Tag: "Cliff Kelley"

Monday, November 11, 2019

| November 11, 2019

2019 Radio Hall of Famers Inducted. On Friday evening at Gotham Hall in New York City, nine radio broadcasters were enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame.  Inductees Jim Rome, Joe Madison, Sean Hollywood Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter, John Tesh, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Ryan Seacrest represented the class of 2019 at the ceremony that included 2018 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Mike Francesa as Master of Ceremonies.  Fellow RHOF inductees Jim Bohannon, Jim Kerr, and Kid Kelly were in attendance along with celebrity introducers actor Christian Slater (for Hollywood Hamilton), actress Connie Selleca (for husband John Tesh), and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon (for his friend Ryan Seacrest).  Jim Bohannon served as announcer of the event.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife, professor/author Bernadette Duncan, were among the hundreds of industry luminaries, friends and family in attendance.  “It was a truly memorable evening in a dazzling setting that was a heartfelt celebration of radio and the special breed of talented people who have literally been breathing life into it golden age after golden age,” says Harrison. “We salute the dedicated work of Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin, vice chairman Dennis Green, and the entire nominating committee for organizing and presenting such a deeply meaningful event honoring an indisputably deserving Class of 2019.”  Harrison adds, “One of the most noble deeds any organization, platform or individual can perform for an artistic community such as our beloved radio industry – especially as it reaches the extraordinary milestone of its 100th anniversary in a rapidly changing world – is to give credit where credit is due.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Rome, Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Ryan Seacrest, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joe Madison, Kevin Ryder, Gene “Bean” Baxter, Harry Harrison (seated), and John Tesh.  Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Radio Hall of Fame

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Above, wheelchair-bound Harry Harrison in the audience watches his children Patti and Patrick make an emotional presentation inducting him into the Radio Hall of Fame.

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Inductee Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio with his old friend, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.

Louisiana Judge Denies Felony Arrest Warrant for Former WWL, New Orleans Sports Talk Host Seth Dunlap.  The Times-Picayune reports that last week, a New Orleans Police Department detective investigating the case involving former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap was denied a warrant to arrest him on a felony count of extortion.  Regular TALKERS readers who’ve been following this case remember that after the official WWL Twitter account posted a gay slur against the openly homosexual Dunlap on September 10, an Entercom investigation appeared to indicate Dunlap sent the tweet via his phone, although Dunlap’s lawyer says Dunlap did not have access to the account and didn’t have its password.  She also says Dunlap took a lie detector test and passed.  Subsequent talks between Entercom and Dunlap’s legal team reportedly included Dunlap’s request for $1.8 million to settle his charge against the station of allowing a hostile workplace environment.  Entercom turned the case over to the NOPD and the cops got a warrant to search Dunlap’s phone.  In last week’s ruling, Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn said the evidence presented didn’t rise to the level of the definition of felony extortion.  The NOPD says the case is still “active and ongoing.”  Dunlap, through his attorney, has vowed to sue WWL over the hostile workplace matter.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Less than 25% of news/talk stations suffered a (weekly 6+ AQH share) ratings drop-off from the September survey to the October survey.  Gainers were led by Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.4).  Comparing year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations on our panel are down, while just 37% see their ratings go up.  News/talkers up over last year include: Entercom’s WCCO, Minneapolis; iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach; Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: That First Call.  As programming cutbacks continue, smart on-air people are involved in advertising sales.  In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke shares tips for getting – and making the most of – face time with prospects.  Read it here.

