Tag: "Boise"

Monday, July 10, 2017

| July 10, 2017

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

| March 21, 2017

Beasley Broadcast Group’s Q4 Financial Report Reflects November Greater Media Acquisition.  As Beasley Broadcast Group CEO Caroline Beasley explains, the fourth quarter of 2016 was “productive and transitional.”  She says, “…Our revenue, SOI and net income growth reflects two months of operations of the Greater Media stations, solid industry fundamentals, including the benefit of political advertising, strength across our platform of legacy Beasley stations and high levels of operating discipline.  On a stand-alone basis, Beasley legacy station revenue increased approximately 7.6%.  Immediately following the close of the Greater Media transaction we began the integration process including the implementation of sales and cost initiatives, the elimination of redundant overhead and other strategies to derive synergies and value from the expanded scale and diversity of our portfolio.  Partially reflecting, the change of ownership and related transitional concerns, on a stand-alone basis, the Greater Media stations’ revenue decreased 6.1% or approximately $2.3 million in the fourth quarter with about 60% of the decline attributable to Philadelphia.  Overall, we are making continued progress with the integration of the new stations as we implement best practices, processes, and talent from both companies to optimize audience engagement and drive results.  We believe we are on track to complete the integration and realize the synergies expected from this transaction within 12 to 18 months.”  BBG’s net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $53.7 million.  For the whole of 2016, net revenue was $136.7 million.  Beasley continues, “With the financing of the Greater media acquisition, our total outstanding debt as of December 31, was approximately $268 million.  With our focus on actively and conservatively managing our capital structure to provide the financial flexibility to support our near- and long-term growth, we made voluntary debt repayments of $2.3 million in the fourth quarter.  In January, we closed on the previously announced divestiture of four stations in Charlotte for $24 million and in February, we entered into an agreement to divest our Greenville-New Bern cluster for $11 million.  We applied the net proceeds from the Charlotte transaction to debt reduction in the 2017 first quarter and intend to further reduce debt and leverage with the majority of the net proceeds from the Greenville-New Bern transaction when it closes, which is expected in the second quarter of 2017.”

CBS and Entercom Begin Filing Paperwork for Merger.  The two companies have filed Forms 314 and Forms 315 with the Federal Communications Commission and have also filed a Form 425 with the Securities Exchange Commission, informing it of their intentions.  A couple of things we’re learning from these filings are that, 1) CBS chairman, president and CEO Les Moonves and CBS COO Joseph Ianniello are being proposed to serve as directors for Entercom following the merger, but for just six months.  Since the two would have “attributable interests in the television stations owned by CBS and the radio stations owned by Entercom,” they are seeking a temporary waiver for said purpose; and 2) the stations that will be divested as a result of exceeding the market ownership caps in seven markets will be Entercom stations.  No CBS stations will be divested prior to the closing of the merger.  The 14 stations that will have to be divested are in the following seven markets: Boston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Wilkes Barre-Scranton.  Any stations not divested as of the closing, will be placed in a divestiture trust.  Entercom CEO David Field has said that he would prefer to swap stations rather than enter into outright sales.

KPOJ, Portland Names New PM Drive Show.  Portland sports talk outlet “Rip City Radio 620” launches its new afternoon drive program “Rip City Drive with Chad and Travis,” featuring Chad Doing and Travis Demers.  The iHeartMedia-owned station says the local afternoon drive program complements the “Rip City Mornings with Dan and Nigel” show.  “‘Rip City Drive with Chad and Travis’ is a sports talk show that will provide listeners with unique insight into the Portland sports market and a strong passion for the Portland Trail Blazers.  This will be Portland’s true sports talk show in the afternoons.”  Chad Doing continues hosting “Blazers Warm-up” and “The 5th Quarter” on Trail Blazers game days.  iHeartMedia Seattle SVP of programming Rich Moore adds, “We’re excited to bring veteran talent Chad Doing back to the Portland in the afternoon drive slot.  Chad and Travis’ show will be a strong outlet for the sports fans in Portland, especially Trail Blazers fans.”

KLBJ, Austin Unveils New Lineup; ‘Kilmeade & Friends’ Now Airs in Mid-Morning.  Yesterday (3/20), Emmis Communications/Sinclair Telecable-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin announced its new program lineup, including the addition of Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends” for the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot.  The station also moved its “Todd and Don” show into an earlier timeslot – 5:30 am to 9:00 am – in order to accommodate the Kilmeade show.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Sinclair Telecable’s Bob Sinclair, Emmis Austin SVP and market manager Scott Gillmore, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade; KLBJ program director Mark Caesar.

CBS Sports Radio Tweaks Lineup.  The new lineup at the CBS Sports Radio network takes effect on April 17 with three moves happening:  afternoon drive host Doug Gottlieb will exit the network after his April 14 program; the “Tiki and Tierney” show, featuring Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney, moves to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET; and “The DA Show,” with host Damon Amendolara, moves to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  Barber, Tierney and Amendolara all sign new, multi-year contracts.  The “Tiki and Tierney” show will also be simulcast on television’s CBS Sports Network.  The radio network is seeking a new 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET show that will be announced in the near future.

Chip Arledge Named OM for Cumulus Shreveport.  Programming pro Chip Arledge joins Cumulus Media to serve as the operations manager for its five-station cluster in Shreveport, Louisiana and to program country KRMD-FM and sports talk KRMD-AM.  The cluster also includes hip hop KMJJ, CHR KQHN, and urban contemporary KVMA.  Arledge was most recently with Eagle Radio Group/Results Radio Network in Marquette, Michigan.  During his career he’s programmed and overseen operations in Birmingham, Fayetteville and Chillicothe, Ohio and was regional brand manager for adult contemporary Clear Channel Radio.   Cumulus Shreveport VP/market manager Cody Welling states, “Chip is the perfect addition to the Cumulus Shreveport team as our operations manager and program director for the legendary calls of KRMD.  He is a true radio man that cares about the medium, and has an excellent track record in programming and operations in markets both big and small.  Chip’s ability to lead and coach programmers from multiple formats, along with his passion for radio and our listeners, made this an easy decision for Cumulus Shreveport.”

TALKERS News NotesTALKERS magazine hears that Alpha Media news/talk WFTL, West Palm Beach and sister sports talker WMEN have a new program director.  Paul Mason was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati as assistant program director and producer…..Recently retired New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is joining WEPN, New York’s Michael Kay show every Thursday at 5:00 pm during the baseball season to provide opinion and analysis.  Recently, ESPN announced Teixeira is joining the network as a Major League Baseball analyst.  “98.7 ESPN” program director Ryan Hurley comments, “We are excited to add Mark to our broadcast team at ‘98.7 ESPN.’  New York sports fans can look forward to his unique insight, expertise, and some laughs when he joins Michael, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg on the show.”

Cooke: Trump Cuts Provide Promotional Opportunities.  Media consultant Holland Cooke says that the federal budget cuts being proposed by President Trump could provide radio stations with the opportunity to create promotions that assist those affected but budget cuts and appear to listeners as the “good guy.”  Read more here.

Comey Testifies on Lack of Obama Wiretapping Evidence, Trump Campaign Russia Investigation, Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings, GOP Health Care Bill, Brady Jerseys Recovered, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20).  FBI chief James Comey’s testimony that he has no information indicating that former President Barack Obama ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped; Comey’s admission that the agency is investigating some Trump campaign personnel for possible ties to Russian agents; the first day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch; the GOP’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act with its own national health care program; the missing jerseys of Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady are discovered in Mexico; and the aftermath of the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 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.  Country outlet WQDR, Raleigh names Mimi Wheeler promotions director and music director.  Curtis Media Group VP of programming Lisa McKay states, “Mimi has a fire in her belly to be a part of a winning team.  She has a love for doing great radio and understands how to treat our listeners like family.  Mimi grew up here and knows the local landscape of people and places extremely well.  Her label relationships are rock solid too, which makes Mimi a very welcome and valuable team Q member.”…..Maryland radio personality EJ Foxx joins Adams Radio Group’s WKHI, Salisbury-Ocean City “Your Country K107.7” to host the midday program.  Foxx previously spent 23 years with crosstown WKTT “Cat Country 97.5.”…..Chelsea Corrine is the new midday jock at Townsquare Media’s country WPUR, Atlantic City “Cat Country.”  She takes over the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm shift after previous host Georgia left the station to focus on her family’s business.

 

 

Round One of February PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio‘s February 2017 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen Audio’s February 2017 survey period covered February 2 – March 1. View all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Takeaways” from these 12 PPM markets below.

TWELVE TAKEAWAYS

1) New York – Powered by a gain of seven-tenths (5.4 – 6.1, 6+), CBS Radio classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM rises from fourth to second. Within 5.3 – 5.9 range (6+) the past seven sweeps, “101.1 New York’s Greatest Hits” boasts its best 6+-showing since July 2016, when it reached 6.2. One full-share ahead of WCBS-FM is iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 Lite FM” (7.2 – 7.1, -.1, 6+), which is #1 for the eighth straight time. “Lite FM” was -6.1 (6+) in January. In addition to “New York’s Greatest Hits,” WLTW classic rock cluster-mate WAXQ “Q-104.3” (steady at #7) notches a +.7 as well, thus recouping the combined seven-tenths it lost since December 2016 (5.0 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 5.0, #7, 6+). In the rhythmic CHR contest, the 1.2-share (6+) advantage iHeartMedia’s WKTU (4.1 – 3.9, -.2, unchanged at #8, 6+) enjoyed in January over Emmis’ WHQT “Hot 97” (2.9 – 3.3, +.4, #12 to #10, 6+) is sliced in half. After being off one-half share in “Holiday” 2016, WKTU was +.6 in January. A January +.3 to 3.5 (6+) by CBS Radio’s WFAN-FM halted three straight downward trends that yielded a one-half share loss (3.7 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 3.2, 6+), but “The Fan” regresses by eight-tenths in February to 2.7, as it exits the top ten (#10 to #14, 6+). After three straight sweeps both in the runner-up slot and posting an uptrend (4.5 – 4.6 – 5.5 – 5.8, 6+), Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish tropical WSKQ “Mega 97.9” is off by seven-tenths to 5.1 (6+) and stumbles to sixth-place. Flat at #19, CBS Radio CHR WBMP “92.3 Amp” is without an increase for the sixth successive sweep for a cumulative -.9 (3.1 – 2.8 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.2, 6+). Conversely, more than three shares ahead of “Amp” is iHeartMedia’s similarly-programmed WHTZ “Z-100,” which is a combined +.9 since “Holiday” 2016 (4.6 – 5.1 – 5.5, 6+), vaulting from sixth to third.

2) Los Angeles – By dialing up a six-tenths improvement (4.3 – 4.9, 6+), CBS Radio classic hits-oldies KRTH not only has its best 6+-performance since November (4.9 as well), “K-Earth 101” jumps from fifth to second. A gain of just one-tenth (5.1 – 5.2, 6+) is sufficient for KBIG “My-FM” to depart the runner-up slot it has held the past three sweeps and take over at #1. It is there that the iHeartMedia hot AC dislodges its adult contemporary sibling KOST (5.2 – 4.6, -.6, 6+), which had been on top in each of the last 16 ratings periods. “Coast 103.5” drops to fifth, as Los Angeles’ top five February 2017 rankers are separated by six-tenths of a share (6+). Before seeing its 6+share skewered in January 2017 by more than half since “Holiday” 2016 (10.7 – 5.2, -5.5, 6+), “Coast” had been up the previous three straight ratings periods for a combined +5.3 (5.4 – 5.5 – 6.4 – 10.7, 6+). Following four straight down moves that produced a -.8 (2.7 – 2.6 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 1.9, 6+), Entercom classic rocker KSWD “The Sound” gained four-tenths to 2.3 in January and is unchanged in February (2.3, steady at #17, 6+). Unlisted in January 2017, Univision Radio regional Mexican KSCA “Zona Mx 101.9” returns by logging a 3.4 (6+) to place ninth; its 3.2 (6+) in “Holiday” 2016 put it in a three-way tie at #7. Slipping from #10 to #11, co-owned Spanish adult hits KRCD “Recuerdo 103.9” has nonetheless been the model of consistency over the last nine ratings periods (3.2 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.2, 6+). Notwithstanding that it holds steady at #7, CBS Radio all-news operation KNX picks up one-tenth to 3.8 (6+) – the highest 6+-stat in its PPM history, shattering the previous best set just last month.

