Tag: "David Santrella"

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

| January 6, 2021

Radio Programming Legend Tom Bigby Dies at 77. The programming mind that helped build some of the most successful radio stations in modern history has died at the age of 77 after several years of heart issues. Tom Bigby programmed a number of stations with heritage calls – WIFI, WNEW, KOST, and WXYT – but he’s best known for being the PD behind Philadelphia sports talker WIP. In noting his passing, a piece on the WIP website says, “Known for his at times contentious relationship with talent and his radio-ready voice, Bigby is the most well-known, well-respected, and most iconic PD in the history of WIP. His legacy will include many things, but from a WIP perspective, his belief that the Eagles were the biggest thing in town, and that the fans should be heard will be two of the most lasting for WIP. His ‘two-minute rule’ and ‘once during the week, and once on the weekends rule’ for callers will not be far behind.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison says, “Tom was a program director in the true sense of the title as it existed in radio’s most recent golden age. He understood just about every aspect of radio and applied that knowledge and experience to the well-balanced intersection of programming, sales, promotion, and technology that marked the great stations of that era and inspired them to value their air product above all else. He was also a quirky friend, formidable negotiator, and larger-than-life individual the likes of which make him a true industry legend.” At WIP, Bigby worked with Philadelphia talent that included Howard Eskin, Rhea Hughes, Angelo Cataldi, Glen Macnow, Tony Bruno, Jody MacDonald, and Mike Missanelli, to name a few. A number of these posted their thoughts about working for Tom Bigby at the WIP website. You can read them here. Bigby leaves behind his wife Phyllis, two children and four grandchildren.

Salem Media Group Unveils Podcast Platform. With the new year comes a new venture from Salem Media Group as it announces the formation of the Salem Podcast Network – what the company calls “a new entity focused on bringing conservative content to more listeners and viewers.” The network’s first podcast partner is author and documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, whose new podcast “Pardon Me!” will debut on January 11 across all podcast platforms, as well as SalemNow.com, YouTube, and Rumble. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “This is a natural extension of the Salem brand, which is already considered one of the strongest in conservative media. Salem will be producing more content with meaningful names on the conservative side, so look for more big announcements soon. The future for podcasting is unlimited, and our efforts will tightly focus on hosts who will contribute to our brand and to the message.” The company announces that WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” program director Marcus Brown is taking on the additional role of director of content strategy for the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Broadcast Division president David Santrella adds, “Salem’s brand of podcasting will remain consistent with what Salem is best known for — content that approaches the issues through a biblical worldview and a politically conservative lens. Podcast listeners will know that when they come to the Salem Podcast Network, they’ll find content that addresses the issues they care most about.”

WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence to Drop Andy Gresh Show. GoLocalProv.com tips us that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence and evening sports talk host Andy Gresh are unable to come to terms and Gresh will exit the station after his Friday evening program (1/8). Gresh tells the news site, “Basically, we have a business disagreement.” GoLocalProv.com reports that former Providence Journal sports reporter Kevin McNamara will host a one-hour program from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot will be filled a by a syndicated program.

WNYM, New York Adds Ben Shapiro for Afternoons. New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” announces it is adding the Westwood One syndicated “Ben Shapiro Show” to its daily lineup. Salem Media Group says the program will air at 5:00 pm (except on Wednesdays when it airs at 9:00 pm). Shapiro’s podcast will air evenings at 9:00 pm. To make room, the station moves the Kevin McCullough program to a 7:00 pm start. Additionally, WNYM is adding “Real Estate Today,” the official radio program of the National Association of Realtors hosted by Stephen Gasque, to its program schedule. It will follow “Eye on Real Estate” hosted by New York City real estate expert Dottie Herman. Salem Media Group vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “We’re always looking for ways to make our lineup stronger, and these changes will do just that. Shapiro is a rising young superstar on talk radio. The real estate show will give our listeners great information and content. Kevin McCullough will continue to do the great show we know and love.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WJFK-FM, Washington afternoon drive host Chad Dukes teases a new sports talk program that’s set to debut on Monday (1/11). Dukes was fired by Entercom in October for what the company called “racist comments” on the “Big O and Dukes” podcast. The new program appears to be a digital streaming venture. His website says of the new program, “The Chad Dukes Show is going to be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re a looking for a radio show from Chad Dukes. Discussion of movies, video games, food, booze, music, football, fighting and copious amounts of ball busting. You want politics? You want COVID discussion? You want middle relief pitching analysis? Look somewhere else.”…..WOBT-AM/W267AF, Rhinelander, Wisconsin flips from country to sports talk. The NRG Media station is airing the complete weekday lineup from iHeartMedia’s sports WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “The Game” – Steve Czaban, John Kuhn & Brian Butch, The Crossover, Drew & K.B. – as well as FOX Sports Radio content in evenings and on weekends…..iHeartMedia Cleveland is launching two initiatives that it believes will improve the bottom lines of local businesses in 2021. All this month, local Cleveland area small businesses are encouraged to register online for the opportunity to be featured in a $25,000 iHeartMedia marketing plan. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “Last year was brutal for small businesses in our community. We believe the significant reach of our media assets, combined with this meaningful marketing campaign, will be the difference maker for a local company here in Cleveland. There are 36% fewer local businesses operating in the area than this time last year, according to Crain’s Cleveland.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of on-air pro Connie Kellie of the “Connie & Fish Morning Show” on Townsquare Media’s hot AC WLHT, Grand Rapids “Mix 95.7.” Kellie died on January 4 after a brief battle with liver cancer. Her radio partner Fish Calloway says, “Over 25 years ago, this incredible, smart and strong woman allowed me the opportunity to be a part of her radio career. Our journey will not only be with those who were touched by her immense talent but engraved in my heart. Thank you, Connie, for this adventure. I look forward to the day we meet again.”

MIW Group Announces Applications Now Being Accepted for ‘Mildred Carter Mentoring Program.’ The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces that the application window for the 2021 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is open. MIW says its heritage annual mentoring initiative “connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting.” The program is being sponsored by vCreative for the second consecutive year. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2021 program. The deadline to apply is January 29. See mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply here.

Georgia Runoff Elections, Electoral Vote Count/DC Protests, Trump GA Secretary of State Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Jacob Blake Case, and China Blocks WHO Scientists Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). Tuesday’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; today’s Electoral College vote count in the Senate and the protests taking place in Washington, DC; the aftermath of Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking a reversal of his loss in that state; the spiking number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; prosecutors in Wisconsin reveal no charges will be filed against officer in shooting of Jacob Blake; and China blocks two WHO scientists investigating the origin of the coronavirus from entering the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

| December 10, 2020

Longtime KFGO, Fargo Personality Bob Harris in Coma Battling COVID-19. According to a story posted on KFGO, Fargo’s website, station personality Bob Harris is in a coma suffering from the effects of COVID-19 at a Fargo hospital where he’s been since Thanksgiving. The piece notes that Harris – who hosts the “Nighttime Live” show and the “Harris Happenings” podcast – went to the hospital after experiencing shortness of breath. Harris’ sister Jeanie Smith says Harris has suffered two cardiac arrest events, but doctors say the pneumonia he’d been suffering has improved and there’s no indication that he’s suffered a stroke or brain damage. She says if he does not regain consciousness soon, he will undergo an MRI.

Christmas Special Available from ‘Our American Stories.’ For news/talk stations seeking quality holiday programming, Lee Habeeb’s American Private Radio is offering a multiple-hour “Our American Stories Christmas Holiday Radio Special,” featuring “behind-the-stories of our most cherished traditions, plus some extra special stories designed to warm the hearts and spirits of listeners everywhere.” APR says that in addition to the Friday, December 25 two-hour special edition of “Our American Stories,” several extra hours will also be made available to stations looking to expand their holiday programming (via FTP download). No contracts required. If you’d like more information, email Affiliates@Oanetwork.org
or call 855-276-8020.

Salem Names David Cruz VP of New Latino-Targeted Salem Si. Broadcasting pro David Cruz is joining Salem Media Group as vice president of Salem Si – a new digital streaming platform scheduled to launch in January that’s focused on the nation’s Latino market. Cruz began his career with Spanish International Network, the predecessor to Univision. He worked in various news capacities with ABCCBS, and NBC television network stations and became anchor of the nation’s first syndicated, bilingual news talk program for CNN Spanish Radio and Radio Centro in Latin America. Most recently, Cruz served with iHeartMedia in Los Angeles hosting a talk show on news/talk KFI and KEIB and as director of corporate and community partnerships in emerging markets. Salem broadcast media president David Santrella says, “We are very excited that David and Salem have entered into this collaboration that promises to reach and serve the youngest and fastest growing audience demographic in the United States. The challenges presented by COVID-19 have only accelerated the shift in listening patterns by Latinos who are seeking timely, relevant, and accurate information live and on-demand. David’s extensive background as one of the country’s established and well-known Latino broadcast network journalists makes him the ideal person to lead this new digital initiative with Salem Media Group.”

