Tag: "Dayton"

Thursday, November 19, 2020

| November 19, 2020

Westwood One to Offer Michael Knowles Show in January. The relationship between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the Daily Wire expands as WWO announces it will offer the one-hour “Michael Knowles Show” to radio stations beginning on January 4, 2021. The program will be fed live at 5:00 pm ET. Westwood One says, “Michael Knowles will provide a fresh, new voice on radio, delving beyond the headlines and analyzing the top cultural and political issues of the day. Knowles reaches a young conservative demographic, with an extensive following already through his podcast and social media channels. Knowles had the #1 podcast in America throughout most of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with ‘Verdict,’ his podcast with Ted Cruz; and his podcast, ‘The Michael Knowles Show,’ is among the top 10 News Commentary podcasts on the American iTunes Charts. Knowles has 1.12 million Facebook followers, 393.9k Twitter followers, 352k YouTube followers, and 150k Instagram followers.” Knowles has previously served as a guest host for “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

It’s Official: Grace Curley to Take Over Early Afternoons on WRKO, Boston. As TALKERS magazine reported on Tuesday (11/17), iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston begins airing “The Grace Curley Show” in the early afternoon daypart beginning on January 4. Curley’s program is produced and distributed by the Howie Carr Radio Network and it replaces “The Vinnie Penn Project” in the WRKO lineup. It will air from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm. Curley is the executive producer of “The Howie Carr Show” – a role she will continue – and also is a Boston Herald columnist. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk and sports Rob Sanchez says, “Grace has a spark ready to be ignited. She is part of the next generation of talk radio hosts and is ready to set the Boston airwaves on fire with her strong and authentic voice. Grace represents core conservative values through a millennial lens and has learned from the absolute best, so she is the perfect lead in for the ‘Howie Carr Show.’”

Cumulus Media and VolunteerMatch Partner for PROJECT SHINE. The cross-platform charitable initiative PROJECT SHINE is a partnership between Cumulus Media and VolunteerMatch. Cumulus describes it as “an evergreen campaign that will inspire local acts of service and human connection in a world that has seen its share of challenges.” Cumulus EVP, content & audience Brian Philips says, “PROJECT SHINE serves as a conduit for human connection. We make it easy for good people to connect with great causes through VolunteerMatch. In every town, in every corner of America, some darkness subsides, and a new ray of light appears. Through service, we help ourselves and the whole world is better for it.” PROJECT SHINE will be promoted on Cumulus’ 422 radio stations and websites across 87 U.S. markets and through Westwood One. Creative promos will feature a new version of Collective Soul’s hit “Shine,” re-recorded exclusively for PROJECT SHINE.

TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller announces that her “Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour” continues this weekend with a show on Saturday (11/21) at 8:00 pm ET featuring John Fugelsang, Frangela, and Hal Sparks…..Cumulus Media San Francisco and the University of San Francisco athletics department announce their renegotiated multi-year agreement that will have KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” serve as the flagship station for USF Dons men’s basketball. The station will carry all of the games, including pre- and post-game shows as well as the weekly “Hilltop Hoops Hour” hosted by the voice of the Dons, Pat Olson…..New York Public Radio names Armando Gutierrez chief financial officer, effective December 2. Gutierrez was most recently CFO for CBS Corporation. NYPR says, “Gutierrez brings more than 20 years of experience developing financial strategy, transforming traditional broadcast businesses, and driving digital growth across media organizations.”

Trump’s Denial of Election Results, Biden Transition, Georgia Recount/Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Obama Memoir, Iran War Drums, Boeing 737 Max Greenlighted, and NFL Intensifies COVID Protocols Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The refusal by Donald Trump to concede the election; the hampered transition process for Joe Biden; the presidential election recount in Georgia and the January runoff elections for that state’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and the vaccine progress announced by Pfizer and Moderna; former President Barack Obama’s new memoir; the talk of war against Iran by Saudi Arabia and Israel; Boeing’s 737 Max gets approval to fly again; and the NFL institutes stringent coronavirus prevention policies for all teams among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh News Reporter Joe DeStio to Retire. Radio news pro Joe DeStio announces he is retiring from Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh after 40 years in the business. DeStio served with WTAE, Pittsburgh before joining KDKA-AM nine years ago. He also serves as the house announcer for University of Pittsburgh Panthers football and mens basketball. He told listeners, “You get to the point that you realize life is short and while you still have the energy to do things, I want to get into music a little bit. I play the saxophone and I want to get good on that… I want to get good on the golf course, that’s the tallest order, probably… my wife and I want to travel… but, who knows, I may do something part time and I may get back into teaching.”