Impeachment Proceedings/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong Protests, Veterans Day Holiday, Berlin Wall Falls Anniversary, Looming Bitter Cold Weather, and Australia Bushfires/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the weekend’s violent protests in Hong Kong; the Veterans Day holiday; the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the bitter cold temperatures forecast for parts of the U.S. this week; the devastating bushfires affecting Australia’s eastern coast and the role of climate change in that country’s drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Stephen A. Smith has inked a new deal with ESPN – a five-year pact that will pay him about $8 million per year.  As TALKERS reported last week, Smith is giving up his midday radio show on the ESPN Radio network at the end of the year.  He’ll continue to appear on the cable channel’s “First Take” and will make more appearances on “SportsCenter” and on NBA coverage…..The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Philadelphia sports media personality Rob Ellis is returning to local TV as co-host of a new show on KYW-TV called, “Odds On,” with station sports anchor Pat Gallen.  The sports-betting themed, 30-minute program will air Sundays at 8:30 am.  Ellis will continue to handle fill-in duties for Entercom’s WIP-FM.  He’s been sitting in for the convalescing Big Daddy Graham on the overnight show.  He previously served with NBC Sports Philadelphia for 17 years…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WVON, Chicago afternoon talk host Cliff Kelley is being honored in “An Amazing Tribute to Cliff Kelley” on Saturday (11/16) at Parkway Ballroom, in Chicago.   Kelley spent 25 years with the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station in both the morning and afternoon drive dayparts.  He retired from the station last March.

WRKO, Boston Raises $230,000-plus for Disabled American Veterans. Last Friday (11/8), iHeartMedia Boston news/talk “AM 680 WRKO, The Voice of Boston” raised more than $230,000 to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts during the DAV radiothon that took place from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.  iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Rob Sanchez says, “Since our nation’s inception, our military men and women have sacrificed their own lives for our freedom.  It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to have this opportunity to show respect for our veterans with the help of our generous listeners.  And to raise $233,593 this year is incredibly gratifying.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): DAV-AM director of public relations Robert Lynch, WRKO APD Jarred Diglio, DAV-MA adjutant/CEO Dan Stack, and WRKO morning host Jeff Kuhner.

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The long-time owner of news/talk heritage station KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA, Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Zwerling, known throughout the radio industry as one of the last of the fiercely independent owner/operators, is described by TALKERS publisher Harrison as “an extremely colorful, quirky, eccentric, and intelligent lover of radio – a refreshing counterpoint to the budget-obsessed, community-indifferent, mega-corporate mentality that has consumed the decision-making processes of much of today’s industry.”  In a free-wheeling conversation between two old friends, MH and MZ discuss the changing nature of Freedom of Speech and challenges facing the First Amendment in the 21st century digital era, plus more.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of the TALKERS email newsletter.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WPXY-FM, Rochester air personality Brianna “Breezy” Sloth is promoted at the Entercom CHR outlet to morning drive co-host alongside morning radio pro Corey James on the “#TeamPXY” show.   Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn comments, “Breezy has an undeniable work ethic and tenacity while delivering her one-of-a-kind, friendly and outgoing personality on the air.  She has a real familiarization with our station, this market and its devoted listeners, and we’re thrilled to have her on board.”  Breezy joined ‘98 PXY’ as an intern for the station’s morning show in 2017. Following her graduation from SUNY Oswego, she assumed various roles for the station, including in promotions and programming as WPXY’s evening show host, morning show fill-in host, and morning and evening drive traffic reporter…..Entercom assigns programming duties for country KMNB, Minneapolis to WUSN, Chicago PD Kenny Jay in the aftermath of the recent departure of KMNB PM drive host and programmer Lucas Phelan.  Jay will continue to work from the company’s Chicago offices…..Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is leaving his APD/music director role at Cumulus Media’s CHR WZPL-FM, Indianapolis for a gig soon-to-be-announced.  Cumulus Indy operations manager J.R. Ammons says in a memo to staff, “During his two years at ZPL, Dylan has proven to be a smart, strategic, passionate programmer and I will miss our music arguments every Monday.  Please join me in congratulating Dylan on this well-deserved promotion; his last day will be next Friday the 15th. Until a permanent replacement is named, Zakk Babb will be filling in on ZPL.”…..Pictured below in New York City on Friday night (11/8) is pop radio icon Ryan Seacrest being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame  by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.

