ESPN Moves Craig to Network PD; Ups Hurley to WEPN, New York PD. Sports programmer Justin Craig is promoted from PD of WEPN, New York to senior director, programming and operations for the ESPN Radio network. The sports giant says that Craig will be responsible for all aspects of ESPN Radio programming and production, including oversight of “Mike & Mike,” “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “Russillo & Kanell,” and nighttime and weekend programming. Craig is now based at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol and reports to David Roberts, vice president, ESPN Network Content. With Craig’s move to Bristol, WEPN APD Ryan Hurley is elevated to program director. Jonathan Winthrop, who has previously served as a producer at WEPN, adds APD duties and continues to produce the Stephen A. Smith show.
TALKERS Personality Profile: KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner, Michael Zwerling. One of the most colorful owner/operators of a local radio broadcasting company, Michael Zwerling, is the subject of an audio personality profile posted today (3/20) on Talkers.com. Since 1991, Zwerling (known to his friends and colleagues as “MZ”) has owned heritage news/talk 10k flamethrower KSCO-AM 1080. The station puts out a giant signal covering the Monterey Bay area as well as huge swath of Northern California territory. KSCO first went on the air in 1947. Zwerling has subsequently gained a national reputation for his unique ownership and management style that has turned KSCO into a dynamic combination of mostly locally produced content punctuated by carefully selected national programming. Under Zwerling’s guidance, KSCO is financially fueled by a potent combination of traditional advertising sales and the generation of non-traditional revenue. In the hour-and-a-half interview conducted by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, Zwerling discusses what it has been like operating a conservatively oriented station (featuring Rush Limbaugh) in a predominantly liberal market. He talks about his early, quirky days in broadcasting, the nuts-and-bolts of local radio station ownership in the modern era, the pros and cons of carrying Limbaugh over the years, his late mother and locally beloved broadcaster, Kay Zwerling, and his remarkably lucrative relationship with the multi-level marketing health products company, Youngevity. To listen to this candid dialogue with the man described by Michael Harrison as one of the most interesting and eccentric owners in radio today, please click here.
‘The Big Talker’ Returns to Wilmington, NC. Talk show host Chad Adams is reviving “The Big Talker” on WFBT-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina (licensed to Carolina Beach) under an LMA from Carolina Christian Radio. His Red Wolf Broadcasting will operate the station and his regionally syndicated talk show – also heard in Charlotte and Greensboro – will be heard from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. It will follow the local “Mornings With Pam and John” program with husband-and-wife team John and Pam Dismukes. Other shows to air on the station include: Radio America’s Dana Loesch, the Dave Ramsey show, SRN’s Mike Gallagher, and Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity and the overnight “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory. Originally, “The Big Talker” was heard on WNTB-FM and WUDE-FM. WFBT-FM’s frequency is 106.7. It was formerly WMYT and was put on the air by Curtis Wright’s and George Bell’s Talk Media TV in 2013.
TALKERS News Notes. The morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga – hosted by Jeff Styles, Jim Reynolds and Bill Lockhart – expands by an hour to air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, eliminating the Reynolds-hosted hour, “The Nth Degree.” At the same time, Styles – who had also been hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program, “Fred The Show,” gives up that program to new host Brad Giese…..WGN, Chicago launched a new weekend program on Saturday (3/18). The two-hour show “On the Road with Dane Neal” airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. WGN says that this program is more than just a car show, “Neal will explore the relationship of people and their cars. Topics will include motorsports, day trips, cruise nights, technology in the car and more.” His first guests were Food Network’s Guy Fieri, Expedia’s Sarah Gavin, and NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick. Neal comments, “I’m excited to be able to take a radio road trip with listeners each week. We’ll share great stories about racing, innovation in driving and the great car culture of Chicago.”
Rising Country Music Star Pens and Records Inspirational Patriot Song for Both Music and Talk Radio. Singer/songwriter Dede Wedekind is a rising star in country music circles (Indie Music Channel’s 2016 Best New Female Artist, plus a number of other music industry honors) and she is now attracting the attention of talk radio hosts doing interviews about her new soul-stirring, patriotic release titled “America United.” The song was originally written by Wedekind and her husband in a flash of inspiration coming from the pulpit while attending church on a Sunday in 2012. Garnering attention across her fan base for years, the couple then tweaked the song in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, resulting in another IMEA Award for the independent artist. She tells CCM Magazine, “To me, everyone who hears ‘America United’ seems to like and relate to the overwhelming message of this song—which is the necessity of uniting all Americans once again. This song isn’t about a particular political party, being conservative or liberal, or even being Democrat or Republican—it’s about making America a great nation once again. ‘One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’” Wedekind continues, “In the original version written in 2012, it features President Ronald Reagan‘s message of making America great quoting the line, ‘Once again, make America Great. When President Donald Trump decided to run last year, my husband Larry and I had already decided to update ‘America United’ to make it a better song with a more concise message and better production. We then decided to also incorporate Trump’s slogan, which, again was completely based on Reagan’s original message. We repeated the slogan in the chorus of the 2016 version, since it was already a part of the original song, and more importantly felt strongly that God had given it to President Reagan, and now again to President Trump.” To listen to and download Dede Wedekind’s “America United” and obtain contact information to book an interview with her, please click here.
Trump’s Obama Wiretapping Accusations, Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings, GOP Health Care Bill, U.S.-Germany Relations, North Korea Missile Program, Rock Legend Chuck Berry Dies, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Donald Trump’s accusation that former President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign; Supreme Court judge nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings begin today; speculation about the fate of the GOP health care bill; President Trump’s belief that Germany owes the U.S. money for its NATO membership and his meeting last week with Angela Merkel; North Korea’s nuclear missile program and its threats to hit American targets; rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry dies at age 90; and the action during the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Stephanie Miller Announces ‘Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour’ 2017. Progressive radio talk show host and comedienne Stephanie Miller is announcing the 2017 version of her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour – this year titled the “Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour 2017.” On this tour will be Miller, John Fugelsang and Frangela. A press statement from Miller reads, “Touring for several years as the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, the election forced us to rethink early retirement and return to the stage for a multiple-city tour. We face Washington and laugh out loud at the tragic comedy of politics, to throw our finest, most scathing satire at the feet of our not-so-elected politicians. To fight on with comedy…to offer the real fake news…to offer true alternative facts.” The tour does 10 dates this year beginning in Madison on April 22 and ending in Maui, Hawaii on December 23. Cities include Phoenix, Albuquerque, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
SRN’s Tradup Promoting Brantley Rescue Documentary. Next Thursday night (3/30) is the one-night-only Fathom national movie theater screening of the film Facing Darkness. The film was the result of a trip to the Ebola virus “hot Zone” in Liberia last summer during which Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured at right) accompanied a film crew from non-profit charity Samaritan’s Purse to chronicle the successful, high-tech rescue of Dr. Kent Brantley during the deadly 2014 outbreak. Tradup, who is actively promoting the film via social media, says, “The courage of the Samairtan’s Purse team (including Dr. Brantley) who risked their own lives as the Ebola outbreak claimed thousands of lives all around them, is a truly inspirational story that is the centerpiece of a stunning documentary.”
TALKERS magazine Publishes the 2017 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. On Monday, March 13, we published the fifth annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – formally known as the 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This annual list is compiled and ranked by the editors of TALKERS magazine – with input from industry leaders. As with our publication’s “sister list,” the 100 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America, the criteria are a number of hard factors – including ratings and revenue – as well as such soft factors as talent, recognition, impact, service and more. Executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This annual ranking of the most important sports talk radio hosts is one of the most difficult – but enjoyable – projects we undertake at TALKERS. The reason for that is the partially subjective nature of the criteria combined with the enormous number of talented and successful sports talk hosts working in America. Paring that pool of talent down to 100 is no easy task!” Casey also notes that TALKERS will be publishing the 2017 Heavy Hundred of News/Talk Radio in April. See the 2017 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Beginning this Friday (3/24), Entercom Austin is shifting its urban adult contemporary contemporary outlet to a new frequency as it changes translator K242CC from the 96.3 frequency to 95.9. Appropriately, the station’s new brand is “95.9FM RnB.” Entercom Austin VP/market manager Stephanie Callihan states, “We are looking forward to welcoming all of our loyal listeners at our new home on the dial. We continue to be committed to providing the unparalleled radio experience that our fans have come to expect from us and will keep delivering for our fans at our new frequency.”…..Bonneville’s country KYGO, Denver welcomes Guy David aboard as the new co-host of the morning drive show with current AM personality Tracy Dixon. David heads to Denver from his current position at RBH Enterprises-owned country WFON-FM, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin “107.1 The Bull.”…..Wesley Miller returns to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio to program adult contemporary WMXY “MIX 98.9” and CHR WAKZ for iHeartMedia. Miller was most recently with Forever Media’s WGYY, Meadville, Pennsylvania “Froggy 100.3” hosting the morning show and serving as program director…..CBS RADIO country outlet WDSY, Pittsburgh “Y108” is hosting its annual Wine & Boots Bash to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Thursday, April 13 at The Twentieth Century Club in Oakland. The event will feature Warner Music Nashville country singer and songwriter Michael Ray. CBS RADIO Pittsburgh VP of programming Mark Anderson says, “Michael Ray was a part of Y108’s ‘Eight Man Jam’ concert two years ago. Michael’s career is on fire as he just achieved his second #1 hit single and we are thrilled to have him perform at Y108’s Wine and Boots Bash on April 13.” Ray broke into music as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep.” He co-wrote the 2015 Big & Rich hit “Run Away With You” and made his solo artist debut that same year with the #1 hit “Kiss You In The Morning.” He scored his second #1 hit just this week with his song, “Think A Little Less.”
Josh Turner Plays Stage 17 LIVE. The brand-new Cumulus Media New York performance space Stage 17 LIVE hosted country star Josh Turner on March 15. WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” air personality Jesse Addy spoke with Turner on the air the same day Turner spent his morning hosting the fourth hour of NBC TV’s “Today Show.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Jesse Addy, Josh Turner; WNSH program director John Foxx, and WNSH APD Mike Alan.
Cumulus Media Reports 2016 Q4 and Full-Year Financials. The company had not been hiding the fact that the news of its revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 or the whole year would not be positive, and the results were not surprising. Cumulus Media reports its Q4 net revenue was $299.5 million – down 3% from the same period in 2015, and the full-year net revenue was $1.14 billion – a dip of 2.3% compared to all of 2015. Separating the company’s two reportable segments – the radio station group and Westwood One – for the fourth quarter of 2016 the radio station group was up 1.3% on net revenue of $209.7 million. However, Westwood One was down 12.3% on net revenue of $89.1 million. For the whole of 2016, the radio station group’s net revenue was $802.3 million, an increase of 0.8%. Westwood One’s net revenue was $336.6 million, a decrease of 8.8% from 2015. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “We entered 2016 with a singular objective: to fix the core business problems – poor culture, poor ratings and poor operational execution – which was essential to establishing a foundation on which to build improved financial results. Throughout the year we made significant progress addressing each of these areas, most visibly in ratings growth where we’ve outperformed the industry for 15 straight months. In fact, with two back-to-back quarters of revenue share increases on the station side, a trend which continued through January, we have early evidence that, despite a tough industry environment, our foundational work is beginning to translate into improved financial performance.”
Legendary WSB-AM, Atlanta Celebrates 95 Years On Air. It was on the Ides of March in 1922 that WSB-AM began broadcasting to the citizens of North Georgia. On Wednesday, Cox Media Group celebrated the anniversary. WSB manager of program operations and community affairs Condace Pressley states, “In 1922, WSB was licensed to deliver weather reports. Today, delivery of accurate and dependable news, weather and traffic remains our calling card, but this station and its people are so much more. Service to the Atlanta community is in WSB’s DNA.” Station director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs adds, “The WSB brand of local news, weather and traffic has grown from being on AM only to now serving north Georgia on FM, mobile, and digital. It all boils down to our slogan – Depend On It!” See a cool presentation of WSB’s 95-year history here.
WVON, Chicago Adds Maze Jackson to the Matt McGill Morning Show. Local political commentator and strategist Maze Jackson is joining Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s morning program, the “Matt McGill Morning Show,” on WVON, Chicago, effective April 3. The station says this move is being made to secure WVON’s position as a contributing voice in the upcoming gubernatorial and mayoral elections, in addition to increasing the station’s overall rankings. McGill has been solo host of the morning show on WVON for the past six years – a role in which he’ll continue. Jackson joins the show after contributing for the past two years as a weekly commentator and guest host. WVON says, “Jackson has a diverse array of experience in the worlds of business, politics, and community engagement. Jackson spent over 20 years lobbying for high profile clients, creating community-based solutions and driving the discussions that shape impactful policies as former executive director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.”
TALKERS Magazine Publisher Michael Harrison Joins WPHT, Philly’s Rich Zeoli for His New Podcast. At CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is launching a new podcast that features content not heard on the WPHT airwaves. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison joined Zeoli for his inaugural show. In addition to addressing such topics as the Trump Administration’s impact on news/talk radio and the influence of politics on talk radio, the two delved into “inside” radio subjects including the evolution of the talk radio format, changing media technology, and the public’s evolving media habits. Listen to it here.
Desert Broadcasters Brings Palm Springs AMs Back to Life; KGX Branded ‘Real Talk.’ The two Palm Springs signals – KPSI-AM 920 and KWXY-AM 1340 – went dark last August after longtime owners Rozene and Ric Supple decided to exit the radio business. Enter Garry Wing and Desert Broadcasters who acquired the stations and just put KPSI – now KGX “Real Talk” – and KWXY back on the air. KWXY is a soft AC. The Desert Sun reports that Wing wants to create a talk station with less political vitriol (and less “fake outrage”). Radio America personality Chad Benson’s show is featured on the station. Wing says the station will air a combination of local and national talk shows. Both stations occupy the early 1960s-era broadcast facility pictured in the photo here, taken from the Desert Sun’s video report.
iHeartMedia Unveils ‘SmartAudio’ Advertising Product at ‘SoundFront.’ At Wednesday’s client-focused “SoundFront” up front event, iHeartMedia introduced its SmartAudio digital data advertising product, now a part of the programmatic solution SoundPoint. iHeartMedia says SmartAudio goes farther in leveraging the power of SoundPoint to help advertisers evaluate, plan and buy broadcast radio, enabling them to build innovative campaigns that target key audience segments. iHeartMedia president of national sales, marketing and partnerships Tim Castelli says, “We’ve been testing SmartAudio with some of the top brands and we’re already seeing additional impact for those using it. They’re able to leverage the product’s flexibility to decide which specific ad to run based on something as simple as whether the local sports team won or lost last night’s game…Industry response to our SoundPoint platform has been so well received that we’re now unveiling SmartAudio which allows audience segmenting and dynamic creative capabilities all in one planning and buying tool.”
TALKERS News Notes. Public radio outlet WBEZ, Chicago is debuting a new podcast series called, “Written Inside: Stories About Prison Cells.” The series consists of essays by inmates at Illinois’ Stateville Correctional Center about their prison cells – shedding light on the everyday experience of incarceration. The series was the idea of award-winning, Chicago-based author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz. He began working with the inmates through Northwestern University colleague Jennifer Lackey, who invited him to speak to a class she taught at the correctional center. Kotlowitz asked the 15 male inmates facing long sentences to complete a writing exercise describing their cells. He recognized the potential each story possessed to reveal the realities of life in prison…..“Motley Fool Money” host Chris Hill (left) is pictured here with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin (right) recording a segment for Hill’s program at SXSW in Austin, Texas earlier this week. Hill says, “We talked about the scene in Austin, what the major entertainment companies are doing to lure audience, Apple’s foray into original programming, VR in movies and a lot more.”
Trump Travel Ban Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 13-17. The second travel ban order by President Donald Trump and its block issued by a Hawaii judge was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump Administration budget cuts. Coming in at #3 was the interest rate hike by the Fed, followed by the GOP health care plan at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2017. The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces its class of inductees for 2017. They include: Johnny Dowd/Jaybeau Jones from “JB 105,” Providence; French-language broadcaster and current WNRI partner Roger Laliberte; WHJJ and WPRO personality Myrna Lamb; current WPRO-AM program director Tony Mascaro; former RAB SVP and Rhode Island radio manager Dick Rakovan; and former WICE personality Frank Kingston Smith. Also the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State by John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores, and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – will go to Mowry Lowe –a pioneering New England newscaster, gifted announcer and premier radio executive. The Station of the Year Award will be presented to iHeartMedia Providence to commemorate a successful multi-station food drive to feed the hungry in Rhode Island. The Legacy Station of the Year award recognizes top 40 WICE-AM. A reunion with some of the station’s legendary Hall of Fame DJs, staff and listeners is planned.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Appears on WJR, Detroit’s Paul W. Smith Show. This morning’s WJR, Detroit live broadcast of the Paul W. Smith St. Patrick’s Day show was not the first appearance on the station by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. He’s been a guest on the show before. Pai (left) is pictured here with Smith (right) on stage at The Cube Theatre inside the Max M. Fisher Music Center.
PodcastOne Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz Guests on Harrison Podcast. The executive chairman of PodcastOne and noted industry pioneer, Norm Pattiz joins TALKERS founder Michael Harrison for an in-depth conversation about the general state of radio, podcasting and audio media on this week’s installment of the award-winning series, “Up Close and Far Out.” The compelling dialogue was recorded this past Friday, inspired by the Thursday release (3/9) of the annual Edison Research/Triton Digital 2017 Infinite Dial Study. Pattiz sums up his impression of the study as follows, “I was very encouraged relative to the audio medium as a whole by the information that came from the study. There’s good news in it for almost everybody that’s in the audio space.” Pattiz and Harrison cover a lot of ground touching upon advertising trends, the evolution of audience measurement metrics, in-car listening habits and much more in this conversation that is a must-listen for radio and audio media professionals. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Imaging, voiceover and production firm Benztown announces it has brought Katrina Woolverton, J.D., LL.M, aboard to serve in the newly created position of general counsel…..On Monday (3/20), WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” is hosting Warner Bros. Records recording artist Bebe Rexha as its guest to host a cooking demonstration at the brand new CBS RADIO Chicago Culinary Kitchen. Rexha will show off her culinary skills while being interviewed by “B96” morning show hosts J Niice, Showbiz Shelly and Producer Gabe. The segment will take place in front of a live studio audience made up of about 20 station contest winners who also get tickets to Rexha’s concert that evening at the Metro theater.
PodcastOne-Commissioned Brand Lift Studies Indicate Positive Results for Advertisers. This series of comprehensive studies by Edison Research was commissioned by PodcastOne and scrutinized the results of advertising tests with five major national consumer brands across five different product and service categories. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz and Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster say that this is a “first-ever study of pre- and post-campaign brand lift for podcast advertisers” and was conducted over the last half of 2016. It shows “significant positive impact of podcast advertising on brand recall, intent to purchase and recall of specific messaging.” Some of the key findings include: 1) More than 60% of listeners mentioned a specific grocery brand post-campaign, up from 7% among listeners in the pre-study; 2) Unaided product awareness increased from the pre-study to the post-study by 47% for a financial services product, by 37% for an automobile aftermarket product and by 24% for a lawn and garden product; 3) In the post-study, over one-third of respondents had a “very favorable” opinion of an automobile aftermarket product, up from 18% in pre-study. In the post-study, 22% said they were “very likely” to consider using a lawn and garden product, up from 16% in the pre-study; 4) Awareness of a specific campaign message for an automobile aftermarket product increased by 60% from the pre-study to the post-study, and for a casual dining restaurant by 76%. Edison says it conducted three separate studies in 2016 on behalf of PodcastOne to examine the effectiveness of podcast advertising for five national brands. Some of these brands were well known, but launching new messaging, while others were lesser-known brands looking for increased awareness and trial. Edison reports that in all cases, online surveys of the audiences of several leading podcasts were conducted before the podcast advertising campaigns ran, and again after each brand had run 4-6 weeks’ worth of advertisements on those podcasts, using the same methodology in each case. The results of these pre- and post-campaign studies showed that these podcast audiences were receptive to brand messages, and showed an increased willingness to consider and/or purchase those brands. PodcastOne’s Pattiz comments, “Our core focus has always been to independently verify that the podcast format provides enhanced brand impact well beyond traditional advertising formats. These results further validate our mult-tiered approach to integrated advertising and measurement.”
TALKERS News Notes. After just five months on the job, it appears that radio personality Arnie States has exited Lotus’ sports talker KUUB, Reno “ESPN Radio 94.5” where he hosted the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm show. States’ info has been scrubbed from the station website. States was previously one-third of the “Rob, Arnie and Dawn” show at KRXQ, Sacramento…..The nationally syndicated “America Outdoors Radio” reports three new stations joining its list of affiliate stations: KPAY, Chico, California; KZWY, Sheridan, Wyoming; and KXLE, Ellensburg, Washington. The weekly show is hosted by John Kruse and covers topics including fishing, hunting and the shooting sports.