Former Long Island Radio Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud. The former vice president and general manager of Long Island Radio Broadcasting pleads guilty to felony access device fraud in which she purchased “hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal charges” on the company’s American Express card. Stephanie McNamara Bitis faces 12 to 18 months in prison after the guilty plea. Long Island Radio Broadcasting owns and operates three stations – triple A WEHM-FM, Manorville; CHR WBEA-FM, Southold “The Beach 101.7”; and adult contemporary WBAZ-FM, Bridgehampton – on Long Island. Company owner Lauren Stone says that Bitis, who managed the stations from 2015 through 2017, was fired after “lackluster financial results.” Stone says a suspicious wire transfer caused her to hire outside experts to investigate the stations’ finances and then discovered the personal charges made by Bitis. While Stone says Bitis charged “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in personal expenses, Bitis’ lawyer Thomas Kenniff says Bitis disputes that and says his client was responsible for “no more than $1,000 in any given year,” according to a report in Patch.

RIP Mike Scinto. The passing of talk radio host Mike Scinto on Monday (11/16) was brought to the attention of TALKERS magazine by Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup, who shares with us the above photo of Scinto (left) with good friend Mike Gallagher (right). Gallagher and Scinto both got their start in talk radio at WAVI-AM, Dayton and for years Scinto would serve as a guest host on Gallagher’s SRN syndicated program. Gallagher paid tribute to Mike Scinto on his national program this morning, extending sympathy and prayers to Scinto’s wife Kathy and their children Zak and Carly, stating, “We will miss him. He was one of a kind.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio pro Michelle Rodriguez joins the “Hawkeye in the Morning” show on Cumulus Media’s KSCS-FM “New Country 96.3.” Rodriguez has been the midday personality on the station for the past seven years. She begins working with Mark “Hawkeye” Louis on November 30. Station program director Mike Preston says, “Michelle has been a shining star on the station for 10 years and pairing her with Hawkeye just made sense. I can’t wait to see the new heights that together they’ll take us to!”…..Entercom flips adult contemporary WDZH-FM, Detroit “98.7 The Breeze” to alternative rock as “ALT 98.7.” Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “This is a huge opportunity to add alternative to our portfolio, and we’re thrilled to further expand our content offering for Detroiters. ‘ALT 98.7’ will serve as a home for some of today’s top hits from premier artists in the industry, while capturing the distinctive style and flair of the Motor City.”…..Radio One Philadelphia begins transitioning the hip hop format on WPHI-FM at 103.9 to its new home at WRNB’s 100.3 FM frequency. The stations will simulcast the format all this week in advance of the switch on Monday (11/23). Radio One Philadelphia station manager, Ezio Torres states, “I’m excited about the updates to our Philadelphia Urban One cluster as this allows the audience and reach of each of our stations to expand.”…..For the 11th year in a row, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and Premiere Networks is giving away thousands of turkeys as part of the Steve Harvey Morning Show Annual Turkey Give. Nearly 9,000 turkeys will be provided to affiliates of the award-winning morning radio show to help those less fortunate celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Since the Turkey Give was launched in 2009, nearly 90,000 turkeys have been given to those in need. Harvey says, “We consider it an honor and a privilege to help those less fortunate during the holiday season. On behalf of the entire Steve Harvey Morning Show, Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