Heritage Foundation Honors Rush Limbaugh with Award; Names Studio After Him. Conservative Washington, DC think tank The Heritage Foundation presented Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh with its inaugural “Titan of Conservatism Award” during the organization’s annual President’s Club Meeting. In addition, the Heritage Foundation will honor Limbaugh by naming its new, state-of-the-art studios the Rush Limbaugh Radio Studios “to ensure his legacy continues to shape future generations.” Heritage Foundation president Kay C. James states, “If there was a ‘Conservative Hall of Fame,’ Rush would no doubt be a first-ballot entry. From behind the golden EIB microphone, he inspired millions of Americans to cherish our God-given rights and freedoms and the country and Constitution that serve to protect them. Rush helped bring the conservative movement together three hours a day for a family meeting, he helped everyday Americans realize they were conservative, and he brought millions of new people into the conservative movement. The extraordinary reach of his #1-rated radio talk show has allowed him to attract listeners with his common sense, everyday-language explanations of why conservatism works and how every American benefits because of it. The conservative movement simply wouldn’t be where it is today without the venerable Rush Limbaugh.

Armstrong & Getty Add Affiliates in Alaska and Nebraska. The KSTE-AM, Sacramento-based talk radio show “Armstrong & Getty” – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – adds two new affiliate stations as Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska and KFQD, Anchorage, Alaska agree to add the program to their lineups. KFQD content director Joe Campbell says, “Too much of the dial is dedicated to hardline opinion and ‘picking a side.’ We’re chopping the audience up into too many camps. It shouldn’t be about left or right, but rather entertaining the listener. Joe and Jack are a couple of guys you just want to hang out and have a drink with. They’re capable of serious political discussion, but it’s always entertaining and genuine. Armstrong & Getty just get it. I’m excited to have them on-board at KFQD.” Armstrong & Getty comment, “We’re really grateful that Alpha has invited us to join the team. We’re not beltway pundits. We’re Middle-American guys with families who are just trying to bring a little perspective, honesty, and humor to the day’s events. We’re patriots more than we’re partisans.”

Cherry Creek Media and CreativeReady Announce Deal. The audio creative firm CreativeReady and Cherry Creek Media announce a new partnership that will allow all 50 Cherry Creek radio stations to use CreativeReady’s on-demand creative assets. Cherry Creek CEO Jonathan Brewster says, “CCM is always working to provide our markets with the tools needed to help clients thrive. The CreativeReady platform will really help us deliver outstanding creative strategies for clients and improve efficiencies within our stations.” CreativeReady founder and CEO Jamie Alpin comments, “We believe the key to a successful seller/client relationship is in developing longterm creative ad strategies. It’s about giving the client our very best and the Cherry Creek culture aligns with that mindset perfectly. They have an outstanding reputation for going above and beyond for their clients and we couldn’t be happier with this partnership.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Holiday Travel/Family Get-Togethers, Trump’s Fraud Claims, Feds & States Sue Facebook, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Hunter Biden Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The sharply rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S, the death toll, and the timetable for distributing vaccines; the warning from the CDC about traveling during the holidays and having large family get-togethers; Donald Trump’s continuing insistence on election fraud; the federal government and 48 states file anti-trust charges against Facebook; Joe Biden’s transition process; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax reporting from his overseas business endeavors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Grace Curley Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Rising millennial talk radio star, Grace Curley is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” At 28, this multi-media conservative commentator is already known to thousands of New England radio listeners, newspaper readers, and podcast fans for her solid presence and longtime media accomplishments in the six-state region. She has successfully served as executive producer and on-air co-host for the regionally syndicated “Howie Carr Show” since 2014. She is a weekly columnist for the Boston Herald writing about media, politics, and popular culture. She is also the producer for “Dirty Rats” – a highly successful true crime podcast hosted by Howie Carr. And now she’s ready to become a major news/talk radio host in her own right as the Howie Carr Radio Network will be launching her into regional and potentially national syndication beginning January 4, 2021 and they’ve already gained an important clearance on the legendary WRKO, Boston in the daily 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm timeslot which serves as lead-in to the mega-popular Howie Carr show. Having followed her growth as an evolving media figure over the years, Michael Harrison states, “This outstanding young woman dazzles with millennial energy and across-the-board charm!” Harrison and Curley discuss the strong and productive relationship that has developed between her and her mentor, Howie Carr. They also talk about what it’s like being a young, female conservative commentator in liberal Massachusetts as well as Curley’s observations about the nature of today’s rapidly maturing millennial demographic. Check it out and be prepared to meet a fresh, exciting new talk radio voice. 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. For classic rock stations seeking Christmas programming, Compass Media Networks is presenting the 25th annual “Uncle Joe’s Rockin’ Christmas Show.” The program is a four-hour show full of classic rock Christmas songs, exclusive artist interviews and stories. Contact Doug Ingold 310-242-8746 or at dingold@compassmedianetworks.com…..iHeartRadio Canada announces the first live international launch of “The Bobby Bones Show” on CIMX-FM, Windsor, Ontario “PURE COUNTRY 89” that also serves the Detroit market, effective December 14.

Monday, October 26, 2020

| October 26, 2020

Monday Memo: Listeners’ Mindset, Advertisers’ Message. Notwithstanding the president’s hope that “pandemic fatigue” will buoy his message that “we’ve turned the corner,” survey data presented at the NAB/New York virtual convention – now underway and available on-demand – describes how Americans really feel, and how our advertisers can relate. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke’s conference notes, and specific tips for improving results from endorsement spots. Read it here.

Pending Business: A Secret of Success. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in his column today, “Every dominant business understands how important it is to set a standard, stick to it, improve it, own it and infuse it into the culture of the organization. Does your radio station strive to set industry-leading sales standards? You don’t need the highest-rated radio station to set a standard for sales performance and service. You don’t need the highest rates, or the most revenue. You need commitment, and the relentless pursuit of setting and improving standard-setting performance.” Read more here.

Nexstar Media Group’s Operational Realignment Ups Sean Compton to President, Networks. On Thursday (10/22), Nexstar Media Group announced a combination of its two primary subsidiaries – Nexstar Digital LLC and Nexstar Broadcasting into a new subsidiary called Nexstar Inc. In this new alignment, Karen Brophy becomes president, digital; Timothy Busch is now president, broadcasting; and Sean Compton rises from executive vice president to president, networks in which he’ll oversee WGN America, Antenna TV, and WGN Radio. All three will answer to Nexstar Media Group president, COO and CFO Thomas Carter. He says, “The operational realignment we are announcing today will accelerate Nexstar’s growth by leveraging our leading local content and positioning the company to become an even more nimble and competitive organization, thereby creating new value for shareholders… We completed the highly accretive acquisition of Tribune Media a year ago and quickly and efficiently integrated their assets, resulting in first year operating synergies exceeding $185 million. At the same time, we converted the Tribune enterprise to Nexstar’s operating, sales and other protocols and successfully and cost-effectively launched ‘News Nation’ on WGN America. As a result, we are leveraging our industry leading scale, diversified business model and solid operating execution to deliver record 2020 financial results as we dynamically manage the business to offset the impacts of the pandemic, reduce leverage and return capital to shareholders through quarterly cash dividends and share repurchases. Our decision to reorganize the business’ operating structure at this time reflects our view that there remains tremendous upside to be realized by maximizing the value of our assets, content and strong consumer engagement with our digital properties.”

iHeartMedia Birmingham Launches ‘BIN 92.7.’ The Birmingham, Alabama market joins the growing number of iHeartMedia markets airing the BIN: Black Information Network format as the company unveils “BIN 92.7” on FM translator WW224CK, Vestavia Hills. The company says “BIN 92.7” will broadcast 24/7 national and local news focused on serving the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding. The station will feature top national on-air anchors and correspondents including award-winning broadcaster Ed Gordon and renowned journalist Roland Martin. Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is, of course, to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Birmingham and provide listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”

