Tag: "Akron"

Thursday, August 9, 2018

| August 9, 2018

Tribune Terminates Sinclair Merger Agreement. Included in our story yesterday which dealt with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s second-quarter earnings report (Talkers.com, 8/8) was the following quote from Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley who addressed the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company: “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” It was announced early today that not only is the marriage between the two entities over, Tribune Media is suing Sinclair Broadcast Group for breach of contract; the suit was filed today (Thursday, 8/9) in Delaware Chancery Court. The proposed $3.9 billion deal hit a snag when the FCC designated it for a hearing, a red flag that the transaction would most likely not be approved. Last month, FCC chair Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns” about the deal, which originally would have reached roughly 70% of U.S. households. Tribune is charging that, “In an effort to maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements; refused to sell stations in the markets as required to obtain approval; and proposed aggressive divestment structures and related-party sales that were either rejected outright or posed a high risk of rejection and delay – all in derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.” Tribune further claims, “Sinclair’s entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the merger agreement; but for Sinclair’s actions, the transaction could have closed long ago.” According to Tribune chief executive officer Peter Kern, “In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever. This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the merger agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.” Revenue for Tribune’s only radio property – Chicago news/talk WGN – is not broken out in the company’s second-quarter financials. “Notwithstanding our disappointment regarding the outcome of the [Sinclair] transaction,” Kern remarks, “we are extremely pleased with our second quarter results, which were very strong. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA grew 69% versus the prior year period and 84% for the first half of the year. While net core advertising revenues declined 6%, we were able to drive consolidated revenue growth of 6% when excluding the impact of barter revenues, with solid growth in retransmission and carriage fees revenues and political advertising revenue. Our disciplined focus on cost management drove programming expenses down 29% and corporate and other cash expenses, excluding transaction costs, down 19% over the prior year period.”

Rumor Becomes Fact: Warner Is WW One’s Lead MNF Analyst. Just this past Tuesday (Talkers.com, 8/7), we referenced a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, hinting that Hall of Fame QB and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner would join Kevin Harlan as Westwood One’s lead analyst for “Monday Night Football” and the Super Bowl. It is now official: Warner’s first broadcast will be in a little over four weeks (9/10), when the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Rams. He becomes only the fourth regular “MNF” analyst for Westwood One since its broadcast partnership with the NFL began 40 years ago. The others were Boomer Esiason (2000-2017); Matt Millen (1996-2000); and Hank Stram (1978-1984, 1987-1995). Ever since he retired from the NFL, Warner insists he has “been blessed” with tremendous broadcasting opportunities. “I am grateful to Westwood One for this opportunity and for believing in me with this role. The bar has been set extremely high by Boomer Esiason and others. I look forward to grabbing the torch, working hard, and maintaining the sense of excellence that has become synonymous with Westwood One. I also look forward to continuing my relationship with Kevin Harlan, who I believe is one of the best play-by-play people in the business.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “We have been proud partners of the NFL for more than four decades and our best-in-class broadcasts feature the brightest stars from the league. Kurt Warner is a keen observer with a great eye and unique analysis. He adds another layer of authenticity, knowledge, and expertise to our roster. He is an incredible asset for our loyal and passionate listeners and engaged advertisers.” Westwood One Sports executive vice president/executive producer Howard Deneroff adds, “To have a player, and person, of Kurt Warner’s caliber become our lead analyst is incredibly exciting. We look forward to Kevin and Kurt working together full-time. We are confident that they will continue the legacy of great Westwood One broadcast teams which have informed and entertained listeners on Monday nights for decades.” A 2017 inductee in the pro football Hall of Fame, Warner played 12 seasons in the NFL, leading two different franchises (St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals) to Super Bowl appearances. He was the NFL’s MVP in 1999 and 2001. He and wife, Brenda, created “The First Things First Foundation,” dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, and “Treasure House,” which provides a supportive living environment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Multi-Year TuneIn, Cumulus Deal Expands Streaming Partnership. The arrangement between the two principals calls for streaming of Cumulus Media’s 441 stations in 90 markets, as well as shows on co-owned Westwood One Podcast Network on the TuneIn platform. Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner remarks, “We understand that consumers engage with content across multiple platforms and devices. We put our listeners first, and we have made it our mission to provide a modern and platform-agnostic listening experience. Expanding our partnership with TuneIn takes our distribution and promotional opportunities to the next level, exposing our portfolio of leading stations, shows, and programs to new fans.” TuneIn chief executive officer John Donham states, “As the world’s leader in live digital audio, we are thrilled to provide our listeners access to some of the best live-station programming across sports, news, talk, music, and entertainment, as well as popular podcasts and other on-demand content offered by Cumulus Media. We look forward to a long and successful partnership as we grow the next chapter of the audio business together.” Heretofore, Cumulus Media stations have been available through iHeartRadio, as well as TuneIn.

Salem Media Group Reports Mixed Q2 Results. Second-quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group increased .2% to $66.3 million; net broadcast revenue rose 2.7% to $50.6 million; and station operating income held steady at $13.3 million. Conversely, operating income fell 84.4% to $1.3 million and net income spiraled from a gain of $1.3 million to a loss of $2.2 million. In addition, EBITDA dropped 40.8% to $6 million and Adjusted EBITDA fell 9.4% to $11.2 million. A full-slate of Salem Radio Network talk shows aired on news/talk WBIX, Boston but, in early-January (2018), Salem Media Group agreed to sell “The Buzz” for $685,000 to the International Church of the Grace of God, which – through an LMA – flipped the station to a Portuguese format; the sale was finalized approximately two months ago (6/20). The second-quarter included a $5.7 million net loss on the sale of stations in Omaha and land in Covina, California. Salem Media Group projects third-quarter total revenue to be flat or up 2% from 2017’s $65.4 million.


Round Three of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Under newly-signed five-year deals, Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph will return calling Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games. The NHL team’s radio broadcasts are split between Rogers sports talk CJCL “Sports Net 590 The Fan” and Bell Media sports talk CHUM “TSN Radio 1050.” Per The Toronto Sun, the deal is for radio only. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt award winner – Bowen – has been calling Toronto Maple Leafs games since 1982; Ralph has been on the broadcasts since 1997 ….. Morning driver John Hines is retiring at the end of the month from heritage Entercom Minneapolis news/talk WCCO. Newly-arrived (from Entercom Philadelphia) operations manager Andy Bloom is holding on-air auditions to fill that upcoming “News Radio 830” vacancy. In a station memo obtained by City Pages, Bloom writes, “My only interest is getting someone that will generate an audience. The fact is, the majority of news/talk radio listeners are center-right.” ….. Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown is named co-host of KNBR’s pregame and postgame NFL coverage. This marks the 14th year of 49ers football on the Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk outlet. Program director Jeremiah Crowe comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dennis Brown to the KNBR family. Dennis brings a Super Bowl champion’s perspective to our coverage, and he will maintain a regular analyst role throughout the week during our primetime talk programming. The addition of Dennis further strengthens KNBR’s NFL roster as the strongest in all of sports radio.” Brown, who was a 49ers television analyst from 2012 – 2017, adds, “As a Bay Area native, I’m very excited to be joining KNBR’s game-day broadcast team. I’ve listened to KNBR for decades and jumped at the opportunity to join their pregame and postgame coverage.” Brown was the 47th overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft and played all seven years of his career for San Francisco, including 1995, when he was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXIX ….. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Dave Wyman is named radio analyst for the NFL’s Seahawks on Bonneville-owned flagships KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” and news/talk KIRO-FM “Radio 97.3.” The former linebacker (Seahawks and Denver Broncos) will work alongside play-by-play announcer Steve Raible during the regular season; Jen Mueller and John Clayton return as sideline reporters ….. Cleveland-based podcast production and radio syndication network Front Porch Media Network acquires Pit Pass Media Group, producers of weekly two-hour motorcycle racing podcast “Pit Pass Moto,” which has had 785,015 episode downloads in the last four years. Front Porch chief executive officer Michael DeAloia notes, “We look forward to enhancing the brand and building new content. We continue to concentrate on building a dynamic and engaging podcast portfolio. ‘Pit Pass Moto’ is a prestigious podcast and one that merits additional resources and investment.” The podcast’s partner and guest host Ed Kuhlenkamp remarks, “We are excited about the Front Porch Media acquisition and what it means for the show’s fans. We believe Front Porch Media has the resources required to take the ‘Pit Pass Moto’ brand to the next level.”

Harrison Podcast Resurrects 36-Year-Old Interview with Apple I and Apple II Inventor Steve Wozniak. In commemoration of Apple, Inc. reaching the historic milestone of a one trillion dollar valuation, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison dug up a 36-year-old interview that he conducted with Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, the designer and inventor of the original Apple I and II personal computers. It is the centerpiece of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Originally aired in 1982 on the pioneering national cable TV talk show “Harrison’s Mic,” the 24-minute conversation explores the beginnings of Apple Computer, Inc. (as it was then called) from what was a relatively recent perspective (it was only six years old). More importantly, it reveals the prescient thinking and perspective of one of the most important electronic designers and computer scientists of the digital era (and eventual philanthropist) when he was only 32 years old and society had merely scratched the surface of the revolution about to change the way people live and think. This fascinating interview is a must-listen for pop culture enthusiasts and media freaks. Michael Harrison states, “I am only first understanding the level of historical and intellectual gold that exists in the thousands of interviews, specials and broadcasts collecting dust in my archives that go back a half-century. We never realized when this content was being created in those early days that it would be of such historical interest and value. It just seemed like disposable pop content of the moment. This gem of a conversation with the great Steve Wozniak, which I hadn’t heard in more than three decades, is a prime example. I am so happy to share it in 2018 upon the milestone of Apple setting such astonishing records.” To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.

Mueller Investigation; Ohio Special Election/Primaries; Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/8). The Robert Mueller probe; the special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfires and their possible causes; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/8), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. “Summer Camp,” a two-day, outdoor music concert showcasing the different sounds of alternative rock, will be held this Saturday (8/11) and Sunday (8/12) at Redmond, Washington’s Marymoor Park. Entercom Seattle’s KNDD “107.7 The End” hosts the tenth annual event, which will feature – among others – AWOLNATION, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Manchester Orchestra, Robert DeLong, and Elle King. A portion of the ticket sales will go to Pearl Jam’s “Home Fund” to fight homelessness in Seattle. The “Home Fund” is part of the Vitalogy Foundation, which supports the efforts of non-profit organizations and their work in the fields of community health, the environment, arts and education, and social change ….. Changes at Cumulus Media Syracuse find CHR WNTQ “93-Q The #1 Hit Music Station” music director/afternoon drive talent Rick Roberts boosted to assistant program director/digital content manager, while production director Joey Walker takes over as “93-Q” mid-day host/digital content manager for alternative WAQX “95-X” and rock WXTL “105.9 The Rebel.” Operations manager Tom Mitchell comments, “We are pleased to promote from within. In these new roles, both Rick and Joey will apply valuable fresh perspective to market leader ’93-Q.’ Rick assumes all APD duties, along with digital content oversight/management and the afternoon-drive air shift. Joey brings talent and enthusiasm to the ’93-Q’ midday slot. Both will continue to develop new opportunities for us in the digital and social media realm.” ….. Former 12-year vice president of operations for Rubber City Radio Akron’s WQMX “94.9 Your Station – Your Country,” Sue Wilson Cordle, restarts her voiceover business with Sue Wilson Creative. She previously was Cleveland adult contemporary WDOK’s director/programming for 12 years; a programming consultant for McVay Media; and director/programming of Salem Cleveland contemporary Christian WFHM “95.5 The Fish” and co-owned Christian talk WHKW “AM 1220 The Word.” ….. In conjunction with the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), Kizart Media Partners (KMP) will present the 18th annual “Power of Urban Radio Forum” October 4th and 5th in Washington, DC. This year’s National Service awardee, Procter & Gamble chief business officer Marc Pritchard, will be the keynote speaker. KMP founder/managing director Sherman Kizart notes, “We continue the tradition of bringing together influential marketers and advertising agencies to discuss the incomparable value that the African-American market and urban radio bring as key communications elements. The event coincides with NABOB’s 42nd annual Fall Broadcast Management Conference. NABOB and PURF conference registrations are $200 for members; $400 for non-members ….. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder is first to report that, sometime next year, legendary “Windy City” programmer/on-air talent Tommy Edwards will publish his memoir, which will feature stories of Edwards’ 54-year radio career. Highlights will surely include his time working with the iconic Larry Lujack and moonlighting as public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls. Four years ago, Edwards retired from CBS Radio’s classic hits-oldies WJMK “K-Hits 104.3” (now Entercom-owned urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams”) ….. Grammy-nominated country artist Cam will serve as the first host of Slacker Radio’s “Women Crush Everyday” (#WCE Country), a channel devoted to introducing and elevating female country artists. “Women Crush Everyday” will feature commentary and playlist selections from ladies in the music industry. Slacker’s country format captain Jess Wright declares, “We have amazingly talented women making music in Nashville and they deserve to be heard. In 2017, more than 97% of the artists who appeared on the year-end country top 40 were male. This doesn’t reflect the quality of music created by women – it reflects a lack of support from the gatekeepers of country music who believe that women have limited commercial appeal. Through Slacker, we can bring the music of female country artists directly to our audience, curated by the people who are most passionate about it – the women in Nashville’s music industry.” ….. Interim general manager of Bellevue Community College-owned KBCS, Seattle – Carol Handley – is named director of music programming at Friends of 88.5 FM’s KNKX in the same market and will begin her new duties one week from next Monday (8/20). Director of content Matt Martinez notes, “Carol has proven success in building and nurturing teams and on-air talent; an entrepreneurial spirit; and a love of storytelling. With her deep roots in the Seattle music scene, I am confident she will redouble our commitment to supporting this vital and vibrant community.” Handley succeeds Nick Francis, who is retiring after 13 years in that position. In Seattle’s July 2018 Nielsen Audio PPM report, KNKX ranks #14, dropping the six-tenths it gained in June (3.0 – 3.6 – 3.0, 6+).

