Tag: "Big Radio"

Friday, August 2, 2019

| August 2, 2019

Michael Savage Petitions Boris Johnson to Lift His British Travel Ban. Back in 2009, then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith put Westwood One talk show host Michael Savage on a list of people banned from traveling to Great Britain for “fostering hatred.”  Now, Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, has petitioned newly elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking to have the ban lifted.  In a recent conversation with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison on the PodcastOne show, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” Savage spoke about the ban.  He said that although he’s a bit of a homebody and doesn’t travel much these days, he loves the English people and the architecture and might like to visit again someday.  In his petition, Horowitz writes, “The ban has stood in place for a decade.  Now is the time to lift the ban and take a stand for the rights of free speech that have come under assault in the land of the Magna Carta.”  Read the Washington Examiner’s coverage here.

Big Radio Closes on Janesville, Wisconsin Duo. The deal that transfers news/talk WCLO-AM, and country WJVL-FM in Janesville, Wisconsin from Southern Wisconsin Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Bliss Communications to Ben Thompson, CEO of Big Radio for $5.75 million closes.  Kalil & Co. represented Thompson in this transaction.  Thompson is the son of Scott Thompson, whose Big Radio owns and operates 8 signals in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.  These are the last radio stations to be divested by Bliss.  The company sold four Milwaukee market signals to Magnum Broadcasting in 2014.

Grimsley to Retire from Townsquare Lafayette; Burley to Take Over Cluster Leadership. Media executive Mike Grimsley is retiring from his position as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Lafayette, Louisiana, a post he’s held for the past 25 years.  Grimsley began his career in radio at the age of 18 and also worked in the Charleston, South Carolina and Phoenix markets.  Townsquare is promoting Brad Burley from his post as market president and chief revenue officer in the Lake Charles, Louisiana station group to lead the Lafayette cluster.  Townsquare COO Erik Hellum says, “Mike Grimsley broke the mold.  He has uniquely combined leadership, passion, and drive with the sincerest care for his people and dedication to his community – all with a great sense of humor on top.  Mike is one of the original Townsquare leaders and helped build our company with a steadfast commitment to great local radio while building a vibrant digital and event business.  He is a broadcast legend. Thank you, Mike!”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Infestation and Other Fighting Words!,” looks back at this past week of July 29 – August 2, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, host, WSBA, York, PA; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; Scott Masteller, program director, WBAL, Baltimore; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.   The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis.  For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A few changes take place at Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEZQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “92.9 The Ticket.”  Station brand manager Dale Duff is leaving his 6:00 am to 8:00 am show and former WABI-TV morning news co-anchor Wayne Harvey begins hosting “The Morning Line” in the time slot.  Duff’s show will move to the 3:00 pm hour, leading into the Jim Churchill-hosted afternoon drive program….Emmis Communications’ sports talk WFNI-AM, Indianapolis “The Fan” adds another FM signal to its broadcast. The company had removed translator W228CX from the simulcast of WFNI-AM two years ago to do some engineering work on the signal.  Now, “The Fan” is back on the 93.5 FM frequency in addition to AM 1070 and translator W298BB at 107.5 FM.  Emmis Indianapolis vice president and market manager Bob Richards says, “We’re thrilled to have ‘The Fan’ on loud and proud at 93.5, reaching even more fans with the sports and personalities they love, especially in the western and southern areas of central Indiana.”