TALKERS News Notes. The FCC issues a Public Notice announcing the Access to Capital Working Group of its Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment and the FCC’s Media Bureau will co-host a virtual symposium titled “Path to Media Ownership and Sustainability” on November 6, 2020 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET.  The symposium will examine access to capital for small and diverse broadcasters.  The event will be convened virtually via WebEx and will be available to the public streaming via the Internet at www.fcc.gov/live. It will feature broadcasters and lenders discussing how to obtain financing for broadcast station transactions in today’s challenging financial circumstances, as well as experts discussing the history of the previous broadcast tax certificate policy and the potential for a new tax certificate policy to increase broadcast ownership diversity.  The symposium will also include presentations from Nielsen Global Media on ratings measurements for multi-ethnic broadcast stations, and a discussion of how small and diverse broadcasters can attract increased advertising revenue.  Finally, congressional staff members will provide updates on pending legislation intended to increase diverse media ownership…..Talk media personality Tom Donahue announces he has returned to Tom Donahue Reports to produce his program as a podcast in which he’ll no longer conform to a formatted show, thereby allowing him “greater versatility and creativity in producing audio content.” He continues to stream his show on Talk Stream Live. Also, Donahue is launching a commentaries service in the form of capsules made available to stations as one- or two-minute episodes. “America’s First News with Matt Ray” recently added the reports to his show twice weekly…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network syndicated talk radio personality Sebastian Gorka (center) with SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) and Breitbart Washington political editor Matt Boyle (right) at a celebration of Gorka’s birthday in Alexandria, Virginia. Among the guests were: Salem executives David Santrella and Phil Boyce; former White House press secretary (and Newsmax TV personality) Sean Spicer; WMAL-FM, Washington talk host Larry O’Connor; and KABC, Los Angeles radio and political commentator Joseph DiGenova.

New Orleans Talk Radio Pioneer Keith Rush Dead at 89. WWL-TV, New Orleans reports that Keith Rush, a conservative talk radio icon who worked in the market for 60 years, died last Thursday (10/22) at age 89. According to WWL-TV, Rush was best known for his talk radio program on WSMB-AM that aired during the 1970s and 1980s. Local politician Lawrence E. Chehardy is quoted in the piece saying of Rush’s program, “It was a great forum because you could go on and discuss the issues with him and take phone calls from listeners. It was a way for elected officials to be able to converse with their constituents, long before the days of social media.” Rush began his radio career in the mid 1950s as a disc jockey. He transitioned to talk in the 1970s.

The Presidential Election/‘60 Minutes’ Interviews, Early/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Pence Office Outbreak, Hunter Biden Emails Case, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, California Power Outages and Wildfire Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November 3 presidential election and Sunday night’s appearances by Donald Trump and Joe Biden on “60 Minutes”; reports of record numbers of early and mail-in votes; the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world and projections for the fall/winter seasons, as well as the outbreak among the staff of Vice President Mike Pence; the leaked emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop; allegations by conservatives that Twitter and Facebook are censoring their political messages; the confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; and the power outages in California as high winds threaten more wildfires 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 Phoenix, Entercom promotes Chris Hernandez to operations manager for the cluster. In this role, Hernandez will lead operations efforts for classic hits KOOL-FM, country KMLE-FM, and CHR KALV-FM “LIVE 101.5.” At the same time, the company ups Daniel Valentine to music director for “LIVE 101.5.” Entercom Phoenix SVP and market manager Dave Pugh says, “Chris Hernandez has consistently shown amazing drive that leads to substantial results and I’m confident in his ability to take our collection of stations to higher levels. Daniel Valentine has proven his extensive music expertise over the years and I’m looking forward to watching his career grow as he leads LIVE’s music operations. Both are veterans in our company, and I’m honored to elevate two hard working individuals.”…..The programming lineup for iHeartMedia’s “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio” is taking place on November 12. It will include Angela Yee, co-host of the morning show “The Breakfast Club,” and special guests exploring female entrepreneurship and the art of brand building as the modern-day self-CEO as part of the iHeartRadio Beautiful Possibilities presented by Ulta Beauty.  During the discussion, the panel participants will share their personal stories of success and explore how they rise above challenges to define their careers. The panel aims to uplift, inspire and pave the way for the next generation of Black women leaders and will be followed by a performance by singer and songwriter H.E.R. “Breakfast Club” co-host DJ Envy will emcee the iHeartRadio HBCU Homecoming Party on the Yard, presented by McDonald’s. The virtual event will include celebrity guest and McDonald’s owner/operator interviews, legendary HBCU Homecoming highlights, and several special surprise moments. The event will culminate with a performance from global superstar Khalid across all iHeartMedia hip hop and R&B stations…..Legendary Chicago jock Ron Britain, a.k.a. Ron Magel, has died in his hometown of Louisville at the age of 86. Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the career of the man who was known as King B on the radio. During his more than 50 year radio career, Britain worked at some 21 stations but achieved the peak of his fame at former CHR outlet WCFL-AM which he joined in 1965.

Friday, June 12, 2020

| June 12, 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.  The new episode titled “The Revolution is Being Televised!” looks back at this past week of June 8-12, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Sean Spicer, talk show host, NewsmaxTVLee Habeeb, producer / host, Our American Stories; Colin Cowherd, talk show host, FOX Sports Radio-Television; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of May PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and notes that a number of the news/talk stations whose weekly, 6+ AQH shares had risen dramatically in March and April because of listeners’ desire for news and information about the coronavirus pandemic started to fall during the May survey. Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin lost nine-tenths to finish May with a 5.5 share and the #3 rank in the market. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” relinquishes 1.4 shares to wrap the month with an 8.9 share and the #3 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM remains in the #1 spot even after dropping seven-tenths to finish with an 8.6 share. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville loses only one-tenth but drops to the #7 rank on the strength of a 5.3 share. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville loses three full shares but still finished the May sweep with a 10.4 share, good for the #2 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Kimberly & Beck Apologize for Racist Language. In a self-produced video, the former classic rock WAIO, Rochester morning show duo of Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck apologized for the language they used on their radio show that caused iHeartMedia to fire them on June 3. WROC-TV, Rochester has the story with a link to the video. You may recall that during a discussion about two local shop owners who were beaten by a group of black youths as they tried to protect their business during the violence and looting that evolved out of the George Floyd protests, Ray didn’t use the “N-word” but suggested the young men were acting “N-word-y.” In the video, the two offer their apology. Ray says, “We owe it to our listeners and to our amazing community to speak out. Both Beck and I have spent the last several days engaging in soulful reflection. We said hurtful, offensive things, but we are not racist. We do not have hate in our heart. We have only love for everyone.” Beck says, “We apologize, not to get our jobs back, but to say we are truly sorry and want to sincerely apologize. We will not attempt to make any excuses or explain what we said, because it was wrong, it was ignorant and inexcusable.” Ray adds, “We want our listeners and clients to know we are sorry. We let you down. We’re sorry we let Rochester down. Moving forward we want to grow, learn, and change from this experience. Our apology is sincere, and we wish we could turn back time.” Beck closes saying, “But we can’t. Once again, we have no hate in our heart, and we apologize. Thank you.”

Radio America to Syndicate Tony Katz’s ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ Indianapolis-based talk radio personality Tony Katz’s new weekend radio program “Eat! Drink! Smoke!” is going into national syndication via Radio America, beginning the weekend of June 27-28. Radio America will also distribute and sell the podcast. Radio America says, “The two-hour weekly program combines good times and good friends, stepping away from the madness of each week with reviews of fine cigars, excellent bourbon, and interesting food. Hosted by award-winning radio host, writer, and regular cable news presence Tony Katz with a wide array of guests sharing their thoughts with humor and expertise.” Katz says, “Being able to bring ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ to cities across the country is just sensational. We’re not trying to be the final word on cigars and bourbon; we’re sharing the word. Distillers are artists, and so are the cigar rollers and master blenders in the US and around the world.” Katz hosts “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and the syndicated Tony Katz show that airs live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm CT. Radio America COO Mike Paradiso says, “Tony is a phenomenal talent that knows how to connect with listeners and advertisers. Stations are going to love his knowledge of cigars and bourbon along with his conversational and humorous style.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a piece in the Los Angeles Times, some ViacomCBS employees are demanding that the company end its relationship with streaming channel aggregator Pluto TV because it partners with The First which streams the “Bill O’Reilly No Spin News” program and they say O’Reilly has “a well-documented history of making racist comments, denying the existence of systemic racism, undermining the efforts of Black protesters and insulting Black public figures.” ViacomCBS doesn’t plan to make any immediate changes, telling the Times, “Pluto TV, by design, is a service that makes available a wide variety of channels programmed by third parties, and we think it is critical to represent a diversity of viewpoints, even those we disagree with.”.…..The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of its Executive Committee Board of Directors. David Santrella, president of broadcast media, Salem Media Group, was re-elected Radio Board chair and Emily Barr, president and chief executive officer, Graham Media Group, was re-elected as NAB Television Board chair. Bill Wilson, chief executive officer of Townsquare Media, Inc., was elected as Radio Board first vice chair and John Zimmer, president and owner of Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri, Inc., was elected second vice chair. Alfred Liggins, chief executive officer, Urban One, Inc., was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee. The board elections took place at the NAB Board of Directors meeting, held virtually on June 9…..In the Joplin, Missouri market, Michael Day Landis-owned sports talk outlet WMBH “FOX Sports Joplin” moves the “Mic’d Up” show from Saturdays to weekdays, airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. KSNF-TV, Joplin reports the show, hosted by Matt Miller, Mello, and Austin Cunningham will cover everything from “Mizzou football to KU basketball… emphasize sports around the Four States while also providing coverage of the NFL and other professional leagues.”

