Tag: "Bob Proffitt"

Monday, July 7, 2014

| July 7, 2014

murphyjohnWYD Media Ad Sales Debuts.  The New York-based sales venture being launched by WYD Media Management is called WYD Media Ad Sales, LLC and former Westwood One EVP of talk sales John Murphy takes the helm as president.  WYD CEO Ron Hartenbaum announces the company will focus on personality-created spoken word content that’s distributed across multiple platforms such as audio, digital, video and more.  He adds, “Based on his 30-year track record of success in national radio ad sales, specifically in the spoken word format, John is the ideal sales and marketing executive to build WYD Media Ad Sales.”  Murphy, who spent more than a decade with Westwood One, comments, “This is the best time to start a new venture that focuses on monetizing spoken word content as the format expands across numerous distribution platforms.  I look forward to working with WYD’s existing clients as well as creating new partnerships and content opportunities.”  During his career Murphy has repped such talent as: Charles Osgood, Laura Ingraham, Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Clark Howard, Herman Cain, Mark Levin, Dennis Miller, John Gibson, John Tesh, Brian Kilmeade, Thom Hartmann, Lars Larson, Neal Boortz and more.

morrisginnyGinny Morris Transitions to CEO of Hubbard Radio; Bruce Reese to Special Advisor Role.  Since 1996, Bruce Reese had been serving Bonneville as president and CEO prior to the acquisition of the Bonneville stations by Hubbard in 2011.  He kept his president and CEO role and joined Hubbard.  Ginnyreesebruce Morris has been chair of the Hubbard board since 2011.  Now, Reese will step back into a special advisor role and Morris will become chief executive officer.  The company states that Reese has been “instrumental in the transition when the 17 Bonneville radio stations across four markets (Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati) were purchased by Hubbard Radio.  The acquisition also meant the addition of 547 Bonneville employees.”  Morris says, “Working with Bruce over these last three-and-a-half years on the integration, first on the Bonneville assets and subsequently those we bought from Sandusky and merged into a new Hubbard Radio, has been a great experience.  Bruce is smart and strategic and he shares hubbardradio logomany of the values that our family holds dear — a commitment to localism, honesty and integrity.  He has helped to establish a great foundation for the company and we are grateful to still have the benefit of his wise counsel.”  Reese comments, “Over the last two decades, I’ve had the opportunity to run two great radio companies.  After Bonneville was brought into Hubbard Radio, we all worked to preserve the values and spirit of both organizations while creating one corporate identity and culture.  The success of the transition has exceeded my hopes, and I am grateful for the trust shown to me by Ginny and the entire Hubbard Radio family.  Our company is performing well, and the time is right for Ginny to step into this role.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Hubbard team in an advisory capacity while eagerly looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”

opieanthonyO&A Fans in ‘Watch and Wait’ Mode After Anthony Cumia’s July 3 Firing.  Fans of the Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM are waiting to see if co-host Gregg “Opie” Hughes continues the show without longtime partner Anthony Cumia after Cumia was fired from the satcaster on Friday, July 4.  By now you’ve probably heard about Cumia’s vulgar rant about his confrontation with an African American woman in Times Square who was reportedly upset she was in his camera’s field of view as he took photos on the street.  An altercation took place during which Cumia says the woman began punching him.  Police were not called to the scene.  Cumia took to Twitter to talk about the incident and used foul language while making the woman’s race part of the issue.  After being fired, he Tweeted that SiriusXM “decided to cave” and fired him for something that didn’t happen on air and wasn’t illegal.  TALKERS is not aware of the content of Cumia’s contract with SiriusXM but it appears the satcaster was within its rights to terminate him.  He’s neither the first nor will he be the last radio personality to lose his gig after a Twitter rant.  The advice seems obvious: Your employer will ultimately see what you do in the digital world; consider how the company would view your actions before posting.