Rod Shares Red Roses With Dresdale. During his interview with ABC Radio‘s Andrea Dresdale (r), one of the most prolific pop star interviewers in radio, the ageless Rod Stewart (l) discussed his new album “Blood Red Roses” and his headlining tour with Cyndi Lauper.

 

 

Monday, April 16, 2018

| April 16, 2018

Remembering Art Bell. The somewhat eerie fact that 72-year-old Art Bell died on Friday the 13th (4/13 in Pahrump, Nevada) certainly could not go unnoticed or overlooked. Bell was the founder and original host of the paranormal-themed “Coast to Coast AM,” which Premiere Networks syndicated on hundreds of North American radio outlets. Part of a Bell retrospective on that program’s website details that, “His love of radio led him to working for an English-language station in Japan, where he set a Guinness world record for broadcasting 116 hours straight. This was no mere radio stunt, however, as it served to raise funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their home country.  Upon returning to the United States, he entered the world of talk radio with an overnight program on KDWN, Las Vegas.  After noticing that episodes covering conspiracy theories and paranormal topics generated considerable interest from listeners, Bell transformed the show from political talk to discussion of these often-verboten realms. Syndicated nationally in 1993 [by Talk Radio Network], ‘Coast to Coast AM’ soon became a radio phenomenon.  During the 1990s, when ‘The X-Files’ had people wondering about the world of high strangeness, Art Bell was the voice of that world, introducing millions of radio listeners to a vast array of paranormal topics and the researchers that studied them. As he begins his journey on the ‘Other Side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us.”  The Jacksonville, North Carolina born former Air Force medic “semi-retired” from “Coast to Coast AM” 15 years ago but could be heard hosting the program on weekends from 2003 – 2007 and was an occasional guest host through 2010.  Bell called his show “absolute entertainment” and did not necessarily accept every guest or caller’s claims but offered a forum where they would not be openly ridiculed. SiriusXM debuted “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” in September 2013 on its “Indie Talk” channel, but that four-hour (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, PT) Monday through Thursday venture ended after just six weeks. Approximately four-dozen stations carried his 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight PT “Midnight in the Desert” show, which launched on the Internet in July 2015 on Bell’s Dark Matter Digital Network. Three months later in October of 2015, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviewed him for his weekly podcast. The following is a brief excerpt from that long-form conversation in which Bell assesses the state of the radio industry and its future.  To listen to the clip, please click 

      here
.  Five months later though, Bell exited, citing concerns about his family’s safety.  Bell was replaced as weekday host of “Coast to Coast AM” on January 1, 2003 by George Noory, who reacted emotionally on air last Friday night to Bell’s passing. “I’m trying to get my composure here, folks,” a shaken Noory admitted. “Art and I were not that close.  We had our differences, but he was one of those instrumental in me being where I am right now.  He was a very heavy smoker and was hospitalized a year or so ago because of [that].  I don’t know if that played a factor in [his death] or not.”  In 1996, KTRS, St. Louis’ Tim Dorsey hired Noory to be “The Night Hawk” and as Bell decided he needed an emergency replacement, Noory gained national exposure by doing his first “Coast to Coast AM” show in April 2001. “As Art’s back problems became more severe, I started doing more shows, until he decided to retire from fulltime work,” Noory told Inside Radio’s then special features editor/current TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian.  Equating the experience of substituting for – and eventually succeeding – Bell on a fulltime basis to pinch-hitting for Babe Ruth, Noory maintained, “It’s sometimes an unreal feeling. I never showed it on the air, but replacing Art Bell was overwhelming for me. I realized there was no way I could replace him. It wouldn’t work if I tried to duplicate him.” The first time Noory heard Bell was in 1996 when he was driving to work at heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX. “I said to myself that I wanted to do that program,” Noory confided to Kinosian. “After I concentrated on the show, strange events occurred that made it all happen.  Whatever’s out there in the universe that makes things happen for people is real.”  Now living in Lexington, Kentucky, noted spoken-word consultant/programmer Gabe Hobbs is a former vice president/programming – news, talk, & sports for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). “What a special talent Art Bell was – truly unique,” Hobbs declares.  “He helped talk radio evolve from the Larry King-era into the modern era of our format.  He is the man that made overnights meaningful and profitable in radio.”  Longtime iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” air talent Ted Ziegenbusch notes on Facebook, “I did a late-night show for about 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s. On a family trip to central California one night, I heard Art on a tiny radio station. That was long before he became popular and I was fascinated with his stories about UFOs; ghosts; pyramids on Mars; climate change; and all sorts of quirky subjects. His shows were almost always riveting and impossible to leave for even a moment. When I returned from my trip north, I told my general manager that Art Bell would be perfect for our AM station. Nobody had ever heard of the guy, so my suggestion fell on deaf ears. Later, he would join our team and score enormous success. The story doesn’t end there. Sadly, there were some real ups and downs in Art’s life and his career; [however], he was sure a trailblazer and one-of-a-kind entertainer.” Brian Whitman, who does morning drive in Los Angeles on Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA, recounts, “Many years ago when I was younger and less experienced, I was doing some on-air work at Premiere Radio Networks. I asked the boss if he would consider me to be a substitute host on ‘Coast to Coast’ when Art Bell was absent. I took the opportunity to mention that when those crazy people called, I’d goof on them and do a really funny show. The boss made me smarter [by telling me], ‘Brian, you don’t understand. On ‘Coast to Coast,’ when someone calls to tell you an alien landed in their swimming pool, you don’t make fun. You say, ‘tell me more.’ [That was] the genius of Art Bell. I always say that the most important thing for a radio performer is to find his voice.  Art Bell’s singular voice, brilliant mind, and master showmanship came together to create his own brand. He understood the intimacy that radio can create [and] the lives it can touch.”  An executive producer at iHeartMedia Los Angeles news/talk KFI, Michelle Kube, comments that, “Even if I thought some of the stories were crazy, you couldn’t deny [Art Bell’s] talent.” He was “a true radio pioneer and a great storyteller. He created ‘Coast to Coast AM’ – it’s his legacy.”  For the past 14 years, Kurt Kretzschmar has been director of affiliate marketing – Premiere Networks. The former executive producer of Los Angeles sports outlet KSPN and cross-town news/talk KABC asserts that tapes of Bell’s shows “that air on Saturday nights are some of the highest-rated weekend hours on several affiliates.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Northern Ohio region, which includes WHLO “640 Akron’s News Talk,” Keith Kennedy, was among programmers scheduling Art Bell tribute programming this past weekend. Kennedy wrote on Facebook, “Listen to ‘Somewhere in Time’ Saturday at 9:00 pm – we’ll rebroadcast one of his unique programs.”  Bell studied engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, but dropped out to become a radio chief engineer/board op/occasional on-air talent.  In May 2008, he sold KNYE, Pahrump to station manager Karen Jackson for a reported $600,000. Inducted to the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame (2006) and National Radio Hall of Fame (2008), Bell received Radio & Records’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2007. A July 2016 posting on Bell’s website indicated he was hospitalized for pneumonia and that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Nye County (Nevada) sheriff Sharon Wehrly described Bell as a “longtime resident” of the area and said an autopsy to confirm the cause of death would be performed later this week. Geller Media International Broadcast Consultants president Valerie Geller proclaims, “May his journey continue in peace.”

WWJ, Detroit Names Brooke Allen PM Drive Co-Host. Detroit all-news WWJ-AM “Newsradio 950” announces that Brooke Allen (right) is returning to the station to co-host the afternoon drive daypart (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with current afternoon host Greg Bowman (left).  Allen was most recently the producer and local host of “Morning Edition” on public news/talk WKAR-AM/FM, East Lansing, Michigan.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “We are excited to welcome Brooke back to WWJ.  In addition to being an award-winning journalist, Brooke is devoted to our local community.   Her passion for the news and connection to the people of the metro Detroit area will be evident each and every day.”

Johnson Named VP of Sports Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Denver sales pro Jeff Johnson is promoted at iHeartMedia to vice president of sports sales & partnerships.  In this new role, Johnson is charged with “growing and managing iHeartMedia Denver’s sports partnerships, including the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, as well as its Broncos-centric station, KDSP-AM ‘Orange & Blue 760.'”  iHeartMedia Denver SVP of sales Ryan Clune states, “I’m thrilled for Jeff.  Watching him grow over the years from senior account executive to director of sports sales, and now vice president of sports sales & partnerships has been a highlight of my career.  Jeff’s ability to align advertisers with our exclusive sports content, along with delivering unmatched reach, brand affinity, and ROI for our partners makes him the ideal leader to step into this key position.”

Price: Are You Ready for Atlantic Hurricane Season? Former longtime director of business continuity & crisis management for ABC’s news and technology & operations divisions, Howard B. Price, writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the need to be prepared for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Price says that tropical researchers at Colorado State University have issued their predictions for this year and have concluded that there will likely be 14 named storms between June 1 and November 30. Of those, researchers expect seven hurricanes, with three of those likely to be major storms (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5, with sustained winds of 111 MPH – plus).  Price provides this nine-point preparedness checklist for broadcasters who could be affected by an Atlantic hurricane or any other natural disaster for that matter.  See it here.

Padres Executive Chairman Opens Up About KEGY Format Tweak.  As reported in the San Diego Union Tribune writer Bryce Miller, San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler says the team had “significant input and impact” on the format and branding changes Entercom made to KEGY, but not so much as to dictate which air talent should go where.  Union Tribune reports Fowler and the Padres had issues with KEGY’s programming as “97.3 The Machine” before air personality Kevin Klein’s promotional Tweet that referenced the city’s Coronado bridge and its history as a site of hundreds of suicides.  Miller quotes Fowler referencing the station’s programming as “shock-jock” radio.  See Miller’s story here.