Trump Travel Order Battle Tops Talkers TenTM. The court – and public opinion fight – over President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the confirmation hearings for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the related rebuke of Senator Elizabeth Warren for impugning Sessions. Coming in at #3 was Democratic senators’ attacks on labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, followed by criticism of the U.S.’ Yemen raid on Islamic State targets at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Does the Trump Era Present Fresh Opportunity for a New Chapter in Progressive Talk Media? The leading progressive talk radio host in America, Thom Hartmann, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” They discuss how the passionate galvanization of a large segment of the American public described as the “resistance” movement (to the Donald Trump administration) is sparking new opportunity for the expansion of progressive talk media. Hartmann describes the “explosion” of growth being enjoyed by his multi-platform syndicated radio and television talk shows in terms of affiliates, viewers, callers and social media traffic since the election of the 45th president. Harrison and Hartmann explore the social dynamics involved in tapping into under-served American passions erupting on all ends of the political spectrum – basically agreeing that these are extremely fertile times for news/talk radio of all political persuasions. To listen to this not-to-be-missed conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Greg Solk Named PD for CBS Radio’s WXRT and WJMK in Chicago. Programming pro Greg Solk has a new gig and he gets to remain in his hometown of Chicago. The former Hubbard Radio SVP of programming joins CBS Radio’s crosstown station group to serve as program director and operations manager for legendary rocker WXRT and classic hits WJMK “KHits 104.3.” The company says Solk “joins the Chicago team with a goal of building loyalty among KHits’ engaged adult listeners while also spearheading a new era of growth at XRT, one of Chicago’s most respected radio brands.” CBS Radio Chicago VP of programming Todd Cavanah comments, “Greg grew up listening to XRT as a teenager and spent decades programming against it. This is an unbelievable opportunity for us to have not only a true fan of XRT but a strategic thinker to make XRT the number one rock choice in Chicago. His deep knowledge of music’s past, present and future will keep XRT evolving forward by remembering the heritage of this unique Chicago brand. For ‘KHits,’ Greg brings tremendous knowledge to the classic hits format and we welcome him as a partner on our programming team.” Speaking about this new opportunity, Solk states, “I have been blessed in my career to work for some amazing stations in my hometown, but this opportunity is off the charts. Everyone knows there is no station or staff anywhere in the world that can rival the 45-year heritage of WXRT — ‘Chicago’s Finest Rock.’ I am humbled to be a part of its brilliant legacy. To be asked to also take the reins of ‘KHits’ makes this the most exciting move I can imagine. I can’t wait to join the great team of professionals at CBS Radio. I am honored by the confidence Tim Pohlman, Todd Cavanah and Chris Oliviero have placed in me.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In an ongoing effort to illustrate the importance of broadcast radio to the discovery of new music, iHeartMedia is engaging in a world premiere of Katy Perry’s latest single, “Chained to the Rhythm.” All day today, the song will air at the top of every hour (until 11:00 pm) on 150 iHM CHR, hot AC and rhythm stations. iHeartMedia says that “research shows that more than 70% of listeners – including users of on-demand services like Spotify or Pandora – discover new music first on broadcast radio. That’s why broadcast airplay is critical in the success of breaking new music.”…..On Sunday (2/12), WDVD, Detroit morning personality Blaine Fowler partners with Sweet Magnolia’s Southern Cooking in Southfield, Michigan to honor exceptional local women at the “Blaine’s Best Banquet.” The event honors women from Southeastern Michigan who’ve “made outstanding contributions in their community, their workplace, or at home.” Fowler says, “The response has been overwhelming and extremely heartening. We knew we’d get some great stories, though we never expected that we would receive so many! These stories tell of extraordinary commitment, determination, strength, selflessness, caring, and love.” Ten nominated ladies who were hand-selected by Blaine will be honored in front of their friends and families. Blaine will be telling each of their stories, as well as presenting the honorees with a Blaine’s Best commemorative award…..Pictured here at Wednesday evening’s “A Heroes and Friends’ Tribute to Randy Travis” at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena are (from l-r) Kelly Lynn Janson (singer/songwriter Chris Janson’s wife), Chris Janson, NASH director of programming John Shomby, and singer/songwriter and “Mornings with Ty, Kelly & Chuck” co-host Chuck Wicks. Wicks was one of the 30 performers at Wednesday’s tribute. Proceeds from the event went to the Randy Travis Foundation for stroke research.
Charlie XCX Visits Beasley Las Vegas. Pop star and Road Runner/Atlantic Records recording artist Charlie XCX poses for a photo backstage with some of the staff of Beasley Media Group’s hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9.” From left to right are: KVGS morning show co-host Aimee Montgomery, afternoon personality and APD/MD Brian Hammer, Charlie XCX, night jock Chad Letts, and OM/PD John Candelaria.
Salem Radio Network Adds Nightly, Syndicated Joe Walsh Show to Lineup. The change takes place on February 20 when WIND, Chicago-based talk show host (and former Congressman from Illinois) Joe Walsh takes over the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET show on the Salem Radio Network, bumping the Steve Deace syndicated show from the timeslot. Walsh hosts the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on WIND and will continue in that role, adding the syndicated, late night show to his duties. Salem SVP Phil Boyce comments, “We have been watching Joe work locally in Chicago and have seen outstanding development. His audience there continues to grow and we felt he would continue to do well on the national stage. Joe is a courageous and fearless warrior on the conservative side, who encourages his audience to take a strong stand for what is right.”
Casey Bartholomew to Program WFSX, Fort Myers-Naples. Longtime New Jersey-based talk radio pro Casey Bartholomew announces he’s been named the new program director at Sun Broadcasting’s news/talk WFSX, Fort Myers-Naples “92-5 FOX News.” He writes in a Facebook post, “This will, for a time, require me to give up being on the air on a daily basis. But, I will still be able to do my fill-in work, and it may provide a chance for me to do a daily show on the station in the future. This is an exciting, new opportunity for me and I hope it all works out the way I’m hoping. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Brad Fanning Co-Hosts Afternoons at KCSP, Kansas City. Kansas City sports talker KCSP “610 Sports” names Brad Fanning co-host of the afternoon program, “The Drive,” alongside Carrington Harrison and producer Ben Heisler. Fanning takes over the slot vacated by Danny Parkins who moved to Chicago to co-host middays at WSCR “The Score.” Fanning previously worked in the Kansas City market as a sports reporter for KCTV-TV.
Jeff Pantridge Assumes Afternoon Duties at ‘ESPN 94.1’ in Norfolk. Norfolk sports talk outlet WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1” names Jeff Pantridge afternoon sports talk personality, taking over the role vacated by Nick Cattles, who moved to Boston for a gig at WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” During his career, Pantridge has served with CBS Radio at the former WHFS-FM, Tampa and he produced the WFLA-AM, Tampa show hosted by Todd Schnitt. He’ll continue to work with Max Media staffers Matthew Steinberg and A.J. Risser, who’d been co-hosting the afternoon show after Cattles’ departure.
Scripps News/Talker WTMJ, Milwaukee Debuts ‘Mobile’ Podcast Network. Milwaukee news/talk outlet WTMJ is unveiling its new “WTMJ Mobile” – a podcast network that includes popular WTMJ shows on-demand in addition to locally based podcasters from Milwaukee and Wisconsin. The Scripps-owned station says this pilot program also includes exclusive podcasts for the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks. WTMJ and WKTI VP news, talk, and sports programming for radio Tom Langmyer states, “This uniquely Wisconsin platform expands our content offerings, builds strong third party partnerships and takes Scripps’ Milwaukee brands to new levels.” WTMJ director of programming Eric Brooks adds, “‘WTMJ Mobile’ helps ensure our continued leadership position in spoken-word content. Our live programming every day is valued content for our listeners. With the podcast network, our audiences have full access to choose the unique, digital-first content they want and when. Our diverse list of offerings will continue to increase the impact of WTMJ throughout the region.” In addition to station-created content, WTMJ has partnered with Milwaukee organizations, including NEWaukee, the Milwaukee Brewing Company, Startup Milwaukee and many more to create a uniquely Wisconsin podcast experience. Director of marketing and innovation J. Pat Miller says, “With podcasting, WTMJ has exponentially expanded the amount of content we provide, while championing more local voices to engage our connected, vibrant listeners.”
New Sales Roles Filled at CBS Radio in Chicago. With the transition of John Cravens to a consulting role for CBS Radio in Chicago, the company announces that Chad Feldman is assuming the position of director of news and sports sales, in which he’ll oversee sales activities of all-news WBBM-AM, sports talk WSCR “The Score,” and play-by-play assets for Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears broadcasts. At the same time, the company names Joe Mackay director of music sales for CHR WBBM-FM “B96,” triple A WXRT, country WUSN “US99,” and classic hits WJMK. Feldman – an 11-year CBS Radio Chicago staffer – was most recently GSM for WSCR. Mackay was serving as national sales manager for CBS Radio’s Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh stations. About his new role, Feldman comments, “After a career devoted to sports radio, it’s humbling for me to be given the good fortune to lead four of the most iconic Chicago radio brands ever. Coming here from Washington, DC 15 years ago, I would never have imagined I would be given this opportunity. I am grateful and excited about what is to come.” The company also names general sales managers for four of its stations. They are: Paul Agase for WBBM-FM, Dan Richman for WXRT, Carla Ross for WJMK, and Sheila Mulcahy for WUSN.
Now Playing on Talkers TV: ‘Needless to Say…’ Consultant Holland Cooke says, “Your voice is competing for attention with a barrage of noise, thousands of other messages that vie for your listeners’ attention every day. To ‘break through,’ broadcasters and podcasters must ‘communicate clearly.’” Check out the Talkers TV video in the upper right-hand of this page in which Cooke offers specific coaching advice.
Comrex to Display New IP Audio Gateway at NAB Show 2017. This new product is called Opal – a portmanteau for Opus Portal – and it’s an IP audio gateway that creates a studio internet audio portal. Install it in your studio and then anyone accessing it through a computer or Android device (with a microphone, earpiece, and browser) is able to broadcast from their computer or phone in high fidelity. High quality return audio is also provided to the guest. This product is optimal for audio programs and news departments that regularly use remote guests. It allows them to deliver “studio quality” sound without the need for any special equipment on their end. Comrex notes that “Opal is ideal for users who need to coordinate call-ins with non-technical remote guests – guests can simply click a link and connect instantly. Opal establishes the link using the Opus encoder, for excellent fidelity and low delay. Opal can support two connections at once and provides two independent professional audio I/O ports to the studio. Opal occupies 1/2U of rack space, and two can fit side-by-side in a 19” rack shelf. Connections to Opal can only be made from browsers that support WebRTC (Chrome and Firefox) at this time. Check it out in Las Vegas April 22-27.
TALKERS News Notes. And the winner is… Motel 6! The hospitality chain takes home the gold in the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards – the fourth annual contest to determine the most popular audio commercials aired the Super Bowl broadcast. The winner was Motel 6’s ad in which spokesman Tom Bodett tries to incorporate millennial lingo to promote the hotel chain. Bodett says the ad truly was “on fleek.” In 2nd place was also Motel 6 with their ad “Disclaimer,” which found Bodett trying his best to not mention certain trademarked names that would land the hotel chain in legal trouble. Finally, in 3rd place was Hagerty Insurance’s spot in which it pulled on the heartstrings of car lovers everywhere while taking listeners back to the first car they owned…..SiriusXM announces the appointment of political analyst and former Hillary Clinton aide Zerlina Maxwell as director of progressive programming. In this new role, Maxwell is overseeing the editorial direction of the Progress 127 channel. SiriusXM says, “With the addition of the progressive and feminist stalwart, the left-leaning channel has positioned itself with a renewed focus on both activism and resistance to the actions of the new Trump administration.” Maxwell served as the Clinton campaign’s director of progressive media. She’ll report to SiriusXM VP/GM of talk programming Dave Gorab…..Radio station operators currently using satellite AMC-8 (139 degrees West Longitude) have until June 30 to repoint their satellite dishes to migrate to the new AMC-18 at 105 degrees West Longitude. There are five networks that use AMC-8 and are moving their service to AMC-18: Learfield, Orbital Media Networks (OMNi), Premiere Networks, Skyview Networks and Westwood One, in addition to syndicators who lease their satellite time from these five companies…..American Private Radio, distributor of “Our American Stories” to more than 40 U.S. radio markets is offering a Presidents Day special for radio stations that would like to air the program on Monday, February 20. Host and APR CEO Lee Habeeb says the Presidents Day special will be “a beautiful tribute to arguably the most important historical figure in U.S. history, our first President George Washington. We will weave together anecdotes, memoirs and biographical accounts of the public – and personal – life of Washington, including magnificent story-telling authentically narrated by two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning author and biographer David McCullough, who has written extensively about our nation’s first President.” For information on securing this special presentation, contact Our American Stories at 239-470-9297 or via email email@example.com.
Trump Travel Ban Court Fight, Elizabeth Warren vs. Jeff Sessions, Trump and U.S. Murder Rate, U.S.-Yemen Relations, Kremlin Demands Apology from FOX News, and Status of ObamaCare Repeal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The court battle over President Donald Trump’s order preventing travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations; Senator Elizabeth Warren is silenced for impugning a fellow senator in the debate over Jeff Sessions’ AG nomination; controversy over President Trump’s statement that the U.S. murder rate is the highest it’s been in 47 years; Yemen requiring permission for further strikes against Islamic State targets after its claim that civilians were killed in the recent U.S. raid; the Kremlin’s demand for an apology from FOX News after Bill O’Reilly called Vladimir Putin a killer during his Sunday Trump interview; and the administration’s and GOP’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WFTL’s Rich Stevens Visited by an ‘Angel.’ Pictured above is WFTL, West Palm Beach late morning host Rich Stevens sitting in the studio with “Charlie’s Angels” star Cheryl Ladd. The actress and 1970s icon made a rare, in-studio appearance with Stevens. The two talked about her work on the classic TV program, golfing with O.J. Simpson and her being on the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, among other things.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Program director Mike Preston is exiting Entercom’s country KKWF, Seattle “100.7 The Wolf” and rhythmic oldies KHTP “HOT 103.7” to pursue his next radio gig. Preston says that, after seven years with the company in Seattle, he’s ready to move on. “I’m very proud of what my teams have accomplished, making ‘The Wolf’ the top country brand in the market and putting our newest brand, ‘HOT 103.7,’ on the map in a big way. I’m grateful to Jack Hutchison, Dave Richards, Pat Paxton, and Mike Moore for the opportunity to put country ‘under my belt’ and to pioneer the classic hip hop and R&B format.” Entercom Seattle VP of programming Dave Richards will be in charge of the stations as a successor to Preston is sought…..The Adams Radio Group cluster in Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland has a new vice president and general manager. Paul Burton joins the company from the crosstown iHeartMedia cluster where he was vice president of sales. Adams CEO Ron Stone comments, “It is rare that you get an opportunity to partner with someone that literally can change your life. I have spent the past several months as the interim GM while searching for the right person to lead our organization in Delmarva. Paul is that person. His excitement and commitment to excellence is second to none.”…..Afternoon personality and assistant program director Todd Michaels exits Beasley Media Group’s country KCYE, Las Vegas “102.7 The Coyote” after two years with the station.
New Documentary About ‘70s Rock Band Gunhill Road Showcased at Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The early seventies NYC-based album rock band, Gunhill Road – best known for one big hit single ‘Back When My Hair Was Short” – got a lot of media attention a couple of years ago with the unexpected release of their reunion album “Every 40 Years.” Now a new documentary (also titled “Every 40 Years”) chronicling the group’s colorful story, spearheaded by the filmmaker son of one of the band’s members, had its world premiere Monday evening (2/6) as a special feature of the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival. For 25 years, director Eric Goldrich knew close to nothing about his dad’s (Steve Goldrich) band Gunhill Road. A tribute concert to the band’s old manager and owner of the famous nightclub The Bitter End incited the band’s return to the stage. With the excitement of seeing his father play music with Gunhill Road again, Eric sought to document the performance. They were billed with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) that night, along with many other legendary musicians, but what the future held was unknown. Two years later, Gunhill Road reunited to record a brand new 19-track album, consisting of unrecorded songs that they had written in the ’70s and ’80s. Eric convinced co-director Benjamin Friedberg to join him on the unique journey of creating a documentary following the return of Gunhill Road. Through Eric and Ben’s discovery, they learned how much Gunhill Road meant to its fans, and how close they got to breaking out as successful artists. They were the only band ever managed by The Bitter End’s owner, Paul Colby, and Kenny Rogers produced their second album. They opened for some of the greatest acts in history, including George Carlin, Bette Midler, Soupy Sales, Jim Croce, Lily Tomlin, Poco, the Carpenters, and many more. As a band, one could say they failed. They’re even called a “One Hit Wonder.” Yet, in their 60’s, they came back to play together again 40 years after they broke up. A story of courage, doubt, regret, and liberation, the new film documentary “Every 40 Years” is described as being about chasing your dream down one more time. The band played a special concert for its fans at the nearby Santa Barbara club, The Red Piano, following the screening of the film. Eric Goldrich tell TALKERS that plans are in the works to showcase the documentary at other film festivals around the country and eventually find it a home on one of the cable or internet film channels. To view the trailer for the film, please click here.
Gunhill Road stopped by heritage rocker KTYD-FM, Santa Barbara to do an interview on the station’s morning show in conjunction with the premiere of their documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Pictured (back row l-r): Gunhill Road members Steve Goldrich and Paul Reich, and KTYD-FM morning co-hosts Lin Aubuchon and David Perry. (Front row): Gunhill Road member Glenn Leopold.
WGN, Chicago Brings John Williams Back for Weekday Show. The Joliet, Illinois native has been hosting a weekend show – Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – since he left weekdays at WGN back in 2015 to focus on his WCCO, Minneapolis PM drive program. Now, with the WCCO contract coming to an end, John Williams returns to Chicago to host the daily 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program, plus a Saturday show at the new 10:00 am to 12:00 noon time, effective March 13. To make room for Williams, WGN trims the daily Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder show to 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. WGN VP of programming Todd Manley states, “When we learned there was an opportunity to bring John back to Chicago full time we had to jump on it. There has never been a better time to have more of his inventive and intelligent talk on the station.” The station also makes a change to Saturdays with the cancellation of the Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey program. Manley says, “We’re excited about the Saturday changes and want to express how incredibly grateful we are to Kathy and Judy for their contributions to the WGN family. We will look for every opportunity to continue their legacy.” The change at WCCO wraps a seven-year stint in afternoons for Williams. CBS RADIO has not announced its plans for filling the afternoon slot on WCCO.
Dave Ramsey Brings Smart Money Tour to Orange County. On Monday (1/30), nationally syndicated radio star Dave Ramsey presented his Smart Money event at Mariners Church in Irvine, California, speaking about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future. Ramsey’s daughter, best-selling author and speaker Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage. Ramsey and Southern California affiliate KEIB, Los Angeles “The Patriot” promoted the event. KEIB program director Robin Bertolucci states, “It’s no secret Dave Ramsey has an extremely successful show but when you see him interact and connect with his listeners in person it adds another layer of understanding as to why he is so successful. Dave’s listeners and sponsors love and trust him and we here at KEIB are always thrilled when he brings his show to town.” In addition to yesterday’s event, Ramsey will join nationally recognized speaker Christy Wright for the Business Boutique 1 Day event in Irvine today (1/31). Business Boutique 1-Day is a brand-new event designed to equip attendees with what they need to successfully start and run their own business. Pictured above are (from l-r): Bill Denton, vice president of sales for iHeartMedia Los Angeles; Robin Bertolucci; Dave Ramsey; and Darren McMillan, vice president of sales for iHeartMedia.
Trump Travel Ban, National Security Council Controversy, Trump Supreme Court Nominee, Quebec City Mosque Attack, Iran Missile Test, SAG Awards Speeches, Pac Man Company Chief Dies, and Super Bowl Build-Up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30). President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the related protests, and the firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates; the controversy over Trump’s inclusion of White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon on the National Security Council’s principals committee; Trump’s announcement he’ll name his nominee for the Supreme Court at 8:00 this evening; the deaths of six after a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City; the reaction to Iran’s Sunday missile test and the expected UN hearing on the matter today; the flap over political speeches at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild awards; the man whose company created Pac Man dies at 91; and the build-up to Super Bowl LI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Current KFI, Los Angeles weekend host Wayne Resnick is ending his weekend program there but is becoming a part of the daily Bill Handel morning show. He posted the news on his Facebook page saying, in part, “On March 13, I will join the Bill Handel show. I’ll be giving the sports reports, helping produce the show, and joining the rest of the crew on air. This can happen now because I am retiring from my career in federal law enforcement after 27 years. The management at KFI, especially [PD] Robin [Bertolucci], have basically created a unique position for me that will allow me to do all the different things I have loved doing at KFI over the years, and to do them while watching Bill eat his daily ham and cheese Hot Pocket noisily. Everyone seems very excited about this (me too!) and Robin told me to ‘go crazy.’ Trust me when I say I have no intention of being insubordinate by not following directions.”…..The nationally syndicated weekend program “What’s Cooking in the Mr. Food Test Kitchen” is now being heard on NRG Media’s KXEL, Cedar Rapids…..This Sunday’s Super Bowl LI will be broadcast in Spanish by Entravision Communications Corporation. This is part of Entravision’s three-year deal with the NFL that allows the company to broadcast in Spanish via its NFL network. Coverage will air in 13 markets and 13 affiliate radio properties.