3) Chicago – The market’s two country rivals – CBS Radio-owned WUSN “US-99.5” and iHeartMedia’s WEBG “Big 95.5” – made identical 1.9 – 2.2 (+.3, 6+) moves in January, putting them in a tie at #20. There is some breathing room between the two now though as “US-99.5” picks up one-half share to 2.7 (its best 6+-share since September’s 2.8), leaping to #15, while “Big 95.5” is flat at 2.2, dropping to #21. Following 34 straight monthlies within 2.0 – 2.9 range (6+), Hubbard Broadcasting adult contemporary WSHE adds three-tenths to 3.1 (6+) and returns to the top ten (#12 to #9). The combination of a two-tenths gain by iHeartMedia urban AC WVAZ “V-103 Today’s R&B and Throwbacks” (5.8 – 6.0, second to first, 6+) and a nine-tenths drop by CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM (6.3 – 5.4, first to second, 6+) results in the two stations trading places. The last time that “V-103” was on top was September 2016 when it shared the lead with WBBM-AM – each with a 6.0 (6+). It proves to be just a one-month stay at #1 for WBBM-AM, which previously occupied the penthouse from January 2016 through May 2016. Not only is its sports cluster-mate WSCR off by one-half share (2.6 – 2.1, 6+), “670 The Score” freefalls from the top 20 (#14 to #22). As recently as November 2016, the Chicago Cubs flagship was in second place with a 6.1 (6+) – just four-tenths off the pace set by WBBM-AM. Checking in at #24, Spanish Broadcasting System regional Mexican WLEY-FM “La Ley 107.9” is up or flat for the sixth consecutive time (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.8 – 1.9, 6+). This is the second straight month that Window to the World Communications’ WFMT “Chicago’s Classical Experience” (1.8, #22, “Holiday” 2016, 6+) is unlisted. Eight of February 2017’s top 20 are either up or flat, whereas this time last month, the entire top 25 (6+) was up from “Holiday” 2016 with the exception of WVAZ (5.9 – 5.8, -.1, #2); iHeartMedia hot AC WLIT (-10.2, #6); and CBS Radio triple A WXRT (2.3, flat, #19).

4) San Francisco – Owing to a February spike of four-tenths on the heels of January’s +.9 (6.4 – 7.3 – 7.7, 6+), Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQED repeats at #1. Off by -.7 in “Holiday” 2016, KQED fell from first to second. That loss of seven-tenths halted seven straight positive trends that yielded a cumulative +2.3 (4.8 – 4.9 – 5.3 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 6.9 – 7.1, 6+). The public facility was evicted from the top spot (by CBS Radio all-news KCBS-AM) and moved to the runner-up position in October, but registered a full-share gain in November to recapture the lead. Without an increase the past four sweeps for a combined -.6 (4.2 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 3.6), CBS Radio’s KMVQ “99.7 New Hit Music Now” is up two-tenths to 3.8 (6+) as it climbs from sixth to fifth. After improving by one-half share in January, KALW “Local Public Radio” surrenders seven-tenths (1.4 – 1.9 – 1.2, 6+), as it plummets from #19 to #27. Down two-tenths to 2.3 (6+), Entercom urban AC KBLX “The Bay’s R&B” (#14 to #17) has its consecutive string of up or flat trends that netted a combined +.9 snapped at four (1.6 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.5). Sports sibling KGMZ “95.7 The Game” loses one tenth to (1.7, #22, 6+), curtailing six straight monthlies without a decline that yielded a +.7 (1.1 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.8, 6+). On the other hand – and still in that Entercom cluster – KRBQ picks up one-tenth to 2.4 (6+), thus applying the brakes to five consecutive down or flat trends that resulted in a -.7 (3.0 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.3 – 2.3, 6+), as “Q-102.1 The Throwback Station” moves from #15 to a three-way tie at #14. Although the net loss is just three-tenths, Cumulus Media classic rock KSAN “107.7 The Bone Rocks” nonetheless is without a gain for the fourth successive sweep (2.4 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.1, 6+) and slips from #17 to #18.

5) Dallas – Down by a collective -1.1 in three straight downtrends since November (4.4 – 4.0 – 3.5 – 3.3, 6+), iHeartMedia hot AC KDMX “Now 102.9 – Music Variety” dials up a +.8 to 4.1, as it elevates from tenth to seventh. It is a strong sweep for the market’s two Cumulus Media-owned country outlets: KPLX “The Wolf,” +1.2 in January to progress from fourth to first, repeats at #1 (5.9 – 6.2, +.3, 6+), while cluster-mate KSCS “New Country 96.3” improves by seven-tenths (3.6 – 4.3, 6+), advancing from eighth to fifth. “New Country” had been within 3.1 – 3.6 range (6+) in each of the last 13 ratings periods. In addition to KSCS, CBS Radio regional Mexican KMVK notches a gain of seven-tenths as well (2.1 – 2.8, 6+) with “La Grande 107.5” cracking the top 20 (#22 to #16). Prior to picking up three-tenths in January, Service Broadcasting urban AC KRNB went five successive sweeps without an increase for a collective -.6 (3.2 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.6, 6+). “Smooth R&B 105.7” now adds another one-half share (2.9 – 3.4, 6+) and enters the top ten (#12 to #10). Five consecutive down or flat trends have produced a cumulative -2.3 for CBS Radio sports outlet KRLD-FM “The Fan” (3.7 – 3.2 – 2.9 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 1.4, 6+), which spirals from #19 out of the top 20 to #28. An extremely interesting contemporary Christian situation is developing in the market with Salem Media Group’s KLTY “94.9 Safe for the Whole Family” (3.0 – 2.6, -.4, 6+) freefalling from #11 to #19, while Educational Media Foundation’s KYDA “Air 1 Positive Hits” – which debuted in print at #20 in January – remains there in February (2.3 – 2.1, -.1, 6+). As recently as September 2016, KLTY was seventh with a 3.6 (6+).

6) Houston – It has been nearly three months (12/30/2016) since CBS Radio transitioned KKHH from CHR to adult hits “95.7 The Spot.” Over and above being up or flat for the fifth straight time for a net gain of two shares (2.6 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.1 – 3.5 – 4.6, 6+), “The Spot” breaks into the top ten (#14 to #6). Its former CHR rival – Cumulus Media’s KRBE – loses three-tenths, ending at three its successive streak of increases for a collective +1.0 (3.3 – 3.5 – 3.7 – 4.3, 6+) as “Houston’s #1 Hit Music Station” departs the top ten (#8 to #13). Effective with the first day of the January 2017 sweep, Radio One flipped KROI from urban-rhythmic oldies to CHR as “Radio Now 92.1.” Frozen on 1.4 (6+) in December and “Holiday” 2016, KROI – ostensibly taking the CHR spot vacated by KKHH – dropped one-half share in January to .9, but gains three-tenths in February to 1.2 (#24 to #23, 6+). Following three straight negative trends that yielded a combined -1.5 (8.0 – 7.4 – 6.7 – 6.5, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KLTN brought back 60% of that deficit in January (+.9), jumping from third to first. It’s a very quick stay in the penthouse though for KLTN, which surrenders -1.3 (7.4 – 6.1, 6+) and falls to third. Taking over at #1 – progressing from the runner-up slot – is Radio One-owned urban AC KMJQ (7.2, +.3, 6+). Since November, “Majic 102.1 The People’s Station” was trending 7.1 – 6.9 – 7.0 – 6.9 (6+). The HD3 channel of iHeartMedia’s KODA picks up one-half share (.2 – .7, #27). Noncommercial contemporary Christian KSBJ “God Listens,” which improved by one full-share in January to 5.9, its strongest 6+-share in more than four years (6.0, November 2012), forfeits half of it (5.4, -.5, 6+), but carries on at #4. Declining by six-tenths each are Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KOVE, down for the third straight time for a combined -1.1 (3.9 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 2.8, #15 to #16, 6+) and CBS Radio’s KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” (1.4 – .8, #26, 6+).

7) Philadelphia – Replicating its January 2017 +.6, iHeartMedia CHR WIOQ “Q-102” (3.1 – 3.7 – 4.3, 6+) cracks the top ten (#12 to #7) and matches August 2016’s 4.3 (6+). Co-owned WRFF “Radio 104.5 – Philadelphia’s Alternative” (3.8 – 4.3, #11 to #7, 6+) registers a gain of one-half share, as does CBS Radio classic hits-oldies WOGL (6.8 – 7.3, third to second, 6+). In four straight decreases (5.0 – 4.9 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 2.7, 6+), WRFF lost nearly half its 6+-share (-2.3) but dialed up a +1.1 in January; meanwhile, WOGL was +1.3 in January. Flat at 7.9 (6+), Jerry Lee Radio adult contemporary WBEB “Today’s 101 More FM” is nevertheless #1 for the seventh consecutive time, six-tenths ahead of WOGL. “More FM” was +6.8 in “Holiday” 2016 but eroded by ten (10) full-shares in January (17.9 – 7.9, 6+). Following a collective gain of eight-tenths (6.8 – 7.4 – 7.6, August – September – October, 6+), WBEB dropped one-tenth in November, only to post a +3.6 in December. The day after the “Holiday” 2016 ratings period ended (1/5), CBS Radio CHR WZMP “Amp” flipped to adult contemporary as WTDY “Today’s 96.5.” In its first adult contemporary sweep (January 2017) against WBEB, “Today’s 96.5” registered a 2.6 and picks up one-tenth in February (2.7 – #18 to #15, 6+). The rollercoaster ride continues for Beasley Media Group’s WMGK, which sputtered by one-half share in “Holiday” 2016; roared back with a gain four times that amount, +2.0; but now regresses by half that (5.4 – 4.9 – 6.9 – 5.9, -1.0, 6+). The net result after the dust settles is a -.5 and “Classic Rock 102.9 MGK” moves from second to fourth. In December, WMGK was -.6, curtailing three straight progressive trends (5.5 – 5.7 – 5.8 – 6.0, 6+). Sports sibling WPEN-FM added one-half share in January to end three straight negative trends (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 2.0, 6+), but “97.5 The Fanatic” forfeits six-tenths (2.5 – 1.9, 6+) and dips from #19 to #20. Locked on 2.7 (6+) in October, November, and December, iHeartMedia hot AC WISX “Mix 106.1” trended 2.4 – 2.8 (“Holiday” 2016 – January 2017, 6+) and now falters by one-half share to 2.3 (#16 to #18, 6+). Temple University’s WRTI “Your Classical and Jazz Source” (1.7, “Holiday” 2016, 6+) was unlisted in January 2017, but reappears in February with a 1.2 (#23, 6+).