Monday, February 4, 2019

| February 4, 2019

Jamie Allman Returns to St. Louis Air on Salem’s ‘The Answer.’ Former KFTK-FM morning talk host Jamie Allman will be back on the air in St. Louis after a 10-month absence when he assumes the morning talk show host position on Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM/K287BY “1380AM & 105.3FM The Answer.”  “Allman in the Morning” will launch on February 28.  He says, “I’m proud and super stoked to be joining a legendary broadcasting company. Salem always puts the listener first and we are a perfect match.  There is no bigger castle of common-sense conservatism in broadcasting.  I’m honored to inhabit a part of it with energy, insight, and entertainment.”  Allman and former employers Emmis Communications and Entercom were involved in a lengthy legal fight over Allman’s dismissal from KFTK-FM in the aftermath of this social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of 2018.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Salem St. Louis vice president and general manager Greg Lhamon says, “Jamie is a broadcasting legend in this market.  He’s bright, passionate, and asks tough questions when he interviews political leaders.  He’ll keep them on their toes, that’s for sure.  But his show is just plain fun, too.  We are thrilled to see him return to St. Louis radio.”

PPM Analysis: News/TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  Although 70% of the news/talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2018 survey to the Holiday survey, a relative handful saw modest increases, including iHeartMedia’s WZZR, West Palm Beach (+1.0).  Comparing Holiday 2017 to Holiday 2018, four stations improved by a full share or better, led by Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+3.1).  No news/talk outlet ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but three stations ranked #2 in their respective markets: CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See the whole report here.

Monday Memo: Say What?  Consultant Holland Cooke writes today in his Monday Memo about a number of bad habits and consistent errors that air personalities often make and that drive consultants (and programmers!) nuts.  Get Cooke’s thoughts on blue language, clichés, the benefit of forward momentum and more right here.

Chris Lavoie Named General Manager of SM Radio Productions. Former Stephanie Miller show executive producer Chris Lavoie is returning to the show as general manager of SM Radio Productions, parent company of “The Stephanie Miller Show.” Lavoie served as the radio talk show’s executive producer from 2004 to 2015.  He was public relations manager for Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in the Palm Springs, California area for the past three years. Lavoie comments, “I’m thrilled to be returning to my longtime radio home and back into the arms of Mama.  I began working with Stephanie as her production coordinator back in 1997 at KABC-AM in Los Angeles and we have a long, 18-year history together.  I’m excited to return to the Stephanie Miller universe to help take the show and SM Radio Productions to the next level.”  SM Radio Productions co-founder Ron Hartenbaum adds, “Chris has been a valued member of The Stephanie Miller Show family for years and we are ecstatic that he is re- joining the team in this newly created general manager role.  He will be crucial in overseeing our exciting, soon-to-be-announced multimedia platform.”

WVON, Chicago’s Cliff Kelley to Leave PM Drive Role. Windy City radio personality Cliff Kelley will be leaving his afternoon drive host position at Midway Broadcasting’s urban talker WVON after his program on March 29.  The company says that Kelley – who has been with WVON for the past 25 years – will remain with the station as community ambassador and as the host of the independently produced “American Heroes” broadcast that airs Saturdays on WVON. He’ll also serve as a regular fill-in host.  Kelley has been the longest serving talk show host at the station since it switched to its all talk format in 1986.  He says, “I don’t want people to look at this as I am retiring.  I’m just rewiring.  There is plenty more work for me to do.”  WVON program director Todd Ronczkowski comments, “Cliff Kelley is one of Chicago’s most influential hosts and has been a trusted source of information for Chicago’s African-American Community for over three decades, forming a host/listener bond that is rarely seen in any market.”  Kelley’s replacement has not been announced.

Remembering Some African American Talk Show Pioneers.  Longtime broadcaster and now college associate professor Donna L. Halper writes a special piece for TALKERS magazine that looks at some of the early African American talk show hosts who made inroads into the spoken-word end of the radio business during radio’s golden age.  Halper writes that at that time in the American radio business, “young black men and women who saw no chance to become announcers or newscasters went into print journalism instead, usually working for black newspapers.” But a few did buck that trend, including New Jersey and New York host Sherman “Jocko” Maxwell.  Read the entire piece here.