bearmanethanEthan Bearman Produces and Performs One-Hour Independence Day Special on WPHT, Philadelphia.  Rising talk star Ethan Bearman, who is regularly heard weekends on Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco and nationally on Genesis Communications Network (GCN), has expanded his broadcasting footprint to include CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia.  Bearman was smartly recruited by WPHT, PD Jared Hart to do a live hour of Independence Day content last Friday between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm ET on Philly’s 50k flamethrower and reports from the TALKERS monitoring corps indicate that it was a provocative, informative and powerful hour of spoken word radio.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Bearman analyzed the historical, cultural and political fabric of the American institution of the 4th of July in a meticulous and precise manner that had a number of ‘aha!’ moments.  He took intelligent calls and made a number of really relevant points that left the audience thinking.  I especially like the way he compared the leaders of that period – those folks we call the ‘Founding Fathers’ – to today’s crop of politicians asking the question, “Are there any political leaders today who would sign a document supporting an issue and campaign in which they believed at the significant risk of their lives?”  Bearman was part of a larger WPHT July 4th salute in which station morning and midday hosts Chris Stigall and Dom Giordano broadcasted their shows from the Independence Hall Visitors Center.

lewisjasonJason Lewis to End GCN Syndication Run.  As tipped by “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman, nationally syndicated talk show host Jason Lewis will cease his syndication efforts with Genesis Communications Network effective August 1.  Lewis first ventured into syndication from his Twin Cities home base several years ago with Premiere Networks.  After his relationship with Premiere Networks ended, he joined GCN for national syndication three years ago.  There’s no indication whether Lewis will leave flagship station KTLK, Minneapolis at that time.

krantzwhitmireBrad and Britt Debut Podcast Today from Branded Studio.  Following up on last week’s report about the new podcast project being produced by talk radio personalities Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire, the two inform TALKERS that when they begin their podcast show – available for download by 3:00 pm ET today – they will be doing so from their sponsored studio: The Brad and Britt Tarheeldentist.com Studio.  In a piece about the duo’s exit from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the Greensboro News & Record, Krantz says they believe that money is starting to flow in the direction of audio on demand and are excited about the new venture.

p'poolrandiAlpha Media Promotes Portland Cluster Marketing Pro Randi P’Pool to Corporate Position.  This promotion for Portland market director of marketing Randi P’Pool comes shortly after the completed merger of Alpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting and Main Line Broadcasting.  P’Pool’s new title is corporate VP of marketing and promotions.  Alpha Media president/CEO Bob Proffitt states, “I’m very happy Randi has accepted this position, as she has proven to be an invaluable asset to our Portland cluster and now will be true resource to the Alpha Media markets.  She is creative, intelligent, and relentless – perfect qualifications for a corporate VP of marketing and promotions.”  P’Pool comments, “I owe much gratitude to Bob Proffitt, Scott Mahalick and Larry Wilson for giving me the opportunity to be part of this exciting journey not only in radio but within our company.  I look forward to continuing to grow and promote the live and local brand across all of our markets.”  Prior to joining Alpha Broadcasting three years ago, P’Pool served with Citadel Broadcasting in the Salt Lake City market.

flemingtomAdLarge Ups Tom Fleming.  Adding more duties at AdLarge Media is Tom Fleming who is promoted to vice president, Midwest sales and sports sales.  In this expanded role, Fleming will be responsible for the AdLarge repertoire of live, play-by-play NFL and NCAA football offerings, Yahoo Sports Radio, and all Midwest sales, including the Detroit office.  Fleming had been serving as vice president, Midwest sales since joining AdLarge in October, 2013.

Pascagoula, Mississippi Radio Personality Walter Thornton Dead at 53.  The Pascagoula-Moss Point community is mourning the death of local morning radio host and sportscaster Walter Thornton, who died over the holiday weekend of an apparent heart attack.  The SunHerald reports the 53-year-old broadcaster was a standout high school athlete who remained involved in the local sports scene and became a sports talk host covering the prep scene in the area.  Most recently he hosted the morning show and sports talk programs at Tri City Radio-owned WPMO, Pascagoula-Moss Point and sister station WVGG, Lucedale.

ftlPorcfest14Will It Be “Governor Freeman?”  Probably not, as “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman admits he’d have trouble “governing” anyone even if he beat the odds and is elected.  But the co-host of the New Hampshire-based, GCN nationally syndicated show says his goal with the campaign is two-fold: “First, to needle the current governor, Maggie Hassan, on her refusal to decriminalize or legalize cannabis in NH, while admitting she smoked it in college; second, to promote the idea of NH declaring independence from the United States.”  Freeman says he’s available for interviews from interested broadcasters about these issues.  Contact him at ian@freetalklive.com.  Freeman is pictured here at far right while broadcasting from the recent Porcfest 2014 – the yearly camping gathering of libertarians that drew over 1,500 attendees, many of them FTL listeners.  Also pictured are (from left to right) Free Talk Live’s Mark Edge, Nick Gillespie of Reason.com, and Jeffrey Tucker of Liberty.me.

millerfaithgodfestReaching Out to His Peeps.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller rouses the crowd at the 48th annual Treasure Valley God and Country Festival.  Miller tells TALKERS he was honored to fire up the crowd of some 9,000 that attended the festival to honors “faith and the military in Idaho.”