Black Lives Matter Movement and Police De-Funding Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 8-12. The protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calls from protestors to de-fund police departments in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., health care concerns, and coronavirus statistics and projections. Coming in at #3 was the state of the U.S. economy – now officially in a recession – and the stock market activity, followed by the opening of America, sports leagues news, and the status of public events 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.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed New York Times best-selling conservative author David Horowitz available to discuss his new book BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and WIN (Humanix Books, 2020). There’s also an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The News-Gazette reports on the exit of morning personality Steve Holstein from Saga Communications’ country WIXY, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He’d been host of the “Holstein and Company Morning Show” for 24 years and was recently let go for financial reasons. Holstein tells the paper, “These are tough economic times, and media is not an easy field to be in at all. The pandemic has certainly not helped anyone, especially media. That was their decision, and I accept it. I’m grateful for 24 years.”…..iHeartMedia Providence’s rock WHJY is celebrating the 30th anniversary of “The Paul and Al Morning Show” with a special broadcast on July 15. The station says, “On-air veterans Paul and Al joined 94 HJY in the summer of 1990 and have been familiar, trusted voices to listeners around the Providence area ever since. Thirty years after its debut, ‘The Paul and Al Morning Show’ remains a top-rated morning show and ranks second in Rhode Island radio history for all-time in longevity for a morning show on the same station, playing a considerable role in the success of the station. Throughout their career, Paul and Al have been recognized for their on-air presence and were inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.” Station program director Doug Palmieri says, “I remember the day Paul and Al signed on as the new morning show hosts at 94 HJY, replacing iconic morning talent Carolyn Fox. They hit the ground running and never looked back, becoming a Southern New England institution. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them over much of their 30 years on 94 HJY and their humor, generosity, and dedication to listeners are truly inspiring. Thirty years in one place performing at the highest level in this industry ain’t no joke, and these guys are the best in the business.”…..Entercom’s adult contemporary KEZK-FM, St. Louis adds Premiere NetworksDelilah for evenings beginning on Monday (6/15)…..Police in Baltimore are investigating the death of jazz WEAA, Baltimore air personality Tyra Phillips, a.k.a. Tyra Phillips Womack, who was shot to death outside her home in northeast Baltimore on Wednesday evening (6/10). WJZ-TV, Baltimore reports the 57-year-old host of the Sunday afternoon show “Gospel Grace Afternoon” died after being shot several times during an argument. Police report having identified a person of interest.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

| June 20, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. As the Major League Baseball season moved into its second month of the season and NBA Playoffs were in full swing, 41% of sports talk stations on our panel were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the April PPM survey, led by Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco (+1.4), while 39% were down.  Comparing May 2018 to May 2019, 47% of sports talk stations were up, but 44% were down.  Just one station ranked #1 in its market – Entercom’s WFAN, New York accomplished that in the Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island) market.  See Kinosian’s entire report here.

iHeartMedia Commissioned Ipsos Study: Audio Interest at All-Time High; AM/FM Radio Reaches 85% of Consumers. This new study – conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by iHeartMedia – concludes that “consumer interest in audio is now at an all-time high, with listeners enjoying more audio content across a vast array of platforms including broadcast radio, digital streaming, podcasts, and smart speakers.  The in-depth multi-platform study explores daily audio usage and habits of Americans ranging from 13 to 64 years old and captures when, where, and how these various generations are consuming their favorite audio.”  The press release goes on to say that the study finds broadcast radio reaches 85% of consumers, “surpassing all other audio channels including social media (68%) and live television (56%).  The research also showed that radio has two times the daily listening of streaming services, reaching 69% of consumers compared to streaming music’s 34%.”  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Contrary to some misperceptions, it shows we are living in an audio-first world by drilling down a more granular overview of audio listenership and showing what a day-in-the-life of the average listener is like when it comes to media consumption.”  Regarding podcasting consumption, the study found that growth is strong among Millennials and Gen Z.  “iHeartMedia’s study further found that podcasts now represent almost 10% of audio listening among Millennials and that podcast listeners are also radio listeners, with 82% also listening to radio on a weekly basis.  The study, conducted in March 2019, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 6,016 consumers aged 13–64 who listen to more than one audio platform at least once a week.

Emmis Enters Podcast Space with Sound That BRANDS Backing. After a series of cash-raising downsizing moves (the recent sales of radio stations and much of its publishing assets), Emmis Communications is entering the podcasting space through funding for Los Angeles-based podcasting studio Sound That BRANDS. The firm specializes in branded audio content for national advertisers.  Sound That BRANDS CEO Dave Beasing says, “At Sound That BRANDS, our motto is ‘Be the content, not the interruption.’  With Emmis’ support, we’ll grow quickly, producing audio that is not only entertaining and informative, but builds brand loyalty.”  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “We’ve monitored the early stages of global brands telling audio stories through branded podcasts that dramatically enhances loyalty and preference.  Sound that BRANDS has already become a leader in branded podcasting and is uniquely positioned to work with marquee brands to build episodes that make you laugh, feel and think in a way that reinforces the brand.  Dave is a great audio storyteller, and we look forward to helping him accelerate Sound that BRANDS growth.”  The press release announcing the relationship also notes that Sound That BRANDS is “seeking motivated talent for several key roles, including VP/revenue and brand partnerships.” Former KPWR-FM, Los Angeles SVP/GM Val Maki is heading the search and those interested can learn more and apply at: SoundThatBRANDS.com.

Stan Bennett Rises to VP of Programming for Binnie Media. At Binnie Media – operator of stations in Maine and New Hampshire – Stan Bennett is promoted to vice president of programming for the company. Bennett – a 25-year company veteran – has been serving as director of programming for the company’s Maine stations and as morning drive co-host at classic hits WFNK, Lewiston, Maine. Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati says, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stan the past few years.  His passion and commitment to our stations, team, audiences, and clients is unmatched.”

Salem Atlanta’s Moran to Retire. After 15 years with Salem Media Group – most recently as vice president and general manager for the company’s Atlanta operations – Mike Moran is retiring at the end of July.  Moran also served as regional VP for Salem’s Cleveland, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa markets.  SMG says Val Carolin will take over the Atlanta VP/GM position, moving in from the company’s Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina operations.  Salem’s president of radio David Santrella states, “Mike has been an important part of Salem’s leadership team and we wish him well as he moves into retirement.  We are pleased with the depth of leadership within our company, which allows us to quickly fill his role and provide the opportunity for others to advance within Salem Media Group.”

Hofstra University’s WRHU Interviews Talk Media Stars at TALKERS Convention.  TALKERS recruited a video team from Long Island-based Hofstra University’s multi-award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org to record select one-on-one conversations with a variety of the talk media stars from both sides of the microphone who were in attendance at the recent Talkers 2019: Telling the Story convention in New York City (6/7).  TALKERS founder (and Hofstra alumnus) Michael Harrison, a charter inductee in the Hofstra Radio Hall of Fame and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the widely recognized accomplishments being made by Hofstra in the field of radio and communications.  It is one of the preeminent schools in the nation in this arena and the number of outstanding professionals that it continues to produce is nothing short of remarkable.”  The Hofstra videos will be posted to Talkers.com next week along with the beginning of daily, updated video overage of the convention’s key sessions and presentations recorded by the industry’s legendary videographer Art Vuolo.  Pictured above (l-r) are: Key Networks commentator Bill O’ Reilly being interviewed by WRHU’s Eliorah Finkelson and Jon Sanelli at the TALKERS convention.

