Tag: "Chris Stigall"

Thursday, February 13, 2020

| February 13, 2020

Cumulus Media Re-Vamps Mornings at KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. Station air personality Nikki Medoro is being promoted from her role on KGO’s Chip Franklin show in afternoons to host of her own “The Morning Show with Nikki Medoro” on KGO, effective March 2.  Medoro will be joined by station news pro Bret Burkhart.  The new show takes over for the KSTE, Sacramento-based, syndicated “Armstrong & Getty” program that is moving over to mornings at sister news/talker KSFO.  That daypart at KFSO opened up when Brian Sussman chose to retire from the station last month.  Cumulus San Francisco operations manager Lee Hammer says, “Nikki has done a tremendous job working with Chip Franklin in afternoon drive, and she’s earned this opportunity to host mornings on KGO.  Nikki and Bret will bring a fresh approach to the day’s news, both locally and nationally.  They’ll also invite the Bay Area’s listeners to join the conversation and share their opinions.  I’m also excited that Armstrong and Getty will be staying in our station family, just moving down the dial to KSFO.  Joe and Jack are fantastic entertainers, super knowledgeable and they’re not afraid to share their opinions.  They’ll be a great addition to the KSFO lineup.”

Bonnie Lucas to Retire from WHO-AM, Des Moines Morning Show. After serving at iHeartMedia’s heritage news/talk WHO-AM, Des Moines for the past 25 years, Bonnie Lucas – one half of the “Van and Bonnie in the Morning” show – will retire after the March 6 program.  Lucas told listeners to Wednesday’s program that she’s been thinking about retirement since last fall.  She said she’s looking forward to spending time with her spouse, doing some traveling, and not getting up at 2:30 am on weekdays.  Lucas joined co-host (and station PD) Van Harden in the early 1990s after Connie Murad left the morning show co-host role.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Roger Stone Sentencing, Antarctic Iceberg/Global Warming, and Trump Budget/Growing Deficit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The aftermath of the New Hampshire Democratic primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact; the controversy over the sentencing phase of Trump attorney Roger Stone’s trial; the report of a large iceberg breaking off Antarctica and the related ongoing climate change debate; and the Trump administration’s fiscal 2021 budget and the U.S.’s growing deficit were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Former Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer to Host Newsmax TV Show. The latest addition to the Newsmax TV program lineup is “Spicer & Co.” – hosted by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.  The program will debut on March 3 at 6:00 pm ET from broadcast studios near the White House.  Newsmax Media says Spicer “will lead an ensemble of Washington insiders, experts, journalists, and power brokers to analyze the day’s top headlines from the Beltway and the key news from the U.S. and the world.”  Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Sean has been on the inside of how decisions are made in a way so few have.  He was a success as White House press secretary because he connected to ordinary Americans.”  Ruddy notes that Spicer’s press conference ratings were “off the charts, a phenomenon that hasn’t happened before or since.”  Spicer comments, “We are going to offer viewers a unique perspective and insights into what’s really happening – who is up, who’s down – and most importantly how it’s going to affect their lives.  I’ve had a front row seat to how Washington works at the highest levels – in the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and K Street.  We are going to invite our viewers into a conversation that is totally unique.  We will ask the questions and cover the topics that everyone in America is thinking about, but no one is asking or talking about.”

MIW Radio Group Releases Results of 20th Annual Gender Analysis Study. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group is releasing the results of its 20th annual MIW Gender Analysis Study that analyzes the number of women in radio broadcasting rising to management ranks.  The data specifically tracks the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director positions.  The study reveals that 19.5% of 2,189 stations in the study had women holding the general manager position in 2019, an increase of almost a half of percentage point from 2018.  This number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female general managers was only 14.9%.  MIW says the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management as 33.1% of 3,715 stations had a woman sales manager in 2019.  But, the study also concludes that the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be in the area of program director.  Women currently program only 11.62% of 1,304 stations in the study versus 10.6% last year.  However, on a positive note, this is the first time this number has grown in 14 years.  MIW national spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik says, “The MIW Gender Analysis Study is the impetus for the MIW’s mentoring programs that serve female professionals in all aspects of the radio industry.  When the numbers on our annual analysis rise, as they did slightly this year, we work even harder to encourage and mentor our female colleagues who are striving for, and/or have achieved, management positions in radio.”

Joe Pags Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the hardest-working, fastest-rising stars in syndicated talk radio, Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Syndicated by Compass Media Networks and seen on Newsmax TV,  “The Joe Pags Show,” broadcasts live weekdays 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and is carried on more than 125 radio stations across America.  Plus, his weekend show, “The Weekend with Joe Pags” is carried on more than 200 stations.  Pags is ranked 14th on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred.  In a free-wheeling conversation that sounds like a chat between two friends from Long Island, Pags – the grandson of immigrant Italian bricklayers – discusses his blue-collar roots and their impact on his view of today’s hot issues.  Harrison and Pags talk about politics, polarization, and the president as well as music, pop culture, and social media in the digital era.  In addition to being a world-class talker, Pags is also a professional saxophone player and musician – skills that are utilized in his broadcasts that include satirical song parodies and occasional appearances playing the national anthem at sporting events.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Stigall Billboards Adorn Philly Roadways. Commuters in the Philadelphia market are likely to see billboards like the one above for Chris Stigall’s new morning drive show on Salem Media Group’s WNTP-AM, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer.”  Stigall tells TALKERS magazine, “At a time radio companies are scaling back, I’m so excited to work for Salem Media who thinks enough of their people and their products to tell the community at large about them!  It’s a true investment – not just in me and my show – but in radio as a whole.  What a statement!  Salem believes in what they’re doing, and they put their money where their mouths are!  In this case, where my mouth is.”

Lunching with TALKERS Convention Videographer Art Vuolo. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (l) had lunch with “radio’s best friend,” legendary videographer Art Vuolo (r) yesterday (2/12) in Jupiter, Florida to discuss plans for the forthcoming 23rd annual TALKERS Convention set for New York on Friday June 5.  Vuolo will again be contracted to produce the video recordings of the event which is destined to be another historic industry milestone.  Harrison states, “We are honored to have a radio-savvy artist of Mr. Vuolo’s caliber in charge of preserving the priceless content of this conference for posterity.”  Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station is only open to members of the broadcasting industry, related fields and communications students.  It is again expected to be an advance sellout and non-refundable registrations can only be obtained via telephone with credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Chicagoland radio personality Mark Zander is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talker WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” as a part-time and weekend host.  Zander was most recently program director at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX-FM and sports talk WNTA-AM in Rockford…..On-air pro Rob Carson is auditioning for the late morning gig at WTZA-AM/W271CV, Atlanta all this week.  Station co-operators Will Regan and Jamie Chapman are leasing the signals from K&Z Broadcasting.  They have already launched the station with Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton in morning drive, Mike Brooks in early afternoon, and Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson in afternoon drive…..FOX Sports Radio says it set a “new benchmark in January, reaching more than 13 million podcast listens – an increase of +88% over the previous year.”  It adds that “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” podcast was the strongest performer, up +59% year-over-year.  The FSR stream also experienced its best month ever in January, increasing +25% year-over-year.  FSR is a division of Premiere Sports Network…..Entercom sports talk KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The Fan” and the MLS’ FC Dallas agree to a deal in which the station will assist in producing soccer shows for the 2020 season.  KRLD-FM will host the “The Luchi Gonzalez Show,” on Thursdays at 1:30 pm during the 2020 MLS regular season, offering exclusive insight from the FC Dallas head coach…..Motor Racing Network is “throwing the Green Flag” on its 50th season of NASCAR coverage with almost 30 hours of programming originating from the “World Center of Racing,” Daytona International Speedway from February 8-16.  Commonly known as Daytona Speedweeks, MRN announcers and production crew are producing six race broadcasts, three editions of the signature program “NASCAR LIVE,” five separate NASCAR Cup Series practices, and qualifying for the “Great American Race.”  MRN Daytona programming culminates with the 62nd running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 16 that will be carried live on more than 400 radio station partners across the country.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s hot AC KRSK-FM, Portland “105.1 The Buzz,”  Liz Luda and Mike Vezzola join as morning show co-hosts.  At the same time, Jamie Tanchyk comes aboard as assistant program director and afternoon drive host.  Prior to joining Entercom, Luda served as a morning show co-host and promotions director for Flinn Broadcasting in Memphis.  Vezzola was previously an on-air personality at WODS-FM, Boston; WTIC-FM, Hartford; and WZMX-FM, Hartford.  Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Kim Martinez says, “Building a strong on-air team is why Entercom Portland is the platinum standard for our listeners and advertisers.  Liz and Mike’s fun and energetic chemistry coupled with Jamie’s exuberant on-air style and programming prowess cements ‘105.1 The Buzz’ as the go-to for young, active listeners in Portland.”

Friday, January 31, 2020

| January 31, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Can I Get a Witness?” looks back at this past week of January 27-31, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSChris Stigall, talk show host, WNTP, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer”; Howard Monroe, talk show host/owner WKKX/WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch TimesPamela Garber, counselor and therapist, New York City; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm ET.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

iHeartMedia Re-Brands Sports WTSO, Madison; Cancels Two Local Shows. In Madison, Wisconsin, iHeartMedia makes changes to sports talker WTSO-AM, re-branding the station from its current “The Big 1070” to “1070 The Game,” and altering the daily lineup.  Effective Monday (2/3), “The Crossover with Ted Davis & Dan Needles” and “Drew & K.B.” are gone from the lineup.  Longtime Wisconsin sports media personality Mike Heller moves from mornings to afternoon drive (without current morning co-host Dolphin), and Steve Czaban takes over the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart.  Czaban also hosts the afternoon drive show on Radio One’s WTEM, Washington, DC “The Team.”  In middays, “The Dan Patrick Show” airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  iHeartMedia Madison market president Drew Lautner says, “Wisconsin has a strong and diverse sports fan base.  We believe we have assembled the best of the best to deliver news, commentary, differing opinions, on-field insight and an occasional laugh to our loyal listeners.”