Cool Job Opportunity.  Station Group in Little Rock Arkansas is looking to hire a General Manger to oversee all station operations for news/talk and sports talk.  Sales acumen and experience in news and sports talk field a plus.  Contact Steve Renfro at 479-287-4211 or by email at srenfro@capitalcb.com.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

| July 2, 2014

alphamedia logoAlpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting Become Alpha Media; Main Line Deal Closes. Portland-based L&L Broadcasting operates 43 stations in seven markets; the merged company’s corporate headquarters will continue to be in Portland, where Alpha Broadcasting owns six radio facilities.  In addition to this merger, L&L’s $57 million deal to purchase 19 Main Line Broadcasting stations has been finalized.  Alpha Media chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger of Portland’s Alpha operation into our newly created Alpha Media results in one company operating all markets.  Our ‘Live and Local’ vision continues to be our focus.  By adding the former Main Line markets, we can continue to develop ourmain line broadcasting footprint with attractive markets operated by great radio people.  We are excited to add them to our growing company.” L&L Broadcasting president and chief executive officer Bob Proffitt remarks, “From the day we visited each Main Line market, we knew they were full wilsonlarryof talented radio broadcasters who understand our vision and how we operate.  We feel our live and local approach will enhance each market’s rating and revenue potential.  Having Portland in the fold allows us to liberally use some of the best brains in the radio business to help listeners, clients, and employees at our other markets throughout the country.”  According to Main Line Broadcasting chief executive officer Marc Guralnick, “It has been a great nine years at Main Line Broadcasting.  I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best people in the industry.  I am excited to have our talented broadcasters now under the leadership of Larry Wilson, Bob Proffitt, and the Alpha-L&L team.  I wish L&L and this tremendous staff much continued success.”  The four markets for Philadelphia-based Main Line are Louisville, Dayton, Richmond, and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  The company was represented in the transaction by Media Venture Partners.

katztonyTony Katz Assumes Morning Drive Role at WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Monday (6/30) was the first day on the job for new WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning show personality Tony Katz.  He replaces Steve Simpson who recently exited the station after 22 years.  Katz had been hosting the 9:00 pm to 12:00wibclogo midnight show at WIBC-FM from his home in Los Angeles but is moving to Indy for this new role.  Emmis market manager Charlie Morgan recently told the Indianapolis Business Journal the move to replace Simpson with Katz was the result of the station wanting a more opinionated, commentary-driven show than the newsy approach Simpson was comfortable with.  “He’s just not the right guy for what the role of host now requires.  What we’re asking our hosts to do is offer opinion and perspective, and [Simpson] was not comfortable with that.  He was more comfortable in a more traditional news role.”

gottliebdougCBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gottlieb Show Gets Cable Simulcast.  Beginning August 25, the Doug Gottlieb show will be seen on cable’s CBS Sports Network in addition to being heard on the CBS Sports Radio Network.  The program will be simulcast live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  CBS Sports SVP of programming Dan Weinberg says, “Adding the Doug Gottlieb show greatly strengthens our afternoon lineup adding three hours of live and relevant content each day.  Doug’s show is high-energy, insightful and entertaining and we are excited to extend the reach of his radio show to the CBS Sports Network television audience.”

kfbk logoKFBK Boosts Murray to News Director.  Assistant program director Mike Murray is elevated to news director at Clear Channel Sacramento talker KFBK.  Vice president of programming Ken Charles – who programs KFBK and sibling talker KSTE – comments, “In determining the needs of our department, and wanting to make sure there is one vision and voice between programming and news, Mike rose to the top as the right candidate for the role.”  In the next few weeks, there will reportedly be some news/programming restructuring associated with Murray’s promotion.

keiperjenniferKeiper Returns to WLS-AM, Chicago as News Anchor.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Jennifer Keiper is back with news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago after a six-year absence during which she worked as Midwest correspondent for Fox News Radio.  Keiper will anchor the news during afternoon drive, where Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are currently heard.  Keiper is taking over for Susan Carlson who resigned two months ago to join WMAQ-TV.  Read Feder’s column here.