The 2020 Presidential Race and the CNN Debates Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 29 – August 2. The Democrats hoping to face President Trump in 2020 and this week’s Democratic debates in Detroit were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Tied at #2 this week was President Trump’s criticism of Baltimore, race relations in general, and the NixonReagan recording. Coming in at #3 was immigration and health care reform, followed by Boris Johnson, Brexit, and the British-U.S. economies tied 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Wayne Allyn Root is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the most ardent supporters of Donald Trump in today’s talk media, Wayne Allyn Root, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  The Las Vegas-based talk show host, heard daily on the USA Radio Network between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET with the third hour (8:00 pm to 9:00 pm) simulcast on Newsmax TV, is one of the fastest rising stars in today’s news/talk media – catapulting within three years of the launch of his show in local radio to the number 62 position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred.  Harrison and Root discuss the colorful “in-your-face” host’s political and media background going all the way back to his days in Westchester, New York as a three-year old child handing out flyers for then-presidential candidate Barry Goldwater’s campaign.  Root’s working-class parents were among the founding members who launched the New York State Conservative Party.  In 2008, Root entered national politics and received the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nomination to serve as its presidential candidate Bob Barr’s running mate. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s Baltimore cluster, air personality Maria Dennis moves from hosting the midday show on CHR WWMX “MIX 106.7” to the company’s adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9.”  At the same time Corinna Delgado – who also hosts the morning drive show on Entercom’s classic hits WIAD, Washington “94.7 The Drive” – is named the new midday personality for “MIX 106.7.”  Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “I’ve worked with Maria for over 20 years.  She’s a consummate professional and an amazing on-air talent.  All of us are thrilled to have her in our Entercom family and we are excited that she’ll now bring her cheerful persona and enthusiasm to ‘Today’s 101.9.’  I’m equally excited to have Corinna Delgado, who is also already part of our Entercom family, join us to take over the midday shift at MIX 106.5.”…..Townsquare Media flips a pair of FM stations in Albany that had been simulcasting a classic rock format branded “Q103.”  First, WQBK-FM becomes adult contemporary as “103.9 The Breeze.”  That station will feature core artists such as Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Boyz II MenAdele, Alicia Keys, and Kelly Clarkson.  Second, WQBJ-FM is now alternative rock as “ALT 103.5.”   Operations manager and program director Steve Richards says, “We are excited to launch ‘103.9 The Breeze.’  We know the station will be the perfect choice to relax to at work and anytime.  We are thrilled to have ‘ALT’ back on the air playing great alternative music for the Capital region and ‘Dave & Mahoney’ in the morning.”…..On-air pro Brian Moote exits Entercom’s Los Angeles CHR KAMP “AMP 97.1” where he’d been co-hosting mornings with Edgar Sotelo for the past 18 months…..iHeartMedia’s rock WDVE, Pittsburgh honored longtime air personality Sean McDowell for his 41-year career with the station.  He retired from WDVE on Wednesday (7/31).  McDowell’s final broadcast party included special guests such as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, current WDVE personalities Randy Baumann, Val Porter and Michele Michaels and past WDVE personalities Jimmy Roach, Herschel, and Kenny Gibbs.  He’s pictured here with the honorary jersey sent by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Photo: Tyler Sing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

| June 4, 2019

Lars Larson Inks New Deal with Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland. Talk radio star Lars Larson signs a new deal to continue hosting his daily program on Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101” through 2024.  As part of the deal, Larson’s 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm PT show is also broadcast to 21 stations in the Pacific Northwest via Alpha Media’s Radio Northwest Network.  Larson’s national radio show airs live on some 125 affiliate stations from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT via syndicator Compass Media Networks (with whom Larson also holds a multi-year contract).  Alpha Media SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “With the biggest local talk radio audience in the region, ‘The Lars Larson Show’ reaches more than 3.5 million listeners.  All of us at Alpha Media Portland, our listeners, and our advertisers are excited to extend our relationship with Lars for the next five years.”  Larson comments, “I’m thrilled to renew my relationship with a station I’ve been with through half a dozen presidents, a dozen NW governors, a live volcano eruption, and more than 25 years as a reporter, anchor, and now talk host.”

Cumulus Makes WABC Programmer Change Official. Yesterday (6/3), TALKERS magazine reported that former hot AC WPLJ, New York program director Dave LaBrozzi has taken over the programming reigns of Cumulus Media’s heritage news/talk WABC, New York, replacing Craig Schwalb.  Now, the company makes it official with a press release. LaBrozzi joined WPLJ in May of 2018.  Prior to that he was VP of programming for what is now Entercom’s Baltimore cluster (when it was owned by CBS RADIO) that includes sports talk duo WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” and WJZ-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1300.”  He previously served as regional vice president of programming for iHeartMedia (back when it was Clear Channel) overseeing stations in Pittsburgh; Wheeling, West Virginia; and Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  Cumulus New York VP and market manager Chad Lopez says, “Dave will be an incredible asset to 77 WABC and Radio 103.9/WNBM-FM, and brings experience in both the news/talk and urban AC formats to his new role with Cumulus New York.  We are looking forward to continuing to grow these stations and to giving their passionate listeners even more of the content and community connection that they rely on and enjoy every day.”