Chris Monk to Lead Cumulus’ Flint and Saginaw Stations. Broadcasting executive Chris Monk returns to the Flint and Saginaw, Michigan markets for Cumulus Media to lead the company’s nine stations as regional vice president. He’ll also be market manager for the four-station Saginaw cluster. Monk led the markets under previous owner Citadel from 2007 through 2012. Most recently, he was serving with Adams Radio Group in Fort Wayne as VP and market manager. In Flint, Cumulus operates CHR WWCK “CK105.5,” country WFBE “NASH FM 95.1,” classic hip hop and R&B WDZZ “Z92.7,” news/talk WWCK-AM “Supertalk 1570,” and sports WTRX-AM. In Saginaw, the company operates rock WKQZ “Z93,” classic rock WILZ “Wheelz 104.5,” CHR WIOG, and adult contemporary WHNN “My 96.1.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Riviera Broadcasting’s hot AC KMVA, Phoenix, the station debuts the “Smasher & Dee in the Morning” program. Smasher was most recently with CBS RADIO’s crosstown classic hits KOOL and Dee Garcia has been with KMVA hosting the midday program…..Atlanta classic hits outlet WSRV “97.1 The River” is celebrating its 11th anniversary with a Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton concert at Verizon Amphitheatre in Alpharetta on July 16. Cox Media Group programmer Chris Eagan says, “‘The River’ has been rocking Atlanta for 11 years and we can’t wait to blow the candles out on our cake with thousands of our closest friends on July 16.”…..In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia’s alternative WRFF “Radio 104.5” is celebrating its 10th birthday with two concerts at the BB&T Pavilion. The May 13 lineup will feature: Kings of Leon, Bastille, Empire of the Sun, The 1975, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Rag‘n’Bone Man while the June 11 lineup will feature: The Killers, Bleachers, Foster The People, Kaleo and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness…..Rock WJRR, Cocoa Beach, Florida announces the “Earthday Birthday 24” show taking place on Saturday, April 22 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. The station says the “Earthday Birthday” is one of the largest locally produced annual rock festivals in the state and draws upwards of 15,000 music lovers from around the globe! The three stages will feature such artists as: Sublime with Rome, Sevendust, Alter Bridge, Thrice, Candlebox, Sick Puppies, Nonpoint, and more…..Alpha Media Portland proudly announces that triple A KINK “Morning Music Run” co-host Sheila Hamilton is receiving the prestigious Judy Cushing Celebrating Life Award on February 24. Hamilton, a five-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and author, shared her first-hand experience with losing her husband to suicide in her book, All the Things We Never Knew. She’s been an outspoken advocate for change in mental health care. Hamilton says, “I’m grateful to be honored by Lines for Life, whose trained volunteers de-escalate 98% of the over 17,000 suicide line calls received annually. That’s important, lifesaving work.”
WSCR, Chicago Unveils New Lineup; Windy City Native Parkins Comes Back from KCSP, Kansas City. The recent retirement of original “Score” personality Terry Boers led industry watchers to expect at least an addition to the staff and that’s what program director Mitch Rosen is announcing. Chicago native and recent six-year KCSP, Kansas City sports talk host Danny Parkins is heading home to partner with Matt Spiegel to co-host the 9:00 am to 1:00 pm “Spiegel and Parkins” show. Current midday personality Jason Goff moves to the afternoon drive slot (1:00 pm to 6:00 pm) to partner with Dan Bernstein for the “Bernstein and Goff” show. The changes take effect next Tuesday (1/17). Rosen states, “The retirement of beloved ‘Score original’ Terry Boers after 25 years, coupled with the exciting achievements of the station over the last year, led us straight to Jason as the perfect match with Dan in afternoons. As a hometown native, Danny brings passion to middays, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear what he and Matt create together for our loyal listeners.” Goff first started with “The Score” in 2000 as a producer. He’s worked on air at CBS RADIO’s WZGC, Atlanta, as well as SiriusXM.
Suit Against Glenn Beck and Others By ‘Clock Boy’ Family Dismissed. The family of Ahmed Mohamed sued Glenn Beck, his company The Blaze, Center for Security Policy’s Jim Hanson, talk host Ben Shapiro and others for defamation in the aftermath of the then-13-year-old’s 2015 arrest. The boy had made a homemade electronic device in a small briefcase using parts from a clock and batteries that he brought to school to show his teacher. The teacher mistook it for a bomb and called authorities. He was initially charged with making a hoax bomb but charges were soon dropped. But the media attention to the case made it a viral story. Beck and other defendants opined and speculated about the case, including whether the incident was planned by Mohamed’s father in order to draw sympathy. Some defendants questioned that he’d built a clock at all and suggested what he made was something that looked like a small suitcase bomb. Regardless, under a Texas anti-SLAPP suit measure, a Texas judge dismissed the complaints against all except Shapiro, whose motion-to-dismiss hearing will take place on January 30. NBC News is reporting that the family intends to appeal the dismissals.
2017 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Open for Entries; TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Named to Advisory Committee. The 2017 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards is now open for entries. The awards program – now in its 35th year – honors “the World’s Best Radio Programs,” receiving entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from more than 30 countries around the world. NYF Radio Program Awards executive director Rose Anderson says, “From hard-hitting investigative journalism to breath-taking theater of the mind, radio today engages listeners as never before across a growing spectrum of genres and platforms. Storytelling, the power of the individual voice, and the immediacy of the medium – all testify to the universal language of radio. And so, every year we augment our categories not only to be in sync with the industry but in order to stay ahead of the curve as visionaries around the world raise the bar of what is possible.” Additional categories added this year to address the breadth of radio programming emerging in today’s marketplace include: Best Live News Special and Heroes Documentary. NYF also added two new podcast categories for Music and Personal Lives. This year New York Festivals Radio Awards adds two new members to the Advisory Board: TALKERS magazine editor and publisher Michael Harrison and SiriusXM VP/talk production & operations Todd Stack. NYF calls Harrison “one of America’s leading authorities on radio, communications, and public opinion as it is expressed in the media.” The Advisory Board is comprised of prominent international executives recognized as thought-leaders in the radio broadcasting industry. These individuals function as a sounding board for the competition’s executive director, offering suggestions for category updates and sharing ideas, trends, and other concerns that impact radio broadcasting. Their guidance insures that the competition is relevant and in step with the ever-changing radio industry. For information about submitting entries, click here.
Trump Press Conference, Russian Hacking Allegations/McCain Releases ‘Trump Dossier,’ Trump Business Separation Plan, Trump Cabinet Nominations Hearings, Obama Farewell Address, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). President-Elect Donald Trump’s first press conference since winning the White House; the allegations Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC emails and John McCain’s delivering the “Trump dossier” purportedly documenting bizarre sexual behavior by Trump while staying in Moscow to BuzzFeed; Donald Trump’s plan to put his business into a trust run by his sons in order to avoid conflicts of interest; the hearings of Trump cabinet nominees Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions; President Barack Obama’s Tuesday evening “Farewell Address”; the efforts by the GOP to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Medved’s New Book Cracks NYT Bestseller Top 10 in Religion Category. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved’s latest book, The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic (Crown Forum 2016), has cracked the top 10 in The New York Times Bestseller list in the religion, spirituality and faith category. The Salem Radio Network talk host’s book looks at important moments in the history of the United States and suggests that “at moments of crisis, when the odds against success seem overwhelming and disaster looks imminent, fate intervenes to provide deliverance and progress.” He writes that many notable leaders over the years have believed that the country’s good fortune came straight from the hand of God. Read more about the book here.
Talk Media Network Names Willis Damalt to Senior Affiliate Relations Post. Affiliate relations pro Willis Damalt joins talk radio programming syndicator Talk Media Network as senior affiliate relations representative. During his career, Damalt has served with the WOR Network as senior director of affiliate relations, at USRN, and SFX. Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “We’ve been on the lookout for the right person to join our fun, but focused team, and having Willis Damalt aboard at Talk Media Network is a great way to start the New Year. In the past 30 days, we’ve added 30 new show clearances, with Willis already contributing to our growth and providing great affiliate service.” Damalt will serve stations primarily in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Upper-Midwest and Southwest and affiliate relations director Ken Silverstein covers the rest of the country.
Odds & Sods. 77 WABC, New York is expanding the weekend “Always in Fashion” show featuring host and fashion business leader Mark Weber. The show, dedicated to business and fashion, has been airing Saturday evenings from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm for the past year. Beginning this Saturday (1/14), the program will now be broadcast Saturday evenings from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm and on Sunday afternoons from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Southern California journalist and award-winning public radio news host Alex Cohen will become KPCC-FM, Pasadena’s voice of “Morning Edition.” The native Angeleno is well known to KPCC listeners as co-host of “Take Two,” the station’s morning news magazine for the past four years…..Scripps announces that on this week’s “Cal Cast” podcast with Kentucky basketball head coach John Calipari, UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma will be the guest. Auriemma is on the verge of breaking his own record of consecutive wins with his UConn Lady Huskies. On January 10, Auriemma coached his team to its 90th consecutive win – tying the record his teams set in 2010. UConn faces Southern Methodist University on the road this Saturday (1/14), with a chance to notch a record-breaking 91st consecutive win…..Call for entry for the 26th annual Radio Mercury Awards is now open. Entries are being accepted for outstanding creative spots, campaigns and innovative radio work from advertising agencies, radio stations, production companies, colleges, universities, and advertisers. Chief judge Mark Gross, along with a soon-to-be-announced team of final round judges, will disburse over $87,000 in cash prizes including the $50,000 Best of Show prize. Winners will be announced at the 2017 Radio Mercury Awards event on June 1 in New York…..SiriusXM announces “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons is hosting a new, limited-run show on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM channel, Radio Andy. It’s titled “Jim Parsons Is Too Stupid for Politics” and will feature Parsons “breaking down today’s often confusing political climate, while exploring how U.S. citizens can become better participants in our government system.”
Debbie Mazella Named Program Director at AC WMGQ, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ten-year WMGQ staffer Debbie Mazella is promoted to program director for Beasley Media Group’s Central New Jersey adult contemporary outlet. Mazella has been assistant program director for the past nine years while serving as midday host at “Magic 98.3” – a duty she will continue in addition to her new PD responsibilities. Mazella states, “Ever since my childhood, I wanted to be involved in radio and I’m extremely grateful to the mentors who have influenced, encouraged and helped me on my career path. It’s even more exciting to know that I am the first female PD in Magic’s 40 year history!”
Dave & Mahoney Return to CBS RADIO’s KXTE, Las Vegas. Sin City alternative rock KXTE “X107.5” welcomes back morning personalities Dave & Mahoney, effective Monday, February 6. The duo was most recently hosting the morning daypart at the company’s KHMX, Houston “Mix 96-5.” They hosted the morning show on “X107.5” beginning in 2009, before leaving the market. KXTE program director Ross Mahoney says, “Dave & Mahoney live and breathe Las Vegas and are ingrained in the history and lifestyle of ‘X107.5.’ They know the music, the community and understand what the ‘X107.5’ brand means to the listeners. I couldn’t be more excited to have the boys come home and do what they do best – entertain Las Vegas!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, program director and afternoon personality Mike Halloran exits Local Media San Diego’s alternative XETRA “91X.” His bio has been scrubbed from the station website…..At Entercom’s hip hop KQKS, Denver, 17-year station personality Kendall B. exits the “KS1075” morning show…..John St. John is named operations manager for Midwest Communications’ Duluth, Minnesota station group that includes: country KTCO, classic country KDKE “102.5 Duke FM,” classic rock KQDS, adult contemporary KDAL-FM, news/talk KDAL-AM, news/talk WDSM-AM/W251CD and sports talk WDUL…..Beasley Media Group’s Detroit classic rocker WCSX is hosting the “Cold as Ice,” ice fishing tournament at Lake St. Clair Metropark on Saturday, January 28. Fishermen (and fisherwomen!) participating have the chance to win prizes for the top 10 catches. First place prize of $1,000 goes to the fisher who catches the heaviest perch! The fisher who catches the largest pike will win $500 cash and the one who catches the heaviest pan fish will win $250.
Memorial Set for Legendary KLOS, Los Angeles Personality Bob Coburn. A memorial service for Bob Coburn is set for Saturday, January 21 at Malibu Presbyterian Church in Malibu, California at 2:00 pm. The service will be followed by a reception at Ollo Restaurant in Malibu. If attending, you are asked to RSVP either via Rockline@gmail.com or by texting or calling 818-636-6160. Coburn died in December at age 68 after a battle with lung cancer. His weekly, syndicated “Rockline” show aired from 1981 through 2014.
Matt Smith to Lead Philly Station Group’s Sales Efforts for Beasley. Sales and management pro Matt Smith moves up from Beasley Media Group’s Wilmington, Delaware operations, where he was market manager, to Philadelphia where he’s now vice president and general sales manager. In Philly, Beasley operates sports talker WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” WTEL-AM “610 M Sports,” and brokered/ethnic WWDB-AM. Smith says, “I’m a proud Philadelphia sports fan, and a ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ P1! I’m thrilled to be back in the most passionate sports town in America leading a top sales team, and working with some of the top professional and collegiate sports brands in the country.” Philly market manager Joe Bell states, “I’m very impressed with the enthusiasm and management capabilities of Matt Smith. His history with Beasley has been stellar and he will be instrumental in the continued growth of Beasley’s Philadelphia cluster!”
Chad Benson Show Added to KSTE, Sacramento in Middays. The program is syndicated nationally by Radio America and announces it is now airing in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at iHeartMedia news/talker KSTE, Sacramento “Talk 650” KSTE. KSTE program director Bill White says of the Chad Benson show, “Chad’s experience abroad and here at home, along with his Sacramento roots, makes him a great addition to the Talk 650 KSTE lineup.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso adds, “Chad is the next generation of talk and the perfect fit following ‘Armstrong and Getty’ on ‘Talk 650’ KSTE. We’re excited to be working with iHeart’s great team in Sacramento.”
Townsquare Appoints Andy Meyer to New Video Content Position. The new title television and digital media pro Andy Meyer has is vice president/original programming and head of video for Townsquare Media. The company says that in this role, Meyer will oversee its video programming on all digital platforms, as well as for linear TV and branded entertainment. Townsquare senior vice president of digital Jared Willig says, “We are thrilled that Andy has joined Townsquare to lead video programming and production. Andy’s executive experience, his creativity as a producer, and his proven track record in creating compelling programming will enable us to grow our already thriving slate of original video franchises.” In addition to radio stations, Townsquare operates the music and entertainment brands, XXL, Taste of Country, Loudwire, Ultimate Classic Rock, ComicsAlliance, PopCrush, Diffuser, and ScreenCrush, plus numerous live events including, “Mountain Jam,” “Taste of Country Music Festival,” and We Fest.”
DGital Media Partners to Launch ‘Pod Save America.’ On-demand entertainment creator DGital Media is partnering with actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau, former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett, former Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor, and former Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer to launch a new podcast titled “Pod Save America.” DGital Media says, “The twice-weekly show brings together some of the most influential voices in politics, journalism and entertainment for a freewheeling conversation designed to inform and inspire listeners to become more active in the political process.” DGital Media chief content officer Chris Corcoran adds, “Talent of this level, both in their influence on the world of politics combined with their skillful and entertaining style of communicating with each other, is rare. There is probably no better time in American history to have informed, fun and intelligent conversation around the world of politics, and this series will consistently raise the bar and deliver all of that and more. DGital Media is honored to be partnering with this unmatched team and compelling series.”
CBS RADIO News Now on Amazon’s Alexa. The company says it’s the first commercial news network to make its product available via Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service. CBS Radio News listeners are now able to hear full five-minute newscasts and one-minute news briefs on all Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap and Amazon Fire TV. Listeners can get the latest news updated hourly through the Flash Briefing on those devices. By going to the settings menu on the Amazon Alexa app and selecting Flash Briefing, listeners will be able to activate both five-minute newscasts and shorter one-minute news briefs to play on demand.
Golden Globes Anti-Trump Speeches, Russian Hacking Allegations, Jeff Sessions AG Hearings, GOP ObamaCare Plans, Trump Names Kushner to WH Post, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9/). The controversy over Meryl Streep’s and other celebrities’ anti-Trump speeches at Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards; the ongoing talk of allegations Russia hacked the DNC’s emails and President-Elect Donald Trump’s disagreement with the intelligence community on the matter; anticipation of today’s confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions; the Trump Administration’s and the GOP’s plans to overhaul the Affordable Care Act; Trumps names son-in-law Jared Kushner to White House staff, raising questions about violation of the anti-nepotism law; and the weekend’s NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York talk show host Curtis Sliwa announced to his audience on the “Drive at Five” show on the Cumulus Media news/talk station that he’s re-upped with the station for another two years. He dedicated his announcement to his late hero and mentor, legendary New York talk host Bob Grant…..Las Vegas-based GCN-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs celebrated her 8th year on the air as a radio talk personality on Monday, January 9…..ESPN Audio is launching a weekly podcast titled, “Adam Schefter’s Know Them from Adam” that’s an interview series featuring long-form conversations with individuals who have a connection to pro football. ESPN says the show will “touch upon football topics and go much deeper, exploring life lessons, philosophies, what motivates the interview subjects, and more.” His first guest is Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones…..Audio sales firm Skyview Networks promoted three of its national audio sales managers to vice president positions. Those affected are: Lloyd Hyman, Kim Ball and Karen Henderson. Skyview specializes in play-by-play sports and ABC Radio sales. The company says the three will be given heavy responsibilities in their new roles…..Pubcaster WBUR, Boston – the markets NPR news station – names Yasmin Amer to the position of “Morning Edition” field producer. She joins WBUR after six years at CNN…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh holds its fourth annual gastro fest “eat.drink.PITTSBURGH” on February 18. News/talk KDKA-AM, sports talk KDKA-FM, and its hot AC and country sister stations are producing the promotion at Rivers Casino that allows attendees to “experience a culinary escape as they enjoy tasty food and beverage samples from some of Pittsburgh’s hottest restaurants and bars.”
Cool Office Gig. Oregon’s “Radio Station of the Year,” NEWS TALK 860 KPAM, Portland and sister station Sunny 1550, has an immediate opening for a traffic manager to manage all phases of commercial traffic and billing for two radio stations. The successful candidate will have at least four years’ experience in radio or television broadcast traffic. Experience using Marketron traffic software is preferred, but not mandatory. We offer comprehensive compensation and benefits plans in a locally owned and employee-focused environment. Please send resume to: General Sales Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org No phone calls please. EOE.
Jonesy’s Book and More Programming News from KLOS, Los Angeles. A number of news items from Cumulus Media’s Southern California classic rocker KLOS. Former Sex Pistols guitarist and current host of the midday “Jonesy’s Jukebox” show, Steve Jones, is releasing his memoir titled, Lonely Boy: Tales from A Sex Pistol (Da Capo 2017). The U.S. release of the book comes at the time of the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ debut album, Never Mind the Bollocks. Jones is on a nationwide press tour for the next two weeks, including an appearance on “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” and two Los Angeles stops for a sold out Q&A and signing at the Grammy Museum tonight (1/10). On the programming side, KLOS is creating “The Frosty, Heidi & Frank Night Shift” that airs Monday through Thursday from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. It features a mix of “best of” material from the KLOS morning show, plus new content never before heard from the show.” Finally, comic and comedy writer Greg Beharrell joins KLOS for weekends and as a key writer and digital/social content creator. Beharrell was previously at KITS, San Francisco “Live 105.” He’ll continue to do his radio shows in Canada, in addition to holding down duties as the Canadian voice of JACK-FM.
Ron Parker Tapped for Afternoons at WLS-FM, Chicago. New afternoon drive personality Ron Parker hosts his first shift at Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM, Chicago today. The station announces that Parker as most recently on air at the company’s country WNSH, New York “NASH FM 94.7.” He also achieved #1 ratings at two different dayparts at CBS RADIO’s classic hits WCBS-FM, New York. Parker has held on-air and programming posts in markets including: San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Tallahassee. WLS program director Brian Thomas comments, “Ron is one of the premier talents of the classic hits format and has always achieved ratings success.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’s all Chicago now for WEBG “BIG 95” morning personalities Mason & Remy. The duo had been doing mornings at iHeartMedia’s Windy City country outlet and at the company’s KSD, St. Louis “93.7 The Bull.” Now, they are exiting the KSD gig. Program director and midday host Dusty assumes afternoons and Billy Greenwood is handling middays for now…..Also from iHeartMedia, JB Webb is named senior vice president of programming for the company’s western Ohio station group that includes country WIMT, Lima; CHR WBKS, Columbus Grove; hot AC WMLX, St. Marys; rock WZRX, Fort Shawnee; and news/talk WIMA-AM, Lima…..A series of talent moves take place at Guaranty Broadcasting’s WDGL, Baton Rouge “98.1 The Eagle.” Richard Condon and Anna Betts move to the morning drive “Condon Uncensored” show. They are joined by former “Eagle” personality Scott Robb. Mike Benson is the new midday personality and Scotty Drake moves to afternoons to host “The Drive with the Drake.”
