Tag: "Bob Fisher"

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

| May 7, 2019

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Mike McVay.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison engaged in an exclusive audio conversation earlier this morning (5/7) with outgoing Cumulus Media executive vice president of content and programming Mike McVay.  McVay, who will be staying on with the company in an executive capacity until July at which point, he will launch his own consultation firm with Cumulus being its first client, discusses the details of the transition and some of his personal sentiments about the change.  This excerpt will be part of a larger, deep-dive conversation between Harrison and McVay that will be posted in full on Tuesday, May 14 as next week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  To listen to this informational excerpt, please click 

      here
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Rich Zeoli to Move to Mornings on WPHT, Philadelphia.  TALKERS magazine hears that current afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is moving to the morning daypart on the Entercom news/talk station.  Zeoli would assume the position most recently held by Chris Stigall, who exited the station earlier this year.  Zeoli joined WPHT as a talk host in 2010.

Townsquare Media’s Q1 Report: Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 4.7%.  Revenue was up for Townsquare Media, Inc. comparing the first quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2018.  Net revenue for Q1 of 2019 was $ 93.7 million, up 6.5%.  On a pro forma basis (excluding revenue from the July 2018 acquisition of three Trenton market signals), net revenue was up 4.7%.  Breaking apart the company’s three segments – advertising, interactive, and live events – advertising revenue was up 3.9% over the same period in 2018, interactive jumped 31.6%, while live events dipped 8.6%.  Pro forma net loss for the first quarter decreased $21.5 million, or 81.8%, to a net loss of $4.8 million, compared to a net loss of $26.3 million in the same period in 2018.  Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “Townsquare is off to a great start in 2019 with strong operational and financial performance, demonstrated by our first quarter Adjusted EBITDA growth of 8.3%.  We have continued the strong momentum we experienced throughout 2018, as our team once again delivered double-digit revenue growth in our Townsquare Ignite and Townsquare Interactive divisions, leading to total net revenue growth of 6.5% in the first quarter of 2019.  As a result of our continued growth and strength in digital, we are pleased to announce that for the first time in our history, digital revenue contributed over one-third of the company’s total net revenue.  Given our diversified revenue base, today and moving forward we believe Townsquare is best described as a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company. To that point, beginning in the first quarter of 2019 I am very pleased to share that we have provided segmentation of our financial results.  In particular this will allow you to see the strong profit that is generated by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions business which currently serves approximately 16,200 monthly subscribers.  In the first quarter of 2019, Townsquare Interactive had net revenue growth of 31.6% and Adjusted Operating Income growth of 34.8%, operating at a 31% margin.  As noted previously, we believe that Townsquare Interactive, as well as our Townsquare Ignite division, will each generate $100 million in annual net revenue within the next three to five years.”

Brian Kilmeade Named 2019 Recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award.  Described by Michael Harrison as “one of this era’s most prolific communicators in national talk media,” the TALKERS editorial board has selected Fox News Channel “Fox & Friends” co-host (6:00 am – 9:00 am ET)  and Fox News Radio syndicated program host (9:00 am – 12:00 noon ET) Brian Kilmeade as the publication’s 2019 recipient of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech.  Kilmeade is also a prolific best-selling author who has written a number of books about American history shedding new light on such figures as George WashingtonThomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson among others.  According to Harrison, “Brian Kilmeade is a hard working media pro who has been turning in six straight hours per morning on both radio and cable TV year after year tackling the most controversial issues confronting the nation on a very big stage and facing the heat that comes with sticking your neck out on a regular basis.  His books about largely overlooked but highly significant chapters in American history have also added to a greater understanding of where this country came from written in language that is clear and compelling to the average person.  This man understands the First Amendment and knows how to exercise it on a level that keeps it alive and well in a turbulent environment in which it is always under assault.”  The award recognizes broadcasting achievement in raising consciousness and awareness of the First Amendment, displaying courage and commitment in exercising First Amendment rights and contributing to the viability of the First Amendment through deed and example.  The non-partisan award, one of the most prestigious and high-profile honors presented to individuals in the talk media industry, has a colorful (and often controversial) history that goes back to the early 1990s when the modern era of talk radio emerged and the format became recognized as an influential forum of public policy and social change following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine.  It was re-named in honor of talk radio pioneer Gene Burns upon his death in May 2013. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Gene Burns was the model by which the Freedom of Speech Award delivered at our national conventions was developed.  It is only fitting that this institution bears the name of this great champion of the ideals and foundation upon which contemporary spoken-word radio is built.”  Last year’s recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award was SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Urban View” channel personality Karen Hunter.  Recipients over the years include Rush LimbaughThom HartmannAl FrankenSean HannityAlan ColmesJim FarleyJuan WilliamsJoe Madison, Michael Savage, Norm PattizBill O’ReillyMatt DrudgeBob GrantG. Gordon Liddy, and Brian Lamb among others.  This year’s award will be presented to Brian Kilmeade at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7.  The convention is close to being a sellout.  For registration information, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes.  KGLO, Mason City, Iowa news director Bob Fisher was recently honored by the Iowa Broadcast News Association during its 2018 Awards Contest.  Fisher picked up eight awards, including two first-place honors – one for Political Coverage and another for General Reporting.  Fisher and Alpha Media’s KGLO have received a total of 92 awards in the last 15 years. He just concluded serving as past-president of the Iowa Broadcast News Association’s board of directors and retired from the board after serving 14 of the last 15 years…..ABC Radio is offering three Memorial Day weekend specials for affiliate stations: “Country Summer Road Trip,” “A Decade of Rock Hits,” and “America Remembers 2019.” Country artist Luke Combs hosts the country music special, rock legend Don Felder is host of the rock hits show, and ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky reports on how combat, training, and suicide have taken a toll on American service members, in “America Remembers 2019.” ABC says, “Some have died afar, in the nation’s longest war or in another country’s civil war; some have died close to home in training exercises meant to prepare, not kill; and some have died at home, from the effects of an earlier deployment.  The three-hour ABC News special profiles these service members who lost their lives and the families they’ve left behind.”