PodcastOne and WTOP’s 22 Hours: An American Nightmare Tops 2.3 Million Downloads. Officials at PodcastOne and Hubbard Radio are thrilled to be promoting the fact that their new, true-crime podcast series, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” has accrued more than 2.3 million downloads since its June 10 debut. The series is being produced by WTOP-FM, Washington and investigates the murders of DC power couple Amy and Savvas Savopoulos, and their son and housekeeper in their DC mansion in 2015.  On the Apple podcast charts, the program has maintained its #3 ranking for all categories and #1 in-category ranking with episode two, as well.   PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We’re no strangers to the category, with successful podcasts like ‘Cold Case Files,’ ‘Murder Made Me Famous,’ ‘Serial Killer,’ ‘First Degree’ and ‘We’re Alive.’  But this is our initial foray into original, owned-and-distributed content, complete with derivative rights.  We’ve planned this move very carefully and will follow up with great content and second-to-none marketing resources.  This is just the beginning.  To my knowledge, we’re the only podcast network producer and distributor with programming representing every category on Apple Podcasts.  Congrats to our great production partners at WTOP and Hubbard Broadcasting.  Our four-year-old partnership continues to pay big dividends.”

WOR Examines the Changing Face of News Coverage. At the recent “WOR Live” event held yesterday afternoon (6/19) at The Cutting Room in New York City, WOR morning drive co-host Len Berman moderated a discussion about how news coverage is changing due to technology and socio-political forces.  Pictured above at the event are (from l-r): WOR assistant program director Scott Lakefield, Berman, WNYW-TV “FOX 5” anchors Rosanna Scotto and Ernie Anastos, and WOR program director Tom Cuddy.

ABC Radio Offers Affiliates 4th of July Programming. News/talk stations affiliated with ABC Radio can air the 4th of July special titled, “Cherished America,” hosted by ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky that takes listeners to national monuments, national parks, and places both familiar and obscure on the National Register of Historic Places.  The special examines why each place is important to the country and how each shapes and defines it.  ABC Radio is also offering “Red, White and Rock 2019,” hosted by rock legend George Thorogood to rock stations and “Homemade Hometown Salute,” hosted by country star Jake Owen, to country affiliates.  All shows are three hours in length.

Westwood One News Offers ‘The Lunar Conquest’ for 4th of July Special. Ahead of the July 20 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, Westwood One News is presenting a 4th of July weekend special titled, “The Lunar Conquest,” and hosted by correspondent Michael Toscano.  The program, available to affiliate stations, salutes this historic event with archived audio clips, news reports, and interviews.  WWO says, “The lunar landing was one of the most challenging endeavors ever launched. With millions of people glued to their tiny TVs, Neil Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin bounded across the eerie landscape for more than two hours.”

Trump Campaign Rally/2020 Presidential Race, Iran Downs U.S. Drone, Hicks Testimony, Reparations Hearing, Southern Border Crisis, and Nxivm Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19). Tuesday’s Orlando rally to kick off President Trump’s 2020 campaign and the Democrats competing for their party’s nomination; Iran shoots down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz; former Trump aide Hope Hicks refuses to talk about her White House tenure in closed-door testimony; the slavery reparations hearing before a House Judiciary subcommittee; the illegal immigrant status at the Southern border and President Trump’s statement ICE will deport millions; and the conviction of Nxivm founder Keith Raniere on racketeering and sex trafficking charges 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. In Atlanta, programmer Ron Roberts announces he’s left his position as program director of Entercom’s hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1.”  Roberts has been with the station since last August and arrived there after serving with iHeartMedia at CHR WWXM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Mix 97.7.”

Thursday, April 4, 2019

| April 4, 2019

Bob Pittman Talks Audio with NBC News. Saying that “audio is hot for the first time in decades,” iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman talks up the audio entertainment industry with NBC News’ Claire Atkinson.  In the piece, Pittman says, “There are two parts to the audio sector.  There’s radio and a music collection, both have done well over the years.  The music collection side of the equation has been impacted by technology and it has transformed it. Spotify is really winning the music collection side of things.  Radio is also benefiting from the technology revolution.  It’s added more and more ways to listen to the radio on hundreds of new platforms and thousands of new devices, from smart speakers to smart TVs and game players. iHeart is leading the radio side of things.”  iHeartMedia is expected to emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization soon.  The company has reduced its debt from close to $20 billion to $5.75 billion.  It is also preparing to do an IPO for Class A common shares.

Aaron Mason Joins Gee Scott on ‘KIRO Nights.’ Air-personality and podcast producer Aaron Mason (right) joins Gee Scott (left) as co-host of “KIRO Nights” on Bonneville’s Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM.  Mason has been serving with the station as a fill-in host and podcast producer, working on KIRO’s “Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle.”  Mason fills the role left open by the departure of Zak Burns last fall.

Cohen Promoted at Salem Media Group. Rising from vice president of local digital to vice president of broadcast digital with Salem Media Group is Jamie Cohen.  He joined Salem Media Group in January of 2018 after serving with Gannett’s USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times owner Wrapports, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Cohen says, “I’m honored to be able to continue contributing to Salem’s expansion into greater levels of digital content strategy.  With the launch of Salem Surround, we have really taken tremendous strides in strengthening our digital strategies as a company and I’m excited to help expand even further.”  SMG president of broadcast media David Santrella says, “In the 15 months Jamie has worked for Salem building our digital sales model, he has proven to have a depth of understanding that goes far beyond sales.  I am confident that we will see our digital efforts in the broadcast division grow and thrive under Jamie’s leadership.”

TALKERS News Notes. Oklahoma sports talk radio pioneer Al Eschbach is being inducted into the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame tomorrow at the OAB’s annual convention in Oklahoma City.  The OAB notes that Eschbach began his broadcasting career at KTOK, Oklahoma as sports director in 1976.   In 1985, he moved across town to WWLS-AM – the station that would become sports talk “The Sports Animal.”  Eschbach is still with Cumulus’ WWLS-FM “The Sports Animal” and appears on the air as part of the “Dominant Duo Show” with Jim Traber and also as part of the “Total Dominance Hour” at 5:00 pm daily with Jim Traber, Berry Tramel, and Dean Blevins.  Cumulus Oklahoma City VP and market manager Jay Davis says, “Al Eschbach is a true sports radio pioneer and has been the cornerstone of WWLS from the very beginning.  We are proud and honored to work alongside this Hall of Famer.”…..The host gig for the Sunday morning baseball show “Hit & Run” at Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “The Score” goes to current staffer Matt Spiegel.  He’ll work the show with a rotating cast of co-hosts.  The slot opened when the station and Daily Herald sports columnist Barry Rozner did not come to terms on a contract renewal. Spiegel hosted middays at “The Score” until last year.  He remains a columnist for 670TheScore.com and co-host of the Saturday morning “Inside the Clubhouse” show alongside Bruce Levine…..Podcast producer Cadence13 partners with veterans advocate Paul Rieckhoff – author of Chasing Ghosts– to create the new “Angry Americans” podcast hosted by Rieckhoff.  In the program, the Iraq War veteran “explores the most important issues facing our country with a wide range of influential and compelling guests from Capitol Hill to Hollywood to Silicon Valley.”

Townsquare Media Stations Hit with Ransomware Attack. Officials from Townsquare Media’s corporate office have not made an official public statement about the ransomware attacks, but numerous reports in consumer media outlets indicate that the company suffered from the attacks that began on Monday, leaving several clusters without control of their computer systems, at least for a period Townsquare clusters in Shreveport, Louisiana; Boise, Idaho; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire were impacted by the attack.  Ransomware is designed to lock users out of their computers until they pay a ransom to regain control.  News/talk KEEL-AM/K269GO, Shreveport posted on its website: “Townsquare’s engineers and ITs, both local and corporate, continue to work on restoring the operating system to working order, though no time for a return to normal operation is known.  In the meantime, listeners’ patience for things out-of-the-ordinary is greatly appreciated and, hopefully, the interruptions in regular programming will be too small to notice.”

Katz Media Group Raises More Than $45k for Broadcasters Foundation of America. Media sales organization Katz Media Group announces its recently completed 10th annual companywide membership drive raised more than $45,000 for the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  Over the decade Katz has been raising funds for the BFoA it has brought in more than $350,000.  Led by Mark Gray, chief executive officer of Katz Media Group; Christine Travaglini, president of Katz Radio Group; and Leo MacCourtney, president of Katz Television Group — all money raised during the annual two-week campaign goes toward the Stu Olds Memorial Fund that commemorates Katz’s former CEO and supports the foundation’s mission to provide financial support to radio and television professionals in acute need. Last year, the Broadcasters Foundation gave out a record amount of grants to broadcasters for necessities ranging from medical care to everyday essentials. This includes one-time emergency grants given to victims of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires.  Mark Gray says, “It’s an honor to continue Stu’s legacy and give back to our incredible industry.  As a board member, I have seen firsthand all the good the foundation does.  I’m incredibly proud and appreciative of the continued generosity of the Katz team to support the Foundation, and give to colleagues in need.”