Third Anniversary for ‘NASH Nights Live.’ Celebrating the third anniversary of the “NASH Nights Live” country radio program at the NASH Campus in Nashville are (from l-r): producer Ryan Kershner; NASH Network director of programming John Shomby, co-host Elaina Smith, co-host Shawn Parr, and producer Brian Egan.
Attention is currency. So short sentences rock. And sentence fragments. See?
On a normal day in Las Vegas (oxymoron), it’s already a wall of enticements:
- “100X odds craps!”
- A rib joint touts “The Best Rack on The Strip!”
- Guy Fieri’s restaurant serves up “In Your Face Food & Booze.”
- “Fire a Machine Gun!”
- “Girls! Girls! Girls!”
Now, fly-in 165,000 of us, for-whose-attention 20,000 new products compete, and you’re in the graduate school of messaging. Yours will drown in the din unless it’s “SQUIRREL!”
Radio has never had more competition for listeners’ attention, and advertisers’ do-re-mi.
So, as I navigate a Las Vegas Convention Center the size of FIFTY football fields, I am struck by how well exhibitors distill their messages, something radio hosts and commercial and promo copy should strive to do.
- BACtrack is “The World’s First Wearable Alcohol Monitor.”
- Mevo, The Live Event Camera, enables you to “Edit on the fly. Stream live or share later.”
- ThinOptics assures that you will “never be without your reading glasses again.” Their “stick anywhere, go everywhere” sleeve adheres to the back of your smartphone.
- Rem-Fit’s Zeeq Smart Pillow “Streams Music, Stops Snoring, Analyzes Sleep.”
- You’re “always connected, never apart” with Petcube’s “interactive cameras bringing pets and people closer than ever.”
- Tablo is “The DVR for Cord Cutters.”
- Assure Lock by Yale lets you “Lose your keys for good;” and “Answer your door. Anywhere. Anytime.”
- MightyPURSE “charges your phone.”
- Without a live demonstration in the booth, we’ll take Willow’s word that their “wearable breast pump” has “no external tubes, cords, or dangling bottles.”
Get the picture? Yes, we see.
“Make America Great Again.”
We just elected a most unlikely president whose gift of brevity plays Twitter like a Stradivarius. “Drain the swamp,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Jeb Bush is weak,” “Little Marco,” “Build a wall, and Mexico will pay for it,” and other bumpersticker-length catch-phrases were utterly digestible. Is your message?
Holland Cooke (www.HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet, and he covers industry conferences for Talkers. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke; and look for his new TalkersTV video “Choose Your Words Carefully” next week at Talkers.com
SiriusXM Ends 2016 with More Than 31.3 Million Subscribers. Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM will release its 2016 fourth quarter financials early next month, but it announced yesterday that it beat its guidance on net subscriber additions by adding more than 1.7 million during the year to pass the 31.3 million mark. It also says it expects to meet or exceed its 2016 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. CEO Jim Meyer comments, “We continue to make substantial investments in new products, content and technologies, including investments in new satellites, our next-generation 360L platform, wideband chipsets, and new marketing capabilities. In 2017, we expect to continue our never-ending focus on bringing our customers the best content bundle available, and our strong record of delivering cost-effective growth and returning substantial capital to stockholders through stock buybacks and our recently introduced dividend.” SiriusXM also issued 2017 guidance for self-pay net subscriber additions (1.3 million), revenue ($5.3 billion), adjusted EBITDA ($2.025 billion) and free cash flow ($1.5 billion).
PodcastOne Debuts Laila Ali Show. Women’s boxing champ Laila Ali is launching a new show called “Laila Ali Lifestyle” on the PodcastOne platform. The daughter of the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali joins the Norm Pattiz-founded entertainment company to offer a show in which fans can join Ali “on her journey to holistic greatness, as she balances mind, body and soul, and shares her passion for helping people achieve their personal best in every aspect of life.” She will invite guests to appear each week, with new episodes every Thursday. Pattiz comments, “We’re happy to have someone of Laila’s esteem, experience and class on our network. She’s a legend in her own right, and it will be great for fans to see a different side of her through the podcast.”
Chris Mack to Host Pirates Pre-and Post-Game Shows. At CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh sports talker KDKA-FM “Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan,” station personality Chris Mack will begin hosting the pre and post-game shows for Pittsburgh Pirates baseball beginning in the spring. Mack currently hosts the station’s weekly “Bucco Talk” program in addition to a number of shows. Jack Zduriencik, a former Pirates director of scouting and former Seattle Mariners general manager will work alongside Mack during the shows. ‘Fan’ program director Jim Graci comments, “Chris is a seasoned talk show host and well versed in the Pittsburgh sports scene. Elevating him to host our pre- and post-Pirates game broadcasts was a natural progression for him, ‘The Fan’ and our scores of loyal listeners. We’re excited to have Chris take on this expanded role and look forward to his color commentary and analysis this spring.”
Russian Hacking Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 2-6. The debate in Washington over whether Vladimir Putin’s Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s email was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s lame duck actions. Coming in at #3 was the GOP’s strategy to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, followed by the Chicago Facebook torture case at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa Goes AC; Chadd & Kristi Thomas Named Morning Hosts. The former “Bubba Radio Network”-branded rock station ditched that moniker last year and transitioned to the “No Rules Rock!” brand. Then, late last year, Beasley Media Group dropped the Bubba the Love Sponge show in anticipation of a format change. Yesterday, the company unveiled the new adult contemporary format for WBRN and its new brand “The New B98.7.” After a 10,000 songs-in-a-row launch, the station will feature Chadd and Kristi Thomas as its morning team, beginning Monday, February 6. The duo is well known in the market after years on Cox Media Group’s crosstown AC WWRM “Magic 94.9.” Kristi Thomas says, “Chadd and I are absolutely delighted to be part of creating a new radio station! We are excited about our new home for our special brand of radio in Tampa Bay, which is a place we cherish and where we have chosen to raise our family!” Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase adds, “For nearly two decades, Chadd & Kristi have developed a deep relationship with the Tampa listening audience and we are thrilled they decided to join us in the process of building a new and great AC brand in the market.”
Johnnie D. Upped to PD of WGCI, Chicago. In Chicago, iHeartMedia promotes WGCI and WVAZ assistant program director Johnnie D. to program director for WGCI. iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown says, “Johnnie has made a significant impact since joining WGCI in 2015. His passion and vision for our brand has enhanced our signature concert events like Big Jam and Summer Jam, plus his work in helping launch the city’s only live-and-local urban morning show has made the ‘Chicago Morning Takeover’ a dominant force in the market. It’s a pleasure to recognize Johnnie’s hard work with this promotion and it certainly comes with great expectations as he manages all facets of the 107.5 WGCI-FM brand.”
Radio One Jumps on CHR Opportunity in Houston. With CBS RADIO’s move away from CHR on KKHH to adult hits, Radio One’s only other CHR competition for KROI “92.1 RADIO NOW” will be Cumulus Media’s KRBE. A format change for KROI was not unexpected after Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins recently commented that classic hip hop and R&B is not a “sustainable format.” The station is being programmed by cluster operations manager Terri Thomas, who says, “The ‘New 92.1 Radio Now’ will reflect emerging music, trends and culture for the NOW generation of 18-34 year old millennials here in Houston.” Radio One senior vice president of programming Jay Stevens adds, “We’re excited about this opportunity to bring a fresh innovative approach to top 40 radio in H-Town.”
KBAY, San Jose Names Bruce Scott Morning Host. Former KOST, Los Angeles personality Bruce Scott joins Alpha Media as morning drive host for classic hits KBAY, San Jose, effective January 17. Alpha Media VP of programming and “Bay FM” program director Ronnie Stanton states, “It’s very exciting to add Bruce to the refreshed sound of ‘Bay FM.’ He brings years of experience and a great radio brain to create an upbeat and fun morning show with the greatest hits of all time for the Bay Area.”
Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano to Host Late Mornings at WLS-AM, Chicago. A little more than a week after the Jonathon Brandmeier show was cancelled, Cumulus Media announces that it is bringing well-known Windy City broadcasters Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano aboard to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WLS-AM. The husband-and-wife team most recently worked on radio at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, handling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Cumulus Chicago VP/market manager Peter Bowen states, “Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano are deeply rooted in Chicago and are well known to the community. With their addition, WLS is more local and more relevant to Chicago listeners and advertisers.” At the same time, the station announces its new program lineup starting in January: Big John and Ray, 6:00 am to 10:00 am; Sirott and Murciano, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Rush Limbaugh, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Steve Dahl, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Mark Levin, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. The host of the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show is still to-be-announced.
Aircheck D.I.Y. Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today that, due to numerous changes in the radio business, talk radio personalities don’t huddle for aircheck meetings with program directors like they used to. Because of this, talk hosts are often missing a valuable tool for improvement. If you’re a young programmer with some talk talent to coach, or a music PD who isn’t used to coaching talk talent, Cooke offers this handy primer on airchecking talk radio personalities. Read more here.
Wainwright: Make it Part of the Show. WSYR, Syracuse morning show host Mark Wainwright tells TALKERS magazine that after viewing a recent Talkers TV video from consultant Holland Cooke titled, “Making Money with Endorsement Spots,” he felt compelled to share some of his experiences and strategies for endorsement spots. Wainwright says his overarching belief about the effectiveness of live endorsements is that they must become part of the show in order to achieve their maximum effect. Read more here.
WMAL, Washington’s Larry O’Connor Joins The Weekly Standard. In a memo to the staff, The Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Steve Hayes announces that WMAL, Washington personality Larry O’ Connor is joining the organization as online editor. Hayes calls O’Connor’s arrival at TWS “part of an aggressive expansion of the TWS online presence.” Hayes goes on to say, “As you might expect, Larry has a very good ear for the kinds of issues that resonate with grassroots conservatives and we’re eager for his input as we continue to improve and expand the digital side of the magazine.” His previous work in digital media includes time at Hotair.com and Independent Journal Review. Earlier this fall, it was announced that O’Connor is leaving the “Mornings on the Mall” AM drive show to take over the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm).
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Pens NYT Op-Ed Piece ‘Where the Right Went Wrong.’ Longtime Milwaukee conservative talk personality Charlie Sykes is stepping down from his role as a talk show host on E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of this month. It’s no secret in the industry that Sykes – along with other Wisconsin talk radio hosts – has been a vocal opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times over the weekend, Sykes lays out why he believes Trump won the election, how the conservative media helped him win and, as the title implies, where he thinks the conservative movement has gone wrong. Read it here.
John Ziegler Ends Syndicated Sunday Night Radio Talk Show. Conservative media personality John Ziegler announces he’s ending the live Sunday night broadcasts of his talk show, originally called the “John & Leah Show” that featured co-host Leah Brandon for most of its run (though he hopes to continue it as a podcast). Ziegler, a strong opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump, gives shared credit for his decision to shutter the show to Trump’s ascension to the Oval Office, some bad business moves for which he accepts the blame, and the state of the talk radio business. Ziegler also writes for Mediaite and he lays out his decision for leaving AM/FM radio in a piece in the publication here.
Odds & Sods. News/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne – with the help of two local co-sponsors – helped raise $343,808 for Community Harvest Food Bank and Super Shot during its recent two-day radiothon. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “The generosity was overwhelming this year.” The Penny Pitch Radiothon raised $171,094 but Brigadoon Fitness and King of Carts matched that to double the total raised. Community Harvest Food Bank’s Hope for Heroes program focuses on providing groceries at no cost to veterans and military families in need. Super Shot helps provide vaccinations for low-income, uninsured, under-insured and Medicaid eligible people. The WOWO staff is pictured at right around the phone bank…..The Salem Media Group Minneapolis cluster – news/talk WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot,” Christian talk KKMS “AM 980 The Mission,” business talk KYCR “Business Radio 1440,” talk KDIZ “Wellness Radio 1570,” and stream theFishTwinCities.com are presenting a “Crisis & Security Summit” on Thursday, January 26. It’s a free, informational event that will feature experts discussing topics such as IT security, personal safety, community preparedness, and child protection. Salem Minneapolis GM Nic Anderson comments, “In this day and age, we must plan ahead, be informed, and ensure personal and community safety from all angles. We at Salem feel a sense of duty to our local churches and schools.”
Trump Cabinet Nominations, Today’s Electoral College Vote, Allegations of Russian Hacking, ‘Fake News’ Controversy, China Nabs U.S. Submersible Drone, Rogue One Opening Weekend, Cold Snap, and NFL Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominees for cabinet posts; today’s electoral college vote and the numerous pleas from celebrities to not vote for Trump; the allegations that Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s servers in order to influence the election; the hot topic of “fake news” and its role in politics; China’s intercepting of a U.S. drone submarine and tensions between China and the U.S. over China’s military build-up in the South China Sea; the opening weekend of the new Star Wars film Rogue One; the bitter cold weather affecting parts of the country; and National Football League action were some of the top stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hubbard Radio Phoenix Names Karis VP/Sales. It marks a return to the day-to-day radio business for Susan Karis, who is appointed vice president of sales for Hubbard Radio Phoenix. She has spent the last nearly four years as group publisher of Cities West Publications and will begin her new duties in several weeks. Hubbard Radio Phoenix market manager Trip Reeb comments, “Having someone of Susan’s stature and background join our cluster and company is an incredible opportunity.” Karis remarks, “Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along that you just know is right – joining Hubbard Radio Phoenix is one of them. I am excited to come back to radio with Trip and his team, and to become part of Hubbard Radio.” For seven years, Karis was Phoenix-based executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia (Clear Channel); one year as senior vice president of operations; and six years as market manager/director of sales. Prior to that, the Arizona State University grad logged 13 years (1985 – 1998) as general sales manager for Nationwide Communications. Karis replaces Jeff England, who became market manager of Hubbard’s stations in Chicago. The Hubbard Radio Phoenix cluster consists of classic rock KLSX (6.0, #2, 6+, Nielsen Audio PPM, November 2016); KUPD “Arizona’s Real Rock” (5.1, #3, 6+); KDKB “93.3 Arizona’s Alternative” (2.4, #19, 6+); KAZG “Oldies 1440 & 92.7” (1.2, #26, 6+); and KDUS “AM 1060 NBC Sports Radio” (.1, #32, 6+). The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ (6.3, 6+).
Johnston Joins Beasley Las Vegas As GSM. After five months as senior account executive at crosstown Cox Business, Karolyn Johnston is appointed general sales manager of Beasley Media Group’s five-station Las Vegas cluster. Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Mark Sturcken states that years ago, he “had the pleasure working alongside Karolyn. Her energy, enthusiasm, relationships in the Las Vegas market, knowledge and passion for our business are second to none. With more than two decades of media experience, Karolyn brings tremendous value to our leadership team.” According to Johnston, she is “so happy to be on board. There are great things on deck for us [owing to] Beasley Media Group’s reputation in Las Vegas, along with the smart, seasoned roster of media professionals that make up this group. I simply could not be more delighted to be a part of this team as we move into the new year.” Johnston previously was integrated marketing specialist at iHeartMedia Las Vegas; account executive for Cumulus Media Atlanta; senior account manager for Atlanta’s WQXI-AM “The Zone”; and an account executive for Seattle’s KIRO-TV. From November 2002 to March 2009, she was an account executive at Cox Media Group Las Vegas. With their November 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM (6+) average quarter hour share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Las Vegas consists of classic hits-oldies KKLZ (7.2, #1); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.8, #4); country KCYE “The Coyote” (2.5, #15); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.3, #19); and talk KDWN (1.1, #24).
Figueredo Named WOKV Director/B&P. Most recently assistant director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group Orlando talker WDBO-FM, Nick Figueredo transfers to similarly-programmed Jacksonville sibling WOKV as director of branding and programming. Cox Media Group Jacksonville director of radio operations Todd Shannon remarks, “After working closely with Nick over the past three months as we interviewed for the position, it became very apparent that he has the passion, vision, and leadership to take WOKV to even greater ratings success.” Figueredo – who has worked for the company’s Orlando cluster the past seven years – notes, “I am very excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity. From the day I was hired at WDBO-FM, I knew my future was with Cox Media Group. I am now taking the next step in my career.” Powered by a hefty October 2016 – November 2016 gain of +1.7 (7.2 – 8.9, 6+), WOKV finishes first in Nielsen Audio’s November 2016 Jacksonville PPM report.
Mason to Mark KEX Homecoming. After leaving KEX, Portland three years ago, Mark Mason will return to the iHeartMedia talk facility for a daily three-hour air-shift beginning next month (1/23). Along with the late Dave Anderson, Mason co-hosted “The Mark & Dave Show” on KEX. He notes that Anderson’s passing and his own health issues involving a blood clot in his leg changed his perspective on life. “It has been such a tumultuous ride that when I found myself able to breathe again, I felt an overwhelming need to take control of my life again,” he writes. “My decision to come back home to KEX was part of it.” Most recently, the public-address announcer for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers was an on-air talent at crosstown Pamplin’s KPAM-AM. Just over three weeks ago (11/23), Michael Castner departed KEX to begin a podcast. Among persons 6+ in the November 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM, KEX finishes in a four-way tie at #17 (2.1), while Alpha Media talker KXL-FM is at #6 (4.9, 6+). KEX adult contemporary sibling KKCW “K-103” and public KOPB are tied for the lead (7.7, 6+).
Crowley Chosen As NSC Senior Director/Strategic Communications. Immediately rumored to be in line for a position in the Trump administration, former syndicated radio host Monica Crowley will be senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council. “I am deeply honored, humbled, and grateful to be asked by the president-elect to join the extraordinary national security team he is assembling,” the Fox News Channel commentator and Washington Times columnist comments. “With vision, courage, and moral clarity, he is committed fully to re-establishing America’s singular place in the world. He is also committed to selecting the best people for the jobs of keeping the American people safe and the country secure. It will be a great privilege to serve with them.” Prior to her combined 10 years of doing syndicated talk radio for Westwood One and Talk Radio Network, Crowley spent four years as an on-air host in New York City on Cumulus Media talker WABC.
Pinto Promoted to BMG VP/Information Technology. Two-year Charlotte-based information technology director for Beasley Media Group – Nick Pinto – is bumped up to vice president of information technology. The company’s chief technology officer Mike Cooney comments, “Nick has proven himself over the past several years and he was invaluable during our recent Greater Media acquisition. Nick will be overseeing the capital budget for IT and supervising the IT managers in the local markets. His strong customer service skills made him the obvious choice for this new corporate position.” Pinto remarks, “I am honored to join our dedicated Beasley corporate team. I have always believed that working hard will you give you many rewards – this promotion is one of them. My thanks to Mike Cooney for his faith in my abilities and to market manager Bill Schoening for his constant support for more than a decade.” Pinto has been overseeing the IT infrastructure in Beasley Media Group’s Charlotte cluster since 2004.
Public WUSF Adds Colombini as Producer. Former WCBS-AM, New York City reporter Stephanie Colombini is named producer of “Florida Matters,” the public affairs show of University of South Florida-owned WUSF, Tampa. In addition, Colombini will contribute to state and local news coverage as part of the “Health News Florida” team. WUSF Public Media general manager JoAnn Urofsky states, “Stephanie will be a wonderful addition to our news team. She has a wide variety of skills, and I know she will play a major role in enhancing ‘Florida Matters’ and many other WUSF programs; we are fortunate to have her here.” New York native/Fordham University graduate Colombini comments, “It is a real honor to join such an esteemed group of journalists. I am excited to start covering news in the Sunshine State.” WUSF ranks tenth (4.1) among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s November 2016 PPM report, while Cox Media Group adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” is the pacesetter with a 9.4 (6+).
Odds & Sods. Budget cutbacks at KNX result in the departure of three familiar voices. Exiting the CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news operation are mid-day anchor Linda Nunez, who had been with the station the past 26 years; sports director Steve Grad (23 years with KNX); and reporter Ed Mertz who transitioned to KNX in 2009 from former news cluster-mate KFWB where he had been since 2000 ….. Word out of the Windy City via reliable source RobertFeder.com is that after three years on Chicago’s WLS-AM, Westwood One’s Michael Savage will disappear from the Cumulus Media talker at the end of the year. WLS-AM had been delay-broadcasting Savage from 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight ….. Ordinarily, an item about a forthcoming movie wouldn’t warrant much of our attention. In this case, however, it is he identity of the executive producer of “Let There Be Light,” a film about an atheist finding religion, that is noteworthy as it is none other than … Premiere Networks’ host and Fox News Channel talent Sean Hannity ….. In its sixth annual, 17-hour, December 1 “Pasta-thon,” iHeartMedia Los Angeles talker KFI raised over $320,000 and collected 90,000 pounds of food for “Caterina’s Club.” Throughout the KFI “Pasta-thon,” station personalities Bill Handel, Aron Bender, Jennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffman, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou and Tim Conway Jr. were on-site, encouraging listeners to donate packaged pasta, jars of pasta sauce, and money to help feed underprivileged children. Everything gathered helps provide a balanced meal every night to more than 1,800 low-income children in over 15 cities in Los Angeles and Orange County ….. Earlier this month (12/3), Alpha Media talker WFTL, West Palm Beach helped to raise more than $40,000 as part of the city’s “Walk to Cure Arthritis.” Station on-air talent Rich Stevens comments, “My mom has been affected by this awful disease and I see the pain it causes her. Now that I have been involved, I know it has nothing to do with age. It can affect anyone at any age, which is why I wanted to be part of this great cause to help find a cure.” Arthritis Foundation development manager Lisa Roeberg remarks, “It was truly inspiring to see so many of our arthritis champions taking another step toward victory.” ….. When Townsquare Media-owned WPGG “Talk Radio 104.1,” Atlantic City (New Jersey) morning man Harry Hurley learned that 100 children who attend Pleasantville’s Christian Ministry Impact of God Church were not going to have Christmas this year, he thought “that was unacceptable” so, the “Hurley in the Morning Charity” is writing a cash grant for the church today (Friday, 12/16). Hurley tells TALKERS, “I have partnered with Atlantic County Toys for Kids program and, we have obtained 100 new children’s toys for the church. I am also going to help raise $500 more in cash donations on-air this morning.”