mathenysamMatheny Named EVP/Chief Technology Officer for NAB.  Joining NAB from Capitol Broadcasting to serve as the new EVP and chief technology officer is Sam Matheny.  His work as part of the corporate staff involvement in several Capitol Broadcasting media ventures: general manager at News Over Wireless, which provided the first local television news applications for wireless carriers; manager of Digital Cinema at Microspace Communications, deploying digital cinema as a viable market for satellite delivery; and vice president & general manager at DTV Plus, which developed and launched the nation’s first DTV datacasting service.  Matheny is currently a member of the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council and is a member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers.  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB is thrilled to have Sam Matheny joining the team as our new CTO.  Sam’s roots are in broadcast localism and service to the community, but he is also a technology strategist determined to push broadcasters to embrace digital and Internet opportunities that generate revenue.  Today, tens of millions of our listeners and viewers are legally accessing broadcast programming on platforms and devices that are IP-based, portable and mobile. We believe Sam is the right choice to press these digital strategies forward and lead our industry’s technology future.”

joycebrianpanelWGOW, Chattanooga Host Brian Joyce Moderates Panel on Democracy and Human Rights in Geneva.  Tennessee talk radio personality Brian Joyce (pictured here, bottom, far right) was recently in Geneva, Switzerland at the invitation of the Geneva Press Club to moderate a panel discussion on democracy and human rights.  Among the members of this panel were Egyptian MP and Secretary General of Egypt’s Industry & Energy Committee Hatem Azzam (second from right, standing).  Joyce is going abroad this weekend to speak at a public rally in Istanbul, Turkey in Alfatih Square in Istanbul to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the military coup in Egypt, which took place on July 3, 2013.  He was invited by a Turkish organization called Union of NGOs of the Islamic World, in cooperation with the Egyptian Solidarity Movement. Joyce says the Turkish government and Turkish people have been strong, vocal critics of military rule in Egypt, as well as of violations of democracy and human rights across the Muslim world.

pavlinahannityPavlina Interviews Sean Hannity on Talkers TV.  Sixteen-year-old talk media prodigy, Pavlina Osta, host of the syndicated radio show “Pavlina’s Kidz Place,” conducted an interview with Premiere Radio and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity at the recent Talkers New York 2014 convention. That 15 minute interview is currently playing on Talkers TV located at the top of the upper right hand column of boxes on every page on Talkers.com.  Pavlina has been broadcasting since she was 11 years old and has an amazing track record of conducting exclusive interviews with more than 300 stars from the fields of entertainment, sports, politics and media.  David Bernstein, GM of Talkers broadcasting operations says, “This young woman is going to be a huge media star.  She has everything going for her – even a local Gracie Award to her credit.  Watch out world, Pavlina is coming!”