The Thompson Family’s Big Radio to Acquire Two More in Janesville, Wisconsin. Two historical Janesville, Wisconsin radio stations are changing hands as Skip BlissSouthern Wisconsin Broadcasting (a subsidiary of Bliss Communications) agrees to sell heritage news/talk WCLO-AM and country WJVL-FM to Ben Thompson-led Big Radio for an undisclosed sum.  Buyer Big Radio operates eight stations in the Southern Wisconsin markets of Beloit, Freeport, Monroe, and Janesville.  Skip Bliss’ father put WCLO on the air in 1930 and WJVL-FM launched in 1947.  Meanwhile, Big Radio was founded by Ben’s father Scott Thompson in 1996 with the purchase of two Monroe stations.  The sale announcement states that “[u]nder Ben’s leadership, Big Radio remains committed to its founding ideals, providing superior coverage of the community’s local news, sports, entertainment, and information.  Big Radio provides local news 365 days a year and its sports department broadcast over 350 regional high school sporting events last year.  Ben Thompson and Big Radio believe the future of radio is local, and aggressively pursue this strategy to the benefit of its listeners and advertisers.”  Kalil & Co., Inc. represents the buyer in this transaction.

New York’s WOR to Present Live Event Speaker Series. Big Apple news/talk WOR is launching an event series called “WOR Live” that will feature in-depth interviews and compelling speakers.  iHeartMedia announces that for the first event, station morning personality Len Berman will moderate a panel that will analyze the news business in 2019.  Joining Berman will be New York news personalities Rosanna Scotto – co-host of WNYW-TV’s “Good Day New York” – and Ernie Anastos, news anchor at WNYW “FOX News 5.”  The event also features networking opportunities and lunch and takes place at the Cutting Room on June 19 at 11:30 am.

Entercom’s New York All-News Stations Win Big at NYSAPA. WCBS-AM and WINS-AM – both all-news outlets operated by Entercom Communications – won a total of 16 2018 New York State Associated Press Association Awards. WCBS 880 received first place in seven categories, including top honor for “Outstanding News Operation for Radio.”  Sister station 1010 WINS was recognized with top honors in three categories, including for Best Newscast and Best Weathercast.  The stations collectively received second place finishes in six categories.  Winners were honored at NYSAPA’s annual awards dinner on June 1 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Trump’s UK Visit, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Virginia Beach Shootings, U.S.-China Tensions, Mexican Tariff Proposal/Immigration Issues, Big Tech Anti-Trust Investigation, and Holzhauer’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Run Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). The official state visit to the U.K. by President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the aftermath of the shootings in Virginia Beach that left 12 dead; the diplomatic and economic tensions between the U.S. and China over the tariffs the U.S. has slapped on Chinese exports; the Trump Administration’s plan to place tariffs on Mexican exports and the Southern border immigration issues; the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into possible Big Tech anti-trust activity; and James Holzhauer’s improbable “Jeopardy!” run were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, iHeartMedia names Bill Black director of urban programming for hip hop WJLB and urban contemporary WMXD “MIX 92.3,” taking over for Nate Bell, who left that position earlier this year.  Black comes to Detroit from his most recent position with Radio One in Cleveland programming hip hop WENZ and urban contemporary WZAK.  He says, “I am really thrilled to join the iHeartMedia team and be able to do what I love. The talented programmers that I get to collaborate with, coupled with these legendary Detroit urban stations are unmatched and I’m excited to get to work.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Dustin “Fletcher” Matthews program director for alternative WEND, Charlotte “106.5 The End,” effective June 10.  Matthews moves from the company’s St. Louis region where he was director of alternative rock programming.  iHeartMedia Virginia-Carolina Region SVP Chadwick “A.J.” Hausknecht says, “Dustin is one of the best alternative format programmers in the country.  His unmeasurable creativity and distinctive out-of-the-box thinking will be a great addition to our super passionate and strategic programming family here at iHeartMedia Charlotte.”…..Alpha Media announces that programmer Brown is moving from his PD position in Louisville to Columbia, South Carolina where he’ll serve as operations manager.  He continues as format captain for the company’s urban, urban AC, and gospel brands.  Alpha Media regional president Mike Hartel says, “Brown is a natural leader and he has been a star in our company for a while now.  We can’t wait to bring his big ideas and his big heart to our organization and our community in Columbia!”…..This past weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah (left) appeared on the Food Network program,  “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” hosted by country star Trisha Yearwood (right).  Yearwood also sat down for an interview with Delilah for her podcast “Love Someone with Delilah.”  The three-time Grammy Award-winner discussed her life and career, including her first full-length studio album in more than 10 years, Let’s Be Frank: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra…..Entercom expands its LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network CHANNEL Q to new markets, including: Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, and Washington D.C.  The network now brings the latest in LGBTQ+ news and information, pop culture, and new music to listeners in a total of 19 local markets and via the RADIO.COM app nationwide…..WAQX, New York morning personality Shelli Sonstein – longtime co-host of Q104.3’s “Jim Kerr Rock & Roll Morning Show” – led her fundraising team in the 2019 NYC Tunnel to Towers Climb that benefits the families of first responders and military personnel killed in action.  Sonstein led her team (pictured below) in their age group with a record time climbing the 104 stories of the World Trade Center.  She says, “I would like to thank Elvis Duran and my co-host Jim Kerr for their very generous donations, and of course, ‘Q104.3’ and iHeartMedia for supporting my efforts.  My entire team finished this very difficult climb and vows to be back again next year to raise even more funds and awareness of this great organization.”