‘Tis The Season. Celebrating last night (Thursday, 12/15) at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas Christmas party are Las Vegas-based GNC Network syndicated personality Dr. Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP; market general manager Tom Humm; and KDWN program director-news director-morning anchor John Shaffer.
Trump Transition/Cabinet Nominees Top News Talk Stories for Week of December 12-16. The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for this week. At #2 was the allegation the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC computers, tied with the CIA’s refusal to testify before congress on the matter. Coming in at #3 was Donald Trump’s meeting with Silicon Valley executives, followed by the Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates and the record high Dow Jones industrial average at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com View this week’s entire chart here.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to Step Down. Since the November election, there’s been a lot of speculation about whether FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would remain on the Commission or step down and today he announces he’ll do the latter. He says he’ll step down on January 20. “Serving as FCC Chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life. I am deeply grateful to the president for giving me this opportunity. I am especially thankful to the talented Commission staff for their service and sacrifice during my tenure. Their achievements have contributed to a thriving communications sector, where robust investment and world-leading innovation continue to drive our economy and meaningful improvements in the lives of the American people. It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners to help protect consumers, strengthen public safety and cybersecurity, and ensure fast, fair and open networks for all Americans.” The radio industry isn’t quite as sanguine about Wheeler’s tenure. In general, the radio biz believes it was far down on Wheeler’s priority list – broadband seemed to be top-of-mind for the chairman – and that was underscored by the decision to leave the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership ban in place in the most recent Quadrennial Review. There’s been no indication from the Trump Administration whom it might like to see as FCC Chair, but there is speculation that Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai may be at the top of the administration’s list.
Salem Chicago Re-Signs Dan Proft. Morning personality Dan Proft will continue to co-host the morning drive show on Salem Media Group’s news/talk WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” after signing a multi-year contract extension. Proft – who previously served with Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM – joined Salem’s WIND in 2015. He co-hosts “Chicago’s Morning Answer” with Amy Jacobson. WIND general manager Jeff Reisman states, “We’re extremely pleased with Dan’s contributions to the station. The combination of Dan and Amy Jacobson as a team has helped to grow both the audience and the revenue of this radio station to all-time highs. We’re excited that Dan will be a part of our future and continued success, as well.”
Trump Administration Transition/ Cabinet Nominations, Allegations of Russian Influence in the Election, Fed Raises Interest Rates/Record High Dow, Trump Meets with Tech Execs, Syria Civil War, U.S.-China Relations, Uber Self-Driving Cars, Bitter Cold Weather, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nomination of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State; allegations of Russian hacking into the DNC’s files to influence the election outcome and that the operation was sanctioned by Vladimir Putin; Fed Chair Janet Yellen raises interest rates and the related record-high Dow Jones industrial average; Trump’s Wednesday meeting with numerous Silicon Valley executives; the Syrian civil war and the violence against civilians in Aleppo; the state of U.S. relations with China after Trump’s Taiwan incident and China’s continued military build-up in the South China Sea; the controversy in California as Uber tests driverless cars in San Francisco; the bitter cold weather affecting much of the northern U.S.; and the week’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Talk show host Rob Carson is launching a content initiative via Soundcloud and Patreon. After a two year stint at Cumulus Media’s KCMO, Kansas City, Carson tells TALKERS, “I am starting a new venture before my next radio gig. I’ve rebuilt my radio studio to not only to talk around the nation but to do an audio and video podcast. The Patreon site allows passionate followers to pay as little as $1 a month for a daily podcast, audioblogs, syndicated comedy and more.”…..Salem Media Group announces that in Philadelphia, it has appointed Gregg Stiansen as the new general manager of news/talk WNTP and Christian talk WFIL. The former Nassau Broadcasting and Connoisseur Media exec takes over for the retiring Russ Whitnah…..ESPN Radio is providing coverage of 27 college football bowl games, including the matchups from the College Football Playoff, including the January 9 National Championship Game. That game will be called by ESPN Monday Night Football voice Sean McDonough with analyst Todd Blackledge and reporters Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons.….Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle helped raise more than $502,000 for the non-profit organization Treehouse, which addresses the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Yesterday’s 28th Annual Holiday Magic Fundraiser will provide for each youth in the program one significant holiday gift along with support for programs and services throughout the year.
Save the Date! Talkers 2017 Set for Friday, June 2, 2017 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled Talkers 2017: A New Era, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 2, 2017 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age at the dawn of the Trump Era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ Talkers 2017: A New Era will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary, Talkers 2017: A New Era is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, December 23. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta Announces New Program Schedule; Mark Arum and Eric Von Haessler Move to New Dayparts. The new program schedule at Cox Media Group’s news/talk simulcast WSB-AM/WSBB-FM in Atlanta takes effect on January 9. Previously, TALKERS magazine reported that WSB-based talk
personality Herman Cain would exit the syndication business and focus on his Atlanta show. Under the new program scenario, an hour is trimmed off his late morning show, so he’ll be on the air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. CMG is bringing “The Von Haessler Doctrine” with host Eric Von Haessler to weekdays for a one-hour show from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon. Von Haessler has been hosting his program Sundays at 12:00 noon. Also, the late night Mark Arum show moves up to the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot from its current 10:00 pm start. Cox Media Atlanta VP/general manager Donna Hall states, “We are pleased to add even more local content to our weekday lineup by adding Eric, and it has been exciting to watch Mark’s success in the late evenings. By moving Mark to 7:00 pm, we’re giving even more Atlanta listeners an opportunity to get to know him through his show. Mark and Eric are both true radio professionals, and we are fortunate to have them as part of our team.”
Jonathon Brandmeier Show Ends Runs with Cumulus/Westwood One. The Chicago talk radio personality announced back in October that his deal with Westwood One to syndicate his WLS-AM-based show was not going to continue after the contract expires in February. But yesterday (12/12), Jonathon Brandmeier was told that was his last live show, he announced via Facebook. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, it seems WLS-AM was surprised by the move. The first two hours of Brandmeier’s show aired from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on WLS-AM. It’s not clear what will replace his show on WLS-AM but it appears reruns of the show will air for now. Read Feder’s story here.
Attorney Helene M. Freeman Guests on This Week’s Michael Harrison Podcast Discussing Changes in Music Copyright, Trademark and Royalty Law. One of the nation’s leading attorneys specializing in copyrights, trademarks and royalties in the entertainment industry with a specific focus on music joins Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.” Helene M. Freeman is a partner in the litigation department at Phillips Nizer LLP based in New York City. Her practice and worldwide reputation focus on all facets of entertainment, publishing, the arts and fashion. She has counseled multinational record distributors, leading musical performing groups, film and television producers and distributors, international music publishing companies, theatrical producers, authors and advertising agencies. As a litigator with more than 30 years’ experience, she has been trial and appellate counsel in precedent setting cases under both copyright and trademark law throughout the United States. Her most recent in a string of high-profile cases was her successful defense of Led Zeppelin in the Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et. al. trial – the copyright infringement case involving the claim that “Stairway to Heaven” copied an instrumental composition originally appearing in a song by the group Spirit. Harrison engages in a phone chat with this brilliant attorney recently honored by the Times of London with their “Lawyer of the Week” award covering a wide array of aspects of the law rapidly evolving with changes in technology and sociology that mark life in the digital age. They specifically explore the implications of a recent ruling in a UK court involving members of the popular 80s group Duran Duran trying to reclaim publishing rights to their songs arguably due them after the passage of a certain amount of time. To listen to this podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Trump Cabinet Nominees, ‘Fake News’/Russian Election Meddling, Syrian Civil War, State of Iran Nukes Deal, Soaring Dow, Susan Olsen Fired from LA Talk Radio, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12). The cabinet nominations by President-Elect Donald Trump, including ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State; the “fake news” controversies and the related allegations of Russia’s meddling in the recent U.S. election; the Syrian civil war and the re-taking of Aleppo by Syrian forces; concerns about Iran violating the terms of the nuclear accord; the record-setting Dow Jones industrial average; former “Brady Bunch” actress Susan Olsen exits LA Talk Radio after social media fight with gay actor; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Grunin Transitions at WOBM, Toms River. At the Townsquare Media news/talk WOBM, Toms River, New Jersey, morning personality Jeremy Grunin is moving from his gig as host of ‘Wake Up With Jeremy Grunin’ to co-host of the weekend public affairs show ‘Topic A’ with current host Bob Levy. Grunin joined the station earlier this year to host the 5:30 am to 8:00 am show. There’s no announcement from Townsquare about what will air in morning drive after Grunin’s last weekday show on Friday (12/16).
SCBA Publishes Q1 2017 Market Guidance Report. Among items contained are a study of market conditions; listenership trends; advertising category trends; regional economic trends; competitive analysis; industry trends; research highlights; and Southern California Broadcasters Association recommendations for radio advertising strategies. SCBA president Thom Callahan explains that this particular quarterly market guidance report is “our most extensive report to date on the dynamic Southern California region. It is researched and written as an informative guide for advertisers wanting factual information that will be useful in building their brands and their business. The report highlights impressive consumer demand for AM/FM radio content with weekly cume and average time exposed growing for Southern California radio. With our leading ad categories projected to increase, a surging regional economy, solid job growth, and our enhanced competitive position with other media, Southern California radio is well positioned for a solid [first quarter].” Published prior to each quarter, SCBA market guidance reports are used as a planning resource for radio advertisers interested in “the country’s largest region” as well as the “largest radio revenue market in the United States.” Documented in the report are specific regional market and business trends for Southern California, as well as specific industry information from a wide variety of sources.
Odds & Sods. WGN, Chicago has a new station voice in legendary Windy City broadcaster and journalist Bill Kurtis. Tribune’s WGN Radio has signed Kurtis to become part of the station’s branding beginning in January. WGN creative service manager Chris Duffy comments, “Bill is perfect for WGN Radio. His body of work represents thoughtful honesty, yet he has never been afraid to do lighthearted and fun projects. That combination plus his impeccable Chicago credibility make him a natural fit as a signature voice for WGN. Bill Kurtis IS…kind of a big deal.”…..For the 25th straight year, CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia will present Wing Bowl – the competitive chicken wing eating contest that’s become a Philly tradition during Super Bowl weekend. Again this year Wing Bowl will take place at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 6:00 am. This year it will feature an appearance by special guests, professional wrestler Ric Flair and Grammy Award winning artist Coolio. Partial proceeds from WIP’s Wing Bowl 25 will benefit the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Survivor’s Fund…..CBS RADIO budget cuts hit the Atlanta cluster and gone from the company’s sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” is sports anchor and reporter Jon Jeffries…..WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based talk personality Clark Howard – via his annual Clark’s Christmas Kids charity drive – was able to work with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia to provide holiday gifts for 8,360 foster kids all across Georgia. This is the 26th year of the Clark’s Christmas Kids project…..Doug Stephan’s “American Family Farmer” program passes the 150-affiliate mark. The show – a weekly program dedicated to advocacy of and ideas helping to sustain the family farm – launched in 2015 as an experimental show on Talkers Radio. Doug Stephan says, “I have been around cows all my life. I spent all my free time around the animals as a young boy. But today, the family farm is in jeopardy as the mega-farms and government intervention have run many of them out of business.”
Nielsen: November PPMs Show Strong Listenership for News/Talk and Sports Talk Radio. Although, compared to the PPM survey period in 2012 (the last presidential election), the numbers were not quite as high for the news/talk format. Nielsen Audio reports that its aggregate share for news/talk stations in the PPM markets in the 2016 November survey was 10.2% (6+), 4.5% (18-34), and 7.6% (25-54). These numbers compare with the November 2012 survey accordingly: 11.1% (6+), 4.6% (18-34), and 8.4% (25-54). Still, the November 2016 numbers represent an increase over last month’s (October 2016) shares in all three demos: 9.9% (6+), 4.3% (18-34), and 7.3% (25-54). For sports talk radio, the November PPM survey falls in the middle of the NFL season and during the MLB playoffs and World Series. As a format, sports talk has performed steadily over the past three years during the November survey. Persons 6+ garnered a 5.4 share in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In the 18-34 demo, the shares were 4.1%, 4.0%, and 4.2%, respectively. And in the 25-54 demographic, the format’s share was 6.0%, 6.1%, and 6.1%, respectively. See the whole report from Nielsen here.
WSCR, Chicago’s Terry Boers to Retire in January. In a lengthy post on WSCR, Chicago’s website, sports talk personality Terry Boers announces he’s retiring from “one of the greatest jobs you can have,” effective after his and partner Dan Bernstein’s last show together on January 5. The 66-year-old Boers has missed a lot time on the air this year dealing with health issues that have resulted in two surgeries. Nowhere in his message does he directly relate his decision to retire from “The Score” to his health, but it appears to have some bearing on the decision. WSCR has not announced its plans for the afternoon drive shift just yet, but it’s likely a new partner for Dan Bernstein will be found. Read Boers’ letter to listeners here.
Cumulus’ WNMQ-FM, Columbus, Mississippi Adds Local PM Drive Show. At Cumulus Media’s Columbus, Mississippi, sports talker WNMQ “103.1 The Team,” a new afternoon show has launched titled, “The Drive w/ Steve & The Professor,” featuring Steve Rogers (right) and Glenn “The Professor” Lautzenhiser (left). The station states that the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm show covers “all things related to local SEC teams – Mississippi State Bulldogs, the Ole Miss Rebels and the Alabama Crimson Tide – along with local high school athletics from the Columbus High Falcons to the West Point Green Wave and the Starkville Yellow Jackets. The show will feature news and opinions from Lautzenhiser and Rogers, as well as sports history and trivia, local guests, and listener call-ins.” Rogers was previously a city editor for the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus before becoming assignment editor and assistant news director at WCBI-TV and later news director at WTVA-TV. Lautzenhiser is deeply involved in local community service work and has served for many years as a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.
Trump Transition Process, Trump Flag Burning Flap, Carrier Jobs Deal, Election Recount, Syria Civil War, Gatlinburg Wildfires, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29). The Trump Administration’s transition and the ongoing selection of cabinet members; President-Elect Donald Trump’s statement about jail time or loss of citizenship for flag burners; the announcement that Trump and Indiana-based Carrier have struck a deal to keep 1,000 jobs headed for Mexico in Indiana; the controversy over the election recount started by Green Party candidate Jill Stein; the deteriorating conditions in Aleppo, Syria, the ongoing civil war, and Russia’s military involvement; the wildfires that are causing destruction in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
PodcastOne Launches Sports Show with Chris Webber. The name of the new podcast hosted by five-time NBA All-Star and current TNT basketball analyst Chris Webber is “Fearless or Insane.” PodcastOne calls it a “weekly discussion of sports and athletes and their impact on culture, politics, society, and the life issues that affect everyone.” Webber says, “I am excited about my new podcast ‘Fearless or Insane,’ where we will discuss sports, athletes and their impact on society. It is my hope that this show will both inform and inspire by going beyond the court and the field, and tapping into real life where humanity thrives. I’d also like to thank Norm Pattiz and PodcastOne for the opportunity to bring important dialogue to such a great platform.”
Odds & Sods. Boston news pro Diane Stern is retiring from CBS RADIO’s all-news WBZ-AM after a 33-year career with the station. The award-winning anchor joined WBZ in 1983. She’d previously served with WEEI and WITS/WMEX in the market…..iHeartRadio and Arianna Huffington’s new venture Thrive Global are partnering for a new, bi-weekly podcast to be available on iHeartRadio. The companies say that The Thrive Global Podcast will “explore ways to enhance the lives of listeners nationwide.” It’ll be hosted by Arianna Huffington and will feature interviews with notable leaders, celebrities, athletes and influencers who will discuss how they thrive by prioritizing their well-being….. Programmer Bob Neumann is taking on the SVP of programming role at iHeartMedia’s six-station Savannah/Hilton Head cluster that includes news/talk WTKS-AM.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Moves Larry O’Connor to Afternoon Drive. Air personality Larry O’Connor has been heard during the 5:00 pm hour on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington since 2014, while also serving as co-host of the morning drive show “Mornings on the Mall” alongside Brian Wilson. Now, O’Connor will give up the morning co-host gig and host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart solo, effective January 2. WMAL program director and Cumulus VP, news/talk Bill Hess comments, “Larry’s success, both on our morning and 5:00 pm shows, has positioned him perfectly to re-open the local afternoon daypart on WMAL. He’s smart, entertaining, and an engaging storyteller who will anchor a program built on the stories of the day, with expanded service elements for our busy DC commuters.” O’Connor adds, “During this time of unprecedented change and interest in Washington DC, it’s an exciting and humbling opportunity to help facilitate an entertaining and provocative conversation on a station as important and influential as WMAL. During the four years I’ve been here in the Nation’s Capital, I’ve been so impressed with this community’s engagement in not only our government, but with issues that hit our kitchen tables every day – like pop culture, faith, and parenting.” WMAL is not renewing “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage which is currently airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Meanwhile, the station is seeking a new co-host for the AM show. Interested personalities should send resumes to Bill Hess at: Bill.Hess@Cumulus.com.
iHeartMedia Flips Alternative WXZX, Columbus to Sports Talk. Using the brand “Sports Radio 105.7 The Zone,” WXZX, Columbus leaves alternative rock behind for sports talk. iHeartMedia is using FOX Sports Radio programming plus a local morning drive program hosted by Bruce Hooley and featuring Maddie Spielman (daughter of Chris Spielman, former Buckeye All American, NFL All Pro linebacker and Fox Sports announcer). The show will announce another co-host at a later date. Former WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Matt McCoy will provide special reports. The station will air play-by-play for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cincinnati Bengals. iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy comments, “Columbus has one of the best sports fan bases in the country and they finally a have a new destination for Columbus-based sports and entertainment radio in the morning, plus the best national lineup available the rest of the day.
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy Takes Call from President-Elect Trump. Conservative news pioneer Chris Ruddy – CEO of Florida-based Newsmax – tells TALKERS magazine he received a phone call from President-Elect Donald Trump, who praised Newsmax’s coverage of the presidential race. Ruddy says he’s known Trump for about 20 years and, while the content of his conversation with the president-elect is private, says their talk revealed a man who is “remarkably relaxed and focused.” Ruddy gives his readers a preview of how Trump and his administration might operate, saying, “Trump has the best retail political skills of any politician I have seen. Only Bill Clinton comes close. This will serve him well in the sausage-making process of getting his policies through Congress.” Read Ruddy’s entire piece here.
Cubs Baseball Was Very Good to WSCR, Chicago. WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen checks in with TALKERS magazine to report that the historic Chicago Cubs season – culminating in the club’s first World Series crown since 1908 – was a boon to the CBS RADIO station in its first year as the team’s flagship station. Rosen reports that on November 2, more than 1 million people listened to WSCR throughout the day, including the extra-inning game seven. “There were times in game seven that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned into ‘The Score’ to hear the hometown call of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. What an amazing first year it’s been for WSCR as the radio home of Chicago Cubs games. To experience the World Series on this station as we approach our 25th anniversary makes this even more momentous. When ‘The Score’ first launched, the station was a day-time only frequency, now the same brand is the home of The World Champion Chicago Cubs.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Round One of November 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of November 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio 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). The November 2016 survey period covered October 6 to November 2. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. This Thursday and Friday, morning talk personality Doug Stephan and his crew will be live on the nationally syndicated “On Air with Doug, Jen & Victoria” program. Stephan is no stranger to working holidays, giving local morning hosts all over the country time off. On Thanksgiving, Doug, Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan will again broadcast live and, while others are out spending their money on Black Friday, Doug and his team will be giving away an HP Laptop with a special Black Friday contest…..Genesis Communications takes back the operation of WIXC, Titusville, Florida and is airing the news/talk format also heard on its WWBA, Tampa on WIXC. Meanwhile, John Harper’s “WMEL” talk format – which had been heard in WIXC – moves to Astro Enterprises-owned WWBC, Cocoa Beach-Melbourne.