Jennifer Williams Promoted to VP of Digital Marketing for Beasley. Marketing pro Jennifer Williams is promoted to vice president of digital marketing for Beasley Media Group.  She has been serving with the company as director of interactive marketing.  In her new role, she’ll be responsible for marketing the company’s digital content platforms and leveraging data to drive traffic, audience engagement, and advertiser growth.  Prior to joining Beasley Media Group, Williams spent nearly 20 years with Greater Media, Inc where she worked as the director of digital marketing and was responsible for overseeing the interactive marketing efforts of the company’s 20 radio properties.  She joined the organization as the marketing director of WCSX-FM in 1997.  Beasley chief digital content officer Lori Burgess says, “Jennifer’s programming background, combined with her digital knowledge, marketing expertise and can-do attitude, made her the perfect choice to lead Beasley Media Group’s digital marketing efforts as we continue to diversify and extend our brands into the multi-platform arena.”

Lorenzo Neal and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Renew. Former NFL star and current morning drive sports talk personality Lorenzo Neal signs a new, long-term contract with Entercom to continue co-hosting the morning drive “Joe, Lo, Dibs” program on KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” with fellow hosts Joe Fortenbaugh and Dan Dibley.  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz says, “Lorenzo Neal continues to drive the San Francisco sports conversation every morning.  His experience as a professional athlete and gregarious personality translates to great radio for listeners of ‘Joe, Lo & Dibs’ and we look forward to this continued partnership.”  Neal spent 16 seasons in the NFL and he’s been a personality on KGMZ since 2014.

Harry Mayes and Eytan Shander Debut Midday Program on Townsquare’s ‘ESPN South Jersey.’  Former WPEN, Philadelphia “95.7 The Fanatic” personalities Harry Mayes and Eytan Shander are teaming up for a midday sports talk radio show on Townsquare Media’s WENJ-FM, Millville, New Jersey “97.3 ESPN South Jersey,” starting on April 1.  The program is being produced by JAKIB Media Partners and in a press release, Mayes says, “We are thrilled to be back on sports radio in Philadelphia and South Jersey on a powerful radio station that is a download away.  Our plan begins here with plans already to expand regionally before we launch an assault on the national sports radio market.”  The two partnered on a podcast called “Derailed” via WENJ that launched last fall.

Beasley Launches ‘FOX Sports Charlotte.’The new sports talker from Beasley Media Group is heard on three signals in the Charlotte market: WBCN-AM at 1660, W234BY at 94.7 FM, and the HD3 channel of WSOC-FM.  It launches today and carries the full FOX Sports Radio national lineup, including: “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and “The Doug Gottlieb Show.”  Beasley Charlotte VP and market manager Bill Schoening says, “We are thrilled to bring FOX Sports Radio to the Charlotte Market.  We’re giving sports fans another great option for compelling content in our community.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk radio personality Jon Weiner, a.k.a. “Stugotz” from ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” now has his own platform in the form of a new podcast called, “Stupodity.”  This is the second original offering from the newly formed Le Batard and Friends Podcast Network created by ESPN Podcasts.  “Stupodity” will be a weekly opportunity for Stugotz’s views on sports and life with visits from the people important to him both professionally and personally…..The University of Illinois and Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM partner to present play-by-play of the school’s football and men’s basketball games – as well as the seasonal coaches’ shows – through the 2023-24 season.  The news, five-year agreement officially kicks off with the 2019 football season…..Westwood One was the official national radio partner of the NFL for the broadcast of last night’s Super Bowl LIII.  Pictured below is Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes (right) with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (left).

Denver Sports Talk Personality Irv Brown Dies at 83.   Longtime Denver sports talk radio personality Irv Brown died on Sunday at age 83.  Brown retired from the business in April of 2016 after spending more than 40 years on the air.  He began as a sports reporter on KHOW, Denver in 1974.  For a portion of his career, he partnered with Joe Williams for “The Irv and Joe Show.”  Read Fox 31’s report here.