marconiawardMeet This Year’s NAB Marconi Radio Award Finalists. They are listed below and the list encompasses 21 categories.  The Marconi Radio Awards are given by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to honor excellence in broadcasting. “Legendary Station”:news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; talk KXLY-AM, Spokane; sports WFAN, New York; country WIL-FM, St. Louis; and adult contemporary WLEN-FM, Adrian, Michigan. “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”:Bob & Tom, Westwood One; Elvis Duran, Premiere Radio Networks; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Radio Networks; Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Radio Networks; and Rickey Smiley, Radio One/REACH Media. “Major Market Personality of the Year”:Carter Alan of WZLX, Boston; Big Boy of KPWR, Los Angeles; Kevin & Bean of KROQ, Los Angeles; Preston & Steve of WMMR, Philadelphia; and (Fred) Toucher & Rich (Shertenlieb) of WBZ-FM, Boston. “Large Market Personality of the Year”:Bo Matthews of WIL-FM, St. Louis; Dr. Don (with Rachael and Grunwald) of WYCD, Detroit; Jim “JJ” Johnson of WOMC, Detroit; Larry Richert of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; and Ryan & Shannon of KSTP-FM, Minneapolis. “Medium Market Personality of the Year”:Brent Johnson of WTCB, Columbia, South Carolina; Cole Johnson of WNVZ, Norfolk; Kevin Miller of KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho; Chris Kelly & Chris Demm of WKRR, Greensboro; and Jeff Walker of WKRZ, Wilkes Barre-Scranton. “Small Market Personality of the Year”:Bill Barrett, Tim Fox & Tracy Berry of KKNU-FM, Eugene, Oregon; David Gustafson of KJSK-AM, Columbus, Nebraska; Dottie Ray of KXIC-AM, Iowa City, Iowa; Brian Egan, Rusty Bumper & Amanda Walton of WKWS-FM, Charleston, West Virginia; and Brian Lee & Chris Wolfe of KZOQ-FM, Missoula, Montana. “Major Market Station of the Year”: country KKBQ, Houston; urban AC WBLS, New York; rock WMMR, Philadelphia; hot AC WTMX, Chicago; and country WUSN, Chicago. “Large Market Station of the Year”:adult contemporary KRWM, Seattle; CHR WBLI, Long Island; talk WCCO, Minneapolis; talk WTMJ, Milwaukee; and sports WXYT-FM, Detroit. “Medium Market Station of the Year”:rock KAZR-FM, Des Moines; hot AC KSTZ, Des Moines; country WIVK-FM, Knoxville; talk WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and country WUSY-FM, Chattanooga, Tennessee. “Small Market Station of the Year”:talkKFGO-AM, Fargo, South Dakota; CHR KNDE-FM, Bryan-College Station, Texas; full-service adult contemporary KYNT-AM, Yankton, South Dakota; country WFRE-FM, Frederick, Maryland; and adult contemporary WLEN-FM, Adrian, Michigan. “Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”:KIFM, San Diego; WBEB, Philadelphia; WILV, Chicago; WMEE-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and WVAF, Charleston, West Virginia. “CHR Station of the Year”:KQKS, Denver; WBBM-FM, Chicago; WNVZ, Norfolk; WPOI, Tampa; and WVAQ, Morgantown, West Virginia. “Country Station of the Year”:KCYY, San Antonio; WIL-FM, St. Louis; WKLB, Boston; WLHK, Indianapolis; and WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “News-Talk Station of the Year”:KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTMY, Minneapolis; WGCV-AM, Columbia, South Carolina; and WLW, Cincinnati. “(Classic Hits-) Oldies Station of the Year:”WJMK, Chicago; WMJI, Cleveland; WSRZ, Sarasota; WXGL, Tampa; and WOGL Philadelphia. “(Contemporary Christian) Religious Station of the Year”:KKJM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KKLA, Los Angeles; KLTY, Dallas; KNOM, Nome, Alaska; and WMHK, Columbia, South Carolina. “Rock Station of the Year”:KROQ, Los Angeles; KSWD, Los Angeles; WBAB, Long Island; WDRV, Chicago; and WSUN, Tampa. “Spanish Station of the Year”:KLZT, Austin; WNUA, Chicago; WYUS-AM Milford, Delaware; WYUU, Tampa; and WXSH, Georgetown, Delaware. “Sports Station of the Year”:KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; KFXN-FM, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP-FM, Philadelphia; and WXYT-FM, Detroit. “Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KPRS, Kansas City; WGCI-FM, Chicago; WHQT, Miami; WQHT, New York; and WVKL, Norfolk. “Noncommercial Station of the Year”: KPCW, Park City, Utah; KUNV, Las Vegas; WEAA, Baltimore; WRHU Long Island; and WSDP,  Canton, Michigan. Winners will be announced in two months (9/11) at the awards dinner in Indianapolis during this year’s NAB Radio Show.

kgy logoKGY Inc. Sells KGY-AM, Olympia to Catholic Broadcaster.  Sports talk KGY-AM, Olympia, Washington is being sold to Sacred Heart Radio for $250,000, according to The Olympian.  The station has been in the Kerry family since current KGY Inc. business manager Nick Kerry’s grandfather Tom Olsen purchased it in 1939.  KGY Inc. will continue to operate country outlet KYYO-FM “96.9 KAYO” and translator K237FR at 95.3 FM.

SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Ruling, Obama Executive Actions, Illegal Immigrant Influx-Amnesty Proposal, Global Warming Debate, Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Sarkozy Investigation, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1).  The backlash over the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive case; John Boehner’s threat to sue President Obama over the executive actions issue; debate over amnesty as the Southwest deals with an influx of minor illegal immigrants; continuing disagreement over the issue of man-made climate change; high tensions in Israel following the deaths of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian youth; the corruption investigation of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the U.S.’s exit from the World Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