Trump’s China Tariffs Threat, Mueller Report Aftermath/Trump Obstruction Letter, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Approval Ratings, Trump Tax Returns Fight, UN Species Extinction Report, U.S.-Iran Tensions, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The financial markets react to President Trump’s renewed tariff threat against China; the aftermath of the Mueller Report and the letter signed by some 400 former prosecutors stating President Trump’s action constituted obstruction of justice; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; a new Gallup poll shows Trump’s approval rating at 46%, his highest since taking office; House Democrats’ attempts to get Trump’s tax returns; the UN report concluding that plant and animal species are disappearing at a rapid rate; concerns about Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; Sunday’s episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; the first-ever disqualification of a Kentucky Derby winner; and the NBA playoffs 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. Programming and on-air pro Joel Weiss joins Cumulus Media as APD and music director for its alternative KCJK “X105.1” and CHR KCHZ “95-7 The Vibe” in Kansas City.  Weiss was most recently with Beasley Media’s alternative WBOS, Boston, prior to its recent flip to rock. He’ll also host the evening program on KCJK.  Mike O’Reilly is PD for the stations, and he says, “The timing of being able to integrate Joel into our ‘X’ and ‘Vibe’ brands is truly remarkable.  It’s not every day you find such a creative, talented programming vet with Joel’s unique skill set and unanimous favor in the industry.”…..Mediabase promotes Gregg Miller to vice president of sales/client services.  Miller joined Mediabase in 1997 after management positions at Polygram Records, Enigma Records, and Broadcast Data Systems.  His current duties will focus on airplay reporting and music trends for Mediabase clients…..WAXQ, New York “Q104.3” morning drive co-host Shelli Sonstein was appointed to the rank of Honorary Battalion Chief by Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro for her continued support of the New York City Fire Department and her contributions to the community during a ceremony on Monday (5/6).  Nigro stated, “Shelli Sonstein is a tremendous advocate for the FDNY, in particular, our members battling illnesses related to their brave work during the World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort.  She is extremely active in the September 11th community, educating her listeners and raising awareness about the growing list of fallen heroes in our Department.”…..On May 3, radio and CMT personality Cody Alan took the stage at KASE, Austin’s “The Night Before” surprise concert with station personalities Anne Hudson and Anthony “The AntMan” Allen to help introduce the secret headliners: Waterloo Revival, Russell Dickerson, and Morgan Wallen.  The event was held at Maggie Mae’s in Austin and is a free, annual event leading up to the iHeartCountry Festival in Austin.  Pictured below (from l-r) are: Alan, “CMT After MidNite” and “CMT Radio Live” correspondent Marley Sherwood, Hudson, and Allen.

Monday, December 11, 2017

| December 11, 2017

WBUR, Boston Talk Personality Tom Ashbrook Suspended During Investigation.  “On Point” is a public radio talk show produced by WBUR, Boston – owned and operated by Boston University – and syndicated to almost 300 NPR affiliate stations.  As reported by WBUR.org, host Tom Ashbrook has been suspended while the school and the station conduct an investigation into allegations, the details of which are not being specified by the station.  It released this statement on Friday (12/8): “Yesterday, Boston University and WBUR received some allegations against Tom Ashbrook.  Tom will be on leave from his duties at WBUR while an outside organization hired by Boston University examines these allegations.  We will decide a course of action after getting the results of this investigation.”  In the WBUR.org story, Ashbrook says he’s “stunned at the situation” and says he respects the process the school must go through in this situation.