Former WOAI, San Antonio PD Pat Rodgers Dead at 67. The programmer who is credited with creating the modern version of WOAI, San Antonio died on Monday (11/21) at age 67 after complications from a massive heart attack. The station published a bio of Pat Rodgers on its website. It notes that Rodgers came to WOAI after a number of years at then-MOR/full service WTMJ, Milwaukee with the charge of turning WOAI into a contemporary news and talk powerhouse. “Rodgers built a powerful news operation and a stable of talk show hosts which included Carl Wiglesworth, and well as Eliza Sonneland, who was his co-host on the chatty ‘Morning Magazine’ program, as well as news legends Bob Guthire and George Jennings, and sports talk host Jay Howard. In fact, Pat created the Ticket Sportsradio 760.” Rodgers left the station in 1998 to pursue his dream of becoming a Roman Catholic deacon. He edited the Archdiocesan newspaper, managed Catholic Television, and was the press secretary to three Archbishops.
96-Year-Old PR Pioneer Leo Pearlstein Guests on Special Thanksgiving Harrison Podcast. If you are looking for a simple, great approach to preparing a Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings, check out this week’s fun installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” 96-year-old Leo Pearlstein, founder and CEO of the groundbreaking LA public relations firm Lee & Associates was a pioneer in the promotion and marketing of food during the second half of the 20th century. Pearlstein specialized in representing specific food industries (such as the egg farmers, salmon raisers and prune growers) and tying in celebrity endorsements to his remarkably creative PR campaigns. He was especially influential in elevating turkey meals from being primarily a Thanksgiving custom to becoming a mainstay of people’s diets all year round. He launched that campaign with celebrated sexy 1950s movie icon Jayne Mansfield. He even played a role in inventing the heat-resistant plastic turkey thermometer that pops up when the meat reaches a safe 180 degrees in the oven. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Trump Transition, Pence-‘Hamilton’ Incident, Trump Meets with Television News Figures, Weekend Police Shootings, Kanye West Incident, Russian Military Build-Up, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The process of the transition of the Trump Administration; the hullabaloo over VP-Elect Mike Pence’s encounter with the cast of “Hamilton”; President-Elect Donald Trump chews out television news figures at meeting at Trump Tower; the spate of deadly attacks on police officers that took place over the weekend; Russian military maneuvers and tensions over Vladimir Putin’s build-up of the nation’s forces; hip hop star Kanye West’s political rants and the sudden cancellation of his current tour; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Ramsey Hosts Smart Conference in Atlanta. Syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey hosted a daylong “Smart Conference” in Atlanta this past Saturday (10/8) at North Point Community Church. Promoting the event was Ramsey’s Atlanta affiliate, iHeartMedia talker WGST. “These events certainly increase tune-in and listenership as we lean into them,” comments iHeartMedia Atlanta region president Justin Schaflander. “Far more importantly, they truly impact the lives of our listeners as it helps them find inspiration and answers on everything from finances to parenting and just life in general. The events create a deeper relationship between our listeners and Dave’s team, which in turn, create a far more beneficial connection between our sponsors and clients as they interact with Dave’s audience. It is a win on all fronts.” Along with Ramsey were Chris Brown, Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Inky Johnson, Dr. Meg Meeker, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. Les Parrott. Attendees were provided information on how to win with money; strengthen their marriages; build parenting skills; and excel in their careers.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2016 PPM survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of Major League Baseball flagships. In this special feature report, you will find charts listing stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from August 2016 to September 2016; ratings comparisons from September 2015 to September 2016; how MLB key stations ranked in their respective markets; and how they did by league/division. See it all here.
Hughes’ Howard University Honor. In a ceremony that will take place one week from this Sunday (10/23), Howard University‘s School of Communications will be renamed the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, as a tribute to Radio One‘s founder and chairperson. The announcement comes after a multi-million dollar gift to the Washington, DC school from Hughes’ son, Radio One president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins III. Howard University president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick comments, “The Howard community is thrilled that Mr. Liggins has chosen to honor his mother in this manner for her pioneering work in the field of communications. The gift will have a transformational impact on the school’s commitment to serve the communications industry and as a high-level producer of diverse media specialists.”
Cox Media Group Tampa Boosts Caldwell to Digital Sales Manager. Two-year Cox Media Group Tampa digital media strategist Megan Caldwell is promoted to digital sales manager for the company’s six-station cluster. Vice president and market manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Megan knows the digital space, knows our marketing partners, and knows what it takes to compete and win in this competitive, fast moving space.” Director of sales Jason Meder comments, “We are so excited to have Megan lead our digital sales efforts in Tampa. With a background in digital content, Megan brings unique experience to this role. Her knowledge – combined with her ability to create solutions for advertisers – is an amazing resource for Cox Media Group Tampa.” Caldwell adds, “I am beyond excited to be leading our team in digital. As the digital sales manager, I will be focused on driving initiatives that help us continue to build long-term relationships with our clients.” The 2012 University of Central Florida graduate previously spent two years as Cox Media Group Tampa’s digital producer and was social media manager for New Age Skincare. With their September 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, CMG Tampa consists of adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” (9.3, #1); WXGL “Classic Hits 107.3 The Eagle” (6.0, #3); adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94-9” (5.3, #6); CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5” (4.7, #7); talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” (2.3, #18); and alternative WSUN “97-X” (2.3, #18).
WHO’s “Puppy Jake Foundation” Raises $22,000. Last Friday’s (10/7) third annual “Puppy Jake Foundation” fundraiser brings in more than twice as much as the combined total of year one ($4,000) and year two ($6,000). WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talent Simon Conway staged a free sandwich giveaway in the parking lot of the iHeartMedia talker and – in two hours – collected more than $22,000 to benefit the charity, which acquires, raises and professionally trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Conway states he was “speechless for about two seconds. People drove long distances; handed over huge sums of money; and donated enough to acquire, train for two years and ultimately hand over for free a service dog for a wounded veteran.” Thus far this year, the charity has given 11 dogs to veterans; nine more canines will graduate the program next March.
NBC-TV Suspends Bush. By now, you know it was a rough weekend for former radio talent Billy Bush, who was believed to be groomed as a possible replacement for Matt Lauer on NBC-TV‘s “Today Show.” The network has suspended the ex-“Access Hollywood” host for his role in a 2005 video with Donald Trump that surfaced on Friday (10/7). Bush is heard laughing and encouraging the now Republican presidential nominee as they engaged in a vulgar conversation about women. The Washington Post published the tape of Trump, who is heard on a hot microphone boasting to Bush about kissing, groping, and having sex with women, saying that, “When you’re a star, they let you do anything – I don’t even wait.” At first, it seemed Bush was going to appear on “The Today Show” this morning (10/10) to apologize, but by last night, NBC decided he would not go on the show; instead, executive Noah Oppenheim issued the suspension. There is no immediate information about how long it will last. “Let me be clear,” Oppenheim writes in a staff memo, “There is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.” In a statement he released on Friday, Bush notes he is “embarrassed and ashamed” of his role in the 2005 video. “This happened 11 years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along.” His weeknight (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) “Billy Bush Show” debuted on April 14, 2008; Westwood One ended production of it in late-December 2014. Prior to that radio project, a mix of music and celebrity banter targeted to CHR and hot AC stations, Bush did wakeup duty on WWZZ “Z-104,” Washington, DC (now Radio One‘s WPRS “Praise 104.1”). In advance of starting his senior year at Maine’s Colby College, Bush scored a summer internship at Bill O’Shaughnessy’s WVOX in Westchester, New York.
Jimmy deCastro to Exit WGN, Chicago President and GM Role. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the scoop as Windy City radio management legend Jimmy deCastro confirms he’s exiting the Tribune-owned, standalone news/talker after three-and-a-half years leading the heritage station. Telling Feder he’s “done everything I can to respect and build on the legacy of this amazing place,” deCastro says, “now the time is right for me to go back and build something new.” Larry Wert is the president of broadcast media for Tribune and comments, “Jimmy brought his unique leadership, experience and passion to the job every single day, and it made WGN a better, more focused radio station both on and off the air. I am eternally grateful to him professionally and personally.” Read Feder’s piece here.
Brandmeier and Westwood One to Part Company. From the statement made by Jonathon Brandmeier on his website, this decision by syndicator Westwood One to put the wraps on their deal when it expires in early 2017 is okay by him. Brandmeier writes, “I completely agree with that decision. I truly believe this is the best move for all involved. It was only a matter of time, and there are no hard feelings…I met some good people at Westwood One, we picked up new listeners from across this great nation of Murica, and I realized what has always driven me in this business was missing: the spirit of JUST HAVIN’ FUN. It’s time for me to get back to that. We plan to honor our agreement and continue on the air until it’s officially over – or until they literally pull the plug. I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m as pumped as ever to create content for the people of earth.” Brandmeier’s show emanates from his home base at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago airing from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. There’s no word yet what the end of the syndication deal means for WLS-AM.
Dave Adams Appointed SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Tucson. Programmer Dave Adams takes on a new role with iHeartMedia, moving west to become SVP of programming for the company’s Tucson cluster that includes CHR KRQQ, hot AC KMIY “My 92.9,” hip hop KOHT “Hot 98.3,” country KYWD “97.1 The Bull,” news/talk KNST, talk KTZR, and Tejano KXEW. Adams most recently was serving as brand manager for classic hits KLOU, St. Louis. iHeartMedia EVP of programming Steve Geofferies states, “What a great hire for the Arizona region and the Tucson market. Experience, steady hand, and a history of success. I’m looking forward to getting Dave to Tucson.”
SB Nation Names New Morning Show. With the exit of Steve Czaban from the lead role on the morning drive show, SB Nation Radio promotes from within and announces the Monday (10/10) debut of “SB Nation AM with Linn, Murray and Solly” featuring Scott Linn, Tim Murray and Steve Solomon. The three are rejoining the network after spending six years on the Steve Czaban show. Murray also hosted his eponymous Sunday evening show on the network. SB Nation Radio (formerly Yahoo! Sports Radio) CEO David Gow states, “This group is a talented trio. They have long been integral to the success of our network and we are excited to give them their own show.” All three have ties to WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” Linn served as an anchor and OM at the station, Murray is afternoon anchor and host of “DMV Game Time,” and Solomon hosts a weekly show dedicated to mixed martial arts on “ESPN 980.”
Odds & Sods. A new deal from Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and the NHL’s New York Islanders put Islanders hockey on numerous radio signals. CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN-AM/FM is named a broadcast partner of the Islanders Radio Network with the broadcast of 30 games during the regular season on 660 AM and simulcast on 101.9 FM, starting with the team’s home opener on Oct. 16. Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” will join the network and broadcast 52 regular season games. Plus, Hofstra University-owned WRHU-FM, Hempstead will continue to simulcast each game throughout the regular season and playoffs as part of the Islanders Radio Network…..Morning shows from five of CBS RADIO’s Chicago station group will broadcasting live from Wrigley Field prior to that evening’s game one of the Chicago Cubs National League Division Series versus either the Giants or the Mets. Broadcasting will be WSCR’s Mully and Hanley show, WJMK’s Dave Fogel, WBBM-FM’s “The J Show,” WUSN’s Stylz and Roman, and WXRT’s Lin and Mary…..Sales pro Michael Weiss joins SiriusXM as senior advisor to advertising sales from his most recent position as president of sales for CBS RADIO.
The Presidential Race/VP Debate/Trump’s Taxes, Syria Civil War/U.S.-Russia Tensions, U.S., Immigration Policy, Wikileaks Letdown, Hurricane Matthew, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the build-up to last night’s vice presidential debate, and the dominant chatter about Trump’s tax history; the state of the civil war in Syria and the tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s role in the violence; the immigration policy in the U.S.; the lack of any document drop from Wikileaks on the occasion of the organization’s 10th anniversary; Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti and heads for the U.S.; the Major League Baseball playoffs begin; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Standing Room Only in Charlotte. The latest sold-out stop on nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money tour was the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte. Last night (10/4), Ramsey spoke to attendees about winning with money, getting out of debt and investing for the future. Best-selling author and financial expert (and Dave’s daughter) Rachel Cruze joined him on stage. Cruze’s most recent book is titled, Love Your Life, Not Theirs (Thomas Nelson 2016). Pictured here at the event is Ramsey (center) and, from Charlotte affiliate WBT “News Talk 1110,” Rick Feinblatt, SVP/market manager for Greater Media Charlotte (left), and Greater Media Charlotte sales manager Carol Poteat (right). Feinblatt states, “Dave Ramsey continues to have a great impact on the listeners of WBT as indicated by the sold out show in Charlotte. His daily interaction with the listeners proves that the Dave Ramsey show is a great complement to the powerful lineup here at ‘News Talk 1110 WBT.’”
Lotus to Buy KFWB-AM, Los Angeles for $11.2 Million. The former Los Angeles heritage news signal (more recently sports talk before the March 1, 2016 sale) KFWB has been airing a Bollywood music format since Universal Media Access acquired it officially just seven months ago for $8 million. Now, Lotus Communications is agreeing to buy the signal for $11.2 million. It’s unknown what Lotus’ format plans are for the station.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Provide News for ‘Me-TV FM’ as Part of Partnership. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story on this interesting partnership between Tribune news/talker WGN and the Weigel Broadcasting-operated soft AC-oldies format airing on low-power analog VHF TV signal at 87.7 FM (WRME-LP). Under the terms of the deal, WGN news staffers will provide two one-minute news/weather/sports updates per hour during morning drive for “Me-TV FM.” Additionally, the two companies will enter into a joint sales agreement with WGN selling time on “Me-TV FM.” The unique music format – programmed by Rick O’Dell – is surprising some industry watchers as it recently pulled a 2.0 share in the August Nielsen PPM survey with a cume of 684,000. Read Feder’s piece here.
Cumulus Media Providence Promotes Paras to VP/MM. Ten-year Cumulus Media Providence director of sales Holly Paras is elevated to vice president and market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in that Rhode Island metro. Cumulus Media senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Holly’s fingerprints are on many of the successes that our cluster in Providence has enjoyed over the years. She is the first to tell you that those wins are due to our very talented, market-leading team. She is the leader and the team is fired up to follow her.” Paras states, “I am excited and humbled to be asked to lead such a talented team of people and the tremendous radio brands at Cumulus Providence.” Before her director of sales tenure, Paras was national sales manager for three Cumulus Media Providence outlets, and was a Katz Radio Group New York City account executive. Fourteen (14) stations are listed in Nielsen Audio‘s August 2016 PPM report for Providence. With their August 2016 6+- market rank and 6+-share in parentheses, Cumulus Media Providence’s five station cluster consists of adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” (#1, 9.7); CHR WPRO-FM “Today’s Hit Music” (#2, 8.5); talk WPRO-AM (#7, 4.6); rhythmic CHR WWKX “Hot 106” (#8, third successive 2.6); and talk WPRV (#13, .5).
PodcastOne to Launch Virtual Reality Programming. Stating that it will be the first company to “enter the virtual reality space,” PodcastOne announces a partnership with Mandt VR to launch its new PodcastOne 360 platform. Mandt VR was founded by multi-Emmy Award winning producer Neil Mandt. The firms report they plan to produce more than 200 original 360-video experiences and expect to become the largest producers of high-quality, serialized virtual reality content in the world. They also intend to develop a proprietary camera system, specifically for PodcastOne’s high-volume production. PodcastOne says the potential of providing the virtual reality experience to its listeners, who deliver more than 400 million monthly impressions, and Mandt VR’s unique ability to activate large quantities of captivating content, will create a robust catalogue of compelling, serialized content. “The Adam Carolla Show” will be the first podcast available to listeners on PodcastOne 360. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz states, “Virtual reality is the future of entertainment and Mandt VR’s leading technology delivers quality video, and in large quantities. This is key when you churn out about 350 podcast episodes weekly. This provides the next dimension in consuming our on-demand audio programming. It’s especially germane to an audience that wants to consume PodcastOne’s content on an ever-more connected basis. This is exactly the kind of partnership and cutting-edge direction that floats our collective boats.” Pictured above are (from l-r): PodcastOne CEO Jim Berk, Mandt, Pattiz, and Mandt VR chief strategy officer Chadwick Turner.
Zac Davis Appointed SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Richmond. This move keeps programming pro Zac Davis in the iHeartMedia family. He’s been serving as program director for the company’s CHR outlets WKSS, Hartford “Kiss 95-7” and WKCI, New Haven “KC101.” Now, he moves south to Richmond, Virginia to take on the SVP of programming position for the eight-station cluster that includes: CHR WRVQ “Q94,” CHR W241AP “96.1 The Planet,” adult contemporary WTVR “Mix 98.1,” AC W253BI “BIG 98.5,” alternative WRXL “XL 102,” hip hop WBTJ “106.5 The Beat,” sport talk WRNL “FOX Sports 910” and news/talk WRVA “News Radio 1140.” Market president Rick Green comments, “I’m thrilled that Zac is joining our great programming team. Zac is a proven leader with great success in a diversity of formats which makes him a great fit for our eight-station cluster in Richmond.”
Odds & Sods. A new podcast series from PodcastOne launches titled, “How I Got Here.” It’s the work of recently graduated college roommates Tim Barnicle and Harry Hill who started wondering how to “make it” in the world, then decided to ask those who have “made it” to share their inspiring stories. The series kicks off September 20 with Emmy Award winner Tom Brokaw. This will be followed by Peabody Award winner and legendary interviewer Larry King in week two. New episodes will be available every Tuesday…..DGital Media and Learfield Sports are working together on a podcast project that will create original, non-event audio content for fans by the familiar, hometown radio voices associated with some of the nation’s most recognizable collegiate athletic programs, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys, with additional programs to be added soon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Show” is added to the program schedule at WTNW, Jasper, Tennessee…..NBC Sports Radio announces sports media personality Mike Tirico is joining the network as an NFL commentator this football season. Tirico is host of NBC’s “Football Night in America” and will be a featured contributor across NBC Sports Radio programming. He’ll also do interviews with affiliated stations……Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) is pictured here with Eric Trump (right) during a meeting at the World Bar of the Trump World Tower in Manhattan. Gallagher, along with SRN hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager (plus actor Jon Voight) stopped in NYC on the network’s “Decision 2016” tour that stops today (9/14) in Washington, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio.
Client Story. The photo above shows WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3 FM” personality Brian Joyce (left), Peachtree Auto Painting & Collision owner Bobby Socol, and Joyce’s beloved 1964 Chevy Impala. Joyce tells TALKERS that when he decided his car needed a new paint job, the station contacted Peachtree in Chattanooga and came up with an endorsement deal he casually referred to as “Pimp Brian’s Ride!” “They put a beautiful new two-tone paint job on the car, I talked it up on the air and social media (Facebook and Instagram, primarily), and the results were fantastic. Peachtree says their phones have been ringing off the hook since we started the campaign, and they’ve generated a ton of phone calls and inquiries, not to mention, new business!” Joyce says Peachtree has continued to advertise with the station.
Retrospective: The Life and Career of Dr. Joy Browne. In February 2015, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian conducted a lengthy interview with talk radio personality Dr. Joy Browne that resulted in a life and career retrospective of the radio star as she worked in the fourth decade of her broadcasting life. As a way of honoring the woman who passed away unexpectedly on August 27, TALKERS magazine is re-publishing the piece so that those who may have missed it can read it, and so that broadcasters and non-broadcasters alike can have a look back at the life of a complex and dedicated woman who used her outstanding listening and problem-solving skills to both help others and entertain radio listeners for so many years. Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
Millennials Schmillennials! On Tuesday, September 5, TALKERS magazine will post a video presentation from media consultant Holland Cooke that will offer some eye-popping facts about the value of upper-end Baby Boomers to retailers. Calling it an “instant sales meeting,” Cooke says this is not to be missed by anyone charged with marketing via radio. While the full video presentation will be available on 9/5, check out this teaser video here.
Tribune Tower to Be Sold; WGN Radio to Remain There at Least Through June 2018. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports today that although the Tribune Tower is being sold to Los Angeles-based developer CIM Group, WGN Radio staffers are being assured that the station’s operations will continue there through the current lease that expires in June of 2018. Station officials say “when the time is right” they will begin negotiations to extend their lease in the historic downtown building. Currently, the station operates in the street-level Allstate Showcase Studio overlooking Michigan Avenue and Pioneer Court in addition to its offices on the 7th floor that were expanded back in 2012. However, it’s expected the new owners will seek to lease the street-level space out to retailers. Read Feder’s piece here.
PodcastOne and Forbes Partner for Podcast Network. The just-announced deal between Forbes and PodcastOne includes “joint efforts in podcast development and production, as well as distribution, promotion, marketing and advertising sales.” A press release indicates the companies plan to collaborate on podcasts in the areas of video gaming, sports, tech, hip-hop and more, initially launching with four programs focused on business, women and tech. For the launch, beginning the first week of October, the roster will comprise “The Limit Does Not Exist,” “Mentoring Moments,” and “Hiding in the Bathroom” – podcasts produced internally by Forbes for its women’s digital network Women@Forbes, launched in April, that have resonated with millennial and entrepreneurial women. The fourth program is a tech podcast, “The Premise,” developed and launched by Forbes several months ago. PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz says, “We’ve had a lot of ‘oh, wow’ moments at PodcastOne, none bigger than this. An exclusive podcast partnership with Forbes is a very big deal for our network. The Forbes brand brings with it the history and credibility in not only business, finance and tech, but also sports, women’s issues, entertainment, plus everything and anything that the Forbes and PodcastOne teams will develop together.”