Comey’s ABC Interview/Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S. Strikes on Syria, Starbucks-Philly Arrests, Mexico Border Issues, Barbara Bush Health Status, MLB and NBA Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former FBI director James Comey’s interview on ABC-TV in which he discussed the investigation into the Hillary Clinton email matter and opined on President Trump’s fitness for office and the related investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the weekend’s U.S. military strikes in Syria; the controversy over the arrest of two black men for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks; the issue of security at the U.S.-Mexico border; former First Lady Barbara Bush’s failing health; and Major League Baseball and NBA playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes.  According to the most recent list published by The Hollywood Reporter, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity and multi-media personality Ryan Seacrest are two of the 35 most powerful media people in New York. Regarding Hannity, THR says that he regularly commands the largest audience of any cable news host on television, in addition to reaching millions of listeners on his national radio show.  “He also has the ear (and the eyes) of the president…and has the power to make or break Republican political candidates.”  As for Seacrest, the publication says that since Kelly Ripa tapped him as her co-host in May, viewership of ABC’s “LIVE with Kelly & Ryan” has “risen nearly 15% to 3.2 million viewers each day.”  See the whole list here…..Westwood One announces a strategic partnership with American Public Media to increase sales and promotional opportunities for season two of the investigative podcast, “In the Dark.”  The first season of “In the Dark” has driven nearly 12 million downloads to date and continues to receive downloads more than a year later at roughly 465,000 per month.  In this new relationship, Westwood One is providing broadcast radio show promotion and exclusive ad sales representation…..Pictured below is former White House national security adviser Dr. Sebastian Gorka (left) reviewing documents with Ken Lormand (right), Washington bureau chief of Salem Radio Network News.  As a former Trump adviser, Gorka has insight into administration personnel moves, including CIA director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of State.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! to Feature Presentation by Salem VP Phil Boyce Titled, “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio.” There is no doubt that the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency has greatly impacted news/talk radio and its associated platforms of talk media. Salem Media Group SVP of the spoken word format Phil Boyce will deliver an address, backed up by Harker Research data, exploring this phenomenon in detail during the morning sessions of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The presentation will be introduced by highly regarded programmer Greg Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media. The 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, and most important convention takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The day opens with back-to-back keynote “fireside chats” conducted by Michael Harrison with Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity and Beasley Broadcasting CEO Caroline Beasley. The conference will also include presentations by such industry notables as PodcastOne executive chairman, Norm Pattiz; former WFAN, New York sports talk superstar, Mike Francesa; Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, panel appearances by Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes and an afternoon keynote address by Infowars and GCN maverick Alex Jones. There will be panels on programming, sales, digital convergence and more featuring a total of 50-plus speakers from all aspects of the talk media industry. The convention is on a fast-track to being an advance sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. For more information and the complete up-to-the-minute agenda, read the story below.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Agenda Posted. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to post the basic agenda for the 21stannual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention – TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception – all in a single, power-packed day! Full up-to-the-minute agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information can be seen here. If you are planning to attend, it would be wise to register NOW. This convention will be an early sellout.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Denver, iHeartMedia names Chelsea Thomas midday host for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull,” effective April 23.   iHeartMedia region SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh says, “An on-air opening with iHeartMedia in Denver always generates strong interest from many talented personalities.  Chelsea was the clear winner. Her authenticity and unique ability to weave storytelling into her show made her the ideal match for the Bull Nation.”  Thomas was most recently music director and air personality at Alpha Media’s CHR WDJX, Louisville…..KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio” music director and midday personality Michelle Boros exits her position with the Entercom CHR station after an eight-year stint…..Kristina Carlyle signs on with Albany Broadcasting’s country WKLI, Albany “100.9 The Cat” to co-host the morning show and serve as music director. Carlyle – most recently with Scripps’ KVOO, Tulsa – takes over for the departed Dana Race…..There’s a new morning host at California Radio Partners’ triple A KOZT, Fort Bragg “The Coast” as Dred Scott is tapped to work alongside news director Joe Regelski.  Station co-owner and program director Tom Yates says, “We did a job posting and got 41 responses in two days from some really good candidates.  But Dred is a really good fit with the ‘Coast’ crew.”…..At Ingstad Media’s country KXDD, Yakima, Washington, Lindsey Cleveland is promoted from part-time status to full-time as morning drive co-host with Brian Stephenson on “The Good Morning Gang with Brian & Lindsey.” Cleveland fills the role vacated recently by Carey Jacobson…..In Washington, DC, Kala Simmons is named morning show producer for WASH-FM’s “Toby and Chilli” morning show. Simmons has been with the iHeartMedia Washington cluster for the past three years as assistant digital producer for WIHT’s “The Kane Show.”

Monday, January 15, 2018

| January 15, 2018

Stunner: KGO’s Owens Transitions from Host to Commentator. At the conclusion of last Friday’s (1/12) program on Cumulus Media San Francisco’s news/talk KGO, Ronn Owens revealed the plug has been pulled on his 42-year “Ronn Owens Show” in favor of a daily, ten-minute “Ronn Owens Report,” which debuts tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/16) at 12:50 pm. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, “A test version included commentary on president [Donald] Trump’s vulgar reference to Haiti and African nations, as well as whether a work requirement should be imposed on able-bodied food stamp recipients.” Owens tells the paper that his “goal” with the weekday commentary “is to be a 2018 version of Paul Harvey and Andy Rooney.” Two years ago, Cumulus Media announced it would move Owens from KGO to co-owned news/talk KSFO, a decision that was reversed one month later. The most recent contract for the 72-year-old Owens expired in December; he reportedly didn’t expect it to be renewed at the same salary level. A 2015 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee, Owens apparently isn’t the only KGO on-air talent off the weekday schedule. On Facebook, 2:00 – 4:00 pm host Brian Copeland writes that his show has been scrubbed; Copeland states management would like him to remain with the station in some capacity. Although unconfirmed, KGO’s revised weekday on-air lineup is believed to be: Armstrong & Getty (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Ethan Bearman (10:00 am – 12:50 pm); Owens (12:50 pm – 1:00 pm); a simulcast from Los Angeles sibling KABC of Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Chip Franklin (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).

Nashville’s “Zone” Expands Local Coverage. Changes extending local dayparts on Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk/Tennessee Titans flagship WGFX “104.5 The Zone” go into effect today (Monday, 1/15). Program director Brad Willis states that “The Zone” has “long been Nashville’s preeminent sports station. In an effort to devote more time to Nashville’s continually evolving sports landscape, we feel it is time that we are all local, all day long. I look forward to having our team cover the teams and sports that are important to Nashville nonstop from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm every weekday.” Hosts of the (now 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) “Midday 180” show Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton, and Paul Kuharsky have been signed to multi-year contracts and they state, “We are looking forward to loading up with even more great interviews with important people, giving more commentary on the local teams and the issues of the day. Our commitment remains the same: In and out of season, we will crush on a daily basis.” Meanwhile, Brent Dougherty, Mickey Ryan, and Dawn Davenport of the lengthened 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm “3HL” program add, “Nashville sports fans are the best in the country and we are excited about the opportunity to spend more time with them. During that time, we plan to continue to focus heavily on the sports and storylines that are most important to our listeners.” The Mark Howard, Kevin Ingram, and Blaine Bishop-hosted “Wake Up Zone” continues daily from 6:00 am -10:00 am.

“Whoa Nellie” – The Passing of Keith Jackson. If you ever watched a college football game on television, you knew the unmistakable voice and style of Keith Jackson and his trademark catch-phrase, “Whoa Nellie.” The legendary play-by-play man for the first season of ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football” and at the microphone for a variety of other sports, 89-year-old Jackson died Friday (1/12) in Los Angeles. ABC parent Walt Disney Company chief executive Robert Iger succinctly states, “For generations of fans, Keith was college football.” While Jackson worked on ten Summer and Winter Olympics and on “ABC’s Wide World of Sports,” his resume includes radio, as well. The western Georgian native joined the Marines as a teenager, then attended Washington State University, where he received a degree in broadcast journalism in 1954. Jackson spent ten years at KOMO, Seattle in news, sports and production, before becoming sports director of ABC Radio West. He began broadcasting college football for ABC Sports in 1966. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named him “Sportscaster of the Year” five consecutive times (1972 to 1976). Working a largely regional schedule close to his Southern California home, Jackson retired after broadcasting the 2006 Rose Bowl game.

Terry Takes Commentary to KKNT. Longtime Phoenix on-air personality Terry Gilberg joins Salem Media Group news/talk KKNT “960 The Patriot” in the Valley of the Sun to do “Terry’s Take.” According to KKNT general manager Jim Ryan, “Terry Gilberg delivers compelling commentary, capsulized in a nutshell – a dose of reality and common sense delivered daily with reason and passion. She covers what you are thinking and what you are feeling. It is timely talk and we are happy to have her points of view.” Some of Gilberg’s favorite subjects include media bias; housing and education in America; socialized medicine; and national security. In addition to her new duties at “The Patriot,” journalist-turned-talk host Gilberg continues hosting/producing Radio America’s two-hour “Think! America,” which airs in 53 markets. Prior to doing talk radio, Gilberg was a television news anchor.

 News-Gazette Media Continues U.I. Pact. The renewed partnership – that has spanned more than three decades – keeps University of Illinois athletics on News-Gazette Media Champaign (Illinois) WDWS “News Talk 1400” and co-owned adult contemporary WHMS “Lite Rock 97.5.” News-Gazette Media chief executive office and publisher John Reed remarks, “We are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with UI Athletics and Fighting Illini Sports Properties. The fast-paced world of college athletics is a part of our business where we have consistently invested in top-tier talent for our organization. I am personally thrilled with the opportunity to continue working with two entities who share the same philosophy. The future looks bright for ‘The Fighting Illini,’ and we very much look forward to being a part of it.” According to Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman, “We are pleased to continue our long-time relationship with News-Gazette Media and WDWS and WHMS. Fighting Illini fans in the Champaign-Urbana area have known for decades that those stations are the radio homes to our games; this new agreement will increase the presence of our programs even more.” Over 150 live events a year will be aired, including football; men’s and women’s basketball; baseball; and women’s volleyball. Football and men’s basketball will be simulcast on the two stations, while baseball, women’s volleyball, and select softball games will be carried on WDWS.

TALKERS News Notes. In response to a high volume of requests, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) extends the call for entries for the 43rd annual Gracie Awards to next Thursday (1/25) at 11:59 pm (ET). Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair Sarah Foss states, “Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate women for their exceptional work and contributions, especially in the media industry.” The Gracies recognize programming created by, for, and about women in radio, television, cable and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local, and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets. Qualified judges are chosen by AWMF leadership after meeting specific published criteria ….. San Diego sports talk host, television sports anchor/weathercaster C.S. Keys died Saturday (1/13) in La Mesa. Most recently, Keys hosted a weekend show for Interamericana de Radio sports talk XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090,” San Diego. The station’s program director, Mike Shepard, writes, “All of us at ‘The Mighty 1090’ are stunned and saddened by the untimely passing of our teammate, C.S. Keys. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his fans, and the San Diego sports community at this difficult time.” According to La Mesa police, the death was not suspicious, but it was not yet clear how Keys died. Keys previously was a weathercaster at San Diego television outlet KUSI-TV; sports anchor at cross-town XETV-TV; and worked on-air at KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh and WTVD, Raleigh. He was 54 years old and is survived by two sons and a daughter … Those expecting to hear Marc “Beetle” Bertrand on Saturday’s (1/13) AFC Divisional playoff pre-game show prior to the New England PatriotsTennessee Titans showdown, heard Chris Gasper instead. “Beetle” couldn’t fulfill his duties on Entercom-owned Patriots flagship WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub,” but had a legitimate reason that was nearly tragic. On Saturday at 6:37 pm (ET), he posted on Facebook, “I am lucky to be alive. I was involved in a motor vehicle crash in Norwood [Massachusetts] on my way to [Gillette Stadium in] Foxboro. While driving down the road, another car exited a parking lot on a straight line at full speed and struck the passenger side of my Dodge Ram. I only saw the car for a split second before going for a [rollercoaster] ride when my truck rolled and eventually came to a stop on its side. For reasons I cannot explain, I am relatively okay. I did sustain injuries but I have already been released from the hospital. I cannot express in words how thankful I am for the Norwood fire/EMS and police departments. They were on the scene in what seemed like seconds. I was trapped in the truck and NFD worked quickly to free me with the jaws of life. They do amazing work like this every single day. Thank you to all my ‘Sports Hub’ colleagues for covering for me, especially Chris Gasper who hosted pre-game on very short notice. I hope I’m talking to everybody again on the radio this week. Go Pats! Beetle.” As for Saturday’s game, the Patriots defeated the Titans by three touchdowns, 35-14 ….. WOWO, Fort Wayne, and WBAT, Marion (Indiana) talk show host and current president of internet talk station Indiana Talks, Gary Snyder, files paperwork to run for the Democratic nomination for the State Senate in Indiana’s 17th district. Snyder ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for a county council seat in the November 2008 general election, months after he lost the May 2008 primary for a state representative seat in which he ran as a Republican. He lost a bid for county clerk in 2010 as a Republican.