Mark Kaye Hosting New Daily Talk Show on WOKV, Jacksonville.  CHR radio pro Mark Kaye is now hosting a daily talk show on Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville.  Kaye is the morning drive host on the company’s sister CHR WAPE.  His new talk show airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, in between the Herman Cain show and Rush Limbaugh on the program schedule.   Kaye has worked for WOKV in the past, hosting a weekend show.

Former Nevada Broadcasters Association Founding President Admits to Improper Behavior.  Radio personality and former Nevada Broadcasters Association president Bob Fisher admits to engaging in “improper behavior” with teenage boys back in the 1980s.  This was reported in a piece in Jewish Week that reveals the details of allegations by two men who were 18 and 16 at the time Fisher was a leader of the Pacific Southwest Region of United Synagogue Youth.  In the story, Fisher admits to the allegations and says he is ashamed of his behavior, though he says he never forced himself on anyone.  He also tells the paper of his dysfunctional childhood and being raped as a child and as a college student.

Nielsen and Cumulus Renew Deal for Ratings Services.  The ratings giant is owed approximately $6.65 million by Cumulus Media – that figure was released by Cumulus as part of its Chapter 11 filing.  But, Nielsen Audio knows that Cumulus needs its services to help sell its radio stations and national programming on Westwood One.  This renewal means Cumulus continues to use the ratings service but will also have access to data from Nielsen Scarborough, enhanced talent analytics from Nielsen N-Score and national networks ratings from Nielsen RADAR.  Cumulus EVP of operations Bob Walker comments, “Despite the abundance of media options, radio continues to lead the way in reach and ROI.  We are excited to extend our agreement with Nielsen so that we can continue to leverage their vast datasets and analytical insights to provide the proof that we do indeed deliver the highest ROI of any local media to our advertisers.”

PPM Analysis:  NBA FlagshipsTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations that serve as flagship stations for play-by-play broadcasts for NBA teams.  Note that this isn’t a review of PPM ratings for game broadcasts, but for weekly 6+ AQH shares for stations that serve as flagships.  A number of these stations serve as flagships for NFL and MLB franchises, as well.  In addition to charts comparing stations’ ratings in numerous ways, Kinosian reports the station ranks for the Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey and the five previous surveys.  At the top of the heap, WBZ-FM, Boston ranked #3 (6+) in November.  WTMJ, Milwaukee ranked #4 and WFAN, New York and WXYT-FM, Detroit ranked #5 in their respective markets.  See the whole report here.

News Pro Chuck Rich Dead at 65.  News pro Charles “Chuck” Rich died suddenly on Friday (12/8) at the age of 65.  Chuck Rich was married to Washington, DC public relations pro Rita Rich.  During his career, he held positions with WTOP-TV (WUSA), WTOP Radio, AP Radio and for well over 25 years, Westwood One Radio Networks. He also spent many years with Voice of America. He also was a contributing editor for Washingtonian Magazine.

Trump Jerusalem Recognition Reactions, California Wildfires, Iraq’s ISIS Liberation, Roy Moore Campaign, North Korea Nuclear Program, Trump-Russia Probe, Bitcoin Activity, Sunday’s NFL Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The violent protests in the Middle East over President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; the raging California wildfires and authorities’ concerns there’s no end in sight to the Santa Ana winds; Iraq declares the country liberated from the ISIS forces that had held control over numerous Iraqi cities; the U.S. Senate campaign of former Alabama judge Roy Moore and allegations of his history of sexual predation; the North Korea nuclear program and the war of words between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the volatility of Bitcoin; Sunday’s NFL games and attendance figures; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Radio’s Greatest Storytellers.  Pictured above at the Entercom broadcast center in Philadelphia are some of radio’s “greatest storytellers” gathered to appear on the Westwood One-syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” program starring Walter M. Sterling.  From left to right are: Douglas Henderson Jr., Michael Tearson, Denny Somach, Gary R’Nel, Tommy McCarthy, Rasa Kaye, AJ Essington, Lee Harris, Ross Brittain, Sterling, and Allen Shaw.  (Not pictured but on the broadcast were Tommy Woods and Dick Summer.) On the couch is Judy Anderson and Neil Pohl who had a major announcement: He asked her to marry him live on the air and she said “yes.”  Sterling tells TALKERS that listeners heard how album rock radio was really invented by Allen Shaw.  Michael Tearson revealed the early days of prog rock.  Ross Brittain explained that HE was responsible for “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”  Doug Henderson described the work of his dad Jocko which aired on a Philly station and a New York City station thanks to a daily train commute.  You can hear and download the show on www.waltermsterling.com Tuesday (12/12).