Townsquare Media Begins Operating Duluth Sports Talk Station. Ahead of its intended purchase of WWAX-FM, Duluth, Townsquare Media enters into a time brokerage agreement with owner Twin Ports Radio and will move the sports format to its own WEBC-AM.  It will also move its classic rock format from translator W293CT to WWAX-FM as “Sasquatch 92-1.”  the changes are expected to take place the week of February 17.  WWAX “92.1 The Fan” airs content from iHeartMedia’s The Fan Radio Network” emanating from KFXN, Minneapolis.  Townsquare has acquired the Duluth-Superior radio broadcast rights for the Minnesota Vikings for the next four seasons.  Townsquare Media Duluth market president and chief revenue officer Mary Niemeyer says, “All of these programming moves greatly improve the experience for our local listeners and the marketing solutions we can provide for our local advertising partners, enhancing our position as a premiere local media company in the Northland.  We are thrilled to bring ‘The Fan’ back home to WEBC along with the Minnesota Vikings, while providing our rabid ‘Sasquatch’ audience extended reach on 92.1 FM.”

Report: Changes on Tap for Sports Talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis. According to Dan Caesar’s story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS-AM, St. Louis co-owner Randy Markel has reached an agreement to sell a 50% interest in the station to local attorney Mark Goldenberg and Archford Capital Strategies CEO Jim Maher.  The story indicates that lineup changes are a possibility as the newly constituted ownership group considers the station’s future.  Markel tells the paper that afternoon host – longtime St. Louis talk radio figure – Frank O. Pinion currently hosts the afternoon drive show but his general interest show is not as sports intensive as the new ownership may desire.  Other St. Louis sports talk personalities mentioned as possible additions to the station include Kevin Slaten, Brian McKenna, and Jeff Gordon.

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  Not surprisingly, 87% of all-news stations saw their weekly 6+ AQH share decline from the December survey to the Holiday survey.  Sixty percent of all-news stations lost weekly 6+ AQH share from Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019.  Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the highest ranked all-news station during the Holiday PPM survey, ranking #2 in the market.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Impeachment Trial Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 27-31. The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the status of the Wuhan coronavirus, tied with U.S.-China Relations and the economy.  Coming in at #3 was the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November, followed by the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

Kal Rudman Shutters FMQB. After almost 52 years in business, founder and publisher Kal Rudman is shutting down the radio industry tip sheet Friday Morning Quarterback, better known as FMQB.  Rudman has sold the assets of the publication to Deane Media Solutions.  In a statement, Rudman says, “I am retiring from the music industry, but not the radio business.  For a long time, I have focused much of my philanthropic efforts in the medical world, and now I am merging that with radio.  For over 50 years, I have been the specialist in predicting countless hits for numerous artists, and I’ve received unique recognition by the music industry as not only a tastemaker but a star maker.  However, times have changed drastically, along with the industry, and it was time for me to move on to my original passion, medicine.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Waterloo Media’s classic rock KLBJ-FM, Austin shifts the “Dudley & Bob with Matt” show from morning drive to afternoon drive, effective Monday (2/3).  Station program director and PM drive host LA Lloyd moves to mornings.  Waterloo SVP and market manager Scott Gillmore states, “Austinites listen to the radio in their cars.  Afternoon traffic is worse and afternoon commutes are longer.  Now, the drive home just got way more fun with ‘Dudley & Bob with Matt’ – and the boys get to sleep in for the first time in decades, too.  Everybody’s talking in the mornings.  But now there’s a true Austin pro playing great classic rock and getting you to work in a great mood.  LA Lloyd on 93.7 KLBJ-FM.”…..iHeartMedia launches a classic hits station on translator W265CV, Madison, Wisconsin as “U-100.9, Madison’s Super ‘60s and ‘70s Station, effective tomorrow (2/1).  iHeartMedia Madison market president Drew Lautner says, “I’m extremely excited to be part of this new station launch.  Madison missed having a station that is dedicated to airing top ‘60s and ‘70s music – so we’re excited to step up and give listeners what they want with the new ‘U-100.9.’”…..NRG Media flips KPTY-AM/K297BS from CHR to country as “107.3 HANK FM – Playing the Legends of Country.”  NRG Media operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “Country music is about great stories.  In addition to playing classic county on ‘HANK’ we will go behind the music and share those stories with our listeners.  We’ll have features like ‘HANK’s Music Vault,’ ‘Stories Made the Music,’ ‘HANK Artist Spotlight’ and ‘Rewind County.’”

Monday, November 4, 2019

| November 4, 2019

Monday Memo: Do You Copy? If you were the advertiser, how would you feel about being #5 in a 6-spot stopset?  It’s a problem that now seems baked-into radio’s business model.  But good commercials get results.  And REAL good ones are actually welcome.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke shares tips from the experts, and actual phrases that got results for his client stations’ advertisers.  Read it here.

Impeachment Process, 2020 Presidential Race, California Wildfires, McDonald’s CEO Fired, Hong Kong Violence, and Kanye West’s Sunday Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and speculation about who will be called to testify; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the status of the California wildfires; McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is fired for having a relationship with an employee; the violent clashes between protesters and police in Hong Kong; and rapper Kanye West’s Louisiana “Sunday Service” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Todd Starnes Launches New, Three-Hour Talk Show Today. Author, award-winning journalist, and former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes begins hosting his new, daily talk show today (11/4).  “The Todd Starnes Show” airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and is premiering on more than 25 radio stations via syndication through Hamilton Strategies.  Starnes says the program is a caller-driven format and weaves his unique, down-home humor with interviews featuring major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders.  He also covers breaking news and stories from across America.  “I don’t spend three hours yelling at folks,” he adds.  “Sure, I get riled up, but we also share plenty of laughs with our listeners. Callers are an important part of our program.  Conservative or liberal, we give folks a fair shake.”  In addition to the new show, Starnes also produces the daily, short-form feature, “Todd Starnes News & Commentary,” that includes unique, one-minute stories covering politics, culture, and heartland headlines.  Starnes says, “I believe in taking care of our affiliates, taking care of our sponsors, and taking care of our listeners.  I am first and foremost a radio guy.  I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation.”  Interested stations can contact Hamilton Strategies via: Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or (610) 584-1096, ext. 101.

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Fires Seth Dunlap. WVUE-TV, New Orleans reports that Entercom news/talk WWL-AM/FM has fired evening sports talk host Seth Dunlap, almost two months after he took a leave from the station in the aftermath of the posting of a homophobic slur directed at him on the station’s Twitter account.  The case is still in the hands of the New Orleans Police Department after Entercom requested it get involved following its own investigation.  The station says it appears Dunlap posted the tweet himself, but his attorney says that, not only did Dunlap not have access to the station’s password for the Twitter account, he passed a polygraph test pointing to his innocence.  Early last month the NOPD obtained a warrant for information from Dunlap’s cell phone.  At the same time, according to a previous New Orleans Times Picayune story, Entercom alleged Dunlap is engaging in extortion after seeking a $1.85 million settlement.  Dunlap’s attorney, Megan Keifer, alleges Entercom is not complying with requests for documents to “substantiate their defamatory claims” and also has not produced documentation for the NOPD.

TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Joe Madison is the focus of a piece in the Los Angeles Sentinel the centers around his belief that ordinary citizens can make a difference in their government.  The story also reveals that the SiriusXM Urban View host’s program was targeted by Russian trolls during the 2016 election.  Madison tells the paper’s Nadine Matthews that after getting calls to the program from Blacks encouraging other Blacks not to vote, he discovered his show was being targeted.  “We found out that the Russians had actually hired African Americans to target social media and Black news/talk programs.”  Read the story here…..Sports talk host Josh Innes – formerly of WIP, Philadelphia and KILT-AM and KBME-AM in Houston – is filling in on the afternoon drive show on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM, Houston “ESPN 97.5”  today (11/4).  Innes has been off the AM/FM airwaves and has been focusing on his eponymous podcast since exiting KBME eight months ago…..Salem Media Group’s WNTP, Philadelphia re-brands the station as “Philadelphia’s AM 990 The Answer.”  Salem Philly general manager Lorenzo Caldara says, “The change to ‘Philadelphia’s AM 990 The Answer’ more accurately reflects what we have always desired to be as a radio station – one that always went deeper into issues that matter to all of us, one that provides answers to the many questions we all have.  With the addition of Chris Stigall in the mornings, we now have the added dimension to focus on local issues just as closely as we can on national issues.  We’re proud of this city, and it’s time to serve it better than ever before.”…..Toledo’s “Talk Radio 100.7” is gone as Cumulus Media replaces the format with rock “100.7 The Zone” on WQQO-HD2/W264AK.  The signals became the home of the news/talk format three years ago after the company moved the programming from WTOD-AM and turned in the station’s license…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is doing double duty, filling in all this week on iHeartMedia’s sister news/talk WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio WFLA” in morning drive for “Good Morning Orlando” host Bud Hedinger in addition to his own program…..Envision Networks is offering stations 24 segments of its new “60 Seconds of Service” feature to air once per hour on Veterans Day (11/11).  Stations are invited to broadcast “60 Seconds of Service” throughout the entire day, with each segment spotlighting men, women and even animals in uniform who have served their country and their communities.  Program host Randy Miller says, “Veterans Day should be every day in the United States.  We should never forget the sacrifice of the men and women who wear the uniform and give their all to protect our way of life. We do 60 Seconds of Service to remind everyone about the continuous commitment of the less than 1 percent who serve our country each and every day.”…..Pictured below is WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and WMCA “The Mission” talk show host Kevin McCullough with some of the guests that appeared on his Salem Media Group program that broadcast live from Bobby Vans “The Original” in the historic Helmsley Building in New York City.  McCullough says more than 300 listeners packed the place for his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm broadcast.  Guests on the program included: Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, and congressional candidates Mike Ghassali, Chele Farley, Nicole Malliotakis, and Fernando Cabrera.