Hawaii False Alarm “Totally Unacceptable.” What proved to be an incorrect alert sounded on hundreds of thousands of cellphones across Hawaii this past Saturday (1/13), warning residents to seek shelter because of an inbound ballistic missile threat. In a statement issued yesterday (Sunday, 1/14) regarding that incident, FCC chairman Ajit Pai notes, “The false emergency alert sent in Hawaii was absolutely unacceptable. It caused a wave of panic across the state – worsened by the 38-minute delay before a correction alert was issued. Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert.” The erroneous alert was reportedly caused by Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi “pushing the wrong button.” Miyagi took responsibility for the mistake, stating the error happened during a shift change around 8:00 am. Pai said officials at all levels needed to identify vulnerabilities, and that the FCC would look into steps “to prevent a similar incident.” Working with the FCC to investigate the issue, Democratic Senator Brian Schatz remarks, “This system failed miserably. We need to improve it and get it right.” According to a CBS News report, Miyagi – who has been with the agency for ten years – was re-assigned within the emergency operations center.

Remembering Lisa McKay. After a brief battle with cancer, Curtis Media Group vice president of radio/program director of Raleigh’s WQDR “94.7 – Today’s Best Country” Lisa McKay (Blake) passed away peacefully yesterday (1/14) morning. Curtis Media Group President/COO Trip Savery notes, “It is with very heavy hearts that we share the news of Lisa’s passing. She had a tremendous and positive impact on so many people’s lives and careers, and will be greatly missed by all of us. Please send your love, support, and prayers to Lisa and her family.” Word of McKay’s death comes just two days after it was announced she would be taking an indefinite leave of absence, owing to medical reasons. In what proved to be her last message, McKay remarked, “I am grateful beyond belief for the opportunity given to me by Curtis Media Group; I know this team will continue to excel.” Scores and scores of tributes already populate McKay’s Facebook page, with virtually all conveying the same sentiment of a remarkably talented, caring programmer. Distinguished Cleveland and Akron-area program director Sue Wilson (Cordle) vice president of operations for the Rubber City Radio Group, reflects, “I admired her so much, not only as a tremendous programmer but as a lovely person. I had only been at WQMX [Akron] a short while and met her on an industry trip. There were very few women program directors in [the] country [format]; I was so impressed by her knowledge and talent. I connected with her then and followed her continued success. Our industry lost an incredible talent and our country music family will miss her so much. Things like this put life in perspective. How precious it is and that we have no time to waste. Deepest sympathy to her family and friends and to all of us who will mourn her loss.” Operations manager of SummitMedia Richmond Mel Chase laments, “My heart is in a million pieces right now. When Lisa McKay took someone under her wing, you knew you were in a special place. I wouldn’t have a career in radio without her love and nurturing. Lisa saw something in me when I was an intern that I never saw and she made sure I worked hard to make radio my career – even hiring me for my first job. She was my constant reminder that a leader doesn’t bark orders, they dive in, get their hands dirty and share the work with the team. She’s the absolute best, no one is on her level. Lisa changed my whole world and I will forever be indebted to her for everything I have because of her patience, kindness and love.” The program director of iHeartMedia Boston urban AC WKAF, Chris Malone, states, “Lisa played a big role in my career, I’d go as far to say I’d still be a kid in my hometown working to make ends meet until she came along. Lisa opened the door for me in Raleigh and graciously held my hand through my first ‘on the road PD gig.’ Her kindness and warmth could be felt from the moment I met her. On my interview, she said, ‘Here take my car while I’m on air and get to know the town.’ At age 24, I thought who would say this? That’s just how she treated those who were fortunate enough to know her. It’s a badge of honor to have known Lisa, work for her, and learn from one of the brightest, creative, [tenacious] programmers in the business. So many good memories, generous gifts, and valuable lessons that I’ll hold on to forever.” Veteran programmer Chris Shebel remarks, “We were competitors during my time in Raleigh. Lisa is a first-class programmer who built a great station and genuinely cared about the country community and the ‘Triangle.’ Condolences to her family and colleagues. I’m sure there is much sadness today, but she will be remembered for many great things.” According to Kevin Kolbie, “A few months ago, I got the opportunity to be back on the radio at WQDR. Lisa was the one who took the chance on me. Over the years, Lisa and I went from clients to friends and finally to co-workers. After my first air-shift, I asked her if she had any advice. She smiled and said, ‘Just have fun.’ Even as I type the words, it’s still hard to comprehend [that she has died].” Recently-arrived to do mornings at Curtis Media Group adult hits WBBB, Morgan Thomas comments, “RIP, my sweet friend. To work with you again was a major reason I came back to Raleigh. I am just so grateful you are no longer in pain. ‘Fly away my sweet bird over the land.’” McKay-programmed WQDR was the Country Music Association (CMA) large market “Station of the Year” in 2017.

PPM Analysis: December 2017’s Ups & Downs.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a December 2017 ratings overview “Extra” as he examines the impact made by stations that transitioned to all-Christmas music. See which formats benefitted the most this sweep and which were negatively impacted. In addition to scoring honors for largest (6+) November 2017 – December 2017 improvement (+6.6), Bonneville Salt Lake City adult contemporary KSFI boasts the largest 6+-share of any station in the 48 PPM-markets (13.6). Approximately half of the adult contemporary properties that improve by at least one full-share (November 2017 – December 2017, 6+) wind up finishing first. There are market-by-market breakouts, as well as a comparison chart of November 2017 versus December 2017 market ranks. See Mike Kinosian’s extensive report here.

SBS, Grupo Radio Centro Interference Lawsuit Resolved. An agreement has been reached to settle a long-standing lawsuit involving Spanish Broadcasting System and Grupo Radio Centro. Nearly two years ago, SBS filed a multi-million-dollar grievance, alleging tortious interference and unfair competition when Grupo hired air personality Martin Romero Hernandez (“El Raton”) from SBS Los Angeles regional Mexican KLAX “97.9 La Raza.” Hernandez left “La Raza” in January 2016 to join cross-town competitor – Grupo’s KXOS “Radio Centro 93.9.” SBS claimed Grupo attracted Hernandez by recruiting and soliciting his entire “La Raza” morning team to move with him to “Radio Centro,” despite SBS having him under contract through 2020 and having matched the GRC offer. Spanish Broadcasting System general counsel Richard Lara comments, “We are extremely pleased to have amicably resolved the matter. As has always been its practice, SBS will not hesitate to take legal action when necessary to defend its contractual rights and business interests.” The settlement is confidential; terms cannot be disclosed.

FLR Names Mike Kankelfritz PD/Afternoon Driver. After ending a nearly six-year run in November as morning show co-host on Educational Media Foundation Indianapolis contemporary Christian WKLU “Positive and Encouraging K-Love,” Mike Kankelfritz joins Tucson-based Family Life Radio as program director and afternoon drive talent. FLR’s chief broadcast engagement officer Sally Barton comments, “Mike’s professional and personal reputation testifies to his faithful love and care for God’s people. We see God’s timing in the journey that brought Mike and his family to us, and we’re eager to see him use his extensive experience and creativity to share the message of hope in Christ.” Kankelfritz adds, “The Family Life Radio team felt like family from the minute I walked in the door. When I learned that the backbone of this network came from Dr. Randy Carlson’s vision of intentional living, I realized that his principles were already a part of my DNA. I am so excited to help more people connect to God in a deeper way through this amazing ministry of Family Life Radio.” Listener-supported Family Life Radio has approximately 40 affiliates. Prior to joining WKLU in 2011, Seattle native and John Brown University graduate Kankelfritz spent six years at Houston contemporary Christian KSBJ and three years at KXOJ, Tulsa.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The producer of the 5:30 am – 10:00 am “Mo! Show” on Hubbard Phoenix alternative KDKB “Alt AZ 93.3” – Dayton Banas – fills the station’s promotions director opening ….. Five-year KOLA, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario morning co-host Irma Blanco steps down from the Anaheim Broadcasting classic hits-oldies outlet to spend more time with her family. Blanco and co-host Jesse Duran made the announcement on-air last Friday (1/12) ….. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/16), “Stacey & Jonah” take over afternoon drive duties on Hubbard Radio St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3.” For the last six years, Stacey K Boyer & Jonah Griss-Bush did mornings on KHTH “Hot 101.7,” Santa Rosa (California), an Amaturo Sonoma Media Group CHR outlet that Boyer programmed. WIL program director Scott Roddy comments, “While most radio companies are reducing local talent, Hubbard is adding to our stable of show hosts. Stacey and Jonah’s charm, wit and humor make them the perfect companion while sitting in traffic on Highway 40 during the drive home.” Stacey & Jonah add, “We are so excited to join the Hubbard family and ‘New Country 92.3.’ It is an honor to join a company that believes in people and talent.” ….. Following eight years with Bonneville Sacramento hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5,” assistant program director/music director Sonia Jimenez takes on music director responsibilities for co-owned KNCI “New Country 105.1.” Bonneville Sacramento vice president of programming Chad Rufer states, “Sonia is a true pro – one of the best out there.” ….. Columbus alternative WWCD “CD-102.5” program director and “The Stash” host Mase Brazelle replaces afternoon driver Lesley James, who left the station approximately two weeks ago ….. Songwriter/pianist Jim Brickman adds four affiliates for his four-hour lifestyle/music/interviews program, which features co-hosts “Brynne” and “Bob.” New to the show are WWFW “Sunny 103.9,” Fort Wayne (Indiana); WZIM “Magic 99.5,” Peoria (Illinois); WNCV “Coast 93.3,” Fort Walton Beach (Florida); and KMWX “Mix 92.5,” Abilene (Texas).

Never Be The Same. After a performance on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” to mark the release of her debut solo album (“Camila,” which includes the single “Never Be The Same”), singer Camila Cabello (left) chats with ABC Radio’s Andrea Dresdale.

Monday, July 10, 2017

| July 10, 2017

Entercom/CBS Radio Divulges Senior Management. Based on a memo from Entercom president/chief executive officer David Field, we are getting a clearer picture of the combined giant’s management team, but, as Field stresses, until everything becomes official, Entercom and CBS Radio remain separate companies. “I want to express my appreciation to everyone for their patience as we work through this process,” he writes. “We all want to see the deal close as quickly as possible, but these large mergers just take time. I am pleased to report that we are right on schedule and hard at work, making great progress in every area required to complete our merger successfully. There is nothing more important to our future success than the quality of our people. We have spent a great deal of time working to build a ‘best in class’ team composed of highly talented, high performance stars from CBS Radio and Entercom, plus a number of newcomers from outside of the industry who bring new perspectives and capabilities. The list is a work-in-progress and in the weeks ahead, as planning continues, we will announce additional members of the leadership team, as well as information on a wide range of other important topics as we continue to prepare for this game-changing event.” In alphabetical order, executives include: JD Crowley (EVP/digital); Mike Dee (president/sports); Michael Doyle (regional president and president/sales operations); Ruth Gaviria (chief marketing officer); Weezie Kramer (chief operating officer); Chris Oliviero (EVP/programming); Pat Paxton (president/programming); Bob Philips (chief revenue officer); Rich Schmaeling (chief financial officer); and Andrew Sutor (SVP/general counsel). Field adds, “I also want to add a special word of recognition to Scott Herman, who has done a terrific job over so many years in various leadership roles at CBS, culminating in his current position as chief operating officer. While we are disappointed that Scott will be moving on to pursue other personal and professional endeavors, we greatly respect his outstanding leadership contributions to the organization. “In addition, I want to share some further information on our programming leadership. Pat Paxton will oversee the music brands and Chris Oliviero will oversee the news/talk/sports brands. They will be working collaboratively, along with the programming team across the country to ensure that we continue to develop outstanding brands with the best personalities and content for our listeners nationwide.”

Cox Media Group Atlanta Taps Turcotte To Be GSM. Inbound from Midwest Communications Nashville where he was general sales manager, Mark Turcotte will join Cox Media Group Atlanta later this month (7/31) in a similar capacity. Cox Media Group Atlanta director of sales Jaleigh Long comments, “Mark Turcotte has an exceptional track record for converting vision into sales strategy and execution. This is the perfect time for Mark to join Atlanta’s talented sales leadership team.” Turcotte adds, “A return to Atlanta and Cox Media Group at arguably the most successful radio cluster in the country is such a tremendous honor. The values of the company and their leadership align perfectly with those I have tried to emulate throughout my career. This is a great opportunity to work with folks I consider to be among the absolute best in the profession.” With their May 2017 6+ Nielsen Audio PPM stats and rankings in parenthesis, Cox Media Group Atlanta includes news/talk WSB-AM (8.6, #1 for the 17th straight ratings period); classic hits-oldies WSRV “Classic Hits 97.1 The River” (6.7, #2); urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1 – Atlanta’s R&B” (6.3, #4); and adult contemporary WSB-FM “B-98.5” (4.2, #10).