| February 11, 2020

Pete Spriggs Retires from WSB, Atlanta; Drew Anderssen to Assume PD Duties. Longtime Cox Media Group programmer Pete Spriggs is retiring as director of branding and programming for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta.  Current senior manager of programming and operations Drew Anderssen will step into Spriggs’ role, effective February 28.  Spriggs began his career with Cox at Dayton’s news/talk WHIO-AM.  He spent three years at the company’s WDBO-AM, Orlando before taking on programming duties at WSB, Atlanta in 2000.  Spriggs says, “WSB will go down in history as one of the greatest radio stations in the world, and I’m humbled to have been the program director there for 19 years.  I’ve worked with some of the finest talent in this business.  Several of them are in either the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame or the National Radio Hall of Fame and we’ve all worked together to make life better for our listeners in Atlanta and Georgia.  It has been an awe-inspiring experience for me, and I’m so grateful to CMG for trusting me with the ‘keys’ to such a great ‘kingdom.’”  CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says, “I have had the pleasure of working with Pete for over 25 years.  Along with being the best news/talk program director in the business, Pete is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Cox Media Group has benefited greatly from Pete’s leadership in Dayton, Orlando, Atlanta, and as our news/talk format leader.  We are definitely a better company because Pete Spriggs was on our team.  He will be missed, and we all wish him the best going forward.”  Prior to joining WSB, Drew Anderssen spent years in programming and research for Cox Media Group in Orlando, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The company says, “Anderssen brings an immense amount of experience and devotion to his role and CMG looks forward to continuing their partnership to ensure WSB remains an industry leader.”

Newsmax TV Names Emerald Robinson White House Correspondent.  Broadcast journalist Emerald Robinson joins Newsmax TV as White House correspondent where she’ll work alongside Newsmax chief White House correspondent John Gizzi.  Robinson was most recently chief White House correspondent for One America News Network.  Speaking about her new position, Robinson says, “Newsmax TV has become a major force in Washington’s media universe and I’m thrilled to be a part of its major expansion.  Americans trust Newsmax to deliver truthful, unbiased reporting – and that’s what we do every day.”  Robinson began her journalism career as host of “The Daily Orbit,” a syndicated science and technology news show. Her experience also includes entertainment, political, and economic beats. ​ During her tenure on the White House beat, Robinson has covered presidential foreign trips including the Helsinki and Singapore Summits.

Dallas’ ‘The Ticket’ Moves Bob Sturm to ‘The Hardline’ Afternoon Show. In the wake of the recent retirement of longtime afternoon drive station personality Mike Rhyner, Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” announces midday co-host Bob Sturm moves to afternoon drive to partner with Corby Davidson as co-hosts of “The Hardline.”  Danny Balis continues to produce the PM drive show.  Sturm has co-hosted the midday “BaD Radio” with Dan McDowell since 2000.  Filling Sturm’s role on “BaD Radio” is show producer Jake Kemp, who moves up to the co-host role.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett says, “Bob Sturm has earned the trust and following from our listeners for over 20 years and is one of the finest sports talk talents in America.  This move made perfect sense and we are excited to entertain our listeners with the new afternoon drive team of Bob Sturm and Corby Davidson, and with Jake Kemp and Dan McDowell for ‘BaD Radio’ in middays.”  Sturm adds, “Our station lost an absolute icon in Mike Rhyner to retirement and we must all pull together to bridge that gap.  I am honored to join forces with The Hardline’s Corby Davidson and Danny Balis to see what we can dream up from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and we can’t wait to get to our mighty challenge.  Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp will make a fantastic duo themselves from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Dan McDowell is the closest friend I might ever find in this business and I owe him an immeasurable debt.”

SiriusXM Drops $75 Million into SoundCloud. Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM builds up its relationship with SoundCloud via a purchase of $75 million of securities for a minority stake in the open audio platform.  SiriusXM, via subsidiary Pandora, began an ad sales relationship with SoundCloud in 2019 in which advertisers and brands could purchase SoundCloud’s U.S. ad inventory directly through Pandora, leveraging Pandora’s direct sales capabilities, targeting data, and audio programmatic platform.  SiriusXM says that SoundCloud and Pandora’s combined U.S. audience constitutes more than 100 million unique listeners.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways.  We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms.”  As part of the minority stake acquisition, the SoundCloud board of directors will expand to include two individuals designated by SiriusXM.