Ralph Northam Controversy, Border Wall Battle, State of the Union Address, Trump-Russia Investigation, and Super Bowl LIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The controversy over Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s racist college yearbook photos; the ongoing battle over funding for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall proposal; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; and Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

THE TALKERS INTERVIEW: A Conversation with ‘Our American Stories’ Founder and Host, Lee Habeeb. A longtime radio innovator, Salem Radio Network VP/content Lee Habeeb longed to create something new and different for commercial news/talk radio listeners – a show that would tell stories about American life. They would be stories about our nation’s past and present including sports, the arts, business, innovation, science and everything in-between. It would be a show that would tell the story of America to Americans. “This is a great country precisely because it is a good country,” Habeeb tells TALKERS. “The American people are longing for programming that’s positive, beautiful and good to lift their spirits, and tell the story of the country we all love – because the schools and colleges sure as heck aren’t doing it. And radio will attract a whole bunch of new listeners if we do it right.” Thanks to some significant donor support, and the blessing of his bosses at Salem, Habeeb founded American Private Radio (APR), an independent non-profit alternative to National Public Radio (NPR). APR’s debut show is, by all accounts, doing it right – at least if its impressive growth is any indication. Titled “Our American Stories,” the innovative program debuted on two stations in 2015 and recently passed the 170-affiliate mark, recently announcing some big new additions, including daily slots on KABC, Los Angeles and WHO, Des Moines. It is a meticulously produced show, with a wide range of subjects targeted to a wide audience. It is designed, according to Habeeb, to reach Americans who long for a show to reinforce their values and beliefs. However, he seeks to accomplish this “without all the debate and anger that political debates engender and without the pretentiousness and elitism of public radio.” It is also designed to be a safe space for advertisers to wrap their brand around and be extremely business friendly. “It is entrepreneurs who built the country, who employ people, and generate the taxes that help pay our teachers, police and our safety net,” Habeeb adds. “We celebrate our entrepreneurs, old and new, and their risk taking and their spirit on our show. American life is unimaginable without them.” TALKERS caught up with Habeeb to talk about the show we believe will be one of the big break-out hits of 2019. To read the entire TALKERS interview with Lee Habeeb conducted by Michael Harrison, please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK, Tampa, Melanie Mineau joins the morning drive program as the new co-host of “The Morning Krewe with Marc and Melanie.”  Mineau has most recently been hosting her own, successful podcast.  Previously, she served as a co-host on the “Sarah, Ty & Mel Morning Show” on WRQX, Washington.  She says, “I’m excited to be back in the building and to be working alongside so many talented people, some of whom are longtime friends.  I look forward to working with Marc and creating great content for the listeners of Tampa Bay.  I’m grateful to the Beasleys and Travis Daily for presenting me with this opportunity.  There is nothing better than hosting a morning show at a heritage station in your hometown!”…..Also from Beasley Media Group, WMMR, Philadelphia midday personality Pierre Robert signs a multi-year contract extension to remain in his position with the station.  Robert joined the station in 1981 and has been hosting the midday show for more than 35 years.  Beasley rock format brand manager Bill Weston says, “Pierre is the heart and soul of WMMR.  His warm, compassionate voice remains an important part of Philadelphia’s broadcast day.  A gifted interviewer and brand ambassador, he truly cares about the community he serves. We are so fortunate to have his talents grace the airwaves.”…..Jason Kidd exits Cumulus Media’s hot AC WRQX, Washington after a three-year stint hosting afternoon drive and serving as APD and music director…..In Wisconsin, Van McNeil joins Magnum Media’s country WVTY, Racine to host the early afternoon daypart.  McNeil comes to WVTY from his most recent position with WISN-TV, Milwaukee.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

