap after the previously announced Greater Media acquisition deal closes. Now, Beasley announces that Entercom will acquire news/talk WBT-AM/FM, hot AC WLNK-FM (all three currently owned by Greater Media) plus sports talk WFNZ-AM and its accompanying FM translator. The company says that Entercom will begin operating WBT-AM/FM and WLNK-FM upon the closing of the Greater Media deal, pursuant to a time brokerage agreement. Back on July 19, Beasley and Greater Media entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Beasley will acquire all of the outstanding stock of Greater Media for an aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million, subject to adjustments.
Westwood One to Syndicate WMAL, Washington-Based Chris Plante Show. Over the years, the WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based Chris Plante show has aired on other Cumulus Media news/talk stations – it still is heard on the company’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Now, the company is getting serious about going beyond DC with the show and Westwood One begins syndication efforts for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program beginning January 2, 2017. About the conservative talk personality, WW1 says, “A third-generation media pro, Plante began his radio career at WMAL in 2005 after 17 years inside the Washington bureau at CNN, where he moved up the ranks from researcher and assignment editor to Pentagon correspondent. During his tenure at CNN, he crisscrossed the globe, covering events from Vietnam and Albania to Jakarta. He was the director of the U.S. television network pool operations in Saudi Arabia for three months following Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Plante won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the RTDNA for his live coverage of the terrorist attack on the pentagon on September 11, 2001. He was the first to report that the Pentagon had been attacked. He was also recognized by the Television Academy for his September 11 reporting. He makes regular appearances on the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.” Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “Chris Plante takes the news of the day and breaks it down in his signature direct, funny, and fearless style. He engages a legion of devoted fans who tune in every day whether they agree with him or not. He’s a captivating storyteller who makes great radio. It’s the kind of programming we are proud to add to our best-in-class talk lineup.”
WABC, New York and Westwood One Renew Don Imus. When January 2, 2017 rolls around, the only difference in morning drive at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York and its Westwood One radio network will be a 9:00 am ET signoff time for New York radio legend Don Imus (right now it’s 10:00 am). Cumulus announces it has re-signed Imus and his crew to a new multi-year deal for the show to air on 77 WABC Radio from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. It’s been nine years since WABC inked Imus to a morning radio deal after CBS RADIO dropped him from crosstown WFAN in the wake of the “nappy-headed hos” scandal. Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay states, “Don Imus is not a media icon. He is much more than that. He is an American Icon. Mr. Imus brings his ‘A’ game every day. And if you miss one day, you miss a lot. We are thrilled to have Don continue with Westwood One, Cumulus and WABC.” The cast of executive producer Bernie McGuirk, comedians Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell, producer Lou Rufino, sportscaster Warner Wolf, and news anchor Connell McShane will also remain with the show. The program is currently followed by “The Bernie & Sid Show” with McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg. Whether WABC expands that program to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon remains to be seen.
WPRO-AM, Providence’s John DePetro Hosts Red Sox Great Curt Schilling; Former Pitcher Intends to Challenge Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. During a long interview on the John DePetro program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (who currently hosts a weekend syndicated talk show distributed by the Howie Carr Radio Network) spoke at length about the failed video game company 38 Studios that received a large Rhode Island state loan to locate in Providence. The company went belly-up and the issue has been a sore spot for a number of politicians in the state, not to mention segments of the public. During the interview, Schilling also told DePetro that he’s decided – pending approval from his wife Shonda – that he will challenge Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her U.S. Senate seat. Shonda Schilling later called in to the station to say she has not decided if she’s willing to give approval. WPRI-TV, Providence reports that a recent WBZ/UMass poll put Warren at 47% and Schilling at 28%.
Entercom to Refinance Debt. The Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based broadcaster announces it is meeting with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc., RBC Capital Markets, LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC today to discuss a refinancing of its senior and senior unsecured debt. In a press statement, Entercom Communications says it expects to enter into a $520 million senior secured credit facility that will include a $60 million revolving credit facility with a five-year maturity, plus a $460 million term loan with a seven-year maturity. Entercom will use the term loan to refinance $225 million in existing senior secured bank debt, plus it will buy back $220 million in 10.5% senior subordinated notes.