Marianne Williamson Is Guest on Harrison Podcast.  2020 presidential candidate and prolific best-selling author Marianne Williamson guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Criticism of today’s media and journalism is not the exclusive domain of President Donald Trump.  Nor is the observation that the national party committees are above putting their thumbs on the scale to help certain candidates of their own choosing.  In a candid conversation conducted shortly after the most recent televised Democratic Party debate, Williamson tells Harrison that both today’s media journalism and political party machinery can use improvement when it comes to honesty, integrity, and competency.  When asked what she has learned thus far from the experience of running for president, she states, “I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I feared and that the people of the United States are even more wonderful than I hoped.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

BFoA to Honor George Beasley with Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Golden Mike Award dinner on March 4, 2020, Beasley Media Group founder and chairman George Beasley will be honored with the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The annual fundraising gala takes place at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “George is one of the forward-thinking pioneers of radio and a longtime supporter of our charitable mission.  Starting off with radio stations in small market America and expanding to major cities, George built the company that bears his name with ingenuity, integrity, and innovation.  We are delighted to recognize his leadership in our industry.”  George Beasley comments, “I fell in love with radio early in my career, and I have been fortunate to be a part of this wonderful business as it has grown and expanded.  Giving back is an important tradition in our family, and it is an honor to support the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help those in our industry who need it most.”

 

 

News Gigs at FOX News.  There are three positions that FOX News Radio and FOX News are seeking to fill.  The first is an Overnight Freelance Anchor for Fox News Radio that includes on-air duties for FOX News Radio and the FOX News Headlines 24/7 channel on SiriusXM.  See that job description here.  The second is a Freelance Writer for Fox News Headlines 24/7 that involves writing news for the national news network, conceptualizing, writing, compiling enterprise stories, fact checking, and building show content newscasts for FOX News Headlines 24/7.  See that job description here.  The third position is a Freelance Producer/News Editor in which the successful candidate will supervise the staff for the FOX network radio news operation, FOX News Headlines 24/7.  See that job description here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Mike Killabrew returns to Indianapolis to serve as SVP of programming and PD of classic rock WFBQ “Q95” and alternative WOLT “Alt 1033” for iHeartMedia, effective January 1.  Killabrew had been SVP of programming in Indy until leaving for the company’s Washington, DC cluster to serve as program director for classic rock WBIG “Big 101” and alternative WWDC “DC101” earlier this year…..In March of this year, “Kevin & Bean” show co-host Gene “Bean” Baxter announced he would leave the program at KROQ, Los Angeles to re-locate to Great Britain.  Now, we know that his last show will be this Thursday (11/07).  The duo has been hosting the successful program on Entercom’s KROQ for the past 30 years. Kevin Ryder will continue to host the morning show on the alternative rock station…..At country KMNB, Minneapolis “102.9 The Wolf,” Lucas Phelan exits the station and the program director position he’s held for the past 18 months.  Phelan was also the afternoon drive personality…..Program director and PM drive jock Mike Miller exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WZFT-FM, Baltimore “Z104.3” and embarks on a new career on the sales side of the business with the company’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania cluster as an account executive…..Premiere Networks’ “Brooke & Jubal in the Morning” – co-hosted by Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh – are this year’s recipients of the Radio Hall of Fame’s “One to Watch” award.  The honor was created last year in honor of radio legend and 2012 RHOF inductee Art Laboe.  Each year, the RHOF nominating committee selects a promising radio personality or team who has demonstrated ratings success, audience growth, and impact on one or more radio stations and their communities.  RHOF chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Brooke and Jubal exemplify the inspiration behind this award.  While they’ve made ‘Movin’ 92.5,’ KQMV-FM their home in Seattle, the magic they create on the air continues to win audiences far beyond.”

Friday, October 25, 2019

| October 25, 2019

Chris Stigall to Take Over Mornings on Salem’s WNTP, Philadelphia. Eight months after exiting Entercom’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia where he’d been AM drive host for nine years, Chris Stigall is joining Salem Media Group’s WNTP, Philadelphia “NewsTalk 990 AM” to host the morning show, effective November 4.  The station says, “Stigall has been talking with Philadelphia for years, waking radio audiences each morning with razor-sharp wit, a pull-no-punches opinion, and captivating guest interviews.  He’s covered everything from political conventions to the Super Bowl parade and sugary beverage taxes.  From train derailments and protests to the Mummers to law enforcement heroes, Stigall has talked with Philadelphia about it all.”  WNTP general manager Lorenzo Caldara says, “We are all very proud to have Chris join our roster of some of the best talent on radio today.  Chris brings with him depth of knowledge of both local and national politics while evoking both thought and laughter from his audience.  I look forward to hearing Chris engage our great city and beyond every morning Monday through Friday.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (10/25).  The new episode titled “All the World’s a Stage!” looks back at this past week of October 21-25, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine;  Mick Foley, former WWE champion/author/public speaker; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Dom Giordano, talk show host WPHT, Philadelphia; Bali Samra, commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio/Human Resources consultant; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Entercom and AccuWeather Announce Digital Content Partnership. This new relationship between Entercom and AccuWeather integrates the AccuWeather widget across all RADIO.COM station websites, providing hyper-localized forecasts for users accessing RADIO.COM content.  Entercom says the widget will provide current temperature, precipitation, and high and low temperatures in an easy to interpret design and will direct users to the AccuWeather website for more detailed and extensive forecasts.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “This new integration adds real value for our users and we are pleased to team up with AccuWeather, the leaders in the weather information space, to further personalize their experience on RADIO.COM.  Our listeners trust and recognize AccuWeather’s unparalleled weather reports from our on-air programming and we’re excited to now make this content available to them online.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 21-25. The Democrats impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of Trump’s withholding aid to Ukraine unless it investigates Joe and Hunter Biden was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and the lifting of sanctions on Turkey. Coming in at #3 was Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, followed by the Brexit turmoil and Canadian election, tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. On October 16, Entercom closed on the remaining equity in Cadence13 and DGital Media, for which it paid approximately $50 million.  In August of 2017, Entercom entered into a deal to acquire a 45% stake in DGital Media and in August of this year reached an agreement in principle to acquire podcast producer Cadence13…..Forever Media’s news/talk WRSC “NewsRadio 1390” and sports talk WQWK “ESPN Radio 1450 in State College, Pennsylvania add FM translators to their broadcasts.  WQWK is now also heard on W279DK, State College at 103.7 FM and WRSC is also heard on W227DV, State College at 93.3 FM…..REELZ announces that two more of its original series are headed to PodcastOne with the launch of “Autopsy: The Last Hours of…” on Wednesday, October 30 and “Copycat Killers” on Thursday, November 21.  New podcasts for both will be available every week on Apple Podcasts and PodcastOne.  Both programs were originally slated to debut in 2020 but advanced to this year in response to customer demand based on the success of the network’s “Murder Made Me Famous” podcasts on PodcastOne.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris says, “We have developed an incredible partnership with REELZ, and the fan demand is real (pun intended).  We can’t wait to bring this additional highly-produced content from the popular true-crime genre to even more people.”…..SiriusXM announces the return of “Center Court with Patrick Ewing to its ESPNU Radio channel.  The weekly show airs Mondays at 7:00 pm ET throughout the basketball season with Rick “Doc” Walker as co-host…..Podcast network Lemonada Media launches the new show “As Me with Sinéad,” hosted by Irish activist and academic Sinéad Burke.  She recently graced the cover of British Vogue and was the first little person to attend the Met Gala.  The series features candid conversations with diverse and notable guests that explore the human condition.  The first episode features Victoria Beckham and the second, Tig Notaro.  Burke says, “I live in a world that was not designed for me.  I live in a body that provokes a reaction and one which has required the kindness of strangers for my independence.  My advocacy is rooted in the notion that the disabled community should not be transformed to fit within the world.  This lived experience has cultivated an unparalleled empathy, one that allows this podcast to be a space for intimate conversations with people we know about what it is like to live as them.  My podcast will tilt the lens on how we view the world and make it an easier place for all of us to fully be ourselves.”

Oink Ink Announces Call for Entries for 19th Annual Dead Radio Contest. Creative radio ad shop Oink Ink is announcing its call for entries for the 2019 Dead Radio Contest.  The contest is a competition for advertising copywriters who have written radio scripts that were never selected by the client.  A panel of industry leaders will judge the entries and choose the best “dead” spot, along with two runners-up.  The grand prize winner receives a trip to Oink’s studios in New York City where the once-killed script is brought back to life fully cast, directed, and produced. Oink Ink says the contest began as a “humble platform to shine light on great-but-overlooked radio ads has become an arena for writers to gain recognition for stellar work that wasn’t always embraced by clients.  Whether thought to be too provocative, too silly, or perhaps simply not considered.  The occasional winning Dead spot has caused some clients to think twice about their initial rejection; some ads have even made it to air and gone on to win international advertising awards.”  Oink Ink president Dan Price says, “In fact, since the contest began, about eight winning spots went on to eventually win at various award shows.”  Since 1998, spots written for IKEA, Southwest Airlines, Durex, Miller Lite, Verizon, and even M.A.D.D. have earned recognition as the best of the Dead.  Find out more about the contest here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Cox Media Group’s Orlando country station WWKA “K92.3,” Michael “Slater” Wheaton moves from his on-air producer role on the “Obie & Ashley in the Morning” show to host of the afternoon drive daypart.  Slater says, “I’m excited for what the future holds for the ‘K92.3’ on-air family.  Our listeners deserve the ultimate afternoon experience that is second to none and I won’t stop until that’s what they receive.”  Also at WWKA, Melissa Quinones rises from part-time night host to full-time midday personality.  She comments, “I grew up in Orlando listening to the music and on-air personalities of ‘K92.3.’ Being able to say that I am now a full-time part of this team is a dream come true.”  Taking over the evening show is Macie Banks, who is based at the Cox Media Group Athens, Georgia operations where she hosts mornings on WNGC…..Townsquare Media Portland names Kwame Dankwa brand manager and afternoon drive personality for CHR WJBQ.  Dankwa arrives in Portland from iHeartMedia’s CHR WRTS, Erie “Star 104.”…..Programming pro Nick Fox leaves his PD post at Cumulus Media’s WXBM-FM, Pensacola “NASH FM 102.7” to relocate to Colorado where his wife is beginning a new job…..WECK, Buffalo “Oldies 102.9/100.5 FM and 1230 AM” names market legend Roger Christian host of the new “WECK More Music Morning Show,” effective October 28.  Christian recently joined WECK as a swing-shift personality and host of ‘The WECK Road Show’ after spending 43 years at Entercom’s hot AC WTSS.  He takes over for Tom Donahue and Gail Ann Huber, who are being offered alternate roles with the station.  WECK president Buddy Shula says, “We’re thrilled to have Roger on our team.  WECK will be playing more music in the morning, but we’ll continue to serve our listeners with the critical information they need to start their day, so they don’t have to worry about missing anything important.”…..“BOB & TOM” show host Tom Griswold (pictured below) is playing the role of the desk clerk at the Hotel of Spells — the 56th Annual Haunted House benefiting The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.  This is Griswold’s fifth year as a celebrity haunter at the Hotel of Spells.