8) Atlanta – Even though Cox Media Group urban AC WALR remains anchored in third-place, on the strength of a +.8 (5.5 – 6.3, 6+), “Kiss 104.1” records its strongest 6+-stat since June 2016’s 7.1. Improving by one-half each are co-owned adult contemporary WSB-FM “B-98.5” (4.8 – 5.3, unchanged at #4, 6+); classic hits-oldies cluster-mate WSRV “97.1 The River” (4.6 – 5.1, sixth to fifth, 6+); and CBS Radio urban contemporary WVEE “V-103” (6.0 – 6.5, steady at #2, 6+). Consistently within 4.4 – 4.9 territory (6+) the past 12 ratings periods, “B-98.5” has its best 6+-showing in exactly one year (5.5, February 2016, 6+). Up a collective eight-tenths in December 2016 and “Holiday” 2016 (5.9 – 6.3 – 6.7, 6+), “V-103” forfeited seven-tenths in January. Relishing its eighth consecutive monthly without a decrease for a combined +1.8 (2.9 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 4.1 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 4.7, 6+), Radio One urban AC WAMJ “Majic The Real Sound of Atlanta” progresses from eighth to seventh. Despite dropping eight-tenths (10.7 – 9.9, 6+), Cox Media Group talker WSB-AM is #1 for the fourteenth straight ratings period. Its most recent trends are -2.3 (“Holiday” 2016); +2.8 (January 2017); and now -.8 (February 2017). January 2017’s 10.7 represents the station’s best-ever (6+) performance, eclipsing the 10.2 in December 2016. A combined +1.4 in “Holiday” 2016 and January 2017 (3.0 – 3.6 – 4.4, 6+), CBS Radio sports outlet WZGC “92.9 The Game” gives all of it back and one-tenth more (3.1, -1.3, 6+) as the Atlanta Falcons’ flagship spirals out of the top ten (#9 to #14). Unlisted in January 2017, Atlanta Public Schools’ WABE “90.1 Where ATL Meets NPR” (2.9, #15, “Holiday” 2016, 6+) is back at #15 (3.0, February 2017, 6+).

9) Long Island – Progressing from #15 to #13, iHeartMedia classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3” gains three-tenths to 2.9 (6+0, thus halting at three a successive string of down or flat trends that produced a -1.0 (3.6 – 2.8 – 2.6 – 2.6, 6+). For the fourth straight time, CBS Radio classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM (third to second) posts a Long Island increase (3.8 – 4.6 – 4.8 – 5.0 – 5.3, 6+); “101.1 New York’s Greatest Hits” is+1.5 since November. A pickup of six-tenths (.5 – 1.1, 6+) by WQXR more than doubles its 6+-share and lands “New York’s Classical Music Radio Station” at #26. The six-tenths of a share lead that CBS Radio all-news WINS had over co-owned and similarly-formatted WCBS-AM is down to one-tenth as WINS is 4.4 – 3.9, -.5, seventh to eighth (6+), while WCBS-AM is flat at 3.8 and unchanged at #9 (6+). Without a decrease for seven successive sweeps for a net gain of +1.6 (2.9 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.5, 6+), WINS floundered by one full-share in “Holiday” 2016 but recaptured all but one-tenth in January 2017. Having registered 11 successive sweeps at #1 in the Long Island report, iHeartMedia New York City CHR WHTZ “Z-100” spiraled by -1.5 in “Holiday” 2016 (6.6 – 5.1, 6+), sliding to third. It then gained eight-tenths to 5.9 (6+) in January 2017 to reappear at #1 and repeats at #1 in February – albeit flat at 5.9 (6+). Down a combined four-tenths in three straight (minor) downtrends (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.3, 6+), co-owned New York City adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” rebounded with a collective +4.5 in December and “Holiday” 2016, before sputtering by -4.6 in January 2017 and another eight-tenths in February (3.2 – 2.4, 6+), plummeting from #12 to #19. In addition to WINS, iHeartMedia talker WOR is also off by one-half share as it returns January’s +.5 (3.1 – 3.6 – 3.1, 6+) but stays at #10. This marks the 27th straight sweep that Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97” (#20 to #15) is in 2.0 – 2.9 range (2.2 – 2.6, +.4, 6+).

10) Riverside – Off by one-half share in January 2017, LC Media’s urban-rhythmic oldies KQIE “Old School 104.7” recaptures all of it and one-tenth for good measure (2.7 – 2.2 – 2.8, +.6, 6+) but remains at #8. After being up or flat in each of the last five sweeps for a collective +2.2 (7.2 – 7.5 – 7.5 – 8.3 – 8.7 – 9.4, 6+), Entravision Spanish adult hits KLYY “Jose” dips by two-tenths to 9.2 (6+), but is #1 for the sixteenth consecutive ratings period. Following a one-share increase in June 2016, which halted back-to-back downward trends that produced a combined -.4, “Jose” fell by two-tenths in July but bounced back with a +.8 in August. Apparently, Anaheim Broadcasting classic hits-oldies outlet KOLA can only increase or decrease by one-half share, as this represents the fifth consecutive fluctuation by that margin (7.1 – 6.6 – 6.1 – 5.6 – 6.1 – 5.6, 6+) for a collective -1.5. In the runner-up slot six straight times before dropping to third in “Holiday” 2016, KOLA finishes at #2, just as it did in January. Prior to November 2016, KOLA was up or flat the previous six times for a net gain of +2.2 (4.9 – 4.9 – 5.6 – 6.5 – 6.8 – 6.9 – 7.1, 6+). Faltering by one-half share as well is regional Mexican KXSB (1.2 – .7, #11 to #14, 6+); this is the lowest 6+-share for “Radio Lazer” since September 2016 (also .7, 6+). Following 12 successive sweeps with a .1 (6+), CBS Radio country outlet KXFG (#21, January 2017, 6+) disappears.

11) San Jose – On the heels of January’s +.9, Entercom-owned KUFX “98.5 The South Bay’s Classic Rock” does it one better by improving by one full-share in February (2.9 – 3.8 – 4.8, 6+) to zoom from seventh to fourth. In “Holiday” 2016, “The South Bay’s Classic Rock” was -1.0; 4.8 is its best 6+-showing since last July (4.8 as well). On Christmas Day (12/25/2016) at 5:00 pm, Alpha Media’s KBAY ended 20 years as an AC by flipping to classic hits-oldies as “94.5 Bay FM.” Following seven straight sweeps without a loss for a cumulative +4.6 (3.4 – 3.8 – 4.1 – 4.3 – 4.3 – 4.3 – 5.5 – 8.0, 6+), KBAY regressed by -3.6 in January and drops another three-tenths in February (4.4 – 4.1, sixth to seventh, 6+). Seemingly taking advantage of KBAY’s format change, iHeartMedia-owned adult contemporary KISQ “98.1 The Breeze” notches a +.8 (2.4 – 3.2, 6+), rocketing from #19 to #14. It is a different story, however, for Entercom adult contemporary KOIT-FM “Better Music for a Better Workday,” which sputters by eight-tenths after January’s -3.3 (8.4 – 5.1 – 4.3, 6+), moving from fourth to fifth. A nonsubscriber to the San Jose report since posting a 5.1 (6+) in the “Holiday” 2015 report, KQED returned in robust fashion in January by recording a 6.9 (6+) to finish at #1; the Northern California Public Broadcasting facility repeats in the top spot with a +.7 to 7.6 (6+). Enjoying gains of one-half share each are Empire Broadcasting’s KRTY “Hot Country 95.3” (3.6 – 4.1, ninth to seventh, 6+) and Spanish Broadcasting System regional Mexican KRZZ “93.3 La Raza,” up for the third straight time (1.0 – 1.5 – 1.8 – 2.3, 6+); KRZZ enters the top 20 (#23 to #17). Stuck on 2.0 (6+) in October and November and then on 2.2 (6+) in December and “Holiday” 2016, iHeartMedia’s KMEL “#1 For Hip-Hop and R&B” was up one-half share in January but regresses by seven-tenths in February (2.7 – 2.0, 6+) to tumble from #16 to #20. Down by one-half share (1.8 – 1.3, 6+), Entercom-owned KGMZ “95.7 The Game” flounders from #23 to #27. Within 3.0 – 3.9 range (6+) for the nineteenth successive sweep, iHeartMedia CHR KYLD “WiLD 94.9 The Bay’s #1 Hit Music Station” (3.0 – 3.1, +.1, 6+) is flat at #15.

12) Middlesex-Somerset-Union – One of the most intriguing February 2017 nuggets is found here and it involves iHeartMedia New York City adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM.” As noted above, “Lite FM” was off by one-tenth in its home market and down eight-tenths in Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk). Neither of those moves is especially surprising, given that all-Christmas music programming is gone from the station and it suffered the typical (substantial) January falloff. The curious thing in Middlesex though is that the largest (6+) January 2017 – February 2017 increase by any station in the 12 PPM-markets whose data was released Monday was … WLTW (3.8 – 5.9, +2.1, 6+). The huge spike enables “Lite” – which logged a “Holiday” 2016 – January 2017 decrease of roughly 56% (8.7 – 3.8, -4.9, 6+) – to cruise from seventh back up to second. Before January 2017’s -4.9, “Lite FM” had four straight up or flat trends in the Middlesex report, more than doubling its 6+-share since September (4.3 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 5.2 – 8.7, 6+). In addition to catapulting from #16 into the top ten (#8), Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97” (2.7 – 3.6, +.9, 6+) posts its best 6+-stat since November 2015 (3.6 as well). Having registered three successive upward trends producing a +.8 (2.3 – 2.4 – 2.7 – 3.1, 6+), Pillar of Fire contemporary Christian WAWZ “Star 99.1” dipped by seven-tenths in January only to rebound in February by six-tenths (2.4 – 3.0, 6+), soaring from #21 to #13. Just as it did in January, iHeartMedia CHR WHTZ “Z-100” registers a one-half share gain (4.9 – 5.4, fifth to fourth, 6+), as does CBS Radio hot AC WNEW-FM “Fresh 102.7” (2.5 – 3.0, 6+), which zooms from #20 to #13. As a result of hanging out a “Holiday” 2016 – January 2017 increase of one-full-share (6.8 – 7.8, 6+), WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” returned to #1 following one turn in the runner-up slot. The Townsquare Media talker adds one-tenth to 7.9 (6+) and continues at #1. Prior to “Holiday” 2016 (where it was -.7, 6+), “New Jersey 101.5” spent 12 consecutive ratings periods on top. Down a combined one-share in October and November (8.2 – 7.6 – 7.2, 6+), WKXW picked up three-tenths in December. Sputtering by one share (5.3 – 4.3, 6+), Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish tropical WSKQ “Mega 97.9” slips from third to sixth. Following three straight gains netting seven-tenths (2.8 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 3.5, 6+), Univision Radio’s similarly-formatted WXNY “X-96.3” relinquished nine-tenths in “Holiday” 2016; erased that with a +1.0 in January 2017; but erodes by six-tenths in February (3.5 – 2.6 – 3.6 – 3.0, 6+), dropping from #10 to a five-way logjam at #13. A loss of seven-tenths (3.2 – 2.5, 6+) sinks CBS Radio all-sports WFAN-FM “The Fan” from #13 to #19. Trending 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.1 – 4.2 (6+) since November, classic hits-oldies cluster-mate WCBS-FM “101.1 New York’s Greatest Hits” regresses by one-half share to 3.7 (6+) and skids from sixth to seventh.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

| April 16, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150By Popular Demand, “Talkers New York 2014” is Bringing Back the Talk Rumble!  After several years on hiatus, the legendary (and original) “Talk Rumble” will return to the annual TALKERS conference at Talkers New York 2014.  The session features a large group of local and national talk show hosts – representing a variety of ideologies, genders and ethnicities — in a fast-paced, smokin’ debate of the hottest issues of the day.  It is moderated by an individual sworn to uphold the principles of political non-partisanship and philosophical even-handedness.  This year’s choice to serve in that capacity is WPIX-TV Channel 11, New York commentator (and TalkersRadio host) Lionel.  Rumblers include (in alphabetical order):  Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio, Mike Gallagher of Salem Radio Network, Thom Hartmann of WYD Media, Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Kevin McCullough of XtreMEDIA, Lincoln Ware of WDBZ, Cincinnati, and David Webb of Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.    Talkers New York 2014 will take place on Friday, June 20 at the India House Club located at One Hanover Square in the heart of New York City’s financial district.  More than 60 speakers will be participating in this year’s 17th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s longest-running and most important convention.  The event is always an early sellout and only open to communications industry professionals working in or closely associated with talk media.  Registrations ($249 per person) are only taken with credit card by phone.  Call 413-565-5413.