CBS News Icon Charles Osgood Is the Subject of this Week’s Harrison Podcast. Legendary CBS News radio and television giant Charles Osgood is the guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (10/18). Osgood has been hosting (and continues to host) the four-times-per-weekday morning feature “The Osgood Files” via Westwood One on radio stations across the nation since 1971. He also retired several weeks ago from a 24-year stint as the anchor of television’s CBS News “Sunday Morning” program. Harrison and Osgood talk about changes in media and journalism over the years culminating with a provocative analysis of the current presidential election. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
The Presidential Race, Trump’s Media Conspiracy, Hillary Clinton Emails Scandal, Battle Against ISIS in Mosul, Police Chiefs Group Apology, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). The race for the presidency; Donald Trump’s statements that the election is in jeopardy of being stolen by the media conspiracy against him; allegations that State Department Under-Secretary Michael Kennedy engaged in a quid-pro-quo with the FBI to have some of Hillary Clinton’s emails declassified during the investigation of her use of a private email server for State Department business; the ongoing battle against Islamic State in Iraq and the fight to retake Mosul; International Association of Chiefs of Police president Terrence Cunningham apologizes for generations of mistrust between police officers and minority communities; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Election 2016: TALKERS Magazine in the Trenches – WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Interviews Michael Harrison About the State of Talk Radio During Current Cycle. WPHT, Philadelphia midday host Dom Giordano engages in an in-depth conversation with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about the disruptive effect Election 2016 has been having upon conservative talk radio during the current presidential election cycle. The two talk about how the concept of targeting audiences and preaching to the choir – a modern day strategy of political talk broadcasting – has hit speedbumps on the right with the emergence of Donald Trump and even to a degree on the left with revelations about Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. Harrison says, “We have gone from playing checkers to three dimensional chess.” To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Progressive talk media personality Nicole Sandler returns to work after taking time off to treat her cancer. She says, “It’s been a long couple of months during which my world changed completely. I had no idea how long my detour to deal with cancer would last, but I’m ready to head back into the land of electoral insanity with just three weeks to go before election day. If a life-threatening illness had to sideline me for a few months, it surely picked the right time. And if I wasn’t already sick, covering this year’s presidential madness would have certainly made me ill. But as we approach the finish line, I have to admit that I’ve been getting a bit antsy in recent days. Talking back to the TV just wasn’t helping.” She starts streaming her show – starting one hour from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET – at nicolesandler.com and Progressive Voices Network…..Stephanie Miller’s final “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” date for this year takes place in Los Angeles at the Saban Theater on November 5. It will be broadcast in movie theaters across the country via Fathom Events on November 7. Also, Miller’s book, Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing, wins the 2016 Wild Card Book Award in the Northern California Book Festival…..Following yesterday’s news about Galaxy Communications’ acquisition of Berkshires Media Group, it’s worth noting that Galaxy has applied to the FCC to move the FM translator it recently bought in South Burlington, Vermont to the Western Massachusetts region to serve as the translator for news/talk WBEC-AM, Pittsfield at 93.9 FM…..DGital Media issues a presser listing some of its recent content partnerships – including relationships with Tony Kornheiser, Peter King, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, IMG, The MMQB, and more. Chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “We are extremely proud to add so many wonderful partnerships to our business. The power of on-demand audio only continues to grow. We are well poised for what lies ahead, bringing together our new and existing partners with a rapidly growing audience of millions of fans who tune in on a daily basis.”
Wisconsin Talk Host Walks Off Morning Show Citing ‘Hurricane of Hate.’ Longtime Eau Claire, Wisconsin talk host John Murphy walked off his morning drive program in the middle of the show on Thursday (10/13), saying he’s tired of the “political venom” from callers to the program. Murphy did return to Mid-West Family Marketing’s sports-information formatted simulcast WAYY/W286CK in Eau Claire to host a new, non-political show airing from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, appropriately called, “The No Politics Zone.” The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports that Murphy says even rules about no discussion of political races didn’t seem to work – and may not for the new show either. “We found that no matter what topic we brought up, people used that opportunity to weasel their political opinions in.” Murphy had been hosting the “WAYY Morning Show” that served as a forum for listeners on local, state and national issues for the past 14 years. Murphy co-hosts the new show with current station personalities Luc Anthony and Dan Kasper.