| May 29, 2014

newsmaxtv logoNewsmax TV to Launch on DirecTV Next Month.  Wider distribution is ahead for Newsmax Media Inc’s Newsmax TV channel as the conservative news and talk outlet will be available on DirecTV beginning in mid-June.  Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says the deal that will put Newsmax TV in the homes and businesses of 20 million subscribers will start with nine hours of live programming.  Currently, Newsmax TV is available online at Newsmax.com.  Ruddy states, “Our launch will benefit from the existing Newsmax.com audience that is already in place.  This audience will naturally be drawn to our brand of news, features and useful information and consist of one of the highest concentrations of baby boomers on the web.  We will immediately plug into that audience to participate in the development and the evolution of the channel prior to a national launch.”  Newsmax says that in addition to planned cable and satellite distribution, the new channel will be available via a wide range of “TV Everywhere” platforms just as the “crucial 2014 mid-term election coverage commences.”  Ruddy adds, “Newsmax was born online and as the lines between TV and the web blur, we will attract a growing audience that doesn’t differentiate between the two.  As a result, we are also well positioned to maximize the opportunities provided by ‘TV Everywhere’ platforms to reach tens of millions of Americans.”

beckerphilBecker Becomes L&L Broadcasting’s VP/Programming.  Former Oasis Radio Fort Wayne, Indiana general manager Phil Becker is appointed vice president of programming for L&L Broadcasting.  “As a continuation of our rapid growth, we have been searching for the ideal candidate to help our programming teams execute strategies for on-air, online, and mobile audience growth,” comments L&L Broadcasting president and chief executive officer Bob Proffitt.  “Phil is the absolute perfect fit for us and will not only be a dynamic addition to our corporate structure, but a welcoming face to our markets as he helps them continue to evolve.” Senior vice president/director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “We are thrilled to have such a alphamedia logovisionary programmer join our team with a winning track record; great passion for the art of the product; business sense; and stellar leadership traits.”  Becker remarks that the L&L Broadcasting team is “truly focused on their brands, as well as hiring the best people.  The direction and vision of the entire corporate team is an exciting and refreshing approach to the industry that I love.”  Prior to becoming Oasis Radio Fort Wayne’s GM, Becker was its operations manager and director of programming.  His previous background includes programming tenures at Cox Radio Group Orlando rhythmic CHR WPYO “Power 95.3″; CKEY, Fort Erie Ontario (Buffalo-Niagara Falls); and in Dothan, Alabama for New South Communications.  In April, Larry Wilson announced that Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting would merge into one company – Alpha Media.  When that merger is complete, the company will operate 68 stations.

itunesradio logoApple-Beats Deal Overshadows iTunes Radio’s Non-Music Deals.  The just announced deal that Apple is acquiring Beats Music and Beats Electronics for $3 billion is the subject of a lot of chatter in the financial and music/radio sectors.  While the music angle is what Apple CEOespnradiologo Tim Cook appears to be focused on, spoken-word audio programming is not escaping Apple’s eye.  Almost buried under the Beats acquisition news is Apple’s announcement that it is creating an ESPN channel for iTunes Radio that will make its ESPN Radio content – Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, SVP & Russillo, and SportsCenter – available to iTunes Radio listeners.   This comes on the heels of the March addition of the NPR channel to the service.  Also, 9to5Mac is reporting that the ESPN station will carry this year’s World Cup live.  While analysts are speculating largely about how this will affect SiriusXM, obviously this is another platform to compete with AM/FM radio, as well.

jamesmarcMarc James Moves from Charlotte to Atlanta for CBS RADIO.  The sudden disappearance of afternoon drive sports talk host Marc James from the lineup at CBS RADIO’s WFNZ, Charlotte “The Fan” is explained as he moves southwest to Atlanta to partner up with Carl Dukes on WZGC “92.9 The Game” to wzgc logoco-host “Game Time” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm effective Monday, June 2.  The station also brings Mark Zinno in from its WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan,” as TALKERS reported yesterday.  WZGC program director Terry Foxx states, “Both Marc James and Mark Zinno bring unique perspectives to the Atlanta radio market.  Marc James’ strong opinions will be a solid addition to Carl Dukes’ ability to objectively deliver content and Mark Zinno provides a global vision and a powerful punch to the Night Show.”  Back in Charlotte, local blogger Randy Inman writes on his Panther Lair blog that he hears the candidate most likely to replace James on the PM drive show at WFNZ is Chris Kroeger.