Trump Tax Returns Issue, Joe Biden Allegations, Mueller Report Aftermath, U.S.-Mexico Border Issues, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, NCAA Final Four, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3). The House Ways and Means chairman officially files request for President Trump’s tax returns; the inappropriate touching allegations against Joe Biden; the aftermath of the Mueller Report completion; the border wall and migrant  problems at the U.S.-Mexico border; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the NCAA Final Four; and NBA and MLB 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. Programming pro Taylor Jukes is named program director for iHeartMedia’s CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100.”  Jukes was most recently senior manager of national content for iHeartRadio Canada.  iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Rob Miller says, “Taylor is a passionate leader who has programmed multiple successful brands in Canada.  Her fresh perspective on collaborating with talent and innovative social media strategies, paired with strong relationships with artists and our label partners will reinforce the dominant position we have at ‘Y100.’  I am excited for Taylor and me to make history together in Miami!”…..Sun Broadcast Group adds of “The Weekend Throwdown with Jagger” to its 2019 offerings.  The four-hour weekly show is hosted by current iHeartMedia programmer (WKSS, Hartford and WKCI, New Haven) and former WKTU, New York night jock Jagger.  He says, “I’m excited to join the team at Sun Broadcast Group!  Jay Bailey has a great vision and the future is bright.  Plus, we are thrilled to have [VP programming and affiliate relations] Rich O’ Brien back on our team.  We look forward to taking ‘The Weekend Throwdown with Jagger’ to the next level!”

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

| March 27, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  The period between the end of the NFL season and the start of the MLB season usually means a dip in ratings for sports talk radio stations and this year is no different as 73% of sports talkers see a decrease in their weekly 6+ AQH share from the January 2019 survey to the February 2019 PPM survey.  Comparing last February to this, about half of the sports talk stations on our panel are up with the other half down or unchanged.  Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” was the highest-ranking station (6+) during the February survey, finishing the month at #3 in the Boston market with a 6.4 share.  Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 FM The Fan” is the sports station with the highest 6+ share in February with a 6.5.  See all the data here.

Mike Gallagher and Salem Radio Network Renew Through 2023. Talk radio pro Mike Gallagher and Salem Radio Network will continue to work together through 2023 as Salem announces the company and Gallagher have agreed to a new contract.  Gallagher’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET show is heard on more than 420 affiliate stations via SRN.  Salem SVP Phil Boyce says, “We are honored to have had Mike Gallagher in our Salem family for over two decades and thrilled to continue our long and fruitful relationship with him.  Mike’s thoughtful and expert commentary is exactly what America needs in these turbulent times we live in, and it’s no wonder he is Salem’s highest-rated program.”  Gallagher comments, “Every broadcaster should be lucky enough to work for Salem Media Group.  I’ve worked hard and they’ve rewarded me with a partnership that will have spanned at least 22 years, a rarity in our business.  I’m so grateful to Ed Atsinger, Dave Santrella, and Phil Boyce for their support and visionary leadership.  And I will always appreciate Greg Anderson, who has since retired, for believing in me back in 2001 and bringing me into the Salem family.”

Jason Page Joins iHub Radio in Palm Springs. As the Palm Springs locally focused internet radio station iHub Radio approaches its first birthday, it announces that sports talk personality Jason Page is taking over the afternoon drive program, effective April 1.  Page has served with NBC Sports Radio, ESPN, and SiriusXM.  iHub Radio was founded by programmer John McMullen who asked Page to help with coverage of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.  McMullen says, “Jason brought his A-game for the entirety of his stay in February and March.  After two weeks of upsets on the tennis courts, I felt that the timing was right on our final broadcast from Indian Wells to wrap up with a positive surprise. We offered Jason a full-time opportunity to not only take our 3 to 6 pm weekday slot, but to join our management team and put his vision in play for social media and other multimedia opportunities that are likely to involve expanding some of our local talent beyond the iHub Radio platform and local market.” In addition to hosting afternoons, Page will be director of multimedia platforms for the media outlet.  McMullen is giving up hosting the afternoon show to focus on management responsibilities. McMullen says iHub Radio is hyper-focused on its local connection to a marketplace rather than proactively seeking a national or global audience.  He adds that as the platform nears its first anniversary and continues to increase its weekly unique audience numbers that rival the terrestrial competition and double the time spent listening of most traditional talk stations, the company will enter its second year with an eye towards creating a handful of programming products that could ultimately be part of the terrestrial radio landscape by 2020.

Cox Media Group: Study Shows Our Customers Are ‘More Satisfied.’ The results of a three-year study designed to measure advertiser expectations and perceptions of traditional and digital advertising at CMG indicates CMG customers rate many CMG advertising solutions at least two to three-times higher than non-CMG advertisers rate similar competitor services on return on investment.  The survey of more than 450 businesses – including CMG customers and non-CMG customers – was done by research firm Magid. The advertising solutions include programmatic advertising, digital video, native, and traditional media.  Cox Media Group EVP of content, digital strategy, technology, and research Marian Pittman says, “This is part of the culture and commitment at Cox Media Group.  Our entire team is focused on driving results for our advertisers, providing innovative solutions and being a true partner for our clients.  We have a relentless focus on tracking, monitoring and optimizing every advertisers’ campaign.  The results of the survey show our clients agree.”

Westwood One’s 2019 Audioscape Report Highlights Podcasting and Smart Speaker Data. The company says this report examines the podcast and smart speaker consumer, listener, and user trends, podcast consumption among smart speaker users, and marketer and agency sentiment for advertising in podcasts and smart speaker environments.  Westwood One reveals some of what it calls the key findings on podcasting and smart speakers: 1) The podcast audience is maturing with the median age advancing from 29 in 2017 to 35 in 2018.  However, 2) podcast listeners are far more engaged and one-and-a-half times more attentive than social media audiences.  3) Smart speaker ownership has tripled in two years with 23% of U.S. households owning a smart speaker, and 4) GenXers – adults between the ages of 35 and 54 – represent the largest segment of smart speaker owners (38%). See more here.

TALKERS News Notes.  WIBC-FM, Indianapolis-based, independently syndicated talk host Tony Katz adds Emmis Communications’ KLBJ-AM, Austin to his roster of affiliate stations for his “Tony Katz Today” program, effective April 15. Katz hosts the “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on WIBC-FM and his “Tony Katz Today” talk show airs live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.  KLBJ-AM program director Mark Caesar says, “We are very excited about Tony Katz joining the NewsRadio KLBJ lineup.  Tony is a great guy who knows how to blend his excellent sense of humor with his strong insight on the day’s biggest stories.”…..MSG Networks and ESPN O&O WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” announce a new multi-year agreement that ensures the station continues to serve as the radio home of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.   WEPN has served in this role since 2004.  “ESPN New York” vice president and general manager Tim McCarthy says, “We are proud to continue our 15-year relationship with the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.  As ‘98.7 ESPN’ continues to expand our listener base, the Knicks and Rangers serve as an integral component of our programming lineup.”…..Bonneville International’s sports talk KMVP-FM, Phoenix “Arizona Sports” inks a deal to serve as the radio and digital home for the Phoenix Rising FC for the 2019 season.  As part of the deal, “Arizona Sports” will stream all Phoenix Rising FC games live on ArizonaSports.com as well as air three Phoenix Rising FC games on sister KTAR-AM “ESPN 620,” beginning in June.  The partnership will also include a dedicated page of Rising coverage on ArizonaSports.com along with a weekly podcast hosted by Kellan Olson.