Friday, May 10, 2019

| May 10, 2019

Cumulus Media Q1 Report: Net Revenue Rises 1.4%. Reporting on the first quarter of 2019, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $267.5 million, an increase of 1.4% compared to the same period in 2018.  Net income was $451,000 in the first quarter, compared to 2019 in which Cumulus posted a loss of $5 million.  Cumulus reports in two segments – Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One.  In this first quarter of 2019, the Radio Station Group was down 1% on net revenue of $166.5 million, while Westwood One was up 5.9% on net revenue of $100.4 million.  Chief financial officer John Abbot says on the radio station side that the company continues “to experience a tough, local spot market environment.”  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Driven by a steady focus on our key strategic priorities including accelerating digital growth, our strong performance continued in Q1 2019 with year-over-year increases in both revenue and EBITDA.  Additionally, we now have four pending M&A transactions that collectively are expected to generate more than $120 million of net proceeds and bolster our competitive positions in Indianapolis and Allentown. Combined with the $25 million voluntary prepayment made in February, these proceeds will reduce our net leverage to 4.8x on a pro forma basis.  We look forward to continuing our disciplined execution against all our strategic priorities and financial goals in the quarters ahead.”

Podcasting and Digital Efforts Bearing Fruit for Cumulus.  On yesterday’s Q1 earnings call with investors, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner lauded the company’s podcasting and digital segments.  She said, “So far in 2019, we continue to see the same strong growth in podcasting that we have enjoyed since we started the business.  As the exclusive partner for over 40 podcasts we’ve generated nearly 52 million downloads in March 2019, more than doubled the 23 million generated in March 2018.  And that doesn’t include our growing local podcast businesses.  By our estimation, this will put us in the top five largest podcast companies measured by PodTrack in March.  What is particularly notable about this growth, is that, that we have been able to achieve it while maintaining profitability.”  Berner is also pleased with the company’s efforts to grow digital revenue.  She adds, “We are continuing to generate exceptional growth across all of our platforms, with total digital revenue for the quarter growing 79% from the first quarter of last year.  Our streaming audience is growing steadily, driven by both organic listenership and increased distribution on the Tune In platform.  And we’re monetizing this high-margin digital inventory better and more broadly, through all of our channels, local, national network, programmatic exchanges, and remnant networks as well.”

Saga Communications Down 0.7% in Q1. The 2019 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications, Inc. shows the company’s net revenue during the period was $27.8 million, a dip of 0.7% over the same period in 2018.  Free cash flow increased $324 thousand to $2.6 million and station operating expense decreased 1% to $23.2 million.  Same station operating income was down 22% to $1.86 million and net income dipped 11% to $1.4 million.   The company notes that the results for the quarter were affected by its October 2018 acquisition of WOGK-FM, WNDT-FM, WNDD-FM, and WNDN-FM, in the Gainesville-Ocala market from Ocala Broadcasting Corporation, LLC for $9.3 million.  Saga reports having $39.2 million in cash on hand (as of 3/31/19) and $40.7 million in cash on hand (as of 5/6/19).

Hannity to Afternoons on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that Entercom will fill its afternoon drive daypart with Premiere NetworksSean Hannity program starting next week.  Earlier this week, the station announced that current afternoon talk host Rich Zeoli becomes the new morning drive host on Monday (5/13), assuming the role left open when Chris Stigall exited WPHT earlier this year. It appears Entercom will air the Sean Hannity show during its live air time – 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – on WPHT beginning on Monday as opposed to searching for a local host for the daypart. Hannity’s show has been airing on the station in a delay broadcast in the evening.

PodcastOne and Hubbard Radio Produce True Crime Program ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare.’ The true-crime genre is a popular one among podcast consumers and now, PodcastOne and partner Hubbard Radio (remember that Hubbard owns 30% of PodcastOne) are producing a new podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare.”  The 10-part series investigates the Washington, DC mansion murders using the talents of WTOP, Washington reporters Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore, and produced by WTOP and its digital news director, Julia Ziegler.  Hubbard podcast strategy manager Wheeler Morris says, “We at Hubbard are excited to bring listeners around the country this story from a team of experienced investigative reporters at WTOP.  Listeners in the Washington, DC region are familiar with WTOP’s high-quality journalism and, with the help of PodcastOne, we are excited to now share that with the nation.”  PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz adds, “I’ve noticed recently that other major radio companies are promoting their new relationships with podcasters.  The Hubbard Radio/PodcastOne relationship recognized the synergies present over four years ago, and it continues to expand today.  We have a very definite game plan that seeks to take advantage of podcasting’s obvious on-demand advantages to stations, while mining the creativity that radio companies can bring to the table.”

iHeartMedia Promotes Rahul Sabnis to Lead New In-House Creative Group. This promotion comes with a realignment of the company’s in-house creative efforts.  Rahul Sabnis rises from EVP and executive creative director for iHeartMedia to chief creative officer & EVP for the newly branded, in-house creative group “TheStudio at iHeartMedia” operating under the aegis of Darren Davis, president of iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group.  The company says that under Rahul’s leadership it will combine its Creative Studio and “CSG” in Atlanta into “TheStudio at iHeartMedia.”  A press release says TheStudio in-house agency will “provide a range of high-level strategy and creative services, helping iHeart’s own brands and the brands of its advertising and marketing partners use the efficiency and efficacy of audio seamlessly across all its company assets at the scale that only iHeart can deliver.”

Marie Harf to Exit FOX News to Join Seth Moulton Campaign.The Daily Beast reports that FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Marie Harf is leaving her positions as political commentator and radio host, respectively, to join the 2020 presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) as deputy campaign manager for policy and communications.  Harf co-hosts the “Benson and Harf” radio show with Guy Benson.  Harf served on Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and was a senior communications adviser to former Senator John Kerry (D-MA).

The Mueller Report and Trump’s Claim of Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 6-10.  Democrats’ request for the unredacted version of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s claim his executive privilege gives him control of the report was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the New York Times piece on Trump’s business losses.  Coming in at #3 was the 2020 presidential races, followed by the China trade war, the effect on the stock market, and North Korea’s missile tests at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019. Being a talent in 2019 is not as unique as it was years ago.  Thanks to the Internet, so-called talent is everywhere.  But the digital age has also brought new opportunities for talent that didn’t exist years ago and it’s incumbent upon talk media talent to seize them in order take control of one’s career.  At Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, ABC News Radio executive director of programming Andrew Kalb will moderate a panel of broadcasters to discuss “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019.”  Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Danielle Lin, host, “The Art of Living & the Science of Life”; Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media; Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York; and Todd Starnes, host, FOX News Radio.  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and for registration/hotel information, please click here.

Conspiracy Theorist David Icke Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  With Facebook moving to officially ban Alex Jones and other controversial media figures from its platform and President Trump weighing in on the situation on the side of Jones and his InfoWars organization, there has been a lot of talk this week about conspiracy theorists, fake news, and freedom of speech.  One of the world’s most famous and controversial conspiracy theorists, David Icke, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Icke, who hails from Great Britain, has a worldwide following on YouTube and other digital platforms in addition to being the author of more than 20 books whereby he talks and writes about a wide variety of political and metaphysical issues that run the gamut from a scientifically plausible analysis of the vibrational aspects of reality per quantum physics to completely outrageous ideas about the human race being under the hidden control of a lizard-like, reptilian species of interdimensional humanoids that borders on science fiction.  He routinely sells out large meeting spaces on his lecture tours and is banned in a number of venues and countries for what many consider to be his dangerous ideas.  He has been accused on a number of occasions of anti-Semitism for his views on international banking and the turbulent politics of Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East – charges he vehemently denies.  There’s a new documentary film about this former English soccer star turned conspiracy theorist titled, “Renegade:  The Life Story of David Icke,” which takes a fly-on-the-wall view of his life as a family man, lecturer, and social/political disrupter.  It was banned by a theater in Los Angeles last week just hours before its premiere there when the theater owners learned about the level of controversy surrounding Icke.  Harrison caught up with Icke this past Thursday (5/2) when he was in New York City to attend the premiere of the film there that evening.  They talk about the media, the First Amendment, and the state of the conspiracy theory business in 2019.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta radio pro Jeff Dauler is out at WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” where he was co-host of the “Jeff & Jenn” show with Jenn Hobby.  She addressed Dauler’s departure on the program but didn’t offer any specifics on his departure.  Hobby will continue to lead the morning show.  At the same time as Dauler departed, afternoon personality Mike Marino also left the air and his info on the station’s website has been scrubbed.  Aside from Hobby addressing it on the air, WSTR has not commented specifically on the changes…..Warner Music Nashville recording artist Cale Dodds (right) took time out of his busy tour schedule with Chase Rice to fill in as a special guest co-host with Jackson (left) on Beasley Media Group’s WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5” morning show.  Dodds helped finn in for morning show co-host Ayla Brown.  He took the opportunity to premier his new single, “I Like Where This Is Going.”  On Monday and Tuesday (5/13-14), Sony Nashville recording artist Rachel Wammack will co-host with Jackson.  WKLB program director David Corey says, “There’s no better way for the country audience to get to know an artist than to bring them into our world and put them on a morning show.  It allows us to go way beyond the typical interview questions that might be asked.  This is real life conversation…and fun!  We are thankful to Cale and Rachel for getting that and jumping all in with us!”