midwestcomm logoSouth Central Properties Dealt to Midwest Communications.  Some extremely successful sticks are about to exchange hands as Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications is acquiring South Central Communications’ radio stations.  (SummitMedia had announced intentions to buy the group for a rumored price somewhere in the range of $75 million, but that obviously fell apart.)  Among the facilities involved are adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9″ and adult hits WCJK “Jack-FM” (both in Nashville); adult contemporary WJXB “Today’s Soft Rock,” rock WVRX “The X,” and classic rock WIMZ (all inwjxa logo Knoxville); and adult contemporary WIKY, country WLFW “The Wolf,” CHR WSTO “Hot 96,” and classic rock WABX (all in Evansville, Indiana).  According to South Central chief executive officer J.P. Engelbrecht, “We have found a great steward for our radio stations in Midwest Communications.  They are good broadcasters who will build upon the legacy created by our outstanding team.”  Midwest Communications chief executive officer Duke Wright comments, “We feel extremely fortunate to be acquiring one of America’s best-run radio groups.  South Central and Midwest are entirely family-owned with both families being in the radio business for well over 50 years.  We feel there is a lot of commonality between the companies – I am certain we will have much to share with each other.”  Nashville AC “Mix 92.9″ is that market’s perennial top-ranked powerhouse (6+): In April’s PPM, it registers an 11.8 (#1, 6+).  A similar ratings prowess exists for Evansville AC WIKY, which was #1 (12+) in the fall 2013 book with a robust 16.3.  WSTO finished third (9.1); WABX was fifth (5.0); and WLFW ranked seventh (4.1).  Nashville’s WCJK ranks eighth in April (6+) with a 5.1.  South Central did not subscribe for the latest Knoxville numbers, so its three stations there are not listed.  The Wright Family formed Midwest Communications in 1958.  Midwest Communications presently owns 63 radio outlets in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  Terms of the transaction – for which Kalil & Company was the exclusive broker – were not disclosed.

jenkinsjudithJenkins to Enter New Mexico Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  News pro Judith Jenkins will be inducted into the New Mexico Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame on June 7.  The longtime KKOB, Albuquerque morning news anchor also worked at KKOB-TV during her career.  In addition to her duties on KKOB’s morning program alongside Ed Hartley, Jenkins also handles news duties for Cumulus’ FM stations in the Albuquerque cluster.  She will be the first African American elected to the New Mexico Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

2014 NYC logo 150Madison Rising Official National Anthem Performer for Talkers New York 2014.  When the Talkers New York 2014 conference opens on June 20, at the India House in the Financial District, the band Madison Rising will serve as the official performer of the national anthem.  You can check out this band’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in the Talkers TV box on the upper right side of this page.  Talkers VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Not since Jimi Hendrix laid down his iconic (and controversial!) rendition of the national anthem at Woodstock in 1969 has such a tremendously soul-stirring version of this song, performed in the rock idiom, been recorded.  Not only is Madison Rising an extremely talented band, their version of the Star Spangled Banner puts you on the edge of your seat!”  For more information about Talkers New York 2014, click here.

beckatomOdds & Sods.  Omaha talk show host Tom Becka says he’s not looking for a fight with SiriusXM but says, contrary to the satcaster’s claim that host Maggie Linton did the last radio interview with author Maya Angelou before her death on Sunday, he actually did.  The KOIL talk host tells TALKERS magazine he did what he believes is her last radio interview on May 13.  You can hear that

 
…..As part of a promotion to operations manager for Great Plains Media’s Lawrence-Topeka, Kansas clusters, programmer and air talent Tabatha Levrault gains operations manager duties for news/talk KLWM…..Sports USA is announcing its 18-game college football schedule for the 2014 season.  Defending National Champion Florida State, Auburn, Michigan State, Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, LSU, Stanford, and UCLA will be among the teams featured this year.  Sports USA president Bob Moore states, “We are pleased to offer college football’s biggest matchups to our 400-plus affiliates, advertisers, and fans nationwide.  Our schedule is second to none.”…..“This American Life” will be distributed by Public Radio Exchange when the show’s deal with PRI expires on July 1.  Host and executive producer Ira Glass says in a press statement, “They’ve been a huge innovative force in public radio, inventing technologies and projects to get people on the air who’d have a much harder time without them.  They’re mission-driven, they’re super-capable and apparently they’re pretty good with computers.”