TALKERS News Notes.  Radio executive Charlie Ferguson is retiring from Saga Communications where he’s been the VP and general manager at its Springfield, Illinois station group for the past three years.  The 65-year-old Ferguson tells the State Journal-Register, “It occurred to me that I have not seen any of my seven grandchildren more than once a year for the last several years.  This is probably the right time.”  Saga operates news/talk WTAX and six other music formatted signals in the market…..CNN Money is reporting that SiriusXM is getting some “celebrity backlash” from Stephen K. Bannon’s return to the satcaster’s airwaves.  As TALKERS reported last week, Bannon is back on the “Breitbart News Daily” morning program that’s part of the Patriot channel lineup and that has some celebs, including musician Melissa Etheridge, vowing not to appear on the radio service.  Etheridge says she’s no longer going to do her “Melissa’s Basement” interview show that aired on the Volume channel.  Actors Seth Rogan and John Leguizamo have also said they’ll not appear on SiriusXM anymore…..In Columbus, Ohio, sports talk host (and former NFL linebacker) Bobby Carpenter renews with RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan” for a multi-year deal to continue co-hosting the midday “Carpenter and Rothman” show with Anthony Rothman.

Howie Carr Hosts NH Toy Drive.  Regionally syndicated New England talk radio superstar Howie Carr held a special toy drive event in partnership with Two International Group in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Friday (12/8).  Carr broadcast his program from the lobby of Two International Group and collected toys for the Toys For Tots program.  Carr is pictured here with four New Hampshire State Police Troopers who came by to donate toys. Howie Carr’s show is heard on more than 25 affiliate stations in New England and is seen nationwide on Newsmax TV.

Mitch Albom Radiothon Raises Record Dough for Detroit Charities.  Pictured above, WJR, Detroit afternoon drive host Mitch Albom (second from right) celebrates the announcement of the record $1.25 million raised during last Thursday’s radiothon event to benefit Mitch Albom Charities (which benefits other Detroit charities).  Post-radiothon donations have boosted that total to more than $1.8 million!  The 15-hour show was hosted by Albom, with dozens of celebrity guests appearing, including: Dr. Phil, Hugh Jackman, Hank Azaria, Matthew Stafford and more.

Beasley NYC Holiday Bash.  Last Friday (12/8), Beasley Media Group held its Holiday Soiree at the Park Central Hotel in New York City.  The festivities included performances by SEAL and Brothers Osborne.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Bruce Beasley, SEAL, Caroline Beasley and Brian Beasley.

KSFO, San Francisco Morning Host Brian Sussman is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the nation’s hottest local morning radio talk show hosts, Brian Sussman of Cumulus Media O&O KSFO, San Francisco, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Sussman discusses the challenges of doing competitive morning news/talk radio which requires finding the correct balance between hard political issues and more general interest areas of pop culture and fun. He also talks about his fascinating transition from being one of the most popular TV meteorologists in the Bay Area for many years to becoming a radio talker. Don’t miss this interesting and informative conversation! To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  St. Louis CHR KSLZ “Z107.7” names Jordan host of the morning drive program.  The iHeartMedia SVP of programming for St. Louis A.J. says, “Jordan is one of the best radio talents in the industry.  Moving him to mornings will help write the next chapter in ‘Z107.7’ history.  During his time in St. Louis, Jordan has had tremendous success with afternoons and we are very excited for him to host a fun, compelling and local morning show for St. Louis.”…..In iHeartMedia’s Denver Region, changes take place in its rock radio formats.  Effective today, KBPI, Denver “Rocks the Rockies” programming is being simulcast on KPAW, Fort Collins and KDZA, Colorado Springs.  The station’s programming includes “Your Morning Show with Willie B” and air personalities Beardo and Colfax. At the same time, the KPAW, Fort Collins format will replace the adult contemporary format on KYWY, Warren AFB, Wyoming.

Former Radio Exec Perry Ury Passes at 91.  Retired radio executive Perry Ury passed away at his home in Sarasota, Florida a week shy of his 92nd birthday.  Ury led WRKO, Boston “Big 68” during its CHR days.  He went on to manage all of the RKO radio stations.  After serving with RKO, he managed WTIC-AM and WTIC-FM in Hartford until his retirement.