Tony Kornheiser Show Re-Emerges as Podcast Via DGital and IMG. Sports media personality Tony Kornheiser returns to the audio world after recently exiting his daily sports talk radio show on WTEM, Washington via podcast through a collaboration between DGital Media and IMG. A press statement says Kornheiser will be “joined by longtime show regulars from the world of sports, politics and news, as well as the wide array of special guests that his longtime listeners have come to expect.” DGital Media chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “Tony is one of the few national personalities who continues to generate both buzz and news on a daily basis. His storytelling expertise and sports knowledge are unmatched and we are excited to create an exciting new home for his show and his fans.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of August 2016 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of August 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The August 2016 survey period covered July 14 through August 10. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
TALKERS magazine Publisher Michael Harrison Discusses Talk Radio’s Effect on Election Discourse (and More) on KNPR, Las Vegas. During a 20-minute discussion with KNPR, Las Vegas’ Joe Schoenmann about talk radio’s effect on the nation’s discussion about the political process and elections in America, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison talks about that and much more. The discussion involved a lot of media theory as well as Harrison’s thoughts about Millennials and their attitudes toward AM/FM radio and commercial media. Listen to the interview here.
The Presidential Race, Tuesday Primary Races, Weiner-Abedin Split, Kaepernick ‘Anthem’ Flap, EU-Apple Tax Controversy, Looming G20 Summit in China, Fears of Election Fraud, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/30). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the primary elections in several states involving Marco Rubio, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and John McCain; the separation of Hillary Clinton aid Huma Abedin and husband Anthony Weiner after a recent sexting episode; the ongoing flap over Colin Kaepernick’s “National Anthem” protest; the EU slaps Apple with a $14.6 billion tax bill the tech company is disputing; this weekend’s G20 Summit in China and growing anti-globalization sentiments; fears of election fraud after indications polling systems in Arizona and Illinois; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WEEI Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon Raises $3.5 Million. The annual two-day radio-telethon that happens every August to raise funds for Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week at Fenway Park. This week’s event was the 15th annual radio-telethon (also seen on regional cable channel NESN). Pictured here are (from l-r): WEEI’s Jerry Thornton, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens, WEEI’s Michael Holley, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, and WEEI’s Dale Arnold.
Williams Appointed SVP/MM of Emmis Indianapolis. Eleven-year Radio One Indianapolis market manager Chuck Williams joins cross-town Emmis as senior vice president and market manager of its four-station cluster as well as its statewide news service, Network Indiana. Williams succeeds Charlie Morgan, who served in that capacity the past seven years before being named interim market manager of Emmis New York earlier this year. Emmis president and chief operating officer Patrick Walsh explains, “We have competed against Chuck throughout his career and always viewed him as a gifted, high integrity leader uniquely positioned to build on our foundation of success in Indianapolis. We are thrilled he has agreed to lead our team. With his deep knowledge of the Indianapolis radio market and the advertisers it serves, we expect him to jump right in and assist our talented team to continue to grow and prosper.” Williams comments, “I have long been an admirer of the Emmis culture, their people and their unfailing pride and leadership in the industry and their communities. Charlie Morgan built outstanding heritage stations with very talented people. I am looking forward to joining [Emmis Indianapolis vice president of sales] Tracey Bean, [VP/programming] Bob Richards, and the whole team at Emmis.” Before joining Radio One, Williams was general manager of Bonneville Chicago; he is the past chair of the Indiana Broadcasters Association. With each station’s share and market rank in parenthesis, here’s how the four Emmis Indianapolis outlets performed in the July 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM report: adult contemporary WYXB “B-105.7” (6.4, #4, 6+); country WLHK “Hank” (5.1, #7, 6+); talk WIBC (3.8, #11, 6+); and sports WFNI “The Fan” (2.1, #15, 6+).
Conservative Talker Andrew Wilkow Celebrates 10th Anniversary on SiriusXM. Today (8/9) marks the 10th anniversary of talk show host Andrew Wilkow‘s “The Wilkow Majority” on SiriusXM’s “Patriot Channel.” Wilkow carved out his niche over a period of time, then expanded upon it in the 12:00 noon ET to 3:00 pm ET time slot as an alternative to Rush Limbaugh. A member of the TALKERS 2016 “Heavy Hundred,” Wilkow has become one of the biggest stars created by SiriusXM. He tells TALKERS, “I am honored and delighted to be on Sirius for so long, and appreciate my extremely loyal and passionate audience.” He says that the show’s nickname, “The Next Generation of Great Talk Radio,” still applies 10 years later.
Bott Radio Network Extends Mid-Missouri Footprint. Adding three FM signals in Columbia (at 100.9); Fulton (92.5); and St. Robert-Fort Leonard Wood (106.5), Bott Radio Network (BRN) expands its Christian talk network in mid-Missouri. All are rebroadcasting BRN’s 50,000-watt station at 89.9 FM from Columbia and Jefferson City. Mid-Missouri area manager Sue Stoltz comments, “These three new signals will be a blessing to many in mid-Missouri and the surrounding area where even more people can now hear quality Christian talk radio. I am excited about how this will benefit mid-Missouri families and our business sponsors.” BRN president and chief executive officer Rich Bott notes, “We are excited about this opportunity to reach more people with God’s word. This is a wonderful step forward to strengthen families and change lives through Bott Radio Network’s quality bible teaching, Christian news and information programming.” The addition of the new signals brings BRN’s number of stations nationwide to 107, including 46 in Missouri.
Silver Sensations. American divers Steele Johnson and David Boudia proudly display their silver medals to Steve Mason (left) and Kevin Kugler (second from the right), who are covering the Rio Olympics for Westwood One Sports.
Odds & Sods. Anchor/producer Heather Jordan (formerly Heather Martinez) exits Cox Media Group Orlando talker WDBO-FM to succeed Libby Denkmann as afternoon news anchor for “The John & Ken Show” on iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ KFI. Her lengthy radio resume includes stops in Dallas (KRNB); Miami (WEDR “99 Jamz” and WHQT “Hot 105”); Denver (KDJM “Jammin’ 92.5”); Kansas City (KPRS “Hot 103 Jamz”); and Des Moines (WHO). In addition, Jordan has done television work for WBBM-TV, Chicago; KTVT-TV, Dallas; and WFOR-TV, Miami ….. Longtime Pittsburgh Penguins radio producer Ray Walker (Ray Weitzel), 56, passed away Sunday (8/7) of complications from lymphoma. He joined the NHL team’s broadcasts in September 1999. His wife is iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWSW “3WS,” Pittsburgh on-air talent Sheri Van Dyke ….. Recently added affiliates to Joe Pagliarulo‘s “Joe Pags Show” are: KUIK, Portland; WPTR, Albany, New York (Empire News Network); WAIX, Albany, New York (Empire News Network); WHBY, Appleton, Wisconsin; WAAM, Ann Arbor, Michigan; KERV, Kerville, Texas; WDMJ, Marquette, Michigan; and WIAN, Ishpeming, Michigan. Pagliarulo is now on more than 60 stations.
Craig Stevens Upped to Format Captain for Spoken Word at iHM Allentown-Harrisburg. Big changes at the Allentown and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania operations of iHeartMedia as SVP of programming Craig Stevens is also named format captain for the company’s spoken word stations in seven markets. At the same time, the company promotes Jimmy Steele to program director for adult hits WRFY “Y102” and “Rumba 92.3 FM,” stations Stevens was programming. Additionally, Steele becomes part of the “Y102” morning show alongside Andi Kurzweg. Stevens assumes responsibility for the programming and day-to-day operations of: WAEB-AM, Allentown; WHP-AM, Harrisburg; WILM-AM, Wilmington, Delaware; WDOV, Dover, Delaware; WRAK, Williamsport, PA; WTKT, Harrisburg; WSAN, Allentown; WWTX, Wilmington, WTGM, Salisbury, Maryland and WJDY, Salisbury. iHM regional SVP of programming Jeff Hurley states, “Craig has been an exceptional member of the iHeartMedia team for 23 years. He’s one of our most talented and driven programmers and I’m excited for the energy he’ll bring to all the spoken-word brands within our region.”
The Hillary Clinton Email Case Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 4-8. The FBI’s decision not to charge Hillary Clinton for using a private email server for State Department business was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the presidential race. Following at #3 was the sniper slayings of five Dallas police officers on Thursday and, at #4 was the Baton Rouge and Minneapolis shooting deaths of black men by police officers. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
CBS Radio News Devotes ‘Weekend Roundup’ to Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minneapolis Police Shootings. This weekend’s edition of the CBS Radio News program “Weekend Roundup” will be a special program reporting on the Dallas police slayings and the deaths of black men at the hands of police in Baton Rouge and Minnesota. The 48-minute program available to CBS Radio News affiliates is titled, “CBS WEEKEND ROUNDUP SPECIAL EDITION: Ambush in Dallas: Race, Guns, Police and Protests.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of June 2016 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of June 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The June 2016 survey period covered May 19 to June 15. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Chicago-Based Talk Host Joe Walsh Criticized for Post-Dallas Tweet Warning President Obama, ‘Real America Is Coming After You.’ WIND, Chicago-based talk show host and former U.S. Rep. from Illinois Joe Walsh, is causing a stir in the Twitterverse after posting remarks some deemed threatening to President Obama. The tweet, since deleted, was posted by Walsh after news of the Dallas police slayings broke. It read, “3 Dallas Cops killed, 7 wounded. This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.” Walsh deleted the tweet and then posted the following, “I wasn’t calling for violence, against Obama or anyone. Obama’s words & BLM’s deeds have gotten cops killed. Time for us to defend our cops.” Walsh’s program is also heard on WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey.
Kristi Lee Returns to ‘The Bob & Tom Show.’ In a statement from syndicator Westwood One, there’s no mention of why the longtime “Bob & Tom Show” cast member parted company with the program back in January, nor what events brought about her return to the show, but return she shall. Effective July 11, Kristi Lee joins Tom Griswold and cast members Chick McGee, Donnie Baker, Scott Polanski, and “an ensemble of comedy hosts and guests as the show continues to entertain morning audiences across the country and worldwide on the American Forces Radio Network.”
Odds & Sods. It’s been seven years since Kennesaw State University transitioned from Division II to Division I NCAA athletics, now Dickey Broadcasting Company’s Atlanta sports talker WFOM-AM, Marietta, Georgia “ESPN Radio 1230 The Fan 2” signs a multi-year deal with the school to broadcast Kennesaw State football beginning with this season. WFOM president David Dickey says, “We are excited to expand Dickey Broadcasting Company’s unprecedented college football coverage through our exciting partnership with KSU. Vaughn Williams and his team have done an incredible job of launching KSU football and we look forward to helping them create and distribute market-exclusive content, for all KSU students, fans and sponsors to enjoy.”…..In New England, Dartmouth College, through Learfield’s Big Green Sports Properties, signs a new three-year contract with Great Eastern Radio for WSTV, Claremont, New Hampshire and translator W233CC, Lebanon at 94.5 FM to serve as the flagship for live play-by-play of the Ivy League school’s football and men’s and women’s hockey. Both men’s and women’s basketball will air on classic hits WWOD, Woodstock, Vermont “Kool 93.9.” Great Eastern OM Matt Houseman states, “We are thrilled to be the new home of Dartmouth sports. This new partnership allows us to showcase the premier Division I athletics we have in our area like never before. It’s great local content and we look forward to providing Dartmouth sports to listeners in the Upper Valley and beyond.”
Report: CBS RADIO IPO Coming by End of the Month. That’s the story from Bloomberg News after it became aware of a prospectus for senior notes for CBS RADIO due in 2020. The piece notes that this is an indication it does not have a qualified buyer interested in the 177-station group valued at approximately $2.9 billion. Industry watchers did not expect a single buyer to appear and the sell-off was widely anticipated, but now we know it’s happening soon. Read the Bloomberg piece here.
Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, The Presidential Race, Weekend Terror Attacks in Baghdad, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, Battle Against Islamic State, Rio Olympics Troubles and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/5). The FBI’s decision not to indict Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server for State Department business; the activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the aftermath of weekend terror attacks in Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh; the efforts to stop Islamic State forces in the Middle East and to prevent IS-inspired terror attacks abroad; the reported troubles facing the Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of June 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of June 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio 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). The June 2016 survey period covered May 19 to June 15. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Entercom Boston VP/Market Manager Phil Zachary Joins Michael Harrison This Week on ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In what Michael Harrison describes as “an amazing conversation” about radio, music, politics, sports, media and the generational divide, he and Entercom Communications VP/Boston market manager Phil Zachary engage in a candid, illuminating dialogue on this week’s episode of the PodcastOne award-winning show, “Up Close and Far Out.” As market manager of Entercom’s Boston properties, Zachary oversees tremendously important and influential properties including legendary rock emporium, WAAF-FM; heritage news/talker WRKO-AM; groundbreaking hyper-local sports talk giant WEEI-FM; ESPN Radio 850 AM; and the Boston Red Sox Radio Network. Harrison says, “I am particularly delighted to have Phil Zachary as my guest on this program. He is a seasoned 43-year veteran of many formats of radio who has served as a programmer, manager and executive with such major operations as CBS, iHeart, Curtis and now Entercom. Phil is clearly one of the smartest people in the business and really has the opportunity to expound deeply on a wide variety of topics within the format of this podcast. This conversation is a ‘media freak’s delight!” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Former Fox News Personality Gretchen Carlson Files Sexual Harassment/Retaliation Suit Against Roger Ailes. Eleven-year Fox News Channel personality Gretchen Carlson exited the network on June 23 and today is announcing she’s filing a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Carlson was part of the three-person morning show “Fox & Friends” from 2005 through 2013. Since leaving that program she’d been hosting “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily Among the allegations Carlson levels against Ailes is that after complaining about workplace inequality, Ailes made sexual advances toward her – which she rebuffed – and as a result was “fired” from the “Fox & Friends” show and moved to the less-watched afternoon daypart. The suit is filed in Superior Court in New Jersey and details a list of allegations of sexually-charged comments and other wrongful behavior by Ailes. Ailes and Fox News have not publicly responded to the suit.
William J. Kelly Hosts Middays at WCGO, Chicago; Adds Sales Manager Duties. At the Kovas Family GST Trust-owned talk station WCGO, Chicago, William J. Kelly’s “The Citizen Kelly Show” program moves into the midday slot and Kelly adds station sales manager duties to his responsibilities. Kelly comments, “I’m thrilled to be moving to middays at WCGO. To me, this move represents an opportunity to make Chicago radio great again. Great like it once was but isn’t now. With ‘The Citizen Kelly Show,’ first, we will capture the hearts and minds of people throughout Chicagoland and then…the world.”
Odds & Sods. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that WVEE, Atlanta “V103” morning personality Ryan Cameron is joining Mike Conti on sister sports talker WZGC “92.9 The Game” for Atlanta Falcons pre-game shows this fall. Ho reports the urban contemporary personality has been making recent appearances on WZGC shows to talk sports. Cameron will work from the Georgia Dome for home games and from the WZGC studios for away games…..Former WLW, Cincinnati personality Marc Amazon is launching a podcast titled, “Surviving the Startup.” In describing the show, Amazon says, “Think ‘Shark Tank’ minus the investing part.” Each show will feature Amazon, along with a successful entrepreneur co-host, hearing pitches for startups. The co-hosts will rotate with each episode. The podcast will be available via iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.
WGN, Chicago Renews Steve Cochran Through 2020. This is the latest in a series of contract renewals at Tribune’s news/talker WGN Radio. Morning drive host Steve Cochran’s pact with the station is extended through 2020. Station VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Steve makes it look easy with his affable brand of intelligence, but nobody works harder to gather and share the stories Chicagoans care about. He’s got the raw talent and work ethic we need for many years to come.” The Cochran morning show team includes co-anchor and reporter Andrea Darlas, news by Steve Grzanich, sports by Dave Eanet and traffic by Mary Van De Velde. Last week, the station made public new deals for afternoon drive star Roe Conn and, on Friday, an extension for programmer Manley. Cochran worked at WGN from 2000 through 2010 when he was let go. He rejoined WGN in 2013. In a story this morning by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cochran speaks glowingly about the new regime at WGN – and rather frankly about the one that fired him. You can read Feder’s piece here.
Melissa Harrison Named AM Co-Anchor at KRLD, Dallas. News pro Melissa Harrison becomes part of the KRLD Morning News alongside Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, beginning Friday, July 1. Harrison has most recently been working as a freelance reporter for KXAS-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth. She formerly worked as a television news reporter in New York, Birmingham, Jackson, Waco, and Abilene. KRLD director of news and programming Paul Mann says, “Melissa’s extensive journalism experience will further strengthen the award-winning KRLD news team. As with co-anchors Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, Melissa’s roots run deep in North Texas and she is passionate about our community.”
‘Brexit’ Vote/Financial Markets Activity, The Presidential Race, SCOTUS Immigration Ruling, Coming SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, Sacramento Rally Violence, and MLB Action and Copa America Final Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the reactions by the world’s financial markets; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton plus the hiring of former Trump aid Corey Lewandowski by CNN; the effects of the recent Supreme Court ruling halting President Obama’s immigration executive orders; this week’s expected ruling by the Supreme Court on Texas’ abortion laws; the violent clash of protestors at a ‘white power’ rally in Sacramento; and MLB action and the Copa America soccer final were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Radio personality Anthony Cumia has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges – third-degree assault and a charge of blocking someone’s breathing – related to an incident with his then-girlfriend in December of 2015. Cumia – former partner of Gregg “Opie” Hughes on both SiriusXM and AM/FM radio – currently hosts an internet talk program. Newsday is reporting that Cumia must complete six months of outpatient alcohol abuse treatment and a six-month batterer’s intervention program. Upon completion of those programs, he can get the charges reduced to non-criminal harassment counts…..Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tips TALKERS magazine that Chicago media writer Robert Feder is celebrating his 36th year in the business of covering radio and television in the Windy City. Tradup and Feder recently shared a lunch in Chicago where Tradup was once president and general manager of news/talk WLS-AM…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive live coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon 2016 beginning today through the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10. The broadcasts are airing courtesy of rightsholder ESPN Audio…..Audio content aggregator TuneIn is now offering Scripps-owned Newsy’s daily news reporting. TuneIn premium subscribers can access two weekly podcasts focused on politics — “Newsy Politics” — and culture — “Givin’ Takes” – plus three daily podcasts focused on U.S. and world news; tech, science and health; and current events…..Alpha Media’s Salina, Kansas news/talker KSAL-AM “NewsRadio 1150” collects two honors in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. KSAL was named “Favorite Radio Station.” KSAL personality Clarke Sanders was chosen “Favorite Radio Host.” Fellow staffers Rich Alexander and Mike Hammett were finalists in the host category. Alpha Salina market manager Bob Protzman says, “We’re very proud of Alpha Media’s representation in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. Once again, ‘News Radio 1150’ KSAL takes ‘Favorite Radio Station’ showing that AM radio is alive and well – all it takes is quality local programming.”
BIA Kelsey Releases State of Radio Industry Report. As part of its state of the radio industry report, BIA Kelsey releases “The Position of Local Radio Stations: Trends for 2016 & Beyond.” Using data from Nielsen Audio, Edison Research, Miller Kaplan, and more, the study looks at AM/FM radio’s reach and revenue over the past five years and projects where radio is likely to be five years down the road. It notes recent industry-wide dips in local station revenue. “We believe local radio stations will be able to turn around this negative over-the-air revenue growth slightly. As long as the economy maintains moderate growth in the next few years, we expect total radio advertising to grow in the 1.0 % to 1.25 % CAGR range.” The BIA Kelsey study also points to digital and live events as pieces of the radio revenue pie that have helped AM/FM survive spot sales declines that will continue to be crucial to radio’s bottom line in the years ahead.
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Annual Conference a Success in Atlantic City. The 69th annual NJBA convention just wrapped up two-days at Caesars Atlantic City (6/22-23) and by all measures was a successful event. Several hundred broadcasters from the Garden State and beyond gathered to discuss the state of the radio industry both regionally and nationally. The theme of the conference was “The Power of Broadcast” and it included sessions on programming, sales and technology as well as an awards ceremony, Hall of Fame induction and radio row. TALKERS/RadioInfo special features correspondent Jeff McKay was in attendance and provides coverage of the sessions and speakers. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
WGN Extends Its Programming ‘Man’ Through 2019. Six-year vice president of content and programming for Tribune Chicago talker WGN, Todd Manley will continue in that role through (at least) December 2019. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Todd makes it fun to come to work every day. He is a content musician that drives our incredible spoken-word content across a multitude of platforms.” Manley remarks, “I am in awe of the effort our personalities and producers put forth each day. They are each driven to make sure WGN listeners never ever miss a story. I am grateful to Jimmy de Castro and [president, Tribune Broadcast Media] Larry Wert for the commitment to continue building this great team.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “I am so pleased to hear this news. Todd Manley is one of the most thoughtful and creative programmers in the talk field today.” Manley’s prior titles at WGN include imaging director and creative director. Before joining the station, he was program director/brand manager of KTRS, St. Louis. In addition, he has worked at cross-town Chicago outlets WXRT (as director/creative content) and WCKG (as production/imaging director). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s May 2016 PPM survey period, WGN ranks seventh (3.7); CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.4 (6+).