hartmannthomThom Hartmann to Receive 2014 Freedom of Speech Award.  The TALKERS editorial board has named progressive radio and television talk show host Thom Hartmann as the 2014 recipient of The Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech.  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 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 and the Annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at our national conventions were developed.  It is only 2014 NYC logo 150fitting 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 Glenn Beck.  Recent recipients include Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Jim Farley, Juan Williams, Joe Madison, Michael Savage, Norm Pattiz, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Drudge, G. Gordon Liddy and Brian Lamb among many others.  Upon making the announcement of Thom Hartmann’s selection as this year’s recipient, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is about time the industry recognizes the enormous contributions Thom Hartmann makes in keeping our industry representative of the spectrum of legitimate political ideologies at play in the American marketplace of ideas.  Not only has he effectively kept the voice of liberalism alive in this arena with intellectual clarity, poise and civility for more than a decade — he has, in the process, developed and pioneered effective new, multi-media platform models and has amazingly bridged the artificial programming and business gap between commercial and public broadcasting.”  The Thom Hartmann Program, launched in 2003 and represented by WYD Media, is on the radio live weekdays 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET, and is syndicated by WestwoodOne, Pacifica, and CRN Digital Talk.  It’s heard nationally on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, American Forces Radio, and is simulcast as television on the Free Speech TV network – which airs on both Direct TV and the Dish satellite TV systems, and several hundred cable systems, from Manhattan Neighborhood Networks to smaller systems from Burlington, Vermont to Seattle, Washington. The show is carried online by Progressive Voices on the TuneIn app, by NetRootsRadio, and streams live on its own YouTube and LiveStream channels.  Close to 200 commercial and non-commercial radio stations carry Thom Hartmann’s show in the U.S., Ghana, Aruba, and Canada.  In addition to radio, this entrepreneurial broadcaster also hosts “The Big Picture” TV show, that is owned and produced by Thom Hartmann and represented by WYD Media.  It airs live nationwide on cable and satellite TV at 7:00 pm ET and 10:00 pm ET in an estimated 60 million-plus U.S. households via his licensing agreement with Free Speech TV, and is available in 107 countries in more than 600 million homes around the world via his licensing agreement with RT TV.  The Big Picture is also carried by 200-plus community cable systems.  It’s also available on Hulu and via Roku on the internet, and has its own YouTube channel.  Hartmann’s website this year has had over a million unique visitors, and has an active community with its own user blogs, message board, and chat room.  He has over 65,000 Facebook followers, and 37,000 Twitter followers, and over 15 million YouTube views just this year with over 60,000 subscribers to his YouTube channels.  He’s the New York Times bestselling, four-time Project Censored Award winning author of 24 books in print in 17 languages on five continents.  TALKERS named Thom Hartmann as the eighth most important talk show host in America in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (10th the two previous years), and for three of the past five years the #1 most important progressive host, in its “Heavy Hundred” ranking.  The Freedom of Speech Award will be presented to Thom Hartmann at Talkers New York 2014. There will be more than 65 industry leaders in speaking roles at the conference which takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District.  Registration is only open to professionals (and broadcasting students) working in radio and related media.  The cost is $249 per person which includes all sessions, receptions, food and refreshments.  Registrations can only be booked over the phone with credit card.  Call 413-565-5413.  Again, a sellout is expected shortly.  For up to the minute agenda information and further details please click here.

hobbsjailGabe Hobbs Arrested!  Noted media consultant Gabe Hobbs is appealing to friends and colleagues to help rescue him from the MDA lockup – he needs $3,500 to be set free.  Hobbs tells TALKERS he’s dedicating his efforts to return to civil society to late Clear Channel Omaha/Lincoln operations manager Jim Steel who was lost to ALS in 2007.  He says he’s been humbled by the number of people who actually want to see him on the outside and have donated.  “But I need more.  Prison life just doesn’t suit me and I have no idea how to make a shiv so the best thing would be for me to make bail.”  To free Gabe and donate to the MDA click here.

UCSB Killings/U.S. Gun Laws, VA Hospitals Scandal, Prince Charles Anti-Capitalism Speech, Marine Held in Mexico Case, Kerry-Snowden Spat, U.S. GDP Dips, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/28).  The aftermath of the deadly shootings at the University of California Santa Barbara and discussion about gun legislation; the continuing investigation into the scandals reported at VA hospitals; reaction to Prince Charles’ speech in which he advocates a new “inclusive capitalism”; the case of the U.S. Marine being held in Mexico on gun charges; Secretary of State John Kerry’s reaction to the Edward Snowden interview; the dip in the U.S. gross domestic product; and the NBA and NHL playoff action were among the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.