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

| May 8, 2019

It’s Official: Rich Zeoli Moves to AM Drive on WPHT, Philadelphia. Afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is making the move to the WPHT, Philadelphia’s morning drive daypart, effective May 13. Zeoli is taking over the show most recently hosted by Chris Stigall, who exited the station earlier this year. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “Rich is a compelling and thought-provoking radio host and we’re looking forward to seeing him shine in the mornings on WPHT. From interviewing the president to covering what’s hot in pop culture or entertainment, to Rich’s passion for recognizing local police officers, his funny and poignant style always shines a light on what everyone is talking about.” Zeoli comments, “For years I have had one simple goal: to blend information and humor to make entertaining talk radio. Moving to mornings is an honor and a challenge and I’m thrilled that my team will be moving with me.” Zeoli has been with the company since joining as a talk host in 2010.   He became afternoon drive host in 2015.  Zeoli is also the founder of RZC Impact, a communications firm specializing in media training, public speaking, and strategy. His clients have included Fortune 100 C-Suite executives, national television personalities, and bestselling authors. He is the author of The Seven Principles of Public Speaking: Proven Methods of a PR Pro (2008, Skyhorse).  WPHT has made no statement about its plans for the now-open afternoon drive depart.

Nashville Sports Talk Personality George Plaster Launching Daily Show on WSM-AM. The Tennessean reports that Nashville sports talk personality George Plaster is returning to the air full time to host a daily, afternoon sports talk show on Grand Ole Opry’s country WSM-AM, effective July 15.  Plaster has been serving as athletics director at Belmont University since 2016.  Plaster first started doing sports talk radio on WWTN-FM, Nashville in 1989. From 2003 through 2012, he hosted afternoons on crosstown WGFX-FM “The Zone,” and moved to WPRT-FM “102.5 FM The Game” in 2012.  Despite its afternoon drive air time, the show will be called “Sports Night with George Plaster.”

Connoisseur Sells Billings Cluster to Desert Mountain Broadcasting. The Billings, Montana cluster of six stations owned by Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media is going to Desert Mountain Broadcasting for $3 million in a just-announced deal.  The cluster includes news/talk KYYA and sports talk KBLG in addition to four music-formatted brands.  Connoisseur regional vice president and general manager Cameron Maxwell formed Desert Mountain Broadcasting in 2018 with the intention of acquiring the stations.  He says, “And now I’m in the very rare position to be able to launch my new media company by purchasing from these exceptional broadcasters six radio stations I’ve helped to create.  I’m forever grateful for this incredible time with Connoisseur Media and the constant mentoring they’ve provided.  With this first acquisition, Desert Mountain Broadcasting launches today on a solid foundation, built upon the values and best practices embedded in me by [Connoisseur CEO] Jeff [Warshaw], [CFO] Mike [Driscoll], and COO David Bevins.”

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio. Among the challenges news/talk radio faces today is the aging of its audience and the desire by many broadcasters to attract younger listeners to the format. Opinions on how to achieve this – and there are those who question whether it can be achieved at all – vary greatly.  Some believe broadcasting on FM is a necessary first step while others say the whole approach to the format must be re-thought for the Millennial generation.  At Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey will moderate a panel of broadcasters to discuss “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio.”  Panelists include (pictured below): Mike “Bax” Baxendale, host, WAQY, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Greg Foster, VP of programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeartMedia and KOA, Denver PD; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU-FM, Hofstra University; Sid Rosenberg, host, WABC, New York; Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia.  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and for registration/hotel information, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia all-news KYW gets a brand refresh as Entercom unveils a new logo and an update to its iconic jingle.  The company says the changes reflect “its multiplatform growth and evolution.”  KYW worked with legendary arranger and Philadelphia native Larry Gold on the modern update to its beloved jingle. Entercom SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “KYW Newsradio has evolved into a modern news organization serving a wide range of listeners across various platforms and we are proud to introduce visual and audio enhancements that reflect who the station is today.  The station is a local treasure that remains an integral part of the city and to honor those roots, we worked with hometown artists to capture its essence and develop the refreshed brand identity.  Everyone in town sings our jingle and we’re thrilled to introduce this new contemporary sound.”  Check it out here…..Sun Broadcast Group announces the opening of its West Coast office in Los Angeles as part of its expansion efforts and the hiring of Ed Moloney as affiliate content director, effective immediately.  The company says Moloney will affiliate stations for all SBG shows and services, maintain relationships with current affiliates, and support other programming efforts for new additions to the SBG line up such as “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” and more.  For the past eight years, Moloney programmed the syndicated version of JACK FM.  He has also served with Westwood One, Entertainment Radio Networks, KCBS and KYSR, Los Angeles and WBCN, Boston…..Townsquare Media’s news/talk WPGG-AM, Atlantic City is changing its FM simulcast to 95.5 FM.  The company announces that, effective immediately, the station is being heard there in addition to 104.1 and, of course, 1450 AM.  But, the 104.1 FM simulcast will eventually go away.  Townsquare also says it’s not done making major announcements about the station, saying, “WPG is getting even bigger and better very soon…” Stay tuned!

MIW Radio Group Announces 2019 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group announces the four radio professionals selected to participate as mentees in the 2019 MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program.  They are: Andrea Clay, national sales manager, Beasley Media Group Charlotte; Katy Dempsey, program director and morning show host, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas; Nicole Jones, manager of sales training & development, Cumulus Media Chicago; and Jennifer Seelig, director of news & programming, Entercom San Francisco.  The MIW Group’s signature mentoring program matches up-and-coming women in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting.  Beasley Media Group, LLC is, for the second year in a row, serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program.  Lindsay Cerajewski, chair of the 2019 MIW Group Mentoring Committee and national sales manager/new business development, Entercom Chicago says, “Each year, this coveted program generates more and more interest and therefore applications.  We are very encouraged by the quantity and quality of candidates desiring to grow their careers in radio, and this year’s class definitely reflects the excellence we’re seeing in our applications.  Let the mentoring begin!”

Mueller Report/Barr Contempt Vote, U.S.-China Trade War, Iran Nuclear Deal, NYTimes Trump Losses Story, 2020 Presidential Politics, Colorado School Shooting, and North Korea Missile Test Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The ongoing reactions to the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report and Democrats’ option to consider Attorney General William Barr in contempt of congress for his refusal to turn over the complete report; the financial markets react to President Trump’s reigniting the tariff war with China; Iran backs out of the nuclear deal it entered into with six other nations; The New York Times’ story about Trump’s business losses from 1985 to 1994; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Tuesday’s shooting at a Colorado high school that left one dead and several injured; and North Korea’s latest missile test were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The “Todd & Jayde” morning show announced that May 31 will be the last broadcast on WPLJ-FM, New York as a hot AC outlet.  Owner Cumulus Media is selling the iconic FM to Educational Media Foundation and that company will flip the station to a Christian music format…..The Daily Chronicle reports that Bustos Media is acquiring the Centralia, Washington FM KFNY from the Ocean Station II Trust, operated by iHeartMedia.  The station has been airing a smooth jazz format for the past couple of years as it awaited acquisition by another broadcaster.  Bustos owns KDDS-FM in the market that currently airs a regional Mexican format.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

| March 7, 2019

KGO, San Francisco Announces New Lineup.  Bay Area news/talk icon KGO 810 is unveiling its new lineup of talk show hosts that will begin on Monday (3/11).  Earlier this week the station elected not to renew the contract of midday host Ethan Bearman.  Now, the Cumulus Media station announces three personalities are joining the daily lineup: Mark Thompson, Pat Thurston, and John Rothman. Thompson’s show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Thurston is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, and Rothman holds down the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm shift.  KGO program director and operations manager Lee Hammer says, “I’m excited to be able to add more live and local programming to KGO.  KGO is talking about the major stories of the day and the impact they have on our daily life.  To get those conversations started, we’ve added three outstanding and veteran talk show hosts, each with their own unique style of engaging, informing and entertaining our listeners.”  Mark Thompson has worked at KGO previously, in addition to KABC and KFI in Los Angeles. He’s also a veteran TV weather reporter and worked at KRON-TV, San Francisco.  Pat Thurston has been a weekend host at KGO for the past 12 years. She is an Army veteran who also worked for the Secret Service.  John Rothman has a varied professional background as a former college professor, author, lecturer, foreign policy consultant and expert on the U.S. presidency.  Rothman hosted various shows on KGO since 1996.

Chris Stigall and WPHT, Philadelphia Part Company.  Talk radio host Chris Stigall has exited Entercom’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia after almost nine years with the station.  As of Wednesday (3/6), Stigall’s bio, etc. was gone from the WPHT website and Jeff Bolton was sitting in on the morning show. Philadelphia Magazine reports it has confirmed that Stigall is no longer with the station.  Reporter Victor Fiorillo writes that “according to sources close to the Stigall situation, the split wasn’t ugly.  Those sources say that 1210AM simply decided not to renew Stigall’s contract.”  There’s been no public comment by Entercom about its plans to replace Stigall.  He’d arrived in Philly from Kansas City in 2010 where’d hosted a show on KCMO-AM.

Mike North Returns to Chicago Airwaves for Weekly Sports Betting Show on ‘ESPN 1000.’ Chicago sports radio icon Mike North is returning to the air as co-host of “The ODDS Couple” with Carmen DeFalco on ESPN’s WMVP “ESPN 1000.”   The weekly, one-hour program focused on sports betting debuts tomorrow (3/8) at 6:00 pm. WMVP vice president and general manager Jim Pastor says, “As sports betting moves from the shadows to the spotlight, we expect to be a destination for those who participate and those who want to be entertained.  This isn’t only going to be about updated betting lines and hot tips.  It’s about the highs, the lows, and how to succeed and have fun whether you’re a grizzled veteran or a newcomer to sports betting.  Those in betting circles already know of Mike’s incredible track record as a long-time gambling expert.  Bringing Mike back to Chicago’s airwaves to become a lead voice in local sports betting was too good to pass up.  Pairing him with ESPN1000’s resident gambling guru, Carmen DeFalco, was a no brainer.”  North spent most of his radio career on the air at crosstown sports talker WSCR “The Score.”  DeFalco co-hosts WMVP’s midday “Carmen & Jurko” show with John Jurkovic.