Kaufman Joins Cumulus Media As SVP, Revenue/Operations. Based in New York City, John Kaufman is named to Cumulus Media’s newly-created position of senior vice president, revenue strategy and operations. According to Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner, “John’s strategic and operational expertise [as well as his] deep understanding of the critical function that pricing and inventory management plays in maximizing revenue will be a tremendous asset to our operations. In this new leadership role, he will increase the company’s revenue management capabilities through intelligent and attractive pricing strategies and systems. John will support our team of more than 900 sales professionals in 90 markets as they serve our advertisers with local impact and national reach.” Kaufman remarks, “Seeing all the great change underway at Cumulus, I am so pleased to be joining Mary and her leadership team at this exciting time. I look forward to helping the company continue in its evolution.” With an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Kaufman was senior vice president of business operations for iHeartMedia, later advancing to president of business ops there. Three years ago, he started JK Steele Consulting and a year later was president and chief operating officer of start-up company ParcMate. Prior to that, he was executive vice president of revenue management & electronic marketing at Extended Stay Hotels and vice president of global revenue management for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.


Robinette Retires From WWL. Having hosted the three-hour (10:00 am – 1:00 pm) “Think Tank” on Entercom New Orleans news/talk WWL for the last 12 years, Garland Robinette is retiring. Off the air since mid-April battling pneumonia, Robinette will pursue his interest in painting. “Never did I think a boy from the swamps with little education could travel the world, meet presidents, kings, movie stars and see places I had only read and dreamed about,” Robinette reflects. “If we do come back to this world for multiple lifetimes, I think I’m in trouble because I’ve used up all my luck in this one. Ironically, even those of you who disliked me helped me. One thing I always tried to do was listen to people who disagreed, and in a large percentage of those debates, you were right and I was wrong. Each of those debates was a learning experience of which I emerged a little bit better educated, a little bit better able to see the world not as I wanted, but as it is.” WWL vice president and general manager Chris Claus remarks, “Garland means so much to WWL, to our community, and to the region. His voice, his leadership and undying passion will be greatly missed.” Operations and program director Diane Newman adds, “Magic happens on WWL when the talent is as big as the stage – Garland was that magic. He brought wisdom, passion, and guts to WWL at a time when our city, state, and region needed leadership. He was the voice of the people during Hurricane Katrina, the aftermath and recovery.  From that microphone, he drove the recovery and rebirth, speaking truth to power and accepting nothing less than the change necessary to protect and preserve the jewel that is New Orleans.” Prior to joining WWL in 2005 to replace the late David Tyree, Robinette was a 20-year news anchor/reporter for WWL-TV, New Orleans and headed a public relations firm. He and co-anchor Angela Hill were married in 1978 and were divorced nine years later, but continued their on-air partnership.

WODT Set to Expand Local Programming. In addition to Garland Robinette retiring from Entercom-owned news/talk WWL, New Orleans (see above), there’s more industry news from the Louisiana market as – starting next Monday (7/17) – iHeartMedia’s WODT “Fox Sports 1280” will quintuple its locally-originated programming to ten hours per day. The 8:00 am – 10:00 am slot will be filled by Chris Gordy, who will continue as assistant program director of co-owned KBME “Sports Talk 790,” Houston. Hosted by New Orleans Times-Picayune writers Jeff Duncan and Larry Holder, “Dunc & Holder: Smart Sports Talk for Serious Fans,” will follow from 10:00 am -12:00 noon. Another KBME, Houston staffer – Baton Rouge native Josh Innes – will oversee WODT’s 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm block. Based at Delta Media Lafayette’s KLWB “103.7 The Game,” former LSU basketball player/current football sideline reporter Jordy Hultberg is added at 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, while Kaare Johnson remains in-place from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The remainder of the WODT schedule, including Clay Travis (5:00 am – 8:00 am), will be filled by Fox Sports Radio network programming.

Remembering Claude Hall. Broadcasters of a certain era were fond of saying they had truly “made it in the business” when Claude Hall mentioned their name in his Billboard Magazine “Vox Jox” column. Just as we were approaching our deadline last Friday (7/7), TALKERS broke the news that – owing to injuries suffered from a fall earlier last week – Hall had died at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas. Prior to his death, he continued “Vox Jox” in partnership with talk show host/radio station owner Rollye James as a weekly online newsletter specializing in the activities of older and retired radio broadcasters (www.voxjox.org). Among those commenting on Hall’s death was Randy West, who explains, “Claude had been in ill health for several years. He was an author of fiction books and non-fiction radio texts, and a great friend of the airwaves. He was beloved by hundreds of [on-air personalities] and returned that love by continuing to network and make connections among the survivors of radio’s greatest era. Claude took a whole era of radio with him. He championed, celebrated, honored, and escalated the business.” As Russ DiBello points out, Hall “took a series of scattered jobs, and with a gossip column, morphed them into a profession. That guy doing overnights in Boise whom you’d never met was now your colleague. If you never heard the stations in a market, you still had a good idea of what was going on in various outposts of American radio. Stations everywhere knew where the hot programming talent was hanging out, and whenever they moved, their creativity would cross-pollinate the industry with bits and air talents that would become the norm in programming and production. If all that doesn’t convince you, think of how many more columns like that – which were spinoffs of ‘Vox Jox’ – popped-up in other publications in subsequent years.” Lee Arnold adds, “To those of us in the record and radio business, Claude Hall was not just a legendary journalist, but a wonderful human being that spent most of his life promoting all that we hold dear in this business that we love. Claude, thank you for your friendship – you will be missed.” Mark Driscoll states, “Our industry lost a wonderful caring man who so loved broadcasting. I for one am devastated. May God bless Claude Hall’s soul.” Others noting Hall’s passing included Dan O’Day, who admits, “I don’t have the words to express my sadness as well as my gratitude to Claude” and Anita Bonita emphasizing, “Rest in peace, sir – you absolutely made a difference.” Clark Smidt succinctly described Hall as, “The Master.” Talkers publisher Michael Harrison recalls, “There was once a time when Claude Hall was the major source of all information pertaining to the radio industry. He is the founding father of the style of radio trade publishing that has set the tone of this business for the past five decades. I am lucky to have known him and remember what a thrill it was to appear in his columns back when I was a young PD in my 20s. His love of radio and contributions to this industry are incalculable – he’s number one with a bullet.” In February 2016, Hall wrote his own obituary and accidentally sent it to all his friends. His son – Andrew Clark Hall – shares that obit, complete with empty blanks. “Claude Hall, who was born in Brady, Texas and attended high school in nearby Winters, died of heart complications _(day)_____ at his home in Las Vegas. He was (age). The highlight of his career was 14 years with Billboard Magazine. Although he covered the news in music and radio, he was mostly known for a column called ‘Vox Jox,’ that was widely read in the United States and Canada and translated and read throughout Brazil. It was even read behind the then Iron Curtain and on islands in the South Pacific. Hall entered the University of Texas shortly after being discharged from the U.S. Army. He had served in Germany shortly after World War II. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1958. His first newspaper job was with the El Paso Herald-Post, but he quit after a few months and hitchhiked to New York City. He spent two years on a trade magazine, American Druggist, published by Hearst, then two years with Cavalier, then a man’s adventure magazine published by Fawcett. Married and with a young son, he and his wife Barbara (she’d worked for Dr. Joyce Brothers at NBC) spent two years in New Orleans. He worked on the Times-Picayune, then considered one of America’s finest newspapers, and his wife finished up her master’s degree from Columbia University. Later, he landed a position with Billboard in New York where he was named radio-TV editor and spent the next 14 years. He also created and organized the International Radio Programming Forum for 10 years. After Billboard, he earned a master’s degree in education at a small Christian university in Oklahoma while serving as the school’s director of public relations. With his degree, he joined the State University of New York at Brockport as a journalism and public relations professor where he taught the next eight years before retiring. He has since authored more than two dozen novels. He and Barbara also wrote This Business of Radio Programming, considered by many to be the best book on radio programming ever written and once adopted as a textbook by 22 major universities. His books are available via Amazon Kindle Books. He leaves a wife and sons John, Darryl, and Andy. Two brothers and a sister previously passed on.”

Matt Patrick: Update. It was just last Friday (7/7) that we reported that KTRH, Houston morning drive personality Matt Patrick (real name Michael Ryan) had announced to his audience that he was ending treatment for an aggressive case of esophageal cancer. Sadly, after that two-year battle, Patrick passed away yesterday (Sunday, 7/9) in Katy, Texas; he was 58 years old. This news coincides with his six-year anniversary at the iHeartMedia news/talk station. Patrick was diagnosed with Stage IV mucosal melanoma on September 11, 2015. The Cleveland-born broadcaster earned a degree in psychology from John Carroll University and was a two-time Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee. Prior to KTRH, he worked for almost 30 years at WKDD, Akron, followed by stints at WLW, Cincinnati and WTAM, Cleveland. Rubber City Radio Group vice president/director of operations Sue Wilson Cordle declares, “Matt was the voice of Akron. He woke us up for so many years as morning show host at WKDD. I was honored to work with him when we first changed WKDD from mellow rock to top 40. He was originally on middays in 1981, and then quickly moved to mornings where he remained for three decades. He will be missed so much. Thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and all who mourn his passing.” He is survived by (among others) his wife of 15 years, Paula; their son Jake; daughters Alexandra Ryan and Alanna Ryan; mother Marie; step-father John Drummond; and sisters Maureen Shell and Colleen Ryan Neubauer. A memorial service will be held in Houston, followed by a private family service and burial in Ohio.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/10) with Vince Benedetto, Ron Hartenbaum and Karen Hunter.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo); the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard); the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell); and the first in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” beginning with a conversation between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter).   Today (7/10), the second in that series has been posted featuring Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto in conversation with DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum.  Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

Scully to Receive ESPY Icon Award. After having spent the past 67 seasons as the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the legendary Vin Scully called it quits when the 2016 season ended. Scully will be presented with the Icon Award at The 25th ESPYS. The honor is given to individuals whose careers have left a lasting impression on the sports world; actor Bryan Cranston will make the presentation to Scully. Easily one of the country’s best-known broadcasters, Scully started with the Dodgers when the franchise was located in Brooklyn. His career with the team marks the longest tenure of any broadcast with a single professional sports organization. Hosted by Peyton Manning, The ESPYS will be televised on ABC-TV this Wednesday (7/12) from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.

Confer Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. This is the fourth annual such “institute” at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Today’s headliner (Monday, 7/10) is Cumulus Media and Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard. Handling the closing session in ten days will be Forever Media Group partner Kerby Confer, who comments, “We want to make a difference; to give back; and give this next generation a good firm foundation in how radio, television, and the internet work. We are going to birth a whole new generation of radio people.” National Radio Talent System founder/president Dan Vallie remarks, “This is the radio talent farm that we in the industry have always said we needed. It is true today more than ever.” Those in charge of leading sessions come from entities that include Beasley Media Group, CBS Radio, Cumulus, Entercom, Forever Media Group, iHeartMedia, and Seven Mountains Media. Various aspects of the medium will be addressed from sales to on-air; sports; news; production; promotions; digital; social media; and engineering. Students with a desire and drive to be in radio were accepted from nine different universities including Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Ohio University, Pennsylvania State University, Robert Morris University, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Susquehanna University, and Temple University.

Haze Adds KMYI PD Duties. Effective immediately, KMYI “Star 94.1,” San Diego afternoon drive host Joe Haze is elevated to program director of the iHeartMedia hot AC. In addition to his new assignment, Haze will continue programming co-owned mainstream CHR KHTS “Channel 93.3.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s San Diego-Riverside region Rob Scorpio notes, “Haze has been instrumental in the success of ‘Channel 93.3’ since its inception. His passion for CHR and hot AC, along with his knowledge and experience, make him the ideal choice to continue [KMYI’s] dominance in the San Diego market.” Haze – who will carry on in PM drive on “Star 94.1” – comments, “I am very grateful to have the opportunity to program two powerful, iconic brands like ‘Star 94.1’ and ‘Channel 93.3.’ To be able to further my career in a market like San Diego is amazing.” Haze previously did nights at ‘Channel 93.3’ and he has worked in Phoenix (KZZP) and Jacksonville (WAPE and WJBT).