Thursday, February 28, 2019

| February 28, 2019

Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties.  He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff.  He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.”  Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha.  NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about.  Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.”  Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.

Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.”   Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas.  He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6).  About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success.  Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share.  It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million.  The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment.  It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017.  Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019.  I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history.  Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions.  We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.”  Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold.  “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company.  The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”

Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned.  A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April.  The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history.  Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s.  DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world.  And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites.  Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.”  Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year.  Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets.  She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more.  Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated  “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois.  Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.”  According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.

Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11.  Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade.  The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O.  ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders.  It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface.  Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks.  By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.

Broadcasting from CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right).  The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.

TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results.  The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca.  Check out a demo of the WCCO package here.  Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage.  Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.”  It debuts March 4.  Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.

Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide.  The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY.  He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

| October 15, 2014

stephandougDoug Stephan and WYD Media Management Partner for Syndication.  The new relationship between nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan and Ron Hartenbaum’s WYM Media Management means WYM begins handling affiliate sales for Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” morning show and it will oversee the national launch of “Good Day Weekend,” a three-hour show that will be available for broadcast any time, every weekend.  The two partners say the new show will feature “segments and stories in real time, discussing the week’s breaking news with lively interviews of newsmakers and plenty of advice and fun commentary.”   Doug Stephan comments, “Ron and his talented team bring a level of professionalism and credibility that will surely take ‘Good Day’ to unprecedented levels.  I’m looking forward to working with such a wonderful partner.”

riverageraldoThe Village Voice Names Geraldo Best AM Radio Host in NYC.  The iconic New York paper is out with its 2014 Best Of Awards and WABC late morning personality Geraldo Rivera takes the Best AM Radio Personality Award.  The paper writes, in part, “Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say.  The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards like Bill O’Reilly, which he often does on that toad’s own show with style and red-faced grace.”   Check out the full story here.

wffr logoFull Service FM Signal Begins Serving Muskegon, Michigan.  The programming at WFFR, Muskegon, Michigan is a blend of talk and music that launched on Monday, October 13 as a non-profit station operated by Shoreline Broadcasting.  Local radio pros – including Andy O’Riley, Bill Marshall and Matt Hendricks – are serving as on-air personalities.  According to MLive.com, the station is branding itself, “The Official Radio Station of Muskegon County.”  The station is playing music – mostly classic rock – when it’s not airing spoken-word content.  O’Riley, who is also serving as the station’s general manager, says on the station’s website, “Our focus will be on making sure that our role as a community asset will be appreciated and used often.  Yes, we need to make a living but we also need to be the voice of a community.”