Details of Cox Media Group Assets Sale Revealed. Last month’s announcement by Cox Enterprises that it is selling its television assets, the Dayton Daily News and radio stations news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, classic hits WZLR, and country WHKO in Dayton to Apollo Global Management did not come with a price tag.  Now that details have been filed and made public, we know that Apollo will pay $3.1 billion for the media properties.  Technically, the buyer is Terrier Media Buyer Inc. and the two radio stations will operate under the Camelot Radio name.

Edison Research and Triton Digital Unveil The Infinite Dial 2019. The 2019 Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital has been made public and the companies say that the growth of podcasting is evident as among the U.S. population ages 12 and older, the total number of people who have ever listened to a podcast passes 50% for the first time. Edison Research SVP Tom Webster says, “This is a watershed moment for podcasting–a true milestone.  With over half of Americans 12+ saying that they have ever listened to a podcast, the medium has firmly crossed into the mainstream.”  Other findings from this year’s study include that more than half the U.S. population now reports having used YouTube specifically for music in the last week.  That number is now 70% among 12 to 34-year-olds.  It also found that the percentage of Americans who listen to online audio (defined as listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet) has doubled since 2012, growing from one-third of the population to two-thirds.  See more here.

Alana Lujan Named Director of Sales for CMG Jacksonville. Rising from integrated digital sales manager to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville radio cluster is Alana Lujan.  In her new role, she’ll lead the sales effort for the market’s radio and Local Solutions brands, including news/talk WOKV-FM, sports talk WOKV-AM “ESPN 690,” and six music radio outlets.  She says, “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead our strong and talented sales team in Jacksonville.  I’m excited for this new adventure and to bring my experience in broadcast and digital sales as well as my love of radio to help this team achieve new levels of success.”

MIW Group Extends Mentoring Program Application Deadline to March 11. Persons interested in applying for the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group’s 2019 MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program have until Monday, March 11 to do so.  This notable experience pairs up-and-coming women, who have spent a minimum of five years in the radio industry, with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media.  A total of four candidates from within the radio broadcasting industry – including management, sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2019 program. For mentee criteria, and instructions on how to apply, please visit www.radiomiw.com.

WOR’s Berman and Riedel Turn One!  Pictured above is the WOR, New York morning show team celebrating the one-year anniversary of the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” show.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Michael Riedel, executive producer Natalie Vacca, and Len Berman.

U.S.-Mexico Border Situation, Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Sentencing, Democrats’ Anti-Semitism Resolution, North Korea Weapons Program, DNC Bars FOX, Anti-Vaxer Controversies, Alex Trebek Cancer Diagnosis, ‘Leaving Neverland’ Controversy, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6). The large number of illegals reportedly crossing the U.S.-Mexico border; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related sentencing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; the fracture in the Democratic Party with no vote on the anti-Semitism resolution; reports of North Korea’s re-boot of its missile program; the Democratic National Committee’s barring FOX News from covering the Democratic primary debates; the various controversies over anti-vaccination beliefs; “Jeopary!” host Alex Trebek announces his diagnosis of stage four prostate cancer; the banning of Michael Jackson records and the aftermath of HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” film; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Metaphorical shock waves were felt across Southern California yesterday (3/6) when KROQ, Los Angeles morning personality Gene “Bean” Baxter announced he’d be leaving the “Kevin & Bean” show by the end of this year.  Baxter has hosted the show with Kevin Ryder on Entercom’s alternative station since 1990.  Telling his audience that “30 years is a good time to stop,” he says he plans to re-locate to England after he finishes his career with the station…..Cumulus Media and Westwood One announce that air personality Stew James will assume the afternoon drive host duties on WSM-FM, Nashville “95.5 NASH Icon and the national Westwood One NASH Icon Network. James has most recently served with the company as weekend air talent and technical producer of “The Ty Bentli Show.”…..The syndicated weekend radio show “Sunday Night Slow Jams” adds new affiliates to bring its total affiliate roster to 175 stations worldwide.  New stations include: XHTO-FM, El Paso; WLMI-FM, Lansing, Michigan; and KHTH-FM, Santa Rosa, California…..iHeartMedia and FOX Broadcasting Company announce that Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter T-Pain will serve as host of the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place on March 14 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  The live two-hour event will be broadcast live on FOX TV, iHeartMedia radio stations, and the iHeartRadio platform.

Monday, February 18, 2019

| February 18, 2019

Hannity and Limbaugh Cited as Talk Media’s Political Influence Gains Attention. Multi-media news/talk superstar Sean Hannity is often said by some Trump administration critics to be an unofficial member of the president’s cabinet.  However one feels about that sentiment, it is clear that the conservative news/talk media has some degree of influence in Trump administration policy.  That becomes more evident when President Trump says such things as, “Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do.”  And about Rush Limbaugh: “He can speak for three hours without a phone call.  Try doing that sometime.  For three hours he speaks.  He’s got one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world.  I mean, this guy is unbelievable.”  Those quotes come from a New York Times piece covering the president’s Rose Garden press event on Friday (2/15).  Although Trump also said, “They don’t decide policy,” there’s a general sentiment among political and media types that the president looks to conservative talk media to understand what his base is thinking.  At this morning’s meeting of the TALKERS editorial staff, publisher Michael Harrison stated, “One of the most significant yardsticks in determining a communication platform’s success is influence.  How much of a difference does it make in the scheme of things?  Does it move the needle?  Since the modern era of talk radio began with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, the medium and its hosts have been judged heavily by the level of influence they wield in their communities and markets. Taking this into account, the influence Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others maintain in the Age of Trump is remarkable and certainly a boon to talk media of all political flavors.”

New Evening Lineup at KNBR, San Francisco. Bay Area sports talk outlet KNBR announces changes to its evening “KNBR Tonight” programming that airs from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  The Cumulus Media station bring Bay Area native Mark Willard aboard to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm portion of the show and moves current evening personality Drew Hoffar to the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight portion.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe states, “I’m extremely excited to welcome Mark back to the Bay Area and into our KNBR family.  ‘KNBR Tonight’ is about connecting with fans as the games are being played and Mark will excel in that arena across all KNBR platforms.  Listeners now also get to hear Drew shine as a solo host in his own time slot.  ‘KNBR Tonight’ will continue to serve as THE nightly destination for local sports talk and I can’t wait to hear these two dynamic personalities back-to-back on ‘The Sports Leader!’”  Willard comes to KNBR from his most recent gig with iHeartMedia’s KLSD, San Diego “XTRA Sports” where he was midday host.  He’s also served with FOX Sports Radio Network; KSPN, Los Angeles “710 ESPN”; and ESPN’s SportsNation based in LA.

Woodward Makes Programming Moves at WHBY and WSCO in Green Bay/Appleton, Wisconsin. The news/talk and sports talk stations in the Green Bay-Appleton market operated by Woodward Radio Group have a new brand manager as Jonathan Krause assumes the role.  Krause comes to news/talk WHBY and sports talk WSCO “The Score” from his most recent position with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WOSH, Oshkosh.  Krause says, “I look forward to continuing the traditions of WHBY and WSCO providing high-quality information and entertainment for the Fox Valley.  And I hope to expand our community involvement throughout the region.”  At the same time, the company welcomes Appleton native Brian Butch to WSCO as a member of the “B.J. and The Bear” morning drive show with host B.J. DeGroot.  Butch will also serve as a part-time sales executive for WHBY and WSCO.

Monday Memo: YOUR Four?  Consultant Holland Cooke’s Monday Memo offers up a call-in topic for today’s President’s Day holiday.  There are four (generally) revered U.S. presidents depicted on Mt. Rushmore – Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lincoln. What if your listeners could vote for their four favorite presidents to be immortalized in stone?  Read Cooke’s Monday Memo column here.

WPHT Radiothon Raises $151,000 for Liberty USO. Friday’s second annual WPHT Radiothon to benefit Liberty USO – an organization that provides active, Guard, and Reserve military and their families with programs and services at the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey – raised $151,535.  Air personalities from Entercom’s news/talk WPHT are pictured above taking part in the daylong broadcast.  They are (from l-r): afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli, late morning personality Dom Giordano, and morning talk host Chris Stigall.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM weekend radio personality Amy Guth is embarking on a daily podcast project for Crain’s Chicago Business.  The show is called “The Daily Gist” and will consist of “a mix of the day’s top stories and an in-depth segment in which Guth will interview a Crain’s reporter or columnist.”…..Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics are announcing they have radio broadcast deals for the 2019 season.  The team has a three-company deal that will see games air on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KTRB-AM, San Francisco “The Answer,” Bonneville’s sports talk KHTK, Sacramento, and digital platform Tune In.  In the broadcast booth will be play-by-play team Ken Korach and Vince CotroneoChris Townsend is serving as studio host with Ray Fosse making guest appearances…..In Baltimore, longtime Baltimore Orioles play-by-play voice Joe Angel is retiring after 19 years with the team (and 42 years in the business).  Games are broadcast on Entercom’s WJZ-FM “The Fan.”…..The MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates have a new broadcast team for games that air on Entercom’s KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan.”  The station says Dan Zangrilli will return to host the station’s pregame and postgame broadcasts, a role he held from 2012 to 2016.  Jack Zduriencik will return for his fourth season as an analyst.  Station veteran Kraig Riley, who has been with “93.7 The Fan” since 2010 as a producer, will join the broadcast team for the first time alongside Zangrilli and Zduriencik.