Mueller Investigation Aftermath, Obamacare Battle, Jussie Smollett Case, Green New Deal Vote, Israel-Gaza Tensions, Brexit Redux, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).The aftermath of Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation; the battle between the Trump administration and Democrats over the status of the Affordable Care Act; the Illinois state prosecutor’s decision not to charge actor Jussie Smollett; the U.S. Senate vote on the Green New Deal; the tensions in Israel over the missile strike from the Gaza Strip; the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit status; and NBA action and the NCAA Tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Charese Fruge is no longer with Radio One as the CHR format captain and program director for CHR outlets KROI, Houston and WNOW, Indianapolis.  Fruge had previously served with the old CBS RADIO in Houston as vice president of programming and operations manager as well as PD for KHMX and KKHH…..On-air personality Amber “Alabama” Cole is the new morning show contributor for iHeartMedia’s CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 Kiss FM.”  She exited the company’s Chicago country outlet WEBG “Big 95.5” where she was midday host back in December…..Griffin Communications announces that country recording artist Joe Diffie is joining the KXBL, Tulsa “Big Country 99.5” air staff, hosting the midday show.  Diffie is based in Nashville and will voice track the program, even when he’s on the road this summer.  Station program director Brian Jennings says, “Joe’s music is a reflection of the dominance of Oklahoma artists that have become part of the country music soundtrack across the nation. And ‘Big Country’ is the only station in Tulsa that is positioned to properly celebrate that legacy.  Think about the influence that Oklahoma music has on the nation: Joe Diffie, Reba,Garth, Vince Gill, Toby Keith, Ronnie Dunn, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood…shall I go on? Having Joe on as part of the team brings Tulsa pride to his national status.  I am so proud.”

Monday, November 17, 2014

| November 17, 2014

srnlogoSalem Announces Corporate Structure Changes.  With the retirement of Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson at the end of this year, Salem Communications announces some corporate changes that begin with its consolidating the radio and network divisions into one.  Dave Santrella moves from president of the Radio Division to president of Broadcast Media, adding to his radio division santrelladavidresponsibilities the oversight of the Salem Radio Network, SMR/VMR Rep Firm, and a variety of digital assets.  Phil Boyce, currently VP, director spoken word formats is promoted to SVP, Salem Radio Network and spoken word formats.  In this new role, Boyce will be in charge of all program and revenue aspects of Salem’s news and news/talk networks including its five network talk hosts, the Janet Mefford show, and SRN News.  Boyce will continue to work with other aspects of Salem’s spoken word formats, most boycephilnotably as a program consultant for national ministries.  Boyce will continue to oversee Salem’s New York operations as well.  Santrella says of Boyce, “Phil has proven to be a tremendous and versatile leader.  He’s been an enormous help to our national ministries and an invaluable consultant to our talk network.  Putting Phil over our news and news talk network puts him in his sweet spot and I am thrilled to have him steering this important aspect of our broadcast business.”  Other radio division changes include: Allen Power and Linnae Young taking on new roles as senior vice presidents dividing up the oversight of other operational vice presidents, as well as departmental managers in ministry relations, digital and business-formatted radio properties.  Terry Fahy is promoted to an operational vice president role overseeing most of the company’s stations west of Phoenix.  Other operational vice presidents including Brian Taylor, John Peroyea, David Ruleman and Mike Moran, all pick up additional station responsibilities.  On the network side, Mike Reed and Mike Miller are promoted to senior vice presidents as well, with Reed taking on additional responsibilities in the Dallas office’s network operations and Miller expanding his role in the network’s music space.

kfxr logoiHeartMedia Tweaks Talk Programming on New KFXR, Dallas.  The Dallas-market talk station KFXR is dropping the “DFW 1190” brand and is going with “Talk Radio 1190” as it moves away from the business talk and brokered programming to air other iHeartMedia content on the signal.  So far, the new programming schedule will include the Russ Martin show from sister rocker KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” from 7:00 am to 11:00 am (a rerun of the previous afternoon’s program); KTRH, Houston-based Michael Berry for the 5:00 am hour and from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and KPRC, Houston-based Matt Patrick from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

goodmanforrestForrest Goodman Named Host at ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ in Memphis.  Well-known Memphis radio personality Forrest Goodman is the new morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s WKIM, Memphis “Newstalk FM 98.9.”  Goodman is working alongside Steve Butler on the program.  Goodman is working in his 16th season on the radio broadcasts of Memphis Tigers football and basketball play-by-play broadcasts.  He has worked in the market as program director at crosstown WREC and was a talk host on the station, as well.  Cumulus Media corporate program director, news talk Randall Bloomquist states, “Forrest Goodman is a gifted broadcaster and a fixture on the Memphis radio and sports scenes.  Adding him to the ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ roster is a real coup and bolsters the station’s position as the voice of Memphis.”  Goodman adds, “I’m so pleased to be back on the air.  This is my home and ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ has great talent.  I get a chance to work again with Ben Ferguson and Andrew Clarksenior, two guys I have worked with before who are real pros.”

chasetomChase Named Ruby Radio’s VP/Programming.  After a 22-year gig programming iHeartMedia’s Las Vegas adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5,” Tom Chase becomes Ruby Radio‘s vice president of programming.  Ruby Radio president and chief executive officer Ken Sutherland comments, “We have worked together three times in the past and Tom Chase is an outstanding programmer.  I have a very high regard for his skills – both as a solid strategic and operational program director – and as a strong department manager.”  Chase remarks that he likes “the texture and presentation” of the Ruby-owned stations. “I grew up in a small community in Idaho, so I can relate to the size of these towns.  Ruby Radio has found ways to make these stations sound like they are in much bigger markets, without sacrificing the ‘home town feel’ of community involvement that you need for success.”  Chase will oversee Elko, Nevada hot AC KHIX “Mix 96.7”; KBGZ “Big Country 103.9”; and talk KZBI, as well as Winnemucca, Nevada hot AC KHYX “Mix 102.7” and K232BK “Big Country 94.3.” He begins his new duties next month.

Odds & Sods.  A partnership between Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago  and the hyperlocal site DNAInfo.com means WGN listeners will hear the neighborhood news organization’s reports twice daily – during the 8:00 am hour and the 3:00 pm hour – delivered by DNAInfo’s Jon Hansen.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports WGN vice president ofboruchovjulie content and programming Todd Manley says, “I’m a huge fan of what they’re doing at DNAinfo, and I’m thrilled about our agreement.”…..With the departure of Howie Carr from WRKO to crosstown “WMEX 1510 Boston” after his contract expired last week, Entercom is filling the afternoon drive slot with talk radio pro Mike Siegel in the interim…..Julie Boruchov is promoted to vice president, sports sales and marketing, East Coast for Westwood One‘s network sales division.  She has been serving as director, sports sales, East Coast.

bullmichaelCREShow‘Commercial Real Estate Show’ Expands to 40 Stations.  The Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” hosted by Michael Bull (pictured here) is now heard on 40 stations across the country.  The program debuted on WAFS, Atlanta four years ago and has grown to its current affiliate roster.  Bull says that the program “provides investors, and corporate and institutional investors, advisors and occupiers of commercial real estate, a source for valuable information and best practices. The forecasts, sector updates and market intelligence intrigue a vast audience of people looking for ideas, advice and fresh talk radio content.”  A press statement from the program notes that “one of the factors adding listener interest is the relative ease someone can now invest in commercial real estate through crowd funding.  For just over a year now, the Jobs Act has allowed sponsors of real estate investments to advertise for investors.  Through a growing number of real estate crowd funding websites, accredited investors can easily invest small amounts of money in large commercial real estate deals.”  The syndicated program is a weekly one-hour show.

smithgordonGordon Smith to Receive 2015 Golden Mike Award.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America is announcing NAB president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will be honored with the 2015 Golden Mike Award at the organization’s black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 23.  BFoA chairman Philip Lombardo says, “Gordon’s accomplishments for broadcasters are widely recognized across our profession.  But perhaps many are not aware of Gordon’s tireless efforts on behalf of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help our colleagues in need.  Gordon’s influence has raised awareness of the Foundation’s charitable mission, and his commitment to helping those in our business who need it most has been admirable.   We are honored to have Gordon on our Board and to recognize his dedication to our purpose with the 2015 Golden Mike Award.”

silversphilfraserLike Mother, Like Daughter.  The Los Angeles Times reports that Shout! Factory is releasing all 142 episodes of the original classic television sitcom “The Phil Silvers Show” (originally titled, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” and known to fans as “Sgt. Bilko”) on DVD.  The series ran on the CBS Television Network between 1955 and 1959.  The multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom, set at a fictionalmcdonaldmeg army post in Kansas, cast Silvers as Master Sgt. Ernie Bilko, who happened to be the post’s ace con man.  Bilko’s love interest in the story (shown in the photo at left with Silvers) is a character named Sgt. Joan Hogan portrayed by the beautiful actress Elisabeth Fraser.  If the late female star looks somewhat familiar to those of you who follow talk radio it is because her daughter Meg McDonald (right) of the syndicated GCN talk show team Brent & Meg is clearly a chip off the old block.  Brent & Meg air daily between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm ET and were recently cleared at Townsquare Media’s WPGG, Atlantic City.