justicejonJournal’s KQTH, Tucson Re-Brands; Shifts Jon Justice to Late Mornings.  Leaving the station brand “The Truth” behind, Journal Broadcast Group news/talk KQTH, Tucson is making a few adjustments to its air schedule as well.  As per John Schuster’s piece in Tucson Weekly, the station is taking the slogan “104.1 KQTH, Tucson’s News and Talk.”  Jon Justice, who’s been heard in morning drive since the station debuted on the FM dial seven years ago, is moving to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot where he’ll compete with Rush Limbaugh, heard on Clear Channel’s KNST from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Taking over the morning show on KQTH is program director Bill White, who will host a news wheel show.

ramseyRaleighDave Ramsey Presents Live in Raleigh.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey was in Raleigh on tax day presenting his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to a sold-out crowd at the Durham Performing Arts Center.  Ramsey’s presentation focuses on how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage.  Ramsey worked with Clear Channel affiliate WTKK “106.1 FM” to promote his appearance.  WTKK program director Brian Taylor comments, “When Dave comes to town it’s a reminder that our format is not inherently niche.  Build it and they will come.  Listeners turn out for Dave.  Identifying issues and concerns is one thing — it’s quite another to offer practical and actionable solutions we can all accomplish.  At WTKK Raleigh, all three numbers are solid: Ratings, revenue and attendance.”  Pictured here are (from left to right): Cruze, Clear Channel Raleigh market manager George Allen, Ramsey, program director Brian Taylor and general sales manager Dave Beecher.

krxa logoKRXA, Carmel Valley Signs Consent Decree in Sponsor ID and Indecency Case; to Pay $15,000.  Progressive talk radio outlet KRXA, Carmel Valley, California is owned by Harold S. Ginsberg and is currently in negotiations to be sold to El Sembrador Ministries (which has filed a contingent application to convert it to a non-commercial station).  The Consent Decree which will have Ginsberg pay $15,000 revolves around a brokered show that aired in 2009 that the FCC ruled was not properly identified as a sponsored program.  Also, the Commission ruled that the same program violated indecency regulations.  Though Ginsberg initially argued against both allegations, he reversed course and, due to financial hardship, is paying the fine and exiting the broadcasting business.

millerhannityWelcoming Sean to Boise.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) poses for a photo with Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity (left) at the recent 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.  Both Miller and Hannity worked at WVNN, Huntsville early in their careers and now are both part of the lineup at Townsquare Media’s KIDO, Boise as Sean Hannity’s program is heard there in afternoon drive.  Miller tells TALKERS, “Sean has always been great to me since our days at WVNN.  It was a pleasure to welcome him to KIDO.”

mccollummaryMcCollum Promoted at Idaho Media Group.  Local sales manager Mary McCollum is promoted to director of regional and national sales at IdaVend Broadcasting, Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc.  McCollum began her career in media as a marketing manager for Ubiquitel (Sprint Wireless), in 2000.   She moved to neighboring Clarkston, Washington in 2009, taking a position in Lewiston as sales manager at Pacific Empire Radio Corporation.  In 2011, McCollum moved to nationally recognized IdaVend Broadcasting as the sales manager for Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL, Inc. in Moscow.  In addition to national and regional sales, McCollum also specializes in political advertising and sponsorship promotions.

Tax Day, ObamaCare Criticism, Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary, Russian Ukraine Aggression/Obama-Putin Talks, and Harry Reid and Nevada ‘Cattle Battle’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15).  The deadline for filing federal and state tax returns and the increased tax rates many Americans are facing; the anniversary of the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon; the ongoing tensions in Ukraine as pro-Russian factions press for return to Russian rule and President Obama’s talks with Vladimir Putin; Harry Reid’s involvement in the controversy between a Nevada rancher and the Bureau of Land Management were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 24, 2014

| March 24, 2014

businessrockstars radioBusiness Rockstars Radio to Debut. Via a strategic alliance with the Wall Street Business Network, “Business Rockstars Radio” will premier its national radio syndication effort on March 31 on 10 major market stations. Business Rockstars Radio, hosted by Ken Rutkowski, features “rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups and targets the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S. The March 31 rollout is the “launchrutkowskiken pad” for the national rollout of the program. Salem Radio Division president David Santrella states, “Salem is excited to be adding more compelling and relevant content to our Wall Street Business Network. We thank the Good Life Network for their efforts in securing the Business Rockstars Radio program for our growing business-format platform, and look forward to a long and mutually successful relationship with both the Good Life Network and Business Rockstars Radio.” The program will air live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET and debut on: KDOW, San Francisco; KVCE, Dallas; KTEK, Houston; WZAB, Miami; WAFS, Atlanta; KKOL, Seattle; WBZW, Orlando; KYCR, Minneapolis; KSAC, Sacramento; and KGU, Honolulu. Business Rockstars Radio co-founder Steve Lehman comments, “Business Rockstars Radio is loaded with powerful entrepreneurial content presented in a fun, fast-paced, two-hour daily show. The program has big name CEOs, entrepreneurs and start-ups that discuss their adventures in starting, growing and funding businesses. These stories inspire and educate listeners, from billion dollar start-ups to business train wrecks.”

greatermedia logoGreater Media Philly Named a Top Workplace. This is the third successive year the company has earned such recognition from an annual survey conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.  Hundreds of companies take part in the survey and as Greater Media Philadelphia vice president/market manager John Fullam states, “Great companies start with great employees.  We are fortunate to have an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners, and advertising partners every day.”  Judges are employees and evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program is based upon feedback from a fall 2013 employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics.  The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a special publication insert yesterday (3/23) to announce the honor.  Greater Media’s four-station Philadelphia cluster consists of adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben-FM,” WMGK “Philadelphia’s Classic Rock,” WMMR “Everything That Rocks,” and sports WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.”

agasepaulCumulus Nabs Agase for VP Sales Post in Chicago.  Chicago market sales pro Paul Agase is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM “Chicago’s Talk Leader” and classic rock WLUP “97.9 FM The Loop.”  Most recently, Agase was general sales manager at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM.  He’s also worked in the market at sports talk WSCR “The Score,” triple A WXRT, WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM,” and WBBM-FM “B96.”  Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Pinch comments, “Paul has made a significant impact driving sales for Chicago radio.  His talents are an ideal match for Cumulus Chicago’s iconic stations and we are excited to welcome him to the company.”

comrexComrex Welcomes Torelli as Market Development Manager.  Multi-disciplined media pro Joe Torelli joins Comrex Corporation as market development manager.  The company says that in this role, Torelli will spearhead awareness and drive acceptance of the Comrex LiveShot products in the broadcast, education, worship and government markets.  Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Joe comes to Comrex with extensive experience on both sides of the broadcast industry starting as a photojournalist at WFLA-TV, Tampa where he first used Comrex products.  Capitalizing on his field experience there and over a decade at NBC News covering world events, he transitioned to design and delivery of market focused products at Avid, Quantel and, most recently, Apple products that became standards in the industry.  That background will help Comrex grow the acceptance of the LiveShot products.”  Torelli says, “I see LiveShot as truly amazing technology and I’m no stranger to highlighting new technology and differentiating features to the market.  I’m excited about the opportunity to help extend LiveShot’s appeal and acceptance.”  Comrex LiveShot delivers live video and audio over a range of IP networks.  LiveShot is used by TV stations and networks to deliver high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio from anywhere internet access is available.

bearmanethan2Ethan Bearman Adds KGO, San Francisco to His Roster of Radio Homes.  Multi-platform talk show host Ethan Bearman, one of the 2014 first-time members of TALKERS magazine’s newly published “Heavy Hundred,” has just been named regular host of the Sunday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on KGO, San Francisco.  Bearman has also been retained by the Cumulus San Francisco cluster to do fill-in at KGO’s sister station KSFO where he’ll be keeping the mic warm next week for morning host Brian Sussman (also a 2014 Heavy Hundred inductee) between 5:00 am and 9:00 am on April 3 and 4.  The hard-working Bearman also has a two-hour weekend syndicated show carried by Genesis Communications Network (GCN) and is a regular member of the air staff at Michael Zerling’s nationally famous KSCO, Santa Cruz where he hosts 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm weekdays.  Bearman tells TALKERS, “I am blessed and honored to be working with some of the best professionals in the industry – Michael Zwerling is one of the most ardent examples of a broadcaster dedicated to serving the local community and creating breakthroughs in modern marketing techniques.  Ted Anderson is a dynamo of entrepreneurial innovation, who has built GCN into a powerhouse among the up-and-coming syndicators.  And now, the mighty Cumulus, where I am honored to work at one of the truly legendary sets of call letters in America – KGO – with a staff that is the very embodiment of broadcasting professionalism.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been quoted as saying, “I have heard one of the major voices of talk radio’s future and it emanates from a young man named Ethan Bearman.”

cookehollandMedia Usage Research (and What You Can Do With It).  Media consultant Holland Cooke pens a brief synopsis of some of the recent media usage research that’s been published recently and takes it a step further and offers some advice that station operators can use to put their best foot forward.  Smart owners and programmers are not getting depressed about the changing media landscape; they are doing their best to adapt to how people are using media.  Cooke offers some thoughts about working with that mindset.  Read it here.

sorbosamSam Sorbo to Launch Daily Talk Show.  Actress/author and True Feminist CEO Sam Sorbo is beginning a daily, three-hour talk show on Wednesday (3/26).  A press statement says she’s being “tapped by America’s Talk Network, Inc. to host a new daily talk show that will be syndicated and exclusively represented by Talk Radio Network Enterprises.”  The eponymous show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.    CEO Mark Masters says Sorbo is “an ‘independent conservative,’ an accomplished entrepreneur, who has an uncanny ability to connect with the listeners on a visceral level.”  Sorbo states, “I view it as a privilege to be behind the microphone…Ronald Reagan understood the power of humor, satire and good-natured ridicule in ways that created a massive ‘Big Tent of Voters.’  My goal is to follow that model in creating a ‘Big Tent of Listeners’ for ratings success for our stations.”

kcoh logoHouston Judge Allows KCOH Suit Back Before Court.  The months-long dispute between former KCOH, Houston talk show host Michael Harris and South Houston Community Development Corp. president Jesse Dunn will return to the courts after being dismissed last month.  Harris claims Dunn made false representations to induce Harris into obtaining personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 to finance radio station equipment and operations.  Last month the case was dismissed but Harris’ lawyer Robert Collier argued he was unaware of the motion for summary judgment and didn’t have time to respond.  The suit was reinstated on March 11 and, according to the Houston Chronicle, Collier will ask that the court put KCOH assets into receivership for accounting and control.

eastlanratings logoEastlan Adding Three Markets. Tallahassee, Florida; Columbus, Georgia; and Hammond, Louisiana are the metros that the ratings company will begin surveying this spring.  Eastlan president/chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “As Eastlan rolls into our fifteenth year, we are grateful to the small and medium market radio leaders who have recognized the value in carefully scrutinizing their radio ratings/vendor relationship.  We never imagined we would be fortunate enough to become the senior radio ratings provider in the United States.” Nielsen Audio is already measuring Tallahassee and Columbus; Hammond was an unrated metro.  Roughly five months ago, Eastlan added 11 other markets in Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas.

stigallswiftChris Stigall and Taylor Swift Goofing in NYC.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall (right) takes what he calls the “ultimate selfie” with pop and country superstar Taylor Swift (left) at the 8th Annual Taste of Hope Wine Dinner to support City of Hope in New York City’s Tribeca on March 20.  This event is just one of the fundraising projects City of Hope produces to help raised funds to cure — and ultimately prevent — cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.

millernooryCoast to Coast AM from Boise.  Nationally syndicated late-night star George Noory (left) poses for a photo with KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) backstage at the Egyptian Theater in Boise during a visit to the city.  The Premiere Networks-syndicated “Coast to Coast AM” personality was in town for a live show at the Egyptian Theater.  Also pictured here is Noory Productions president Tom Danheiser (c).