farmjournalmediaFarm Journal Broadcast to Debut Digital Platform.  From Farm Journal Broadcast comes a digital mobile radio service called, “My Farm Radio.”  The company says that the new digital effort is set to debut on November 3 and will focus on providing a mix of best-in-class news, weather and markets along with entertaining and informative conversation for America’s farmers and ranchers.  It will feature both a live stream and on-demand content.  Farm Journal Media SVP of broadcast Brian Conrady says, “All the latest research indicates that for a growing number of farmers and ranchers, mobile devices are rapidly becoming the go-to choice for news and information.  While this totally new offering will be a first for agriculture, we expect our audience – and clients – will quickly associate ‘My Farm Radio’ as the Pandora-type app for agriculture.”  My Farm Radio will launch with the full portfolio of programs and reports from Farm Journal Media, including “AgriTalk,” “Market Rally,” and “American Countryside.”  In addition, the company will be approaching potential programmers to make their shows or reports available on the app, or even own their own channel on the platform.

wbel-am logoBig Radio Brings Back Heritage WBEL Calls to Beloit, Wisconsin Station.  The Scott Thompson-operated Big Radio company announces a change of call letters as WTJK, Beloit is now WBEL-AM – the calls it originally signed on with in 1948.  Thompson says, “The future of AM1380 is in its past…For years, it was the powerhouse radio station not only for Beloit, but for the entire Rock River Valley in both Wisconsin and Illinois.  Because it is a full-time 5,000 watt radio station, we intend to bring it back to its glory days.  Local news, weather and high school sports together with local, real, non-satellite personalities will air from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Now with the addition of WGEZ in Beloit, Big Radio will be able to broadcast on both WBEL and WGEZ from their studios in downtown Beloit.”  The WGEZ purchase from Alliance Communications is expected to be approved by the FCC by the end of the year.  At the same time, the company announces that Ben Thompson (son of Scott), is named general manager of WGEZ and market manager for Janesville/Beloit.  Ben Thompson has been with Magnetar Capital, an Evanston, Illinois-based hedge fund, since graduating from DePaul University in finance and accounting.  He will be moving to Beloit and starting effective December 1, 2014.

U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat, the Battle Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Hong Kong Protests, Financial Markets Activity, and MBL Playoffs and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14).  The case of the second Texas hospital worker to become infected with Ebola and the threat of a pandemic; the coalition battle against ISIS and controversy over the U.S. and Turkish military relationship; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential election; the protests in Hong Kong and China’s response to the matter; the dip in U.S. stocks and the activity in the global financial markets; and the MLB playoffs and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 11, 2014

| April 11, 2014

limbaughrushLimbaugh Commenting on Colbert’s Hiring: “War on the Heartland of America.”  Clearly – not everyone was doing cartwheels regarding yesterday’s announcement that CBS-TV has selected Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as “Late Show” host when Letterman departscolbertstephen sometime next year.  Colbert will gear up for the new assignment by retiring his fake conservative persona (which he has described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot”) on Comedy Central‘s “Colbert Report” at the end of this year.  Perhaps the most vociferous and vitriolic public comments concerning the late-night succession involving Colbert were made by Rush Limbaugh on Thursday’s (4/10) Premiere Networks broadcast.  He claims that CBS-TV’s hiring of Colbert has, “declared war on the heartland of America.  No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values.  Now it is just out in the open.  What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format.”  Limbaugh and Letterman are hardly allies, yet Limbaugh noted that, “The world is changing – people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman gave us.  It is the media planting a flag.  There is no unity in this hire.”  Furthermore, Limbaugh contends that CBS-TV has, “hired a partisan, [a] so-called comedian, to run a comedy show.”