Friday, June 27, 2014

| June 27, 2014

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth to Host Late Morning Show on Newsmax TV.  One of the new programs on the Newsmax TV channel that is launching on both DirecTV and DISH Network is called “America’s Forum” with former U.S. Congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth.  The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and begins during the network’s soft launch this summer before the hard launch this fall.newsmaxtv logo  Hayworth, who has hosted a regular show in his home market on news/talk KFYI, Phoenix during his talk radio career, says he’s excited about engaging and serving the expanding audience on Newsmax TV.  Newsmax Media founder and CEO Chris Ruddy says, “J.D. Hayworth is a smart, informed, and passionate host who is not afraid to speak his mind, and as a result we expect him to be one of our most watched and discussed personalities.  With his experience in Washington, DC, we believe he can give our viewers unique insight into how Washington works.”

kasemtesimonyLegislation Inspired by Casey Kasem Ordeal Passes Legislative Hurdle.  A bill making its way through the California legislative process that would give adult children reasonable access to an ailing parent cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee hurdle on a 6-0 vote.  The bill was inspired by the Casey Kasem family’s well-documented situation.  The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and it would protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child.  Since introducing the legislation in January, Assemblyman Gatto has been contacted by hundreds of people who have been denied access to their ailing parents, and has been working closely with several of them, including radio and television personality Kerri Kasem (pictured here during testimony earlier this week).  Recently, Kasem spoke publicly for the first time since her father’s passing last week.  She shared her struggle to obtain even basic visitation rights during Casey’s final hours.  She also emphasized that her story is not unique to celebrities, a point underscored when she presented a stack of letters representing a small sample of the thousands of letters she has received from folks across the country with similar stories of heartache.  View that video here.  Kasem said, “I saw my father every single week, talked to him every day, until he lost his voice, every day on the phone, and we were cut off for no reason last July.  If this bill had been in place, my dad would still be alive today.”  Former radio industry pro, attorney, and district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto, Jason Insalaco, played an important role in crafting this bill.  Insalaco has worked at numerous Southern California radio outlets – including former hot talk KLSX and news/talk KFI – during his career.

mcneildanStatus of WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Uncertain.  From Chicago media writer Robert Feder, sports talk personality Dan McNeil has been off the air at CBS RADIO’s WSCR as he’s in contract negotiations and guest hosts have been filling in with 9:00 am to 1:00 pm co-host Matt Spiegel.  Feder reports that McNeil, who’s had his share of personal issues – dealing with substance abuse and depression – makes about $300,000 and is seeking in the neighborhood of $500,000 in his new contract.  Feder also reports McNeil has made no secret of the fact he’d like to be in afternoon drive, not middays.  Read Feder’s entire story here.

didingerrayCBS Radio Philly in Done-Deal with Didinger.  Among facets of the just-signed pact with CBS Radio-owned Philadelphia sports outlet WIP-FM, Saturday’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm “Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow Show” will be expanded to include a Sunday version.  WIP operations manager Andy Bloom declares, “Ray is one of the most respected and revered authorities in Philly sports.  Our simple goal was to ensure Ray spends his entire radio career playing for one team, CBS Radio Philadelphia.  We think with this agreement we have accomplished that goal.”  Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Didinger is “very happy” to continue his relationship with WIP.  “I am delighted that I will now be able to partner with my good friend Glen Macnow on Sundays, as well as Saturday.  With the level of interest in the Eagles this season, we will have plenty to talk about.”  Didinger will do commentary on all-news sibling KYW, and each Friday during the football season, he will appear with (CBS Radio Philadelphia talk outlet) WPHT morning driver Chris Stigall.

mackgrahamBritish Broadcaster Graham Mack Produces Outstanding Audio Podcast Depicting His Experience at Talkers New York 2014.  Internationally known, award-winning broadcaster Graham Mack attended the recent Talkers New York 2014 conference (6/20) and compiled an array of on-the-scene audio interviews with its participants into a Radio Academy podcast (28:42) that has already drawn positive attention around the world.  In addition to his highly decorated special programs which have been heard on some of the most prestigious networks in the world including the BBC, Mack is the program director and morning show host on BOB-FM in Hertfordshire.  He hails from Liverpool and spent his early adulthood and career in Australia. The podcast includes conversations with Michael Harrison, Sean Hannity, Brent & Meg, Tom Leykis, Joe Piscopo, and Phil Boyce.  To hear it in its entirety, please click here.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more coverage of Talkers New York 2014.  Videos covering most of the conference will be posted after the July 4th weekend.

gratnerchuckFifty and Done For Salem’s Gratner.  After spending 50 years in radio – the last 23 as general manager of Salem Communications Pittsburgh – Chuck Gratner will retire next Tuesday (7/1). Twelve-year Salem Pittsburgh general sales manager Tom Lemmon will succeed Gratner. According to Salem radio division president David Santrella, “Salem is blessed to have so many outstanding general managers taking care of business in our markets around the country – Chuck has been one of our strongest for all these years.  Chuck has earned his reward for a job well done.  We wish him many more years of success, only this time with a fishing rod instead of a radio tower.”  Regional operations vice president Linnae Young – who oversees Pittsburgh – comments, “We have been so fortunate to have had Chuck’s wisdom and expertise all these years managing our stations in Pittsburgh.  While Chuck will be sorely missed, we are pleased to have Tom ready to take on this new responsibility.”  Gratner began his radio career as an on-air talent in greater Los Angeles at KNJO, Thousand Oaks.  He was part owner of KCNO, Grass Valley, California; worked in Dallas at KRLD, KCBI, and KLTY; and spent time in Sacramento at KCRA and KROY.

mayesharryOdds & Sods.  With the departure of Tony Bruno from Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia (reported yesterday at TALKERS), Harry Mayes goes solo in the late morning shift with evening host Nick Kayal sitting it at least temporarily…..The man known as “Radio’s Best Friend,” Art Vuolo, will appear on news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh this weekend as a guest on Stony Richards’ Saturday evening program beginning at 6:00 pm.  In addition to being responsible for chronicling much of radio’s modern history on video, Vuolo also has served as the official videographer for the Talkers New York conference for the past several years…..Bradley George is the new senior anchor/correspondent and local host for “Morning Edition” on Georgia Public Radio.  He comes to GPR from Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN where he was news anchor and “Morning Edition” local host…..ABC TV’s “The View” will look very different next season as at least two of the show’s hosts – Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd – are leaving.  According to TMZ, executive producer Bill Geddie is also exiting.  One report indicates all but Whoopi Goldberg are out as the network is “cleaning house.”

wrjn logoMagnum Finds Bliss in Milwaukee-Area Quartet.  In a recently announced deal, Magnum Communications is acquiring four greater Milwaukee properties from Bliss Communications, the parent company of Racine Broadcasting and West Bend Broadcasting.  Stations involved are two AM talk outlets WRJN and WBKV; adultwbkv logo contemporary WEZY “Lite Rock 92.1”; and country WBWI.  Magnum Communications president Dave Magnum points out that as a result of this acquisition, “My co-workers and I will program radio signals connecting from Milwaukee to La Crosse.  When my late wife, Lynn, and I started from scratch 23 years ago, we wanted to grow across Wisconsin.  I’m blessed to work with so many talented and loyal individuals, many of whom have been on board since the early-1990s.”  Bliss president Sidney “Skip” Bliss remarks, “These stations have been an important part of Bliss Communications for 17 years in Racine, and 43 years in West Bend.  We have enjoyed our relationship with the communities and all of our terrific employees.  This sale, however, represented an opportunity for me to pass the ownership of these great radio stations on to another Wisconsin broadcasting family.  The staffs of the Racine and West Bend stations have served a large number of listeners and advertisers for many years.  We sincerely appreciate the dedication and commitment of this outstanding group of associates.”  Bliss – which publishes The Janesville Gazette – will continue operating the stations until the FCC approves the transaction, exclusively brokered by Media Services Group Chicago office director Bob Heymann.

GOP Primary Controversies/State of the GOP Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 23-27.  The recent controversial GOP primary races – including Thad Cochran’s victory this week – along with talk about the state of the GOP heading into mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential election tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was the shrinking U.S. GDP.  Coming in at #3 was the IRS scandal and the missing Lois Lerner emails followed by the SCOTUS scuttling President Obama’s recess appointments followed at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, March 24, 2014

| March 24, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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