BTC logoHD Radio Cited in Growth of Broadcaster Traffic Consortium Revenue.  The Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC), is a nationwide broadcasting network that distributes location-based data — including: local traffic, weather, and fuel prices via radio technology to navigation devices and automobile in-dash systems.  The consortium reports that revenue for 2013 continued to grow and it anticipates more growth in 2014.  The consortium was established in 2007 and since that time its total revenue compound annual growth rate is 50.8%.  The addition of HD Radio technology for traffic data in 2011 comprises 20% of the BTC’s total revenue.  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth says, “Greater Media is now seeing a return on our investment in BTC.  The transmission of traffic data via our HD signals allows us to be an integral part of the digital dashboard.  We are pleased to see that revenue growth is exceeding our expectations.”  Getting traffic data via HD Radio allows users to avoid eating up their allotted data on bandwidth-intense activities like traffic.  The BTC says, “The smooth launch with auto manufacturers Honda and Mitsubishi last year has opened the door for additional automakers to realize the value of HD Radio Data real-time traffic.”  The founding members of the BTC include: Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio, Inc.; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications Corp.; Greater Media; NPR and Radio One.

Friday, February 7, 2014

| February 7, 2014

benztimTim Benz Promoted to Sports Director at CC Pittsburgh.  Programmer and air personality Tim Benz exits his role as morning show host at alternative WXDX, Pittsburgh “105.9 The X” to take the sports director role at Clear Channel’s Pittsburgh cluster.  With the move, WXDX evening host Abby Krizner moves to mornings.  According to Pittsburgh’s Timesonline.com, Benz’s move means he’ll host a show on sister sports talker WBGG but will also continue to contribute to WXDX’s sports content (the station is the Penguins flagship).  In a related move, Benz’s co-host Bob McLaughlin stays with the station as producer of the sports-heavy PM drive Mark Madden program on WXDX.  About his promotion and the expansion of sports programming which will see his commentary used on cluster stations including rock WDVE, CHR WKST “96.1 KISS,” news/talk WPGB “FM News Talk 104.7,” and classic hits WWSW “94.5 3WS,” Benz tells Timesonline.com, “This opportunity to extend sports programming is something we have been discussing for some time and will enhance our platforms.”  He’ll host the daily 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WBGG.

wftl logoJames Crystal Radio Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.  After reports surfaced in the radio trades (including TALKERS) that James Crystal Radio had missed payroll in January, questions began to arise about the state of the company’s affairs and, sure enough, it’s now publicwmen logo information that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Florida.  In the filing, James Crystal Radio lists assets of between $1 million and $10 million with between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities.  Some of the 20 creditors with the largest claims include: more than $220,000 owned to BMI, more than $1.5 million to various attorneys for fees, plus some $861,000 owed to the IRS in payroll taxes and more than $200,000 in property and local taxes.  This is a particularly unfortunate situation since the company has operated in a very locally focused manner giving opportunities to Florida personalities at news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN, both serving the West Palm Beach and South Florida markets.  The company also owns foreign-language WFLL, Fort Lauderdale and gospel KBXD, Dallas.

ramseydaveDave Ramsey Crosses Town to KEIB, Los Angeles.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves from news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles to Clear Channel’s new conservative talk KEIB “The Patriot keib logo1150” where the show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm beginning February 24.  KEIB program director Robin Bertolucci says, “We are delighted and excited to have Dave as part of our lineup.  With his proven track record in LA, he’ll be an excellent addition to our station.”  Currently, local personality Carlos Amezcua airs in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot on KEIB.

kfwbKFWB Expands ‘Money 101’ with Bob McCormick.  With the departure of Dave Ramsey, CBS RADIO operated KFWB, Los Angeles grows Bob McCormick’s “Money 101” program and places it in themccormickbob 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot on the program schedule.  As a result, “LA’s Morning News with Penny Griego and Phil Hulett” adds another hour, wrapping at 10:00 am.  The station notes that McCormick “is a recognized authority on personal finance issues in Southern California…his fast-paced show features compelling content that goes beyond the headlines and focuses on how these issues influence our lives in Southern California.”  Program director Andy Ludlum says of the changes, “We have enjoyed a great relationship with Dave Ramsey and his team.  They are consummate professionals and Dave did a great job for us.  It was a good partnership, but the opportunity to add more local programming to super-serve our listeners prevailed.”

envisionnetworks newEnvision Networks Announces New Brand.  The new name and branding for Envision Radio Networks is Envision Networks.  The 11-year-old media network, which provides content and services to more than 1,500 radio stations across the country, says it has grown beyond the scope of a radio-only syndication company and that the new name Envision Networks encompasses its heritage radio business as well as its growing digital networks, streaming networks and on-demand listening.  President and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Envision Networks is a more accurate representation of our current evolution and growth in radio, digital, streaming and product placement.  The Envision Networks name and branding now reflects everything we supply to radio stations and other media while creating a desirable audience for our advertisers and partners.”

j4 logoBroadcasting Pro Todd Feinburg Launches Boston Traffic Service.  It’s called J4traffic and the Boston-based broadcasting pro tells TALKERS magazine it is a “crowd sourced, all-traffic radio station for Boston, the first radio format being launched by Speaks Mobile, Inc.”  The app is available for free download from the Apple and Android stores.  Todd Feinburg (who co-hosted morning drive on WRKO, Boston for the past five years and currently is doing part-time and fill-in work for WBZ-AM) explains the concept behind this initiative.  “Rush hour is expanding to encompass much of the day in major American cities, and not just on weekdays.  Radio traffic reports lack the frequency, substance and reliability to be effective at easing this pain, and traffic maps don’t go together well with the legal and practical responsibilities of operating a motor vehicle.  Furthermore, traffic data delivered tofeinburgtodd mobile apps lacks the nuance that drivers need to make effective decisions regarding comparative routes – and it’s generally not much fun.  We will correct these problems with The Jay – on-demand traffic talk radio that is informed by the crowd.”  Feinburg says the programming will consist of a traffic report every five minutes.  In between, they’ll broadcast updates reported to them by commuters.  Drivers will share what they see on the road via 15 second mp3s they record on the J4traffic app, or they’ll call in with live reports.  He says they are in “beta” mode right now but once they’re up to speed, they’ll use “Facebook mobile ads and Google keyword ads to push new users to the app in order to speed growth.  In addition, we are optimistic that local media outlets will respond well to a PR campaign emphasizing a new format – all traffic radio – on a platform that has not been used to offer unique, local, radio content – but has been proven successful by companies such as Pandora, Spotify and Apple.”  Feinburg says their positioning will be “as a humble, bootstrap operation looking to solve a problem, because that’s what we are.  We see this as the beginning of a trend – ‘local’ is the power of radio, and local radio has been abandoned by broadcasters.  Now that the threshold to entry has been lowered and anyone can have a radio station, we expect thousands of niche broadcast outlets to appear on the mobile platform.”  Along with Feinburg, the two other principals are Jonathan Roy, an attorney who has left his practice in order to join the startup world.  He gained experience in tech and startups before attending law school 15 years ago.  Aaron Sawyer is a 20-year veteran of Total Traffic and its predecessor, Metro Traffic.  Aaron worked as a manager and announcer for Total Traffic, setting up and rolling out new markets.

nextmedia logoExecutive Changes at NextMedia in Chicago as Sale to Digity Expected to Close on Monday.  The sale of NextMedia’s nine suburban Chicago radio stations to Dean Goodman-led Digity, LLC is expected to close on Monday, February 10 and Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that two executives are being told they will not be retained when the deal is consummated.  General managers Patrick Pendergast and Scott Kosak will reportedly exit the company and NextMedia360 vice president Brian Foster will serve as manager for the entire group.  The Chicago stations are part of a larger deal that encompasses 33 stations becoming assets in Digity, LLC.  The Chicago-area stations include: classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora; country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; news/talk WJOL-AM, Joliet; AC WSSR-FM, Joliet; rock WRXQ-FM, Coal City; sports WKRS-AM, Waukegan; hot AC WXLC-FM, Waukegan; rock WIIL-FM, Union Grove, Wisconsin and news/talk WLIP-AM, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

ramseyboiseDave Ramsey Brings Live Events to Boise.  Nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here with (from left to right) Idaho First Lady Lori Otter, Townsquare Media regional vice president Kevin Godwin, and Idaho Governor Butch Otter during a visit to the market this week.  Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to a sold-out crowd in on Thursday (2/6) at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts.  The production presents Ramsey’s philosophy about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage. Local affiliate KIDO helped promote the event and Kevin Godwin states, “KIDO’s enthusiasm for the unique opportunity to host Dave Ramsey in Boise is brimming.  It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, as KIDO is celebrating its 85th anniversary of broadcasting this year.  It’s very special to have one of our most popular talk show hosts here to share this with us and our community.”  On Wednesday, Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan, about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees.

gallaghermikeTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  In the Riverside-San Bernardino market, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh is added to the lineup at KTIE, San Bernardino…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the program lineup at WVFT-FM, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama Beach, Florida and KGUM-AM, Agana, Guam…..The XtreMedia produced and syndicated Kevin McCullough show is added to the programming at WHEP, Mobile/Pensacola; WTXY, Wilmington, North Carolina; and WROM, Rome, Georgia…..The WYM Media-produced Leslie Marshall show is added to the Indiana Talk Radio Network airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved show is added to the lineup at WFBL, Syracuse; WMCR, Oneida, New York; and KVOC, Casper, Wyoming and the company’s Mike Gallagher show joins the programming at KMAX, Colfax, Washington…..“The Graveyard Shift” show announces affiliates for its March launch.  KONR, Anchorage and KDOL, Livingston, Texas will carry the program.

bennettbillreaganlibraryBennett Keynotes at Reagan Event.  Nationally syndicated morning drive host Bill Bennett is pictured here speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California yesterday (2/6).  The Salem Radio Network personality, who served as Education Secretary under Reagan, was keynote speaker at the event commemorating the 103rd anniversary of Reagan’s birth.  Yesterday’s ceremony included a color guard, chaplain, a brass quintet, a 21-gun salute, a flyover, the placing of an official White House wreath on President Reagan’s gravesite and remarks by Bennett.  Prior to the ceremony, Bennett signed copies of his new book, Is College Worth It?

2014 NYC logo 150Sean Hannity to Keynote and Host Special Breakfast at Talkers New York 2014 Set for Friday, June 20.  Nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk media superstar Sean Hannity will again serve as the morning keynote and breakfast host at this year’s installment of TALKERS magazine’s annual New York City-based convention.  The TALKERS magazine annual national talk media industry conference enters its 17th consecutive year as the date and site have been set for the next installment of the industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering.  Upon the announcement of Hannity’s participation, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Sean’s valuable contributions to this event have become a tradition over the course of its colorful hannityseanhistory.  He transcends politics and even the competition factor at this event and is by far one of the brightest and most popular individuals in a behind-the-scenes sense in the talk industry.  His grasp of ratings issues, sales challenges, the local/national balance equation and changes in the syndication sector is extremely ‘black belt’ in quality and greatly appreciated by his colleagues in the business.”   According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This will be the most important installment of this can’t-miss conference ever because it will deal with some of the most sensitive and existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’  It should not be missed, plain and simple, by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.”  Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are members of the working media (meaning actively or recently employed in the industry or associated industries) and can only be booked by telephone with credit card.  Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249.  As usual, because of space limitations and the quality of this long-established event, an early sellout is expected.  Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead.  For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.