| April 4, 2013

nms2013logoCan You Imagine Meeting These 47 People (and About 500 More) All in One Day?  The roster of industry luminaries signed up to serve as speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 has been announced and it reads like a who’s who of the talk radio industry.  Not yet named on the list are several more “surprise” speakers including the yet-to-be revealed recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award which will bring the total to around 50.  In making the announcement, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “In the 16-year colorful history of this national conference, I believe this is the best and most balanced lineup of speakers we’ve ever assembled.  This power-packed gathering of management, programming, sales and technical leaders will directly address today’s most important issues, as the radio industry – not just spoken word – faces some of the most existential challenges of its century-long history.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Concierge Conference Center, 780 Third Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side.   The event, which is on the verge of being an early sellout, is open exclusively to members of the working media.  Registrations can only be booked by credit card over the phone at 413-565-5413. The following individuals will be speaking (in alphabetical order): Michael “Bax” Baxendale, Co-Host, “Bax  & O’Brien Morning Show, WAQY “Rock 102”, Springfield, MA;  Michael Berry, Host, KTRH, Houston (and syndication); Jim Bohannon, Host, Dial Global; Phil Boyce, VP/Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Spencer Brown, former CEO, Dial Global; Kevin Casey, VP/Executive Editor, TALKERSMark Chernoff, VP of Sports Programming, CBS Radio/OM, WFAN, New York; Jeremy Coleman, SVP, Talk & Entertainment Programming, Sirius/XM;  Alan Colmes, Host, Fox News Radio;  Holland Cooke, President, Holland Cooke Media;  Jana Cosgrove, President, CBS Radio Sales/Entercom Radio Sales; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”, New York; Tom Cuddy, PD, WOR, New York; Andy Dean, Host, Premiere Networks;  Dave Elswick, PD/Host, KARN, Little Rock; Erica Farber, President/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Mike Francesa, Host, WFAN, New York; Ian Freeman, Co-Host, Free Talk Live; Dom Giordano, Host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sean Hannity, Host, Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel;  Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERSRon Hartenbaum, President, WYD/WYM Media; Thom Hartmann, Host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Clay Hunnicutt, EVP, Programming, Clear Channel; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, President/Host, The New Normal; Lionel, Host, WWIQ “IQ 106.9”, Philadelphia; Steve Malzberg, Host, Newsmax.com; Carole Marks, CEO, Talk Media, Inc.; Kevin McCullough, CEO/Host, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, SVP, Programming, Cumulus Media; Dan Metter, SVP, Sales, Premiere Networks; Jon Miller, Director of Programming Services, Arbitron, Inc.; Trevor Oliver, former SVP/Operations, Premiere Networks; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Launchpad Digital Media; Tom Ray, President, Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting; Walter Sabo, Chairman, Sabo Media; Michael Smerconish, Host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis Broadcasting; Doug Stephan, President/Host, Stephan Multimedia; Andrea Tantaros, Host, Talk Radio Network/Fox News Channel; Phil Valentine, Host, Cumulus Media; Paul Vandenburgh, President/GM/Host, WGDJ “Talk 1300 AM”, Albany; Lincoln Ware, Host, WDBZ (The Buzz), Cincinnati; Jeff Wasserman, President, Life Coach Media; David Webb, Host, Sirius/XM; Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq., Senior Partner, Harrison Strategies; Lisa Wexler, Host, WFAS, Westchester, NY; and Dennis Wharton, VP Communications, National Association of Broadcasters.  The actual agenda of sessions and times will be posted here later this week.

wvonlogoWVON, Chicago to Celebrate 50th Anniversary April 5-6.  Midway Broadcasting-owned WVON, Chicago commemorates 50 years on air tomorrow and Saturday with a two-day celebration kicked off with a special performance by musician Roy Ayers on Friday and culminating with the “IMPACT 50 Grand Gala” at the historic Chicago Theater featuring Toni Braxton on Saturday night.  Those expected to be in attendance on Saturday include: media personality Roland Martin, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Radio One’s Cathy Hughes, Rev. Al Sharpton, and actor/activist Dick Gregory.  Radio historians may be aware that the station was founded by Leonard and Phillip Chess, founders of the famous Chess Records that recorded so many black artists during the 1960s.  Current Midway Broadcasting chief Melody Spann Cooper’s father, Pervis “Blues Man” Spann, bought the station and since that time it has morphed from an urban music outlet into the urban news/talk station it is today.  Cooper tells the Huffington Post that two years ago she wasn’t sure the station was going to survive to see its 50th.  “Being independently owned in the third largest market, we definitely faced some challenges to stay afloat.  We have stood the test of time and worked through the challenges, so this makes it an extra special time for us.”  The station’s calls originally stood for the “Voice of the Negro” but now, the station calls itself the “Voice of the Nation.”  WVON’s being available on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital delivery system certainly gives it a broader reach than its 1,000 watt Chicago signal can deliver.  WVON prides itself on its ability to talk about local issues as well as issues germane to African Americans across the country with its lineup of largely live and local personalities.  The station features Matt McGill in mornings, Perri Small in late mornings, the syndicated Rev. Al Sharpton in middays and Cliff Kelley in PM drive.