Steele Sets Sights on Washington. At a Houston press conference, author, lecturer and a member of the Texas Radio Hall of FameDayna Steele – has announced her candidacy for the congressional seat in Texas’ 36th district. She received an on-stage endorsement from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Jett, who wore a “Dayna Steele For Congress” tee-shirt. “Joan did a very brave thing for me,” remarks Steele. “People with the courage to speak out are what inspired me to [seek this] office in the first place.” The former KLOL, Houston on-air talent and Seabrook, Texas resident will run as an independent Democrat. Steele is the author/publisher of the “101 Ways to Rock Your World” series and other books including: “LinkedIn: 101 Ways To Rock Your Personal Brand”; “101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities for Success Every Day”; “Rock to the Top: What I Learned About Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars”; “Surviving Alzheimer’s with Friends, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine”; “Havana: 101 Ways to Rock Your World in Cuba”; “Welcome to College: 101 Ways to Rock Your World”: “In the Classroom: 101 Ways to Rock Your World for Teachers”; and “On the Golf Course: 101 Ways to Rock Your World.”

KSSX On-Air Lineup Adjusted. Starting today (7/11), iHeartMedia San Diego rhythmic CHR KSSX “Jam’n 95.7” music director/afternoon drive talent Frankie V moves to mornings, where he’ll team with current AM drive co-host Tati Pelegreen, while morning co-host Pablo Sato segues to afternoons. Meanwhile, Nina Chantele – who does afternoons on co-owned Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” – adds a daily mid-day assignment on KSSX; Beto Perez will do night duty on “Jam’n.” According to iHeartMedia San Diego-Riverside vice president of programming Rob Scorpio, “In the last year, ‘Jam’n 95.7’ has experienced significant growth. With Frankie V and Tati in mornings; Nina in middays; and Pablo in afternoons, we expect to take over the market.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s May 2017 PPM, KSSX ranks #14, registering a 3.1 for the third time in the last four sweeps.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Recently diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, “Country Countdown USA” host Lon Helton is resting at home ….. As of now, the event’s location is still a “top-secret,” but iHeartMedia Nashville CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is sponsoring a Demi Lovato-hosted “House Party” this Wednesday (7/12) to celebrate the singer’s “Sorry Not Sorry” single due out tomorrow (7/11). Lovato has two billion combined total streams and a social media following of over 153 million ….. Formerly with Alpha Media Louisville urban contemporary WGBZ “B-96,” Lashonda “Tropikana” Hatch joins Radio One St. Louis’ similarly-formatted WHHL “Hot 104.1” as music director/afternoon drive talent. In addition, “Tropikana” will voice-track for Radio One-owned stations in Cincinnati (WIZF “The Wiz 101.1”); Cleveland (WENZ “Z-107.9”); and Columbus (WCKX “Power 107.5”). She did similar voice-track duties for LM Communications’ WBTF “107.9 The Beat,” Lexington (Kentucky) ….. Mainstream CHR KGOT, Anchorage (Alaska) afternoon personality McConnell “Man at Large” Adams adds Saturday and Sunday night responsibilities as “McConnell” on co-owned (iHeartMedia) Portland adult contemporary outlet KKCW “K-103.”

Adams Radio Acquires Four Tallahassee Stations. The quartet of Tallahassee outlets Adams Radio is buying from Red Hills Broadcasting includes CHR WHTF “Hot 104.9”; country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf”; classic rock WQTL “106.1 The Path”; and adult hits WANK “99.9 Hank FM.” Adams president/CEO Ron Stone comments, “We are thrilled to be the next steward of these amazing stations and even more excited about the future of the stations under [Red Hills Broadcasting president Hank Kestenbaum’s] continued management alongside Adams Radio. This cluster is another rare opportunity to join forces with a company that has been under the same ownership and management for two decades. These stations are a great complement to our existing markets and will no doubt bring many great ideas into the Adams Radio Family.” Kestenbaum notes, “I want to congratulate Ron Stone and his team at Adams Radio on buying four great Tallahassee radio stations. Every day I’m privileged to work with a dedicated and talented group of people at serving our community with entertaining live and local radio. I look forward to leading these stations and this team into a new era of success, service, and prosperity under Adam’s ownership.” Adams Radio also owns/operates clusters in Las Cruces, New Mexico; Fort Wayne, Indiana; suburban Chicago (Northwest Indiana); and Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland. Brokering the Adams Radio-Red Hills Broadcasting transaction was Bill Fanning of MVP Capital LLC.

Friday, May 22, 2015

| May 22, 2015

2015 NYC 150State of Radio Audience Measurement Systems to Be Scrutinized at Talkers New York 2015.  One of the highlights of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 that is sparking a tremendous amount of interest is the high-powered panel, “The State of Radio Ratings.”  Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the scheduled speakers (in alphabetical order) include: Phil Boyce, SVP Salem Media;  Erica Farber, president/CEO RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO Amplifi Media; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP audience insights Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO Moceri Media. The session will be introduced by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade and sponsored by Salem Media.   TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Lots of folks are talking about this panel – so much is brewing in the rapidly changing world of radio audience measurement – whether it is Nielsen Audio making moves to unify over-the-air and online listening or the emergence of interesting new inventions such as the Voltair system and the evolution of PPM…this event will be loaded with provocative questions, answers and takeaways.”  The 18th annual installment of longest-running and most important national talk media industry convention takes place on Friday, June 12 at the historic India House in Manhattan’s financial district.  Although sold out, the event still has several sponsorship opportunities still available.  For information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.

hubbardradio logoJeremy Sinon Named Corporate Digital Director for Hubbard Broadcasting.  This is a promotion to the corporate level for Jeremy Sinon who has been serving as the digital director for Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities operations.  He will continue in that role in addition to his new post as corporate digital director.  The company says that in this position Sinon willsinonjeremy work closely with Hubbard EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler and president/COO Drew Horowitz to “oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals.”  Speaking about his new position, Sinon says, “It’s really an honor to be given this opportunity to help lead the digital efforts for a company that I care so much about.  When I started at Hubbard in 2006 I was one of the first digitally focused hires the company ever made.  It amazes me every day when I look around and see how much we’ve grown since.  I’m excited about the future.  We have really big things in store for us.”  Prior to the last nine years with Hubbard Radio, Sinon was a digital director for the iHeartMedia radio group in Minneapolis and worked at the digital agency Omnera.

irs logoHoward Stern Show at Center of IRS-Privacy Issue.  In a case that some might say could only happen on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show, an IRS staffer has allegedly caused some headaches for the agency that could result in a lawsuit.  Here’s the story: an IRS employee was on the phone with a woman who had called with a question about her tax situation.  Unbeknownst to her, the staffer sternhowardwas also on hold waiting to get onto the Howard Stern show as “Jimmy from Long Island.”  At some point, the call between the taxpayer and “Jimmy” was put on the show but the staffer didn’t realize it.  Stern let the call air for a few minutes before trying to alert “Jimmy” that his call was on the program.  After the segment was over, the female taxpayer began receiving texts and emails from people telling her that her personal information was broadcast on the Howard Stern show.  She is now threatening a lawsuit – against the IRS.  Remember, the FCC doesn’t regulate satellite radio in the same way it does AM/FM radio and it appears Stern did nothing wrong.  For its part, the IRS has released a statement that it’s aware of the situation and puts taxpayer privacy very high on its list of priorities and promises it is investigating the matter.

Odds & Sods. The former longtime radio voice of Michigan Wolverines football, Frank Beckman, tells his WJR,beckmanfrank Detroit audience that his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show will continue as he and owner Cumulus Media have agreed to a three-year extension to his current contract…..SiriusXM is broadcasting this weekend’s college lacrosse action.  The satcaster says it will present the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals and National Championship game live from Lincoln Financial Field in Philly on Saturday and Monday…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series that takes in-depth looks at Southern California communities in Downey on June 12.  The daylong live remote broadcast will emanate from popular local meeting place Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.

talkersten logoStephanopoulos Clinton Donations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 18-22.  The issue of ABC TV’s George Stephanopoulos making donations to the Clinton Family Foundation without disclosing it to the network or the public was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with Iraq policy questions.  Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton private emails matter followed by ISIS’ taking of Ramadi and Palmyra 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.

collinschuckWAKR, Akron’s Chuck Collins Dies After Battle with Cancer. The Northeast Ohio radio pro was just 62 years old and had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013.  Chuck Collins was most recently operations manager and a talk host for Rubber City Radio’s WAKR, Akron.  As part of his OM duties he also was in charge of rock WONE-FM and country WQMX.

gottliebdougProvalDavidA Visit from Richie Aprile.  Pictured here are CBS Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb (left) and actor David Proval (right) in the CBS Sports Radio studios.  Proval – well known to “The Sopranos” fans as Richie Aprile – stopped by the show to talk about his work on the HBO series, his experience in “The Shawshank Redemption” and his current role in the play, “Queen For a Day,” at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in New York City running through July 26.

gracies15The 40th Annual Gracie Awards.  Arriving at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday (5/19) was the Alliance for Women in Media Board and AWM Foundation Board.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer at CBS Corporation; Karla Ballard, SVP at Participant Media (and Gracies co-chair); Michelle Duke, vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation; Christine McLaughlin, broadcast lawyer at Sciarrino & Shubert , PLLC; Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships; Kristen Welch, SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Inc. (and AWM Chair); Kay Olin, consultant at Olin & Associates (and past AWM Chair); Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting, (Gracies co-chair and past AWM Chair); Jill Luckett, senior vice president of Program Network Policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Sandy Girard, VP, Brand Management & Development, SiriusXM; and Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

| November 12, 2014

wsj this morningWall Street Journal to Shutter Radio Division at Year’s End.  Inside sources tell TALKERS magazine that the Wall Street Journal is going to shut down its radio division at the end of the calendar year.  The announcement was made to staffers today (11/12).  The WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks division has produced money and finance-focused feature reports as well as the daily morning drive program, “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” hosted by Gordon Deal and Gina Cervetti plus a weekend edition of that program.  It’s unclear how many staffers this change will affect but the company has employees in New York, Washington and South Brunswick, New Jersey.

limbaughrushWSJ Radio Demise a Repercussion from Anti-Limbaugh Campaign?  The above story about the end of the Wall Street Journal’s radio products is bringing some strong reactions from within the news/talk radio industry.  Former WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming and current principal of Florida-based News Doctor, Inc, Jim Farley, suggests people are missing the connection with this story.  He says, “Since the high-powered leftie campaign against Rush Limbaugh advertisers after the Sandra Fluke controversy, spoken-word brands as benign as AccuWeather and Charles Osgood have been on ‘Do Not Buy’ lists from ad agencies.  The announced shutdown today of Wall Street Journal and Marketwatchfarleyjim Radio makes them collateral damage in this chilling war on the First Amendment which is crippling non-controversial, fair and accurate radio news and information outlets.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison reacted quickly to Farley’s comments as well as other buzz generated around the industry per the alleged Limbaugh connection to the demise of WSJ Radio stating, “With all due respect to Jim – a past recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award – industry observers and the trade press have been connecting these dots for quite some time now.  Consultant Holland Cooke even ran a big headline in his harrisonmichaelBHmicnewsletter distributed at our conference in June proclaiming, ‘THE BOYCOTT WENT TOO FAR.’ The problem is nobody seems to know what to do about it or has the clout to do anything about it….or worse, wants to do anything about it.  This whole issue is wrought with a social disease common in political circles left and right – namely hypocrisy… the pursuit of victory at the cost of truth… and it is proving extremely detrimental to one of America’s most vibrant platforms of public policy conversation.  Perhaps the folks at the NAB and the RAB (and even Media Matters) – if they really care about free speech and fairness, not to mention the beleaguered radio industry as a whole — should mount a unilateral campaign to educate the advertising community that has been unjustly persecuting the ‘innocent’ in its broad-brush blitzkrieg against political controversy.  Perhaps the rest of us (meaning anyone even loosely associated with talk radio) should be more vigorously defending Rush instead of conveniently making him the scapegoat for our mounting economic woes, because looking at the big picture – it would be the right thing to do.  This whole thing stinks and we are all to blame.”