Border Wall Emergency Declaration, Trump-vs ‘SNL,’ McCabe on ’60 Minutes,’ 2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Fatal Chicago Workplace Shooting, Amazon/NYC Breakup, Jussie Smollett Case, Payless Shutters U.S. Stores, and NBA/NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of President Trump’s emergency declaration to use Pentagon funds for the U.S.-Mexico wall project; President Trump’s attack on “Saturday Night Live” for its parody of his emergency declaration presser; former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes”; the Democrats lining up to challenge President Trump in 2020 and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld considers challenging Trump in the Republican primary; the workplace shooting in Aurora, Illinois that took the lives of five; Amazon’s decision to back out of its proposed Queens operations after political pressure from Democrats; the controversy surrounding actor Jussie Smollett’s assault accusations; retail icon Payless Shoes to close U.S. stores; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Dallas programming and on-air pro Jesse Salazar adds assistant program director duties to his afternoon on-air role and music director responsibilities at Radio One’s rhythmic CHR KBFB “97.9 The Beat.”  Radio One Dallas vice president of programming operations Mark McCray says, “Jesse has the experience, attitude, and work ethic that makes his graduation to APD an easy decision.”…..On-air pro Chris Payne joins Evans Broadcasting’s alternative KRAT, Reno, “ALT 92.9” to host the morning drive program.  Payne was most recently in an on-air role with Shamrock Communications’ crosstown KRZQ prior to it flipping from alternative to adult contemporary in July of 2017.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

| April 10, 2018

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Morning Host Jamie Allman Leaves TV Show Gig After Controversial Tweet.  If you guessed that this involves Parkland, Florida student David Hogg, you are correct. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that KFTK-FM, St. Louis morning show host Jamie Allman Tweeted a statement regarding Hogg, who is seen as the face of the student-led movement to change gun laws in Florida in the aftermath of the deaths of 17 students at the hands of Nikolas Cruz.  He wrote, “I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow.”  As the paper reports, the context of Allman’s Tweet is unclear as his account has been locked.  Allman, in addition to his radio show, hosted “The Allman Report” on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KDNL-TV “ABC 30,” but The Hollywood Reporter states that he resigned that gig after the backlash that included a number of advertisers reportedly dropping their ad campaigns on the TV station.  Allman continues to host his morning show on news/talk KFTK-FM.  The station is being operated under an LMA by Entercom as it is buying the station from Emmis Communications.

Entercom’s ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego Goes All Comedy/Rock; Sileo and ‘The Men’s Room’ Off the Air.  Local sports talker Dan Sileo and the Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” were both off the air on Entercom’s KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” yesterday, and likely will be today as well, as the status of the erstwhile sports talk/hot talk hybrid remains in question.  As of this morning, the station continues to play comedy bits and rock music.  If you’ve been following this story, you know that the ill-advised Tweet by Kevin Klein – hired to host the morning show – that used a picture of San Diego’s Coronado bridge and poking fun at its history of being a site of many suicides left his status with the station up in the air.  The San Diego Padres – for whom the station serves as their flagship for play-by-play – were upset with the station and publicly questioned their desire to continue with KEGY.  The absence of Sileo and “The Men’s Room” from the air seems to indicate Entercom is planning an overhaul of the station, but what form the station will take when the smoke clears is not known.  There is speculation the station will emerge as a traditional sports talk outlet.  Stay tuned.

Andy Bloom Named Operations Manager at Entercom’s Twin Cities Cluster. Programming pro Andy Bloom is returning to his hometown(s) to serve as operations manager for Entercom’s Minneapolis-St. Paul cluster that includes news/talk WCCO-AM, country KMNB “Buz’n @ 102.9” and adult hits KZJK “104.1 JACK FM.” Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “Andy has a successful track record programming radio stations and we are looking forward to having him join our Twin Cities team.  He has a clear understanding of our operational vision and is skilled at implementing winning business strategies.”  Bloom is certainly well known to Entercom EVP of programming Chris Oliviero, with whom he worked at CBS RADIO.  Oliviero came over to Entercom with the acquisition of the CBS RADIO stations by Entercom.  Bloom was most recently programming CBS’ Philly stations, including sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT.

FOX News Radio to Launch Early Evening “Benson and Harf” Program.  This new nightly show from FOX News Radio will emanate from the company’s newly named Tony Snow Radio Studio in Washington, DC and will co-star Guy Benson and Marie Harf.  The 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET “Benson and Harf” show will feature nightly expert guests to “discuss the news of the day and engage in powerful debate, providing fast-paced, thoughtful discourse on relevant stories pertaining to politics, media and culture.”  Benson joined FNC in 2013 and provides political commentary across FNC and FOX Business Network’s daytime and primetime programming.  Harf joined the network in 2017 to offer national security and political analysis across FNC and FBN’s daytime and primetime programming.  Most recently, Harf served as the senior adviser for strategic communications to Secretary of State John Kerry and previously held the position of deputy spokesperson for the State Department from July 2013 until May 2015.

Michael Clemente Named CEO of Newsmax Broadcasting. The Newsmax Broadcasting segment of Newsmax Media, Inc. airs the Newsmax TV channel.  The company announces that television executive Michael Clemente is joining the fold as CEO of Newsmax Broadcasting.  Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Michael is one of the most accomplished executives and producers in television and digital news.  He is widely respected in the industry and has won accolades for his high journalistic standards.  It’s an honor for us to have him leading our team.”  Clemente was with FOX News Channel for the past seven years as EVP of news.  In that capacity he oversaw all news programming, including live events, breaking news, documentaries, and specials.  He’s also served as senior producer for ABC’s “World News Tonight” and was executive producer of live and breaking news at CNN.  Clemente comments, “Newsmax has demonstrated the ability to adapt and thrive in the highly transformative digital news world and was one of the first major online outlets to create a TV brand in cable and OTT.  I’m excited to take on this new role at Newsmax during an incredible period of change, in a country eager for truth, understanding, and engagement in the news process.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Next Monday (4/16), the simulcast of WPEN-FM, Philadelphia’s afternoon program – “The Mike Missanelli Show” – begins on NBC Sports Philadelphia.  The program airs on Beasley Media Group’s “97.5 The Fanatic” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, but the TV simulcast will end at 5:00 pm followed by the “Philly Sports Talk” show on NBC Sports.  Missanelli says, “I’m extremely excited to be joining forces with NBC Sports Philadelphia. ‘97.5’ led the way in town to bring sports talk radio to the FM airwaves and now we are so looking forward to bringing it to television.  The show will continue to provide the very best in sports analysis and fun, entertaining radio.  I can’t wait for everyone to become part of it.”…..Boston television news figure Tony Pepper died at age 79 in the Boston suburb of Newton after complications from diabetes and heart disease.  In addition to his years spent on WBZ-TV, he co-hosted a talk radio program with Janet Jeghelian on WRKO-AM, Boston for two years in the early 1980s…..In conjunction with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One is presenting live, play-by-play audio coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, beginning tomorrow (4/11).  Kenny Albert – play-by-play – and Joe Micheletti – analyst – are serving as Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio’s lead broadcast crew and will call the 2018 Stanley Cup Final and select playoff games…..WPHT, Philadelphia morning host Chris Stigall is pictured at left in a screen grab of his most recent appearance on FOX News Channel.  Stigall says that in the Trump era, “FOX News knows one of the president’s most important constituency groups is talk radio.”  He’s been making regular appearances on FNC commenting on the Keystone State, how the 2018 mid-terms may play out, the special House race in PA-18, and how trade issues could affect Pennsylvania…..In the photo below, WGOW-FM, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3” midday personality Brian Joyce is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Chattanooga Lookouts-Birmingham Barons AA baseball game.  Joyce – who is also heard in afternoons on Cumulus Media’s sister Atlanta news/talker WYAY-FM “Talk 106.7” – says he warmed up a bit in the bull pen to avoid “air-mailing the first pitch.”  Coincidentally, Joyce played four years of Division 1 college baseball in his younger days.

‘Yappy Tour’ Rolls Into Academia.   Pictured above lecturing a college class in “journalism convergence” at Highpoint University in Highpoint, NC this morning (4/10) is Bernadette Duncan, author of one of the most-discussed radio books in the talk media industry, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Boozers, Schmoozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  Duncan, a former producer, chronicles her 26 years as the woman behind the glass on shows hosted by such legends as Sally Jessy RaphaelLarry KingTom SnyderLou DobbsGil GrossCharles Osgood and others, covering a large swath of modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of quirky guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature including: Donald TrumpOmarosa ManigaultDavid LettermanJoe BidenMike HuckabeeGeraldo RiveraJoan Rivers and dozens more.  Due to the strong response by hosts around the world to both the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the “Yappy Tour” has continue to roll on into 2018, sponsored by TALKERS magazine.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 130 local and syndicated programs since the book’s release in September of 2016.  Now, based on the book’s success and positive recognition, she has been invited to guest-lecture at colleges and universities advising students how to break into the radio business and carve out a career in producing and journalism.  In the past two months, she has spoken at such schools as Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY; Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, CT;  American International College in Springfield, MA; and Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA.   Hosts, shows and schools interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