batchelorjohnbookshowWABC, New York’s John Batchelor to Debut Author Video Series on WABCradio.com.  WABC, New York and WestwoodOne syndicated talk show host John Batchelor begins a new online video program titled “John Batchelor Author Series” (sponsored by online bookseller Entitle) in which he “takes his appreciation of literature, history, and political intrigue to a new level” via long-form interviews with today’s most intriguing authors.  Batchelor comments, “I used to be an author, and I enjoy the enthusiasm of hearing in depth of a new book, well told by the person who survived the research, the writing and the publishing.  It’s fun for me to learn the stories of the making of the stories.”  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “No one does books better than John Batchelor, and the ‘Author Series’ proves that.  This is a natural extension of John’s passion and we hope that his listeners in New York and across the country will enjoy it.”  The program launches with an in-depth interview of Thomas Cahill the author of Heretics and Heroes.  Future episodes include: Robert Klara author of FDR’s Funeral Train, Eri Hotta author of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy and George H. Nash author of The Crusade Years 1933-1955.  Fresh episodes will appear weekly on wabcradio.com.

karnlogoKARN-FM, Little Rock Names PD; Seeks Afternoon Host.  Little Rock news/talker KARN-FM names Adam Thomas program director for the station and the Arkansas Radio Network.  Thomas takes over for longtime PD and PM drive host Dave Elswick who, along with morning host Bob Steel and news director Jack Heinritz, exited the station last week.  Thomas is seeking a new afternoon drive personality for the station and says, “The afternoon show should be a compelling blend of information and entertainment.  Opinion and point-of-view are important, but this program must appeal to a broad segment of the Little Rock community.  Candidates must have a mastery of current events, a relentless curiosity, and the ability and desire to talk about more than politics.  A willingness and ability to engage the audience outside the show via personal appearances, digital media and other channels is a must.”  Send resumes and airchecks or links to cumulusradio.jobs@cumulus.com with “Little Rock PM Host” in the subject line.  Cumulus Media is an EOE.

rowlandjohnFormer Governor, WTIC Host John Rowland Indicted on Federal Elections Violations Charges. A week after former Connecticut Governor John Rowland resigned from his afternoon drive talk show on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, he has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts related to alleged illegal campaign activity.  Rowland, who resigned from the governor’s office in 2004 and eventually served 10 months in prison after being charged with corruption, is this time accused of scheming to work for two Connecticut political campaigns and trying to conceal from both the public and the Federal Elections Commission that he was being paid by the campaigns.

wtjk logo newWTJK, Janesville to Flip to News/Talk.  The newly acquired Janesville, Wisconsin sports talker that Scott Thompson’s Big Radio purchased from Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting is flipping to news/talk as “The Big AM 1380” beginning Monday, April 14.  The station – an ESPN Radio outlet under Good Karma’s ownership – will focus on local content and Scott Thompson will host the morning drive show.  The rest of the day will feature: Glenn Smith from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Andrew Liebetrau & Andy Gannon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Tony Huml from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Sly from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Program director Andrew Liebetrau comments, “We are incredibly excited to do more for our local listeners, partners and communities.  Not only will we have a lot of great new and local content, but we will continue to offer some of the great local programs we have had for years.”

sportsusaOdds & Sods.  Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is producing a weekly podcast for Sports USA Network.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Jake Plummer is a true superstar with a huge following in the college and pro football sports world.  We are excited to add Jake’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs as we continue to produce current, fresh, and informative sports programming.”  Plummer is currently an NFL game analyst on Sports USA’s “Sunday Doubleheader” package as well as a college football analyst on the Pac-12 Television Network…..Alison Cuddy exits Chicago Public Media-owned WBEZ, Chicago where she has been serving as arts & culture reporter and producer.  She leaves to become program director for the Chicago Humanities Festival…..The “Sports Business Radio” show, hosted by creator Brian Berger, celebrates its 10th year on the air.  It debuted on KXL, Portland and then moved to national syndication via Sports Byline USA Network.

ABCNewsRadiocrewMeet the New Boss. The New York-based staff of ABC News Radio poses for a photo with newly named ABC News president James Goldston (at center).  Goldston was given a standing ovation by the ABC News Radio staff when he visited them today just hours after getting the top job at the network.  Goldston, most recently senior vice president overseeing content and development, succeeds Ben Sherwood who is stepping down from the president position in a few weeks after assisting Goldston during the transition phase.

ObamaCare Criticism Top Talk Story for Week of April 7-11.  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 was the 2016 presidential race tied with this fall’s mid-term elections.  Following at #3 was global warming and at #4 was the move to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt tied with Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as Health and Human Services Secretary.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.