2014 NYC logo 150Mike Francesa to Deliver Sports Keynote Address at Talkers New York 2014  – Set for June 20.  WFAN, New York sports talk superstar Mike Francesa will reprise his “grand slam home run” contribution from last year and again deliver this year’s sports keynote address at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20.  Upon making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mike Francesa’s speech last year was one of the most memorable highlights of the conference.  He brings the same no-nonsense, unapologetic, common-sense approach to the issues of the industry that he brings to his legion of fans on the radio about their passion – sports — and quite frankly, it is quite refreshing and inspirational to those of us for whom radio is the ‘game’ of our lives.  Francesa is thefrancesaspeaking quintessential local sports talker – the most important in the business – and is a voice that needs to be heard because so much has happened in the sports talk sector since last summer.  He’s the perfect guy to deliver the updated message within the context of continuity.”  Francesa’s address will directly follow the conference’s general morning keynote address delivered by Premiere Radio/Fox News Channel heavyweight Sean Hannity.  More than 60 speakers from the leadership ranks of the industry’s talent, programming, management and sales arenas are being signed up to fill out the power-packed, one-day agenda.  The TALKERS magazine annual national talk media industry conference (known for years as the “New Media Seminar”) enters its 17th consecutive year as the talk radio industry’s largest, longest-running and most important gathering.  Harrison continues, “This will be the most important installment of this must-attend conference ever because it will deal with some of the most sensitive and even existential issues facing not only the talk side of the business, but all of what we still call ‘radio.’  It should not be missed by anyone or any company serious about their future in this industry.”  Registrations for the event are limited only to people who are members of the media industry (meaning actively or recently employed in the radio, television, and press industries or associated industries) and can only be booked by telephone with credit card.  Individual registrations for the entire event including all sessions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and receptions are $249.  As usual, because of space limitations and the quality of this long-established event, a very early sellout is expected.  Stand by for ongoing information about speakers, agenda and hotel suggestions in the days ahead.  For further registration and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.

ObamaCare Criticism Returns to #1 on Talkers TenTM.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 3-7 was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act.  The issue held the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for eight straight weeks last fall and now returns to #1.  At #2 this week was the pending immigration legislation and the amnesty component expected to be included in the bill.  Following at #3 was talk of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 with the nation’s and several states’ marijuana laws coming in 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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

| January 28, 2014

wftl logoJames Crystal Radio Misses Payroll.  According to a report in Jose Lambert’s column in the Miami Herald, staffers at the James Crystal Radio Group stations in West Palm Beach – news/talkwmen logo WFTL and sports talk WMEN – have not been paid since January 1 due to the holder of a $17 million loan to the company freezing its account.  The company is operated by Jim Hilliard and when contacted by the paper, general manager Steve Lapa stated that Hilliard is working from “6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily to resolve the situation.”  Lapa reports the staffers have missed only one pay period up until this point.  Between the two stations it’s estimated there are approximately 75 employees.

davisdarrenClear Channel Creates Networks Group; Names Davis President.  In a corporate re-alignment move, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment creates a new unified Networks group to take full advantage of its “power, reach and scale to deliver more compelling content opportunities to its partners, affiliates, advertisers and consumers, as well as providing a unique platform to its content partners and talent.”  Darren Davis, most recently EVP and GM for the national programming platforms, will lead this effort as president, Clear Channel Networks Group.  The company says that in his new role, Davis will oversee and ensure the success and close integration of the networks — Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network, the 24/7 News Network and the iHeartRadio Network.  This new position underlines Clear Channel’s continued commitment to further expanding and transforming its business, introducing innovative new products, moving onto exciting new platforms and delivering even more unique opportunities and content to its audiences and its talent.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “This new unified Networks group will enable us to better capitalize on our powerful relationships, creative talent and unparalleled capabilities across all platforms and maximize our infrastructure in an entirely new way to take these networks to a higher level, as well as develop new ones.  Darren is an innovative and effective leader of teams and has been a success at every role he has played at this company from the beginning as a programmer through his role as EVP and GM for the National Programming Platforms (NPP) group with Tom Poleman.  His extensive and diverse experience makes him the perfect candidate for this important new leadership role.”

grandephilPhil Grande to Appear at Rumsfeld Book Event.  In conjunction with news/talk WLSS, Sarasota, Florida, nationally syndicated financial talk personality Phil Grande – host of the “Phil’s Gang” program – will make a presentation and appear with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Rumsfeld’s special event and speech at the Hyatt Regency on February 13.  Rumsfeld is touring the country promoting his new book, Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War and Life (Broadside 2013).

neerrichardSports Talk: How Important Is Civility?  Unlike the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, sports talk hosts “need to be liked.”  That’s what WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer says in his column published today (1/28).  Neer writes (while referencing the notoriety being enjoyed by Sherman in the aftermath of his recent rant), “If you are talented or lucky enough to win that lottery by catching the public imagination at precisely the right moment, you can thrive by being what polite society deems ‘uncivil.’  But you’re treading a narrow line and making a lot of enemies in the process.  One misstep could end your career as suddenly as a torn ACL could end Sherman’s.” Read Neer’s entire column here.

crninternational logoCRN International Debuts Events Division; Names Kelly Travers Director.  Integrated radio marketing solutions company CRN International is establishing a new Events Division for the growing number of live functions it manages as part of client campaigns.  The company says the move will allow it “to execute with optimum efficiency for the many events it coordinates for consumer brands, ranging from local radio station appearances to high-profile nightclub galas.”  To head up the new venture is Kelly Travers who is named director of retail strategies and activation.  CRN president and founder Barry Berman states, “Live events are used when they help solve a client objective, and they have to be well executed in every detail if they hope to deliver the expected business outcome.  Establishment of this new operating unit will allow our clients to sleep at night knowing all logistics are being addressed thoroughly.”  Travers notes that CRN International orchestrated more than 300 events as part of client marketing strategies last year alone.  Among the companies that have used live events engineered by CRN as an offshoot of their radio-triggered campaigns are Fiat and Petco, to name a few.

wxgiRed Zebra’s WXGI, Richmond to Simulcast on WZEZ-FM.  In a deal that will begin on February 1, Red Zebra-operated sports talk WXGI, Richmond “ESPN 950” will expand its reach by simulcasting on WZEZ at 100.5 FM.  The agreement between Red Zebra Broadcasting and Delmarva Educational Association gives “ESPN 950” reach to the northwest of the market.  General manager Buck Albritton states, “We could not be more excited to move our dynamic on-air lineup onto the FM frequency.  Most importantly, we are increasing our signal reach to serve more sports listeners.”  The stations will begin their relationship with the broadcast of Super Bowl XVLIII on Sunday.  Program director Mitchell Bradley states, “Not only is this an opportunity to serve a greater number of listeners, we will increase the number of games that we can broadcast.  We’ll be able to carry one play-by-play lineup on our AM station while featuring another program event on the FM signal.”  Red Zebra is controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

radiohealthjournal logoOdds & Sods.  The syndicated public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating the airing of its 1,100th episode this week.  The program began in 1992 and is now heard on more than 480 stations across the country.  Produced by MediaTracks Communications and hosted by Reed Pence, the show provides listeners with a wide variety of health topics, including consumer safety, healthcare, drug abuse, mental illness, food safety, and youth at risk.  Pence states, “From the start, we cared about the information that we were providing to the listener.  We’ve always concentrated on providing important and useful information in a consumer friendly way.”…..SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison will attend tonight’s State of the Union Address as a guest of Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH).  On Wednesday, Fudge will appear on Madison’s program to discuss the president’s address…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens will be heard on Clear Channel’s classic rock WBIG, Washington, DC next season.  Last season the team’s games were heard in the DC market on Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington.

espnmikemikebradshawSports Talk Frenzy in NYC.  It’s Super Bowl week in New York City and ESPN – along with the other major sports radio networks including Fox Sports Radio Network, CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network – is there.  Pictured here is Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw (right) on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show this morning with Mike Golic (center) and Mike Greenberg (left).  ESPN enjoys the advantage of its fabulous Times Square studios for this year’s Super Bowl.  All this week at the nearby Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan, some 90 radio stations are broadcasting from the Super Bowl XLVIII radio row.

millergovernorDown on Main Street.  Always getting out into the community, KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (center) takes his show out to Ed’s 50 Café where he hosts a roundtable breakfast chat with Idaho Governor Butch Otter (right) and EntreLeadership director of coaching and community John Felkins.  EntreLeadership is part of talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s organization.  Felkins’ job involves meeting with business leaders from across the country and helping them generate improvements to their companies by applying the EntreLeadership way of doing business.

comrexACCESSComrex Rolls Out Switchboard Traversal Server.  Don’t get freaked out by the engineer-speak, this is a very cool new feature for Comrex’s ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs.  This major upgrade to the company’s popular BRIC Traversal Server (or BRIC-TS) service for ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs allows for presence notification, status and connection help (NAT Traversal) via a cloud-based service which is free to use for Comrex ACCESS IP codec customers.  The feature is included in all Comrex ACCESS IP Audio codecs and can be unlocked on Comrex BRIC-Link codecs for a small license unlock fee.  The company states that it will be migrating all existing BRIC-TS accounts to the new Switchboard TS today (1/28) and the changeover will be seamless for existing users.  While customers will experience an improved graphical user interface, they should note two main improvements to the management tools in Switchboard.  Specifically, “Contact Lists” and “Shares” have simplified the task of managing a large fleet of ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs.  What this all really means is that Switchboard TS is designed to allow your BRIC codecs (such as ACCESS) to connect with each other without having to have an IT guy onsite everywhere you go!  To contact Comrex by phone, call 800-237-1776.

Cool Job Opportunity. Heritage News/Talk station in the northeast has a rare opportunity in a top 100 market.  Now accepting applications for a combo News Director/Program Director.  Great company and a great opportunity for the right person with strong forward thinking programming ideas and strategies.  Must have experience in both news and programming with a multi-platform distribution approach to include on-air, online and mobile.  Please email a resume along with any supporting materials to Gabe Hobbs at gabe@gabehobbsmedia.com.  Or you can place your materials in my DropBox at https://www.hightail.com/u/GabeHobbsMedia. No calls please.  EOE/MF

State of the Union Address, NSA Spying Controversy, Hillary Clinton in 2016, More Icy Winter Weather, 56th GRAMMYs, and Super Bowl XLVIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27).  The president’s annual State of the Union address to be delivered tonight; more revelations about the extent of the NSA spying operations; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political ambitions; the next round of frigid winter weather set to hit the Midwest, East and South this week; the 56th GRAMMY awards held Sunday; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

| January 7, 2014

cainepaulCEO Caine Set to Depart WestwoodOne.  As WestwoodOne becomes a fully integrated Cumulus Media division, chief executive officer Paul Caine will leave later this month. According to Cumulus chief executive officer Lew Dickey, “Paul is an extremely talented media executive and did an excellent job of guiding WestwoodOne during a period of change.  He positioned the company for future growth and played an instrumental role in driving awestwoodone logo constructive transaction, which delivered value for his shareholders.  We look forward to working with Paul in the next chapter of his impressive career.”  Caine is “so proud of the team we’ve built and what we’ve accomplished” at the company.  “In such a short time, we have proven the power of sound and its impact on the future of the audio industry,” he remarks.  “I am confident that this great momentum will continue under Cumulus and the strong talent and leadership of Lew Dickey.”  Less than one year ago (April 2013), Caine was announced as chief executive officer of Dial Global (now WestwoodOne) and as a member of the company’s board of directors.  He previously spent nearly 25 years at Time Inc., where he led the development of digital formats.