MLB Flagships: Part Three. In the third of a multi-part series, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian recaps the performance of Major League Baseball‘s radio flagships. In a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2016 PPM survey period, Mike highlights each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; flagships by league/division; and he unveils a new component to this overview. More than twice as many MLB flagships are in their markets’ top five in May (31%) versus March (14%). Average (6+) year-to-year decreases of MLB flagships in March, April, and May though far outweigh typical increases. See the third installment of this exclusive special feature piece regarding MLB flagships here.
Media Outlets Seek Access to Orlando Shooting 911 Calls. Nearly two-dozen media organizations filed a lawsuit Thursday (6/23) against the city of Orlando asking for the release of city phone recordings related to the mass shooting earlier this month at the Pulse nightclub. The suit challenges the city’s contention that those calls are exempt from public records laws because they record the killing of a person. The media consortium argues that the Orlando shooting is similar to the Sandy Hook school shooting, in which a Connecticut court ruled that related 911 calls were not confidential despite state laws that restricted the release of child abuse records. The media organizations argue that, “There is strong public interest in fully evaluating how first responders and police reacted during the most critical phases of this incredible tragedy. To be sure, the news media do not approach this petition with any preconceived notion that the city somehow acted inappropriately. Indeed, the audio recordings may well serve to substantiate and justify any action taken.” The city of Orlando made its own filing with the court, arguing release of the recordings is exempt under Florida public records law and that the FBI says releasing the recordings could damage the ongoing criminal investigation into the attack that left 49 people dead.
Townsquare Media Atlantic City & The Shore Officially Names Ruble Market President. It is “official,” in that, Michael Ruble had been market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media‘s Atlantic City & The Shore’s (New Jersey) properties on an interim basis. He now handles both of those responsibilities without the “interim” prefix. Senior vice president of operations Rob Williams notes that, “Mike has been an exceptional leader in Atlantic City for years, building a terrific team that has consistently performed at a high level. In Toms River, we have a team with significant strengths and talents; wonderful brands; and the foundation to grow to new heights with Mike’s leadership.” Three of the company’s Monmouth and Ocean County stations include talkers WOBM-AM, WADB, and WPGG. The rest of its outlets in that area are adult contemporary WOBM-FM “Soft Rock 92.7”; hot AC WJLK “The Point”; AC WFPG “Lite Rock 96.9”; sports WENJ “97.3 ESPN“; hot AC WSJO “SOJO 104.9”; classic rock WCHR “The Hawk”; and WPUR “Cat Country 107.3.” Ruble joined Townsquare Media five years ago as market manager-general sales manager. He previously was a market manager-general sales manager with Millennium Radio Group; national sales manager for Citadel Broadcasting; and an account executive with Spring Broadcasting.
WDNC, Raleigh Shifts Reese & Kmac to Mornings. The midday “Sports Shop with Reese & Kmac” is moving into morning drive on Capitol Broadcasting’s WDNC, Raleigh “The Buzz.” According to Capitol’s sports radio operations manager Dennis Glasgow, the program will be the first African-American sports talk morning show in the Raleigh-Durham market. Glasgow comments, “We’ve wanted to bring more diversity to our listeners that would reflect the Raleigh-Durham population, and we will do that by bringing a very entertaining and energetic show with ‘The Sports Shop.’” Reese & Kmac replace “The Morning Show with Mike, Lauren & Demetri.” The company says Mike Maniscalco and Demetri Ravanos have exited the station but Lauren Brownlow will continue regular, on-air appearances on both WCMC-FM “The Fan” and “The Buzz.” In addition to her radio appearances, Brownlow will continue to contribute to WRALSportsFan.com. “The Sports Shop” will be made available via WRALSportsFan.com and with the WRALSportsFan App.
“Brexit” Fallout Felt in U.S. Following yesterday’s “Brexit” vote by Brits to separate from the European Union (Thursday, 6/23), several major United States-based media companies such as Fox, Viacom, Netflix, and Apple opened their stateside trading days down billions of dollars in stock valuation. Netflix and Apple though were among those surging back within the first 10 minutes of the U.S. trading day. The Pound dropped to its lowest valuation in decades, and stock prices overseas sunk. British Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped down, vowing there will be a new PM in place by October. In a statement of support from the White House, President Barack Obama comments, “The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.” Given economic implications domestically and abroad, this is bound to be among talk radio’s biggest topics today.
The Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the TALKERS TenTM. At #2 was the gun legislation push in congress tied with the investigation into Omar Mateen and the Pulse nightclub massacre. Following at #3 was the Supreme Court’s deadlock on a challenge to President Obama’s immigration executive orders, and at #4 was Thursday’s “Brexit” vote by Britons. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
DC Court of Appeals Affirms Internet as Utility; Victory for ‘Net Neutrality’ Advocates. This ruling from a three-judge panel at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals is not likely to settle the matter once and for all, but this is a huge victory for the Federal Communications Commission which had wanted broadband declared a common carrier utility service in order to put under its purview. Supporters of the ruling say this paves the way for the federal government to prevent broadband providers from creating tiers of services that would give advantage to some at the expense of others. Critics of the ruling will argue that the common carrier utility aspect of the decision puts control of the Internet into the hands of the FCC. Regardless, it’s unlikely that we’ve seen the last legal challenge to this.
RTDNA/Hofstra: News Not Primary Responsibility for More Than One-Third of Radio News Directors. The sixth report in the RTDNA Newsroom Research Project – a survey of local radio and television news – has been released by Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper and this report focuses on the state of television and radio news directors. It’s probably no surprise to radio people that most news directors have other duties at their station besides news. Papper’s research indicates that 38.3% of news directors say that news is not their primary station responsibility. What duties constitute not news? Forty-six percent stated that other administrative duties made up their non-news responsibilities, 22.4% said on air/DJ/hosting were their primary roles and 5.6% said production or sales came first. Read more from the RTDNA/Hofstra University study here.
Michael Harrison and Steve Weisman Discuss the Dark Side of the Digital Era. In an intense conversation that pulls no punches, Michael Harrison and noted media attorney and cyber-scam expert Steve Weisman talk about the dangers to privacy and property presently lurking on the Internet. In the latest installment of the PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” such topics as the recent hacking of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s accounts are explained and analyzed, covering a variety of dangers spanning identity theft to fraudulent advertising. Harrison and Weisman illuminate the problems being caused by criminals Harrison describes as the “dastardly bastards” who prey upon innocent victims (meaning the rest of us) who are becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet for its obvious benefits in all aspects of day to day life. Harrison also goes off on a rant about his extreme distaste for the widespread and still-growing practice of so-called legitimate websites selling “native” advertising (paid-for editorial content), not to mention the purposely deceptive clutter that leads to unintentional clicks and consequences for the user. This conversation is not-to-be missed. To listen to it in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
WGN, Chicago and ABC News Radio Extend Relationship. Chicago news/talk WGN and ABC News Radio announce they’ve extended their affiliation agreement through May 2018. At the same time, reporter and multimedia journalist Ryan Burrow is continuing as the ABC News Radio national correspondent based out of the Tribune station. The renewed partnership will bring expanded coverage from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this July. ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says, “We’re excited to continue our relationship with WGN Radio, one of America’s iconic media brands! We’re also proud of the excellent journalism Ryan Burrow has produced as he’s traveled the country for both ABC News and WGN.”
Orlando Club Massacre Aftermath, the Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Paris Cop and Wife Killed in Terror Attack, NBA Finals and Penguins Win Stanley Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). The aftermath of the slaying of 49 and wounding of dozens more at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the matter of gun control and radical Islam; the activities of the candidates for president; the battle against Islamic State and the push by Iraq to reclaim Fallujah; the fatal stabbing of a Paris police officer and his wife by an ISIS sympathizer; the Pittsburgh Penguins claiming the 2016 Stanley Cup; and the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WHYN, Springfield Morning Personalities Reunite. An impromptu “reunion” of the cast of the extremely popular “Brad & Bo Morning Show” that ran for many years on iHeartMedia’s Springfield, Massachusetts talk outlet WHYN recently took place at New England’s legendary “Big Mamou” restaurant. Pictured (l-r, top): Mary Orr, Bo Sullivan; bottom (l-r): Denise Vozella, Brad Shepard. The picture reportedly received hundreds of “likes” on Facebook from former listeners. Brad Shepard is now the GM and star performer of the region’s online, hyper-local media station, Pioneer Valley Radio.
Jim Rose Promoted to PD at KFAB, Omaha. Both players here are part of the KFAB, Omaha morning show. Longtime KFAB personality Gary Sadlemyer is giving up his program director duties at the iHeartMedia-owned news/talk station. His co-host Jim Rose is being elevated to the PD role. Both will continue as personalities on the “Gary Sadlemyer and the Good Morning Show.” iHeartMedia Omaha SVP of programming Erik Johnson says, “When Gary made the decision to step down as program director for KFAB, we knew we had big shoes to fill. Jim’s tremendous background in news radio and his intimate knowledge of both Omaha and KFAB all make him the perfect candidate to take over for Gary, who will remain an important and integral part of KFAB as he continues to focus on ‘The Good Morning Show.’”
Ezra Kucharz to Exit CBS Local Digital Media. Six-year leader of CBS’ local digital efforts, Ezra Kucharz, announces he’s leaving his president of CBS Local Digital Media position and will consult as special advisor to the CEO as he explores the next chapter in his career. Kucharz heads the division that developed a common platform and unified sales effort for its radio and television station websites and digital components. This comes as speculation about a spin-off of the CBS RADIO division and an IPO is getting more intense. CBS does not say whether it intends to fill Kucharz’s position.
The Presidential Race, Gender Identification-Bathrooms Issue, N. Korea Missile Tests, Prince Death/Opioid Addiction, Colorado Gay Wedding Cake Case, Dennis Hastert Sentenced, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The activities of the candidates for president, Ted Cruz’s naming of Carly Fiorina as his running mate, and the looming Indiana primary; the ongoing debate over laws governing public restroom use and gender identification; North Korea’s testing of medium-range missiles; the investigation into the cause of death of Prince and the related topic of opioid addiction; the Colorado Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the arguments of a Christian bakery found guilty of violating a gay couple’s civil rights; former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert sentenced for crimes related to sexual assault; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dave Ramsey Brings Smart Money Event to Raleigh. Nationally syndicated talk radio super star and best-selling author Dave Ramsey was in Raleigh yesterday (4/27) presenting his Smart Money event at the Durham Performing Arts Center. There, Ramsey Solutions personality and youth and money expert Anthony ONeal joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate WTKK-FM helped to promote the appearance. WTKK-FM program director Brian Taylor comments, “Over two days, Dave’s visit to Raleigh allowed WTKK-FM three wins: revenue, listener/client interaction while also elevating the profile of our local brand. Adding the Dave Ramsey show to your lineup provides opportunities extending beyond the speakers.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Ramsey, WTKK general sales manager Jeff Rovinsky, Taylor, and ONeal.
NextRadio: Visually Appealing Stations Get More Listening. The data from NextRadio indicate stations that “enhance their terrestrial broadcast with visuals and related content average nearly twice the tune-ins and two hours more listening, per listener, per month, in NextRadio vs. stations which only display their station logo.” The TagStation service that provides stations with artist and title information and interactivity with listeners is provided by NextRadio developer TagStation, LLC (wholly-owned by Emmis Communications). The conclusion comes from TagStation’s analysis of 11 million NextRadio listening hours. NextRadio president Paul Brenner says, “Today, consumers are part of an ever-evolving app world, and they expect to see and engage with content on their smartphones. By providing local FM radio listeners a live look at what is airing in their market before they tune in, NextRadio provides a compelling, new listener engagement option. Stations benefit from NextRadio because it doubles listening through the visualization of FM broadcast radio — making listeners more engaged and loyal. Not only does the data show that these stations experience more tune-ins and overall listening, but it also shows that the listening gap is widening between those that provide enticing visuals and related content versus those that do not.”
Odds & Sods. Chicago news/talk outlet WLS-AM takes home the “Best Newscast” honor in the large market category from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association. This is the third year in a row the station has won the award. WLS-AM PD/OM Peter Bolger says, “I’ve been associated with the news business for many years, and I can tell you it is very difficult to win this honor three years in a row – especially in a market as competitive and as rich with talent as Chicago.” Pictured at right are (from l-r): news director John Dempsey, anchor/reporter Jennifer Keiper, and anchor/reporter Nick Gale (who picked up a second place honor for his reporting on the Fox Lake shooting)…..The NFL draft gets underway tonight (4/28) and SiriusXM is providing coverage via several channels, including the NFL channel. Joining the satcaster’s coverage live from Chicago are football experts Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwan, Jim Miller, Phil Savage, and lead host Jason Horowitz…..Fox Sports Radio is also announcing its coverage of the draft. Leading the coverage are FOX NFL insider Jay Glazer, FS1 NFL reporter Peter Schrager and lead college football/draft analyst Joel Klatt…..“The Beer Guys Radio Show” – based at Salem Media Group’s WGKA, Atlanta – announces two new affiliate stations in its current expansion efforts. The show, co-hosted by Tim Dennis and Aaron Williams, begins airing on WTKI, Huntsville and WEKI, Decatur, Alabama on May 7…..Urban news/talk WVON, Chicago is being sued by FameFlyNet for unauthorized use of its copyrighted photos. In United States District Court in Illinois, the company is suing Midway Broadcasting Corp. for posting two pictures of actress Lupita Nyong’o on its website and is seeking $150,000 in damages per infringement. Midway is just the latest in a series of broadcasters sued by the company for copyright infringement.
Hannity-Harker vs Nielsen: Follow-Up Audio. Yesterday’s TALKERS magazine story about Sean Hannity and Harker Research’s Richard Harker again questioning Nielsen Audio’s effectiveness measuring talk radio audiences with the PPM technology deserves an audio follow-up. In case you missed it, at Wednesday’s 2016 New Radio Conference in Philadelphia presented by Jerry Del Colliano, Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity and Harker Research’s Richard Harker presented a session titled, “Nielsen – Getting Around a Rigged Ratings System,” during which Harker presented his own study showing how talk radio suffers under the PPM methodology. Nielsen’s John Snyder was there and took the stage to argue against Harker’s and Hannity’s points. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison spoke with Hannity about the matter in a conversation you can hear here. This issue will be fleshed out more at the 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 when TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison conducts a “Fireside Chat” with Sean Hannity.
iHeartMedia’s Kelly Carls to Retire from Talk Radio Biz. He’s not heading out the door just yet – he’ll exit the iHeartMedia Louisville station group in August – but talk programmer Kelly Carls is retiring from the business after spending the last 18 years with the same company in that market. Carls joined news/talk WHAS, Louisville in April of 1998 as the program director. He then went on to serve iHeartMedia in various capacities, including operations manager of the Louisville cluster, regional senior vice president of programming and national news/talk brand manager. The company says, “As a result of his commitment and passion, NewsRadio 840 WHAS continues to rank as one of the most-listened-to news/talk radio brands in America.” Carls comments, “I have been working since the age of 16. Now, I’m ready to relax and have some fun. I am very grateful to iHeartMedia for their support and thank all the wonderful people I have been privileged to work with over the years.” iHeartMedia Louisville will soon begin an active search for a Carls’ replacement.
Curtiss Johnson Named SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Sacramento. Programming pro Curtiss Johnson returns to Sacramento to take the SVP of programming position for iHeartMedia’s six-station cluster. In addition to his recent work as program director of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WDRV, Chicago, Johnson spent 20 years in the Sacramento market serving as station manager and program director for KSEG, KRXQ and KWOD. iHeartMedia market president Sara McClure states, “I’m thrilled to bring Curtiss Johnson back to Sacramento as our SVP of programming. Curtiss’ experience and relationships in Sacramento are perfectly suited for our programming and client needs. I look forward to partnering with him to take iHeartMedia Sacramento to new heights.” The company operates country KBEB “B92.5,”adult hits KQJK “93.7 JACK FM,” classic hip hop and R&B KHYL “V101.1,” talk KSTE, news/talk KFBK, and classic rock K296GB “107.1 The Brew.”
New York Icon Joan Hamburg to Be Honored with Gracies Lifetime Achievement Award. New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is being honored with a Gracies Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation at its 41st Annual Gracies Awards Luncheon on June 21 at Cipriani on 42nd in New York City. Actor Alan Alda will present the award to Hamburg. Kristen Welch is AWMF chair and SVP, global content operations at Discovery Communications. She says of the WABC, New York host, “It is a privilege for the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to recognize the enormous contributions and impact of Joan Hamburg as our 2016 Lifetime Achievement recipient. Her accomplishments and the personal impact she has made on countless women in radio and in all forms of media has laid the path for generations to come.” Hamburg was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame in 2012 and was named “New Yorker of the Year” by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce due to her dedication in improving the quality of lives for those throughout the New York metropolitan area. In addition to numerous other awards, Hamburg is an accomplished author and columnist. Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner adds, “The significance of a Lifetime Achievement award is unto itself an amazing achievement. Joan Hamburg is the first lady of New York radio and we at Cumulus, Westwood One and WABC are privileged to work with her. Congratulations Joan on being recognized with this award from the Alliance for Women in Media. It serves as a milestone to what has been a remarkable career to date and what promises to be the continuation of your pioneering for all women in media.”
WTEM, Washington Announces New Live and Local Program Schedule. This new program schedule takes effect May 2 as Red Zebra-owned sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN/Redskins Radio” creates a new morning drive show, shuffles some talent and brings some new personalities aboard. Al Galdi leaves the PM drive daypart to host the 5:00 am to 7:00 am “The Morning Blitz.” From 7:00 am to 11:00 am, “Cooley and Kevin” with Chris Cooley and Kevin Sheehan launches. Ex-Redskin Cooley comes from the afternoon show and Sheehan is currently co-hosting middays. Tony Kornheiser’s midday show shifts from 10:00 to 12:00 noon to 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. “The Sports Fix” with Sheehan and Thom Loverro disappears and Loverro exits the station. “Inside the Locker Room” with Doc Walker, Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson moves to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot and the new PM drive show reunites Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin under the name “The Sports Reporters,” airing from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Finally, the new evening show is called “DMV Game Time” with Tim Murray and Nick Ashooh. Red Zebra chairman Terry Bateman says, “We are very excited about the new lineup at ESPN 980, including the debut of ‘Cooley and Kevin’ in the morning. We have an extremely talented group of hosts that will provide our listeners with the best sports talk in the Washington, DC market.”
The Presidential Race Most-Talked-About Topic This Week. The activities of the candidates for president and the results of the Wisconsin primary was the top story on news/talk radio for the week of April 4-8, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was U.S. immigration and refugee policies. At #3 was the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and its European terrorist cells, followed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons threats at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Tia Mowry Launches ‘Mostly Mom’ Podcast. Actress, author, model and Cooking Channel host Tia Mowry adds podcast host to her pedigree with the launch of her new “Mostly Mom” show on PodcastOne. The weekly program will feature celebrity guests and candid conversation centering around family and motherhood. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Podcasts are perfect for moms because they can listen anywhere, on their time, and use the pause button when life gets a little chaotic. Tia has been successful at everything she has done, from acting to cooking, and most importantly, being a mother. I expect no different with the new podcast.”
WGN, Chicago to Add Seven to ‘Walk of Fame.’ This year’s ceremony honoring seven former WGN Radio staffers will take place on Friday, May 27 as part of a live broadcast from 10:00 am to 11:30am at Tribune Tower on the city’s North Michigan Avenue. Morning personality Steve Cochran will anchor the program honoring Max Armstrong, Floyd Brown, Jim Carollo, Dan Fabian, Marilyn Miller, Tom Petersen and Dean Richards. They will be commemorated in bronze plaques placed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio. WGN Radio VP of programming & content Todd Manley says, “In this year’s Walk of Fame class we honor a great combination of compelling characters with golden voices mixed with powerful personalities from behind the scenes. It takes more than a microphone to make memorable moments on the radio.”
Odds & Sods. In cooperation with rights holder Compass Media Networks, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders will continue with Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The GAME” as their flagship radio station. KGMZ will broadcast all of the team’s games as well as Raiders-oriented daily programming. Additionally, Entercom San Francisco will simulcast Raiders football on affiliate stations KBLX-FM, Berkeley and KUFX, San Jose…..Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” is airing play-by-play for the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul, beginning with the season opener on April 11. Broadcasts will also include many special guests including Soul owners Ron Jaworski, Dick Vermeil, Marques Colston, Jahri Evans and many other current and former NFL stars. WPEN host Joe Tordy will handle play-by-play responsibilities. “Breakfast on Broad” host and former Philadelphia Eagles lineman Barrett Brooks will join Joe as part of the broadcast team to provide color commentary…..Louisville Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville names Jonese Franklin digital editor and Roxanne Scott economy reporter.
Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive covera