Hillsdale College/TALKERS Magazine Presidential Election Talk Radio Debate in DC Aired Live on C-SPAN2; Available on Talkers TV Now. The Hillsdale College/TALKERS magazine Presidential Election Talk Radio Debate that took place in Washington, DC this past Friday (10/14) was aired live on C-SPAN2. For those who wish to see the event, the video is now posted on Talkers TV. The debate was moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and the panel of participants included: (in alphabetical order): Thom Hartmann, syndicated host, WYD Media; Hugh Hewitt, syndicated host, Salem Radio Network; Joyce Kaufman, afternoon host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami; Joe Madison, morning host, SiriusXM “Urban View” channel; Larry O’ Connor, morning co-host, WMAL, Washington, DC; and Chris Stigall, morning host WPHT, Philadelphia. Also appearing on the program were Matthew J. Spaulding, associate VP, Hillsdale College and Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group. The event took place at Hillsdale’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship at 227 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC. To view the entire debate, please click here or click on the Talkers TV box located at top of the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Ed Levine’s Galaxy Communications to Buy Western Massachusetts Radio Group. Syracuse, New York-Based Galaxy Communications announces it has signed a definitive agreement to buy the six-station radio group operating as Berkshires Media Group from parent company Gamma Broadcasting for an undisclosed sum. The stations are: hot AC WBEC-FM, Pittsfield; news/talk WBEC-AM, Pittsfield-AM; classic hits WUPE-AM/FM, North Adams; AC WSBS-AM, Great Barrington; and AC WNAW-AM, North Adams. Levine says, “These six radio stations do a tremendous job of serving their communities with great local radio. They have thrived under the ownership of Gamma Broadcasting, which has done a wonderful job. I look forward to working with market manager Peter Barry and the entire staff of radio professionals.” Gamma president Bruce Danziger adds, “We feel confident placing our terrific stations and people in Ed Levine’s capable hands. This is a special group, led by Peter, and we know Ed’s oversight will continue to bring good results for our people and the community.”
Jeff Smulyan’s Go-Private Bid Fails. The CEO of Emmis Communications extended this offer deadline three times, but that still wasn’t enough for the special committee of independent directors and his $4.10 per share offer to take the company private failed. As the Indianapolis Business Journal reports, this was the third time over the last 10 years that Jeff Smulyan had bid to take the company private. Emmis stock closed at $3.99 on Friday (10/14). The IBJ also notes that Smulyan’s offer represented a 25% premium to Emmis’ average closing share price over the 90 days prior to the announcement of the deal, but investors obviously felt the offer was way too low. Smulyan appears to be finished trying to take the company private and writes to shareholders that he looks “forward to continuing to work with you as we move Emmis forward as a public company.”
CBS to Break Out Radio Performance During Quarterly Reports. As the company states, this is in advance of its separating the CBS RADIO segment from the rest of the company and the expected initial public offering for the new radio company. The company explains that “beginning with the filing of the Company’s Form 10-Q for the third quarter of 2016, the Company’s previously reported operating segment, Local Broadcasting, will be separated into the following two operating segments: (1) Local Media and (2) Radio. In connection with this new segment presentation, the presentation of intercompany revenues has been revised, including station affiliation fees paid by Local Media to the CBS Television Network. The following financial information reflects the new segment and intercompany presentations for all periods presented.” What we’re seeing in the report is that although radio segment revenue has been down slightly over the last six quarters, station operating income has improved.
Odds & Sods. The Beasley sports talker in Charlotte – WFNZ “610 the Fan” – has been simulcasting on the FM band via translator W273DA at 102.5 leased from the Educational Media Foundation. Now, Beasley files to buy the translator for $150,000…..…..Jay Morris is exiting his brand manager role with Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo station group where he programmed alternative WZOX, news/talk WKZO, and sports talk WQLR for a gig outside of the radio biz. Cluster director of operations and programming Steve Mills assumes PD duties on an interim basis…..Amani Abraham transitions from the anchor/reporter role at Rubber City Radio’s country WQMX and news/talk WAKR in Akron to WKYC-TV, Cleveland to serve as a reporter.
The Presidential Race, WikiLeaks Clinton Doc Dump, ‘SNL’ Election Skits, Battle Against ISIS in Mosul, Kaepernick Starts vs Bills/Anthem Protests, MLB Playoffs, and Sunday’s NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the dump of emails between Hillary Clinton and her staff by WikiLeaks; Donald Trump’s displeasure of the portrayal of him in “SNL” skits; action in the battle against Islamic State in the Iraqi city of Mosul; the National Anthem protests and counter-protests against Colin Kaepernick prior to his start in Buffalo; the weekend’s MLB playoff action and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.