cookehollandNew Media Expo and CES Update.  “If I were Howard Stern I would go to a subscription podcasting model.”  Those were the words of Courtside Entertainment Group and PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz speaking at yesterday morning’s keynote address at 2014 New Media Expo (formerly Blogworld).  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine and he has more from Pattiz.  Also check out his notes from the first day of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show where he reports back on the new technology that is relevant to the radio and content business.  Check it out here.

paulsenrouhierGrant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Host Middays on WJFK-FM, Washington.  Speculation that Don Geronimo would re-surface during the day on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” have been squelched as the station debuted its new midday show co-hosted by Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier (Geronimo remains with the station hosting the evening show).  Rouhier had been working with Holden Kushner during the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot previously.  Kushner remains with the station hosting weekends and participating in the station’s Washington Nationals coverage.  Paulsen has been serving as the station’s Redskins beat reporter for the past four years.

deptrojohnWPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Air; Critics Remain Steadfast.  Providence talk show host John DePetro – host of the late morning show on Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence – returned to the air on Monday after being off for the month of December.  DePetro and local union leader Maureen Martin – chairwoman of the anti-DePetro organization For Our Daughers RI – appear fated to continue their battle over DePetro’s employment with the station.  DePetro recently rankled Martin and other Rhode Island union members after he referred to some of them as “parasites,” “cockroaches,” “hags” and “whores” during a rant about their participation in a protest.  DePetro apologized for his choice of words but Martin is not backing off her campaign to oust DePetro from his position via boycott of the station’s advertisers and a petition drive.  The latest news in the skirmish is Martin publicly claiming DePetro was accused of sexual assault in 2013.  The Providence Journal-operated PolitiFact.com reports that it researched the matter to discover DePetro was accused of sexual harassment in 2012.  After connecting with Martin, PolitiFact.com reports the organization changed the date – from 2013 to 2012 – on its petition but has not altered the accusation to harassment.  Although harassment is a civil matter and assault is a felony, Martin insists to PolitiFact.com that an unwanted sexual advance is assault, according to the U.S. Department of Justice – which the news organization disputes.  Regardless, DePetro appears ready for battle, addressing the issue upon his return Monday saying, “Politicians and unions should not interfere and try to silence public opinion.  Period.  That’s it…They want to silence the people.  The last time I checked, this is still America.”

comrexComrex Names Raul Hun Latin America Sales Manager.  Comrex Corporation announces the appointment of Raul Hun to manage Latin America sales for the company.  Hun, a native of Panama, brings over 15 years of experience in providing studio and transmission solutions to broadcasters throughout Central and South America.  He most recently worked for the Telos Alliance and Broadcast Electronics.  Comrex director of sales Chris Crump comments, “Raul is one of the most well-liked gentlemen in our industry and we are thrilled to have him on our team.  The great work that Jim Godfrey has done for us in the region will certainly be strengthened by the strong dealer and customer relationships that Raul has developed over the years in Latin America.”

deanmichaelwReview: The Audio Technica AT2005USB Microphone.  Whether you record podcasts or take your talk show on the road (or both!), a good portable USB mic is a very handy thing.  Talk show host Michael W. Dean offers this thorough review of the Audio Technica AT2005USB mic.  He writes, “This would be a great mic for hosts who travel a lot, and don’t want to bring a mixer and a whole bag of gear or an engineer.  It’s a regular-sized dynamic mic that sounds fairly amazing.  It has a built-in USB interface, and comes with a nifty collapsible tripod table stand and a USB cable.  You could fit that all in a netbook case with a small laptop.”  For the entire review, pics and a sound sample, click here.

summersrichOdds & Sods.  Rich Summers is the new operations manager for Townsquare Media’s news/talk KIDO, Boise and its sister sports talk station KFXD “Sports Radio 630 The Fan.”  Summers joined the station group as program director of country KAWO…..At Yahoo! Sports Radio, there’s been a lineup change: “Hit ‘Em Up with Geoff Ketchum” moves to the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot and a new afternoon drive program, “Prime Cut featuring Sean Salisbury and John Granato,” launches in the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET timeslot…..In addition to yesterday’s news that the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment digital audio platform iHeartRadio will be available on some new car entertainment and information systems, the company is promoting the service will soon be available on Qualcomm’s multi-media AllPlay smart media platform, the new AT&T Drive auto platform and others.  The announcement was made at day one of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.

MSNBC-Romney Controversy, Winter Cold Snap/Global Warming, Kerry’s Iran-Syria Solution, Colorado Pot Law Effects, Chicago Gun Ban Overturned, and SCOTUS Utah Gay Marriage Ruling Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6).  MSNBC’s forced apology after a program aired in which comedians made fun of Mitt Romney’s adopted, African-American grandson; the bitter winter weather affecting much of the United States and the controversy over its cause; criticism over John Kerry’s reaching out to Iran in an effort to solve the civil unrest in Syria; the effects of the new marijuana laws in Colorado; the overturning of Chicago’s ban on the purchase and sale of guns in the city; and the Supreme Court’s overturning of Utah’s gay marriage law were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

| November 21, 2013

francesamikeMike Francesa’s A-Rod Interview Creates Media Blitzkrieg in NYC.  When embattled New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez (lower right) stormed out of his grievance hearing with MLB officials and went straight to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa to kvetch to him, the New York City media reacted with such intense criticism of the broadcast that it only goes to cement Francesa’s standing as the most important sports broadcaster in town.  Rodriguez left his MLB meeting regardingarodwfan allegations of PED use and lashed out at the process and expressed his disdain for Commissioner Bud Selig.  Local media outlets accused Francesa of being too easy on — or actually downright chummy with – A-Rod.  But, Francesa maintains that he asked all the pertinent questions.  He told Newsday, “I felt like I asked him every hard question you could possibly ask him.  I don’t think there’s anything I could ask him about that wasn’t asked.”  Regardless, it was the interview that every media outlet in town has been aching to get and WFAN’s Mike Francesa got it.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it, “It seems that the rest of the Big Apple media don’t ‘get it’ regarding the influence and success of Mike Francesa as a talk show host, as indicated by the extent to which they constantly bash, parody and even mock him.  They judge him by their own often-hypocritical journalistic standards and don’t understand that by giving him so much attention – even as severe critics – they feed into the very process that makes Francesa so remarkably successful.  It is downright comical how they accuse Francesa of being ‘used’ by A-Rod as some kind of media patsy or suck up when in fact it is they — in their fits of transparent jealousy — who are being used by both Francesa and A-Rod.  Regardless of whether he does it consciously or inadvertently, Mike Francesa is a master talk show host of sports or any genre from which most others can learn a thing or two about taking ownership of your targeted turf.”

eastlanratings logoEastlan Employs E-Surveys to Enhance Methodology.  The 1999-formed Bellevue, Washington-based ratings firm will be augmenting current telephone-based methodology with “e-surveys,” which have been tested the past six months.  E-surveys will be integrated into Eastlan’s standard methodology in all markets beginning next spring.  “E-surveys will not replace our current methodology but rather enhance it,” stresses chief technology officer Bert Hambleton.  “The portion of survey respondents recruited electronically will have the choice to participate via e-survey or through a callback on their cell phone.”  Eastlan’s main reason to incorporate e-surveys was to increase participation among young radio listeners, and Hambleton states, “The process has worked very well.”  During this year’s pilot e-survey project, Eastlan noticed wider participation among 12 – 49s; the most dramatic increase was in participation among 25 – 44s.  Eastlan president/chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “It is incumbent upon ratings providers to reach a sample that is as representative of the local market composition as possible.  Being able to recruit and survey electronically, in addition to our telephone based methodology, will absolutely improve the long-term viability of our affordable radio ratings service.  Best of all, we can do so without raising our rates.” E-survey completion rates were slightly higher among women versus men.

fccnewThe FCC’s Media Bureau Announces Comment Period Opens for AM Revitalization Proposal.  The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Matter of Revitalization of the AM Radio Service was published in the Federal Register yesterday and therefore the comment period is open through January 21 and reply comments must be filed by February 18.  The Commission is seeking comment on a number of proposals designed to afford relief to AM broadcasters and to revitalize the AM radio band, and also is soliciting further proposals for revitalization of the AM radio service.

patrickmattOdds & Sods.  Salem Communications announces it will increase its quarterly dividend to shareholders by 5% making the payment $0.0550 per share to be disbursed on December 27…..There’s a whole lot of Matt Patrick hitting the airwaves next week.  The KTRH and KPRC, Houston talk personality will be heard three times per day on Monday and Tuesday November 25 and 26.  He’ll do his morning show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and his afternoon show on KPRC from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Then he sits in for KTRH-based syndicated host Michael Berry from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

crninternational logoMarketing Firm CRN International Names Jim Alkon Marketing Director; Promotes Robert O’Mara.  Radio marketing firm CRN International announces it names Jim Alkon marketing director, describing his mission “to extend the profile of the company among consumer brands and advertising agencies.”  Most recently, Alkon was managing director of his own consulting firm Meetings and Media.  At the same time, CRN ups Robert O’Mara to managing director, strategy and business development, and adds two new sales managers: Amanda Alvarez and Maureen Conlin who take the title associate director of strategy and business development.  CRN International describes itself as a company, using the slogan, “We Use Radio Differently,” that extends “the boundaries of radio marketing beyond simple spot advertisements and has customized programs to meet specific business objectives.  This has kept the award-winning company on marketing’s cutting edge for close to 40 years, serving prominent clients such as Microsoft, Chrysler, Sears, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Major League Baseball, HBO and Unilever.”   President and founder Barry Berman states, “We will continue to be part of the conversation in social media, on our recently relaunched website and in tutorial and perspective pieces on how understanding a client’s very specific business objectives is the first step to developing the right customized marketing campaign.  We have been able to employ radio in non-traditional ways to achieve results typically way beyond expectations.”

entercomBuffalo Food Pantries Aided by Entercom Thanksgiving Promotion.  Entercom Buffalo and the NHL‘s Buffalo Sabres teamed up earlier today (11/21, 7:00 am to 9:00 am) for a Thanksgiving turkey drive to benefit local food pantries.  Any donor dropping off a turkey was given two tickets to an upcoming Sabres game, leading Entercom Buffalo operations manager Tim Wenger to comment, “The Sabres stepped up in a big way to help the community by donating the tickets to this cause; Entercom is honored to join the effort.”  The event took place in the parking lot at the Entercom Buffalo offices.  Tickets distributed there were for games against the Montreal Canadiens (11/27); New York Rangers (12/5); Ottawa Senators (12/10), and Winnipeg Jets (12/17).  Entercom-owned sports outlet WGR is the Sabres’ flagship.  The New York State cluster also includes news/talk WBEN; CHR WKSE “Kiss”; alternative WLKK; classic rock WLKK HD2 “The Lake”; adult contemporary WTSS “My Star”; sports WWKB; and rhythmic oldies WWWS “Solid Gold Soul.”  All proceeds directly benefitted the Buffalo City Mission and the Food Bank of Western New York.

wwtn logo‘SuperTalk 99.7’ Goes Commercial Free for Rescue Mission Radiothon.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” will drop the spots on Monday, November 25 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm during its annual Cumulus Nashville Radiothon to raise money for the Nashville Rescue Mission.  WTN personality Michael Delgiorno will broadcast live on-site at the Nashville Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am.  Cumulus VP and market manager Mike Carpenter states, “This radiothon gives the community an opportunity to give back into the community and really help change people’s lives.  There are many ways to get involved with charities, but this one is unique because it’s not just about immediate needs.  It helps restore their lives and overcome huge hardships.  WTN’s listeners are very giving people who always go above and beyond our expectations in supporting the Mission.  We look forward to exceeding our goal again this year.”

millermissionMiller’s Mission Kicks into Gear for the Holidays.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (center, holding the Chex) is surrounded by staffers at the Boise Rescue Mission and KTVB-TV weather anchor Larry Gebert (second from right) as Miller begins another year of “Miller’s Mission.”  Miller is broadcasting from a local Walmart (and living there for an entire week) while collecting items to benefit the Boise Rescue Mission.