beckglennGlenn Beck Opens Up About Health Issues.  Now that he’s feeling better and recent medical treatments have him on the mend, Premiere Networks syndicated talk host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck told his audience on Monday that his health issues go back almost five years to when he was still hosting a show on Fox News Channel.  Beck said he thought he had a painful form of neuropathy that was affecting his vision, his vocal chords, and his limbs but it turns out that was not the case.  He also was not sleeping well, if at all, and says he’s been told he hadn’t had any real REM sleep in 10 years.  Since going to the Carrick Brain Centers in Irving, Texas, he’s been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and adrenal fatigue and since undergoing hormone treatment, physical therapy, and making changes in how he eats, sleeps, and works, he’s “reversed the process.”

roversmorningglory logoWMMS, Cleveland’s Rover Sets Up Fundraiser for Former Producer’s Family.  Former producer of the “Rover’s Morning Glory” program on rock/talk hybrid WMMS, Cleveland – Rob Garguilo – exited that show recently to take a similar position with WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta program.  Tragedy entered his life as his girlfriend Sarah and the couple’s children, 5-year-old Ben and five-week-old Serena were hit by a car while crossing a Largo, Florida street.  The three are in critical condition in a Tampa hospital and Garguilo Tweets that Serena is on life support with no signs of brain activity.  Now, Shane “Rover” French has set up a GoFundMe.com donation page to assist the family of his former producer.  As of Wednesday morning, almost $18,000 has been raised for the family.

cookehollandWhat Listeners Will Find Under the Tree.  Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke spends a week in early January in Las Vegas attending and reporting back to TALKERS readers about the technology being displayed at the massive Consumer Electronics Show.  2015 will be no different and recently Cooke was in New York for the annual preview show called CES/Unveiled.  He writes that the top five wish-list items for this holiday season are (in order): tablets, notebook computers, TVs, smartphones, and video game consoles.  Find out more of what’s being touted as big consumer electronics spending decisions during the next year here.

bourquinsamWAKR, Akron Names Bourquin Afternoon Host.  Moving from his most recent position as host and sports director at WHBC, Canton, Sam Bourquin joins Rubber City Radio Group to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at WAKR.  RCRG president and general manager Thom Mandel says, “Having Sam become available is very serendipitous for us.  We think he is smart and talented.  He really understands how to communicate with a radio audience.  We like that he is committed to our Akron-Canton area and Northeast Ohio.”  Bourquin adds, “I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in radio with a wonderful radio family at the Akron Radio Center.  This is a great way to remain connected with old friends, make new friends and remain a part of the greater Akron-Canton community.”

radioonelogoTough Q3 for Radio One as Radio Division Posts Net Revenue Decline of 8.1%.  The company as a whole saw net revenue dip 5.3% but the radio division alone was hit worse as net revenue sank 8.1% compared to the same period a year ago on $112.2 million in net revenue.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “Our radio business experienced a very soft quarter.   We had a perfect storm of weak market revenues and soft ratings in our four largest markets, and political revenues were less than anticipated.  We had some ratings challenges in Washington DC, Baltimore and Atlanta in addition to the new competitor in Houston.  Management has taken steps to remedy these issues, including a format change in Houston from news to classic hip hop. The initial ratings for our new station, ‘Boom 92,’ are extremely encouraging, and should mean we reverse the annual $1.5 million of losses that we were incurring on the news format.  Outside our top four markets, radio revenues for the third quarter were +1.5% against a flat market. Overall Q4 radio revenue is currently pacing 1.9% and I believe we will have positive momentum going into the New Year.  Reach Media experienced a similarly weak third quarter, but is performing better in 4th quarter, consistent with the radio division.”

U.S.-China Carbon Emissions Deal, Lame Duck Congress, Iran Nuclear Talks, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Battle Against ISIS, Upper Midwest Cold and Snow, Net Neutrality Debate, and Kim Kardashian Mag Cover Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11).  Controversy over the carbon emissions deal struck between President Obama and China’s Xi Jinping; the possible legislation to be addressed by the lame duck congress; uncertainly about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing fight against ISIS and the organization’s potential alliance with al Qaeda; the early cold and snow hitting the Upper Midwest; debate over the “net neutrality” issue and President Obama’s public statement about it; and Kim Kardashian’s recent nude magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

| September 18, 2014

youngbroomheadBarry Young’s Retirement from KFYI, Phoenix Pushes Mike Broomhead into Mid-Morning Slot.  As TALKERS magazine reported back on March 14 of this year, longtime Phoenix talk radio personality (and president and CEO of WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment) Barry Young (left) is retiring from his daily talk show duties at iHeartMedia-owned news/talker KFYI.  Now, the station announces that after Young does his last show on November 7, current afternoon drive personality Mike Broomhead (right) will move to the 7:00 am to 10:00 am slot.  Broomhead states, “Barry Young is a legend in this business and will someday soon be in the Arizona Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  It has been an honor to work with and learn from him.  I’m looking forward to hosting mornings.  I want to talk about the issues that concern all of us and find solutions that are best for Arizona.  I’m not always right, but I always want what is best.”  KFYI program director Neil Larrimore adds, “Mike is a superstar who has worked hard to earn this opportunity.  He’s a great host, but even more so, he’s a good man.”  The station will begin a search for a new afternoon drive host.

fullermaggieFormer WNIR-FM, Akron Talk Host Sues Station Over Harassment Allegation.  Former morning drive personality Nancy Jones – who went by the on-air name Maggie Fuller – is suing Media-Com Inc. for reinstatement and/or back pay plus damages alleging she was sexually harassed by current morning drive host John “Couchburner” Denning.  The complaint states that Jones, who was a staffer with WNIR-FM, Akron since 1999, began, in 2013, receiving “hostile” and “disrespectful” treatment from Denning, culminating in his using the c-word to describe her to listeners at a promotional event.  Jones claims station management did nothing to address her complaints.  Read more about this case in the Norwalk Reflector here.

weberjeffIt’s Synchronicity for BizTalkRadio’s Weber.  After more than a decade with BizTalkRadio and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network,president Jeff Weber departs the Center Post Holdings company to join Synchronicity in a consulting capacity.  Weber asserts that, “Synchronicity’s technology has begun to revolutionize the industry; I don’t make statements like that unless I mean them.  Just as John Armstrong created and built DG Systems, this new company of his is totally cutting-edge.  It will be a major asset to broadcasters, syndicators, and others who want to reduce costs with a user-friendly and efficient platform.”  According to Weber, Synchronicity increases revenue through localization of advertising and real-time accountability.  In his 12 years with the former Business TalkRadio Network (now BizTalkRadio and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network), Weber was its executive vice president; acting chief executive officer; and one year ago, became president.  Additionally, Weber will consult Connecticut-based Forte Family Broadcasting.

koontzbobKFWB Selects Koontz as Sports Sales Manager.  Former KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles station manager Bob Koontz joins newly launched all-sports KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” as sports sales manager.  The Southern California native comments that he is “thrilled” to be part of the new sports outlet and that he looks forward “to working with our great talent to help build strategic partnerships and unique opportunities for our clients and listeners.”  Prior to becoming KSPN’s station manager (2006 – 2008), Koontz spent six years as the station’s first sales manager. He also held the sales manager title for Los Angeles stations (talk) KABC; (rock) KLOS; (sports-talk) KMPC; (adult contemporary) KIQQ “K-Lite,” and (regional Mexican) KSCA.

mcmorrisebonyMcMorris Tapped as Radio One Washington, DC News/Community Affairs Director. “News One Now” weekly contributor Ebony McMorris is appointed news and community affairs director for Radio One Washington, DC.  The company’s nation’s capital cluster consists of urban AC WMMJ “Majic 102.3,” urban contemporary WKYS; gospel WPRS “Praise 104.1,” gospel WYCB “Spirit 1340,” and talk WOL.  According to Radio One vice president and general manager Alan Leinwand, “We are very fortunate to have Ebony moving into this very important position.  She will play an integral role in helping us deliver a first-class news product, while also helping grow our community footprint.”  Replacing Sheila Stewart, who passed away 11 months ago, McMorris comments, “Taking over a position held by Sheila is an honor because she mentored me early in my career.  I cannot forget her power to connect people.  The vision of this company and its staff is unmatched.”  In addition to her new duties, McMorris – who has worked with Radio One since 2007 as WOL’s national reporter and host of public affairs programming on “Praise 104.1” and “Majic 102.3” – will serve as a daily reporter for the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.”  McMorris was morning news correspondent on Roland Martin‘s radio show.

abcnewsradioABC News Radio and Hearst Strike Deal for News and Info Service for Baltimore Stations.  When Hearst Radio’s news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY in Baltimore begin using ABC News Radio products later this year, it’ll mark a return to the outlets for ABC after more than 10 years absence.  In addition to the two stations using ABC’s “premium national, wbalinternational and entertainment news programming,” ABC Radio will provide music news for WIYY’s website and ABC Air Power, the most immediate, most topical and most complete radio show prep service in the industry today.  WBAL and WIYY president and GM Cary Pahigian comments, “From reliable top hour newscasts and breaking news for WBAL and prep and digital support for ‘98 Rock,’ we are delighted to welcome the powerful resources of ABC to Hearst Radio Baltimore.”

stigallcruzConstitution

Stigall and Ted Cruz Talk the Constitution.  Pictured here at the National Constitution Center on September 17th in Philadelphia are WPHT, Philadelphia morning personality Chris Stigall (left) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (right).  Cruz joined Stigall for a one-on-one discussion about Constitutional conflicts in the news today.  The event drew hundreds of WPHT listeners to hear Cruz – a noted Constitutional scholar – discuss the issues.

mcmahonbillConsultant Bill McMahon Sounds Off on Key Radio Issues.  One of the veteran consultants who’s had a significant influence on the modern era of talk radio as a thinker and innovator is Bill McMahon. He and his company, The Authentic Personality, developed what has been come to be known as the Authentic Personality method, the first formal training process for radio personalities and program directors. Hundreds of radio personalities and program directors in the US and the UK have participated in his Authentic Personality workshops. McMahon was one of the first to recognize Rush Limbaugh‘s “talent on loan from God” and give him a platform for its use. In addition to Rush, he has influenced the careers of many of radio’s biggest stars including Kidd Kraddick and Johnny Vaughan in the UK. Interestingly McMahon was the featured interview in the very first print issue of TALKERS almost 25 years ago. At a time when radio is facing all kinds of new high-tech competition for the consumer’s time and attention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (who also conducted that first interview in 1990) thought it appropriate to sit down again with McMahon and talk about the current state of radio and radio personalities.  In what turned out to be a fascinating 55-plus minutes of conversation, McMahon opines the following observations:

  • Very little has changed in terms of radio content/format development since the initial conversation 25 years ago.
  • The vast majority of radio’s content over the past 50 or 60 years has been created by the music industry. The radio industry has functioned primarily as the distribution and promotional arm of the music industry. The radio industry has created very little of its own content since the inception of television… with the notable exception of talk radio.
  • Major innovations in radio content creation have come from individual on-air talent like Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Scott Shannon, etc., not radio industry management.
  • Radio is no longer attracting the best and brightest talent. This is a critical and a potentially fatal problem for radio.
  • Radio needs to launch an immediate campaign to recruit extraordinary talent who love creating audio entertainment and have ideas for new programs and formats that consumers want and need.
  • The radio industry’s desire to create big mass appeal formats and programs goes against everything that’s happening in the world. Things that are succeeding have clearly defined specialties. Think Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and Fox News. In this world of unlimited choice where consumers are in control of what they consume and when they consume it, having a clearly defined and distinctive specialty is a must for success.
  • The “Fourteen Traits Inherent in the Best Radio Personalities” provide a guide for evaluating and recruiting the kind of talent radio needs to attract to continue to be viable.

To listen to the entire unedited audio conversation between Bill McMahon and Michael Harrison conducted for this story, please click

      here
.