FBI Raids Trump Attorney Cohen’s Office, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-Syria Military Policy/Chemical Attack, Zuckerberg Congressional Testimony, Rick Scott Senate Bid, Kimmel-Hannity Feud, Mexican Border Security, U.S.-China Tariffs, and MLB and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The FBI executes warrants on Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen after receiving information from special counsel Robert Mueller; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria and the recent, deadly chemical attack on civilians; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on Cambridge Analytica data usage; Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott to challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate seat; the war of words between Jimmy Kimmel and Sean Hannity over the former’s poking fun at First Lady Melania Trump; Trump’s plan to use the U.S. military to defend the Mexican border from illegals; the threat of a tariff war between the U.S. and China; and MLB and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio programming pro Lance Houston is named PD for iHeartMedia Chicago’s WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5.”  Houston – who joins the Windy City operations of iHM from the company’s WBWL, Boston “101.7 The Bull” – will also serve as midday personality.  Houston reports to Tommy Austin, SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Chicago Region…..Programmer John Richards is the new program director at iHeartMedia’s country WQIK, Jacksonville.  In this position, Richards is also taking on programming duties at the company’s WTNT, Tallahassee and WPAP, Panama City, Florida.   Richards says, “I’m excited to be back in Jacksonville at WQIK.  I have history with the brand, and now another opportunity to add something to its tapestry.  The management team is terrific, and the staff is passionate.  It really shows in the quality of the product.  I appreciate the opportunity to contribute.”  Richards was most recently market president and iHeartMedia’s Corpus Christi and Harlingen-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas markets…..Westwood One is launching a new, weekly syndicated Saturday program called “Jayde,” starring Jayde Donovan.  Donovan is well-known as co-host of the WPLJ, New York morning show, host for the “Westwood One Backstage” broadcasts and her various television endeavors.  WWO says the new, three-hour show is “an upbeat, fun, and empowering show built for Saturday mornings to target the fierce, fabulous women who are doing it all – even if that means they are still wearing yesterday’s make-up while driving carpool to soccer practice.  The show will be a mix of interviews with celebrity moms, real life stories that inspire, and great music, all creating the perfect cocktail for a young, fresh, and inspired female-driven radio show.”…..iHeartMedia Seattle radio personality Marty Riemer – morning show co-host at KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet,” is being featured in an upcoming episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters International.”  Riemer works on air from Germany to join co-host Jodi Brothers for the “Marty & Jodi Show.”  The HGTV program addresses the Riemer family’s decision to move to Berlin, Germany, Marty’s experience co-hosting a cohesive morning program from Germany, and how the family met their unique balance of needs – including a central city location, reliable internet connection, and proximity to their children’s school…..In honor of Elvis Duran being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Sierra Automated Systems presented the Premiere Networks syndicated morning host with a gold “Hall of Fame Edition” iSL console (pictured below) at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.  From left to right are: Elvis Duran, “Shotgun” Tom Kelly, and SAS president Eddie Fritz.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

| October 17, 2017

Big Executive Changes at Townsquare Media.  The biggest surprise about the news released by Townsquare Media late yesterday (10/16) is that company founder and CEO Steven Price is leaving the CEO role and will now be the executive chairman of the board, a move that takes him out of the day-to-day operation of the radio and live events company.  It was seven years ago that Price – with backing from Oaktree Capital Management – founded the company.  Oaktree managing director and Townsquare board member David Quick announces that Bill Wilson and Dhruv Prasad are being promoted to the positions of co-chief executive officers who will report to the board of directors.  At the same time, the company announces that radio management pro Erik Hellum is promoted to chief operating officer, local media.  Townsquare reports that it “owns 318 radio stations and more than 325 local websites in 67 U.S. markets, a digital marketing solutions company serving approximately 11,750 small-to-medium sized businesses, approximately 550 live events with nearly 18 million attendees each year in the U.S. and Canada, and one of the largest digital advertising networks focused on music and entertainment reaching more than 50 million unique visitors each month.”  In 2015, Townsquare acquired mobile amusement company North American Midway Entertainment.  It also operates music and entertainment websites including: hip hop-focused XXLmag.com, TasteofCountry.com, hard-rock-oriented Loudwire.com and New York music site BrooklynVegan.com.

Entertainment Journalist Craig Marks Joins Townsquare.  Speaking of those genre-specific digital publications that Townsquare Media operates, the company says that it has hired “veteran editor and journalist” Craig Marks to serve as editorial director in which he’ll “oversee editorial content across web, social and video for eight of Townsquare’s music and entertainment brands including: TasteofCountry, Loudwire, PopCrush, ScreenCrush, UltimateClassicRock, TheBoot, Diffuser, and TheBoombox.”  He will work alongside Vanessa Satten, longtime editor in chief of XXLmag.com.  During his career, Marks has served as executive editor at Billboard, and as editor-in-chief at Blender magazine, Spin and Popdust. He comments, “I am thrilled to be joining such an innovative, multi-platform company as Townsquare.  I look forward to participating in the continued growth of the company and its industry-leading music and pop-culture brands.”

Story Questions Trump’s Absence from Talk Radio.  In a piece by Oliver Darcy published at CNN.com, the author wonders why President Trump has, except for one or two campaign-oriented appearances, not taken his message to conservative talk radio.  Noting that conservative talk radio hosts are, by and large, supporters of the president, reports that the administration says the president has “a great relationship with talk radio” but choses to use Twitter “to speak directly with his base.”  Some talk hosts offer their thoughts.  Former WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes is quoted saying, “The only thing that I can think of is that Donald Trump doesn’t listen to the radio.  He watches television.  He reads The New York Times. So he reacts to what’s in his world.”  WFTL, Fort Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman says she thinks he knows he’s vulnerable in the long-form interview with hosts who might pressure him on issues like immigration reform.  Read the whole story here.

Tax Reform Radio Row Today at White House.  The story above notwithstanding, talk radio has a presence in Washington today as the administration hosts a radio row at the Old Executive Office Building to promote its tax reform plans.  Talk show hosts taking part in the radio row include Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher, Cumulus Media hosts Chris Plante, Mary Walter, and Vince Coglianese, as well as WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall and WIBC, Indianapolis’ Tony Katz. Guests available to speak to talk radio hosts will include President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway and others. Pictured above is Salem’s Mike Gallagher (right) shaking hands with President Trump (left).  Pictured below is WPHT’s Chris Stigall (right) interviewing Vice President Mike Pence.

Salem Moves News/Talker in St. Louis to Make Room for Gospel Outlet.  As of yesterday (10/16), Salem Media Group moved its St. Louis news/talk format “The Answer” from WDSZ-AM/K236CS to KXFN-AM/K287BY and will install “Praise 95.1” on WDSZ and its translator.  In a statement about the move, Salem Media St. Louis general manager Greg Lhamon says that there’s an untapped market.  “Based on conversations with many in the St. Louis area, the community has been waiting to enjoy gospel on the FM dial.”

CBS Sports to Simulcast Jim Rome ShowVariety is reporting that CBS Sports is going to start simulcasting the Jim Rome radio show on cable’s CBS Sports Network, effective January 2.  The piece reports that the company is building a new studio to “reflect the new visual elements of his program.”  EVP of programming at CBS Sports Dan Weinberg says, “Jim is an engaging and dynamic host with an incredibly loyal and passionate fan base.  We are excited to provide one of sports talk radio’s most enduring programs a new national platform on television.”  Rome has been with CBS Sports Radio since 2012 after a long career syndicated by Premiere Networks.

North Korea Nuclear Program, McCain ‘Liberty Medal’ Speech, Weinstein Scandal, Puerto Rico Recovery Troubles, Kaepernick Lawsuit, Las Vegas Shooting Investigation, ISIS Driven Out of Raqqa, U. Florida-Richard Spencer Event, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  North Korea’s statement of no negotiations until it has ICBMs that can hit the U.S. East Coast; John McCain decries ‘half-baked’ nationalism during medal acceptance speech; the Harvey Weinstein sexual predation scandal and criticism of Hollywood’s history of ‘looking the other way’; the hampered recovery efforts in Puerto Rico; former NFLer Colin Kaepernick sues the league owners for collusion; the investigation into the motive behind the deadly Las Vegas shooting and the now-missing Mandalay security guard; U.S.-backed forces push ISIS out of Raqqa; Florida Governor Rick Scott’s concerns about public safety during white nationalist Richard Spencer’s pending University of Florida appearance; the Major League Baseball playoffs; 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.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  On Thursday (10/19), Beasley Media Group will present “Vegas Strong: A Night of Healing” at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.  The concert will honor all victims, survivors and first responders from the October 1 tragedy and feature country superstars Big & Rich and Cam, plus a surprise performance from one of country’s most renowned acts.  Beasley says 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Steve Sisolak Las Vegas Victims’ Fund that has, to date, raised nearly $11 million.  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Tom Humm states, “Due to the kindness and support of the Beasley family, Mega Country Recording Artists, the country community and The Orleans Arena/Boyd Gaming we have the opportunity to present ‘A Night of Healing’ for affected families and also give special thanks to our first responders.  It is our privilege and honor to help in any small way we can as proud members of this community.  Vegas Strong!”…..The new contract between urban morning radio star Tom Joyner and Reach Media is also signaling the end of Joyner’s radio show after December 31, 2019.  The two announced the new deal last week and now report that as Joyner celebrates his 25th year in national syndication, he “plans to launch a two-year-long celebration campaign, sharing events and experiences with his listeners highlighting the past, present and future of the Tom Joyner brand.  Joyner reportedly will reveal more as his show moves forward with events and activities as a lead-up to the conclusion of his iconic morning show.”…..A new talent search TV show is coming next year and iHeartMedia is collaborating with Fox Broadcasting Company, show creator Armoza Formats, and producer ITV Entertainment.  The show is titled, “THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM,” and iHeartMedia will use its radio station listenership to support auditions, assist in the search for talent, and boost the careers of artists throughout the run of the competition.  As part of the grand prize, the winner of the show will also be part of iHeartMedia’s “On the Verge” artist development program, which will support the winning talent with airplay across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide.  “THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM” begins with four super-talented singers, chosen from auditions by the show, defending their coveted spots on the stage as they are challenged individually by new singers determined to replace them.  If the existing four outperform their challengers, they survive to sing another week, until the end of the season, when the final four face off against each other.  Only one will claim the ultimate prize for an aspiring artist: a team of elite star-makers – the series’ panel of judges – all committed to launching and guiding the winner’s music career…..iHeartMedia is launching a new festival, this one aimed at the alternative rock audience, called “iHeartRadio ALTer EGO” and taking place on January 19 at the Forum in Los Angeles.  Artists scheduled to perform so far include: Mumford & Sons, Cage The Elephant, Beck, Spoon, WALK THE MOON, The National and Dashboard Confessional, with more to be announced later.  Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia president John Sykes says, “Alternative rock is experiencing an incredible renaissance.  Young bands in their 20s are making music with the same energy and power of the bands like U2, Depeche Mode and REM, that helped to create the format.”…..Alpha Media San Jose inks nationally syndicated morning duo “Brooke & Jubal” to handle the morning drive daypart at its hot AC KEZR “Mix 106.”…..Michael Tedesco shifts from director of business development with Educational Media Foundation to sales manager at Christian contemporary WAWZ, Zarepath, New Jersey “Star 99.1.”  He takes over for the retiring Lorraine Shaw.

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