Tribune to Cut Roughly 700 Newspaper-Related Jobs. The tightening comes as Tribune plans to sell or spin off its publishing operations – which includes The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Hartford Courant – in order to concentrate more on television stations.  In a memo yesterday (11/20), chief executive officer Peter Liguori informed staffers that the publishing operation’s business units will be organized “by function, rather than by geography.”  Specifically, according to Liguori’s memo, “We must take better advantage of Tribune’s unique size and reach.”  The goal, he wrote, is to “continue investing in the lifeblood of our business: best-in-class reporting, effective sales, and digital growth.  Ensuring the long-term strength of our mastheads will, unfortunately, result in the selective reduction of our publishing staff.”  Iconic Chicago talk outlet WGN is Tribune’s lone radio property.

ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Obama Approval Ratings, UN Climate Talks, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Deal, and ‘Knockout’ Attacks Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21).  The scrutiny over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the government’s website; President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the walkout of member nations at the United Nations climate talks; the shaky state of the proposal for Afghanistan’s security beyond 2014; and the rise in incidents of “knockout” game attacks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

| September 3, 2013

armstrongcarriganBoston TV Anchor Kim Carrigan Joins Barry Armstrong on WRKO Program.  “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong” announces the addition of longtime Boston television anchor Kim Carrigan to the program.  Carrigan – who has worked at Boston TV outlets WHDH, WBZ/WSBK and WXFT – becomes co-host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program on Entercom‘s news/talk WRKO effective today (9/3).  Armstrong says of Carrigan, “Kim is a tremendous addition to our program.  She brings intellect, a historical perspective, and a woman’s point of view to topics that require constant attention and interpretation.”  Carrigan, an Emmy award-winning television news anchor, has been recognized with numerous other awards, including: an Edward R. Murrow Award for “Best Newscast in a Major Market,” a Quest Award as one of five outstanding women who have achieved success in their quest for excellence from the New England Women Business Owners Association, and a Gabrielle Award.  She was also honored with the President’s Award from the Northeast Arc, the organization’s highest honor, for her work on behalf of individuals with disabilities.

wqxilogoLincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta Names Alge Crumpler and JP Peterson AM Hosts.  Lincoln Financial Media announces the permanent replacement for the “Mayhem in the AM” morning show (Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini) fired in late June after joking about ALS-stricken ex-NFLer crumpleralgeSteve Gleason.  Former Atlanta Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler and media pro JP Peterson will host “The Locker Room” beginning September 5.  “790 The Zone” program director Bob Richards says, “We are excited to launch ‘Locker petersonjpRoom.’   The years of insight and experience Alge and JP bring to the table, coupled with a revamped program format, will help set the tone each morning for how listeners digest the world of sports and set the pace for how topics resonate throughout the day.”  Crumpler has served as an analyst for “790 The Zone” and a co-host for Falcons game-day programs on WGCL-TV and WAGA-TV.  Peterson comes to “790 the Zone” from Tampa, where he spent the past 16 years in sports radio and TV.  Peterson anchored and did sideline work for WFLA-TV’s pre-season Bucs coverage and pre-game shows.  He has also done field reporting for NBC’s “Football Night in America” and hosted the Rays’ “Inside Pitch” and “Extra Innings” radio shows.

cumulus logoDickey: The Network Industry Is an Attractive Vehicle.  Cumulus Media chairman and CEO Lew Dickey tells investors during a conference call this morning that his company sees network radio as an “attractive vehicle” and that “scale is essential for Cumulus to continue to facilitate growth to make the proper investments,” in explaining the deal’s announced last Friday – the company’s acquisition of Dial Global and its shedding of a pack of small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media.  The deal alsodickeylew gives Cumulus five stations in Fresno – market #68 – fitting in with the company’s desire to focus on the top 100 markets.  Dickey reiterated last week’s statement about money saved in synergies, “We’re acquiring a leading provider of premium and exclusive content, and it creates an attractive platform for us now for both content creation and distribution and monetization of these various assets.  It’s about $40 million of estimated cost synergies and substantial incremental revenue growth opportunities, which are not being factored in here on the pro forma. It’s deleveraging on the identified cost synergies alone.”  As Dickey explained how the new properties will become part of the larger company, he noted that sports programming – especially the NFL and NCAA play-by-play contracts which have at least several more years on them – were key to the deal and it’s obvious he expects to pull in a lot of revenue from those two properties.  As for how many positions will be eliminated in the above-mentioned “synergies,” Dickey noted it’s not like the Citadel acquisition which was basically 54 “separate” operations.  “This is really one business unit that does essentially the same thing as the business unit that we currently own and operate.  So there are awful a lot of opportunities to — for efficiencies and to combine these efforts and do so in such a way that it’s accretive to growth the same time.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the entire conference call here.

ktth10yrsKTTH, Seattle Celebrates 10 Years as Conservative Talk Outlet.  Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle is spending the day thanking its passionate, engaged conservative listeners by airing “Ten Years Strong,” a celebration of it 10-year anniversary, beginning September 3, 2013.  The station states that David Boze, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity and other KTTH personalities will spotlight their favorite political leaders, movies and conservative moments of the past 10 years. They’ll also reflect on the role of conservative talk radio in a blue state.  Program director Jason Antebi says, “AM 770 KTTH is going 10 years strong because the best talk show hosts in America present values-driven conservative thought in a distinctly civil and intelligent way.  We are so proud to be the exclusive Seattle home to David Boze, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey and Clyde Lewis.  Here’s to another 10 years!”  Bonneville Seattle VP/GM Carl Gardner adds, “KTTH serves a listening audience which is remarkably committed.  They care deeply about preserving the best of our traditional American values and ways of life. The passion of the listeners is what enables KTTH to be so successful.”

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth Exits AM Show at ‘Mighty 1090 AM’ in San Diego.  Former U.S. congressman and talk show host J.D. Hayworth exits the morning drive show at Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090 AM” where he was co-hosting with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton.  Hamilton remains in mornings with a rotating cast of guests.  Hayworth joined the station earlier this year.  Prior to his foray into full-time sports talk radio, he’d been a news/talk host in Phoenix and had been doing fill-in work at local news/talk stations and on nationally syndicated programs.

weismanstevenDo You Have a Non-Compete Clause?  Depending on what company your work for, in what capacity you serve and in which state you work, a non-competition clause in your contract can greatly affect your ability to move from one employer to the next within a given period of time.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman spells out the basics of what you should know before you sign a contract.  In some situations there may not be anything you can do about it, but at the very least, you should understand exactly what a non-competition clause means to you in that position with that employer.  Read Weisman’s illuminating column here.

lindsleymikeMike Lindsley and Brian Cady Leave Townsquare Media’s Sports Talk WTMM, Albany.  Management at Townsquare Media’s sports talker WTMM, Albany “ESPN 104.5 The Team” is not saying there was a connection between the dismissal of afternoon hosts Mike Lindsley and Brian Cady and their being snookered by a caller pretending to be former New York Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer who said he had experimented with performance enhancing drugs, but the two are out and a new afternoon show is expected to be announced within the next two weeks, according to a report in the Albany Times Union.  Lindsley had an interview lined up with Spencer and was promoting it but it didn’t happen at the exact time it was supposed to.  Pretty soon the imposter called and Lindsley assumed it was the real Shane Spencer.  After it was determined what happened, all parties apologized.  Regardless, new brand manager Armen Williams debuted on the air on Friday, August 30 – a bit prior to his scheduled September 9 start.

costadinoDino Costa Moves to New SiriusXM Channel.  As reported in the New York Daily News, sports talk host Dino Costa leaves the Mad Dog Radio channel on SiriusXM and will be part of a new sports talk channel on the satellite radio service, reportedly called “SiriusXM Radio Sports Zone 92.”  Costa had been the evening host on the Chris Russo-curated Mad Dog Radio channel.  The Daily News reports the relationship between Russo and Costa may not be as friendly as it once was, possibly leading to the split, although Costa Tweeted his thanks to Russo and his crew for the opportunity to work together.

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Dick Kozacko of Kozacko Media Services.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Dick Kozacko of Kozacko Media Services located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Unlike most of the brokers spotlighted in this popular feature, Kozacko’s background is not directly in broadcasting but rather acquisition management and market research for companies.  He is a graduate of Boston College with an MBA and his experience and education in these areas of business serve him well in today’s station-trading environment.  Kozacko takes a realistic view of the current conditions in the radio deal marketplace stating, “It’s challenging, especially since there are now so many alternatives to radio broadcasting.  If you were driving on a trip, your car radio was your companion.  Then, came eight-tracks, cassettes, and the list goes on with satellite radio, internet, etc.  Buyers have to be creative and think about the future, which is fine.  It would help if more banks returned to the financing area, although we have found more station owners are receptive to ‘terms’ financing.  It would help if the economy could demonstrate stronger and continued growth.” Per the custom of this feature, our spotlighted broker offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project.  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

fisherhouselogoDave Ross to Host New Production of Fisher House Foundation’s “The Gift.”  Fisher House Foundation announces it has begun production on the 2013 edition of its award-winning holiday radio program, “The Gift,” which tells the inspiring stories of wounded warriors and veterans who, with the help of their loved ones, have overcome tremendous obstacles to reclaim their lives.  The program, which is available to radio stations to air at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, consists of three self-contained hours of content.  Among those profiled inrossdave “The Gift” are Sergeant Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger whose successful battle to recover from a serious head wound has made him an inspiration to President Obama; Father Tim Vakoc, a chaplain who was fatally wounded while tending his flock on the front lines of Iraq; and Para-Olympian Brad Snyder, a Navy Lieutenant who was blinded by an IED and used swimming to rebuild his physical and mental strength.  KIRO, Seattle personality Dave Ross hosts this year’s edition of the program.  Stations that air the program will help raise awareness and funds for the non-profit Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors and veterans while their loved ones recover at military and VA hospitals. The 2012 edition of “The Gift” was carried on 135 news/talk stations and Sirius/XM and helped drive an increase in donations to Fisher House during the final week of 2012.  “Despite the wind down in Afghanistan, our fighting men and women, and their families, continue to make tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom and security,” says Fisher House President Dave Coker. “While we should keep them in our hearts every day, it’s especially appropriate to honor their gift of service during the holidays.”  Cumulus Media Networks is handling affiliation and distribution on a pro bono basis.  For more information or to sign up for The Gift, contact Ron Rivlin.

stuchellcharlieCondolences.  TALKERS sends condolences to the family and friends of a number of broadcasters who’ve recently passed away: Capital Cities executive Joe Somerset who died in Boston due to complications suffered after a fall at his home several days prior.  Somerset was a mentor to many in the radio business, especially during the “Golden Age” of top 40 radio.  One of his “students” was longtime Cap Cities executive and station owner Curt Hahn who writes about his mentor in a piece you can read here…..Longtime newsman Charlie Stuchell who passed away at age 64 after a battle with cancer.  He was a news and traffic reporter on Bristol Broadcasting’s WXBQ, Bristol, Virginia…..KSCO, Santa Cruz reporter and anchor Don Husing who died on August 29 at age 71.  Station owner Michael Zwerling tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel that Husing had worked for KSCO for 47 years, surviving three ownership changes.  KSCO personality Rosemary Chalmers tells the paper Husing, who had no surviving family, was diabetic and had complained of flu-like symptoms prior to his death.

millerkennelbobKevin in the Kennel.  If you look closely, you can see that KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (l) is broadcasting from a makeshift kennel to raise awareness and funds to support the Canyon County Animal Shelter.  With him is animal lover Bob Holman (r).  Miller invited his listeners to spend some time with him inside the kennel and, as a result, raised more than $11,000 in one day as the shelter takes part in the “Rachael Ray $100,000 Challenge.”