To contact Bill McMahon call 208-887-5670 or email Bill@AuthenticPersonality.biz

Odds & Sods.  A special series is being presented by SiriusXM on the Howard 101 channel.  Howard Stern show media producer and aspiring film maker JD Harmeyer interviewed five Hollywood directors while at the 2014 Comic Con International in San Diego earlier this summer and the result the “JD Directors Special” during which Harmeyer interviews “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” director Jonathan Liebesman, “Children’s Hospital” creator Rob Corddry, “Into the Storm” director Steven Quale and legendary film director and writer Guillermo del Toro.  The program airs on Friday, September 19, at 7:00 pm ET…..Westwood One extends its partnership with Harpo Studios and Dr. Mehmet Oz for the daily, one-minute feature, “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.”  Dr. Oz says “Not a day goes by that I don’t get positive feedback from listeners of ‘Daily Dose.’  My goal is to spread the message of good health – body, mind and spirit.  Syndication with Westwood One helps to expand that message to an attentive and diverse audience.”

BFoA golf 14Broadcasters Foundation of America Celebrity Golf Tournament Raises $250,000.  Monday’s 2014 Celebrity Golf Tournament at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, New York helped raise $250,000 for the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including famed sportscasters, athletes, and actors.  Celebrity golfers included: Michael J. Fox; Bruce Beck, WNBC-TV; Craig Carton, WFAN; John Franco, Mets Hall of Famer; Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer; Tina Cervasio, Fox Sports and MSG Network; Howard Cross, New York Giants great; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; Rachel Grant, actress and philanthropist; Jay Harris, ESPN; Mary Calvi, WCBS-TV; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, CBS and ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Dana Tyler, WCBS-TV; Chris Wragge, WCBS-TV; and more.

gravelinecheckpointcharlie‘Into Tomorrow’ Visits Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.  As part of a whirlwind tour of techie events to cover for his weekly consumer electronics talk show “Into Tomorrow,” host Dave Graveline (center, surrounded by his staff) was in Berlin and is pictured here in front of the historic Checkpoint Charlie.  During a two-week period, Graveline covered the IFA in Berlin, the recent Apple event in San Francisco and the annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF).

The NFL and Domestic Violence, the U.S.-led Coalition Against ISIS, Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Prospects, the Mid-Term Elections and a Possible Change in Congressional Majorities, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Australian Terror Plot Foiled and Scotland Secession Referendum Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17).  The continuing controversy over the NFL’s domestic violence policy and the several players facing criminal charges and league suspensions over incidents; the Western coalition of countries vowing to combat ISIS; Hillary Clinton’s visit to Iowa and her prospects for running for president in 2016; the looming mid-term elections and talk about majority changes in Congress; concern over the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa and the possibility of a pandemic; the thwarting of a terror plot in Australia; and today’s referendum in Scotland on seceding from the U.K. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

| August 28, 2013

whptlogoCox Media Trims Two Positions at Hot Talk “102.5 The Bone” in Tampa.  The Tampa Bay TimesEric Deggans reports the firing of two air personalities at Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” – evening host Matt “Spice” Lloyd and early morning personality Chris Fisher.  Fisher tellsspice Deggans he wasn’t surprised by his dismissal saying he didn’t believe Cox was going to continue to pay him a full-time salary to host the 3:00 am to 5:00 am “The Fisher Experiment” program.  “I knew overnights were just a placeholder until they could figure out what to do with me.  It wasn’t about performance…I just realized this is part of the business.”  As for Lloyd – a former member of WHPT-based Bubba the Love Sponge’s morning show – he Tweeted that his ratings were good (#1 in his demo and time slot) but that his contentious relationship with Bubba may have led to his departure.  “Revenge is the best revenge…right Bubba? Just checking…”  How much influence Bubba has over the station’s lineup is unknown.  Regardless, there’s a hole in the station’s lineup from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on the WHPT website for now.

cumulusRumors of the Biggest Radio Deal of the Year Wake Industry from End-of-Summer Doldrums.  Numerous industry sources and trade journals are speculating that Cumulus Media is very close to announcing a deal to acquire Dial Global.  The enticing story is further enhanced by rumors that the Dial Global programming could soon be heard under one of its previously-owned and utilized banners, Westwood One – the name to which Dial Global still has the rights after the high profile “merger” of the companies back in 2011 in which parentDG-logoHorizontal company Triton Media Group absorbed Westwood One into its Dial Global property – and that Cumulus Media plans to offset some of the cost of the acquisition by selling some of its small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media which has been in an acquisition mode.  If consummated, Cumulus would have the sports play-by-play that’s been the bread and butter of the former Westwood One and would also obtain the Dial westwoodoneGlobal 24/7 music formats, some of which would be duplicative of its own music formats that came with the acquisition of the old ABC Radio Networks.  This is not to mention, of course, the sales and programming staff that come with each.  The big question on everyone’s mind is what does this all mean in terms of a master business strategy and how implementation of that strategy will influence jobs and the various players’ control over the marketplace?  First of all, everything already published in the industry about this has been based on rumor and speculation with little clarified information being directly provided by the principals involved.  That being acknowledged, should such a deal or set of deals come to fruition, it is highly likely that the answers to these questions will come as an afterthought…or certainly after the deals are consummated.  As for now, the main impetus at work is the intense need on the part of both Cumulus and Dial Global to avoid or at least forestall the debt crisis facing each of them in a mutually advantageous way and, hopefully, make some sense out of the pieces after the new configuration resulting from such a deal fall into place.  As far as Townsquare is concerned, if all of this is true, they are being intelligently opportunistic in their move to build a larger and more potent ownership of viable radio broadcasting outlets and are probably staying up late at night sharpening their pencils.  Stay tuned!

cookehollandHOLLAND COOKE: The Best of the West.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s end-of-summer vacation to California provided him the chance to pocket some consultant “gold nuggets” in the form of in-market observations of some the best radio in the West.  There’s a lot of good radio being done in the Golden State but Cooke offers up three examples that really stuck with him and that apply to practitioners of both talk and music formats.  Take a few minutes to dig into HC’s thoughts about KGO’s Ronn Owens; CBS Radio’s “K-Earth” and baseball on the radio here.

gloverhelenHelen Glover Out at WHJJ, Providence; Ron St. Pierre to Take Over AM Drive.  The Providence Journal’s Andy Smith reports that Clear Channel news/talker WHJJ, Providence has let morning host Helen Glover go and will replacestpierreron her with Ron St. Pierre.  Though the hiring of St. Pierre for the morning show has not been confirmed, Glover – a 2002 “Survivor” finalist – confirms to Smith she’s out, “I always knew this would happen one day, I just didn’t know it would be today.”  Glover had been with WHJJ for almost eight years.  Ron St. Pierre exited WPRO earlier this year.  He had served as program director at WPRO for many years, hosted morning drive and was executive producer of the Buddy Cianci program at the time he left the Cumulus Media news/talk station.

piattstanStan Piatt Announces Retirement from WNIR, Akron After 36 Years.  Morning drive personality Stan Piatt will retire from Media Com’s WNIR, Akron at the end of July next year – or earlier depending on the success of the station’s search for a replacement.  The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Piatt has a girlfriend working in Pittsburgh to whom he’d like to be closer and that he’s finally decided to leave for the Steel City.  As for WNIR, program director Bill Klaus is beginning the hiring process for the next morning show host at one of the country’s first FM talk stations.  He says, “We are seeking a morning drive personality or team with the skills to be fun, funny and engaging in a live ad-lib environment.  Applicants should email a resume and aircheck to wnirradio@gmail.com.  Media-Com is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

ktrsMissouri Governor Jay Nixon Fires at Texas Governor Rick Perry Via Ad on KTRS, St. Louis.  Regarding the story TALKERS reported on Monday (8/26) about CH Holdings-owned news/talk outlet KTRS, St. Louis pulling the ads purchased by the state of Texas after it was discovered they were not promoting tourism but were touting reasons Missouri businesses should consider moving to Texas, there’s been a development.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixonmilhavenmcgraw voiced his own spot that’s been airing on KTRS that counters many of the arguments Governor Rick Perry tries to make in support of Texas’ business-friendly atmosphere.  According to a transcript published by KDSK-TV, St. Louis, Nixon states: “One: Missouri has lower property taxes than Texas.  And lower sales taxes.  Two: Our students score higher on standardized tests.  Graduation rates are higher. Three: Missouri’s unemployment rate; below the national average for 4 years.  And unlike Texas, Missouri has a perfect Triple-A credit rating…And as for the Governor of Texas, he’ll learn you don’t mess with folks here in the Show Me State.”  Nixon says the money KTRS received for his spot makes up for what it lost by cancelling the Texas ad.  KTRS morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS he will have Rick Perry on his program Thursday morning to discuss the issue.

russochrisSiriusXM and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Extend Contract.  Sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo extends his deal with SiriusXM for another three years.  The extension means the Mad Dog Radio channel will continue through the end of 2016.  In addition to the extension, Russo – who gained his fame as a sports talk host working alongside Mike Francesa on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York – will also host a program on the MLB Network that will be simulcast on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM.  In addition to programming the Mad Dog Radio channel, Russo hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed,” – a three-hour afternoon program.  Russo states, “I’ve always loved the on-air freedom that comes with being on SiriusXM.  I can do the kind of show here that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else and I’m fortunate to be able to continue to give my listeners my kind of sports talk radio each and every day on ‘Mad Dog Unleashed.’  I’ll also get to emphasize my passion for baseball with my new role on MLB Network Radio and MLB Network, where I’ll be talking to dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans like me throughout the year.  This is a terrific opportunity that allows me to do what I do best, while also reaching new audiences.”

aguilerachristineWestStar MultiMedia Entertainment Turns to Aguilera. In this case, we are referring to the parent company of “The Kim Komando Show” appointing Christine Aguilera chief operating officer of WME and president of WestStar Merchandising.  As part of Aguilera’s duties in this brand new role, she will oversee network advertising and digital sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications.”  Christine’s unparalleled marketing, advertising, direct response, and consumer experience make her a natural fit for our company’s future,” comments Kim Komando, who in addition to her high-profile, on-air capacity, is WestStar’s chairman/chief financial officer.  Aguilera previously was president of SkyMall, where she spent 16 years.  On the board of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Christine – not Christina Aguilera – mentioned in a Huffington Post interview that she frequently has to “explain” her name so she is not confused with the famous pop star, whose string of hits includes “I Turn to You,” “Beautiful,” “Genie in a Bottle,” What a Girl Wants, and “Feel This Moment.” Christine jokes, “That happens a lot.”

TalkersLA2013Erica Farber to Moderate “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  In what promises to be a “don’t-miss” sequel to one of the highlights of the recent Talkers New York 2013 June convention, RAB president/CEO Erica Farber will follow-up her excellent performance as moderator of the panel discussion, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 in  Hollywood, California.  Only this time around, it will be with a new set of panelists and the focus will be on the local level of radio station and program operations.  Scheduled to joining Farber on the panel are Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO/president, WYD/WYM Media;farberericanew Christopher Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany, NY; and one more to be announced.  The panel will take a sweeping overview of the issues facing radio sales today including concerns about commercial quality and clutter, selling in a PPM world, maximizing ratings-credit, the image of talk radio on the agency level and marketing across multi-media platforms, among others.  The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now.  A sellout is expected by the end of this week.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone.  So don’t wait – avoid being shut out.  For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.

schultevalerieNAB’s Valerie Schulte to Retire.  National Association of Broadcasters announces the retirement of NAB general counsel Valerie Schulte, effective Friday.  Schulte has served with the NAB since 1980 and, according to EVP of communications Dennis Wharton, “has worked on many of the most important issues before the FCC for free and local broadcasters – including children’s television regulations, the digital TV transition, digital radio issues, and legal issues related to satellite radio.  The NAB family wishes Valerie nothing but the best in her retirement.”

Curtis Media Buys Greensboro Translator CP.  Through Eastern Airwaves LLC, Curtis Media purchases the construction permit for FM translator W228CM in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Curtis is buying the property for $125,000 from Wake Forest UniversityBob Heyman of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker representing Curtis.

U.S. Weighs Syria Attack, March on Washington Anniversary, Fort Hood Verdict, Miley Cyrus MTV VMAs Performance, and Spokane Vet Beating Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27).  President Obama’s looming decision whether attack Syria; the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington; the verdict in the Fort Hood slayings; ongoing commentary about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs on Sunday; and the aftermath of the beating death of a Spokane WWII veteran were some of the most talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.