tribuneNils Larsen Exits Tribune Broadcasting President and CEO Role.  Chicagoland Radio and Media is reporting that Nils Larsen has left the Tribune Company and his latest role as president and CEO of the broadcasting division.  The site states Tribune confirmed his exit but said there will be no formal announcement of the change.  Larsen previously served as chief investment officer during the Sam Zell/Randy Michael’s era.  It goes on to say that Larsen, who had no experience in the broadcasting field but was a financial analyst, was only put in the position overseeing the broadcasting division to watch over the finances as the company exited from bankruptcy.  Larry Wert serves as president of local broadcasting in the Tribune Broadcasting division.

gcn logoFinancial Talker Phil Grande Signs with Genesis Communications Network.  The move will allow Phil Grande to expand his “Phil’s Gang” program from the one-hour 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET live broadcast time to agrandephil new, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET time.  The new deal also includes the debut of a one-hour Saturday program airing from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm.  “Phil’s Gang” partner and CEO Marta Grande says, “This is an exciting opportunity to join the Genesis Communications Network.  Adding a strong network like Genesis is the perfect complement to our strong affiliate lineup.”  Grande says the program is displaying an expanding affiliate roster, thus indicating unprecedented growth, especially in the major markets.  This new partnership will add even more strength to the GCN affiliates, providing the best source of media for host Phil Grande to expand with his coined message of “I’m going to tell you what Wall Street doesn’t want you to know!”

wqzq logoCromwell Broadcasting Flips WQZQ, Nashville to Sports Using NBC Sports Radio and Content from WPRT-FM.  Cromwell Broadcasting’s WQZQ, Nashville drops the gospel format and goes sports on the AM 830 frequency using both NBC Sports Radio Network programming as well as the PM drive “Sports Night” show featuring George Plaster, Willy Daunic and Darren McFarland from  sister sports talker WPRT “102.5 The Game.”  The same format is also airing on translator W248BM, Murfreesboro on the 97.5 frequency.  Cromwell general manager Tincy Crouse states, “We are excited to be a part of the brand new 24/7 NBC Sports Radio family from the beginning and looking forward to adding another quality sports talk product into the Nashville market.”  The “Sports Night” program begins airing at 3:00 pm on WQZQ but not until 4:00 pm on WPRT due to the latter’s carriage of the Dave Ramsey program.

finneykarenMSNBC Continues to Add to Weekend Lineup.  MSNBC has already announced the move of talk media personality Ed Schultz from his nightly “Ed Show” to a new weekend program.  Now, the network adds a new show as a lead-in to Schultz’s show.  MSNBC gives political analyst, former Democratic National Committee spokesperson and Clinton White House staffer Karen Finney her own Saturday and Sunday 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm program.  Schultz’s new program will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  In a statement, MSNBC’s Phil Griffin says, “Karen’s rich background in both education policy and politics will add a unique point of view to our expanding live weekend programming.”

Odds & Sods.  WIBC-FM, Indianapolis talk personality Ed Wenck leaves the PM drive program on the Emmis news/talk station to enter the sales department at the cluster and sell for sports talker WFNI “The Fan.”…..CRC Media West’s KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California brings Marshall Gilbert aboard to host the daily “Business for Breakfast” program that airs from 8:00 am to 9:00 am.  Gilbert most recently served at crosstown KWNZ, Palm Springs…..Call letter changes take place at Clear Channel’s Raleigh cluster with news/talk “Rush Radio 106.1” giving up the WRDU calls to its classic rock clustermate at 100.7.  The news/talker takes the calls WTKK (most recently held by Greater Media’s former Boston talk station) and adopts the brand “More Stimulating Talk.”

North Korea Threats, ObamaCare Costs, Gun Legislation Issue, Illegal Immigration, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3).  The heightening threats against the U.S. by Kim Jong Un; the cost and effects of the Affordable Care Act; gun legislation proposals; the recent increase in illegal border crossings; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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