World Radio Day Honor Goes to WTOP.  In celebration of the forthcoming observance of World Radio Day coming up this Thursday (2/13), the American Academy of Radio – a subsidiary of the Academia Española de la Radio (Spanish Academy of Radio) – presented the World Radio Day “American Radio Station of the Year” award  to Hubbard Radio’s all-news outlet WTOP, Washington, DC.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) executive board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a wide consultation process, carried out in 2011.  The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received support for the proposal from diverse stakeholders, including major international broadcasters and broadcasting unions and associations. The date of February 13, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO which proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day.  The objectives of the day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.  The jury appointed to judge stations for the American honor are: Heather Cohen, EVP  of The Weiss AgencyDeborah Parenti, publisher of Radio Ink/RBR/TVBR/Podcast Business JournalFrancisco R. Montero, managing partner of Fletcher, Heald & HildrethPaul MacLane, managing director of content, B2B media technology brands and editor-in-chief of Radio WorldMichael Harrison, editor and publisher of TALKERS magazine; and Paul Rotella, president and CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. In addition to WTOP, nominated stations were KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WRHU, Hofstra University; and WFUV, Fordham University.  Pictured at this morning’s (2/11) ceremony in the station’s offices and studios are jurists Frank Montero (l) and Paul McLane (r) delivering the trophy to WTOP general manager Joel Oxley (c).

Trump Budget Proposes Elimination of CPB Funding.  In the Trump Administration’s budget for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2022, the line item for funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be reduced from about $445 million to about $30 million.  CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison says, “We look forward to working with Congress in the continued pursuit of our statutory public service mission of supporting educational, informational and diverse content that addresses the needs of our nation’s citizens – a mission the American people overwhelmingly trust in and support.  The federal appropriation to CPB is the foundation of our uniquely American, public-private partnership that supports our nation’s public media system – a system of more than 1,500 locally controlled and operated public television and radio stations across the country. This seed money pays invaluable dividends to millions of Americans and their families in the form of content and resources that educate, inform and inspire.  Through public media initiatives such as American Graduate and Ready To Learn, stations provide high-quality educational content and community engagement that helps Americans prepare for success in school and career. As the most trusted news source in America, local public media stations offer journalism that elevates local stories to a national audience.  Further, public media stations’ infrastructure provides critical communications functions during local and national emergencies to first responders and emergency management officials.”  Of course, funding is ultimately left to Congress which has historically ignored such calls for CPB defunding.

TALKERS News Notes. Conservative media personality and author Todd Starnes has been chosen to moderate a Fathom Events panel discussion for the upcoming theatrical documentary, Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Mystery.  The panel discussion was recently filmed at the Ark Encounter and will be shown nationwide in theaters on February 18.  Starnes is host of the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio program, “The Todd Starnes Show” and the short-form “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” – both distributed by Hamilton Strategies. The long-form show recently added new affiliate stations KARN-FM, Little Rock; KWAM, Memphis; and KLUP-AM, San Antonio…..The “Always in Fashion” radio program, starring fashion industry pro Mark Weber (left) and his son Jesse (right), moves from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York.  The show airs Saturday nights from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Weber says, “Throughout my career, I have worked with the best and that’s precisely what has led me to iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR.  We’re thrilled to join the number one audio company and broadcast on one of the leading talk stations in NYC.”…..Nashville sports talk hosts Derrick Mason and Braden Gall announce via Twitter that they have been let go from their morning show duties on The Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM “102.5 The Game.”  Back in December, third host Nick Kayal exited the station.  The WPRT website offers no indication of the station’s intentions for the daypart.  Mason played wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans from 1997 through 2004…..ABC Audio will officially launch the ABC Power Portal at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on February 19.  ABC says the ABC Power Portal is “the first on-demand, original video service for distribution to radio station websites, apps and social media platforms.  ABC Power Portal will house a wide range of music and entertainment videos as well as breaking news and obituary content, all produced by ABC Audio.  These new videos, along with social media teasers, will be available daily for download by Power Portal affiliates as white label content, allowing stations to add their own logos and sponsor ads to the videos prior to publication.  ABC Audio executive director business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “I’m thrilled to debut the ABC Power Portal and offer stations the type of digital content television outlets have had access to for so long.  This turn-key platform is essential for radio’s digital expansion and allows affiliates to take advantage of ABC Audio’s unmatched array of content.”  ABC Audio posted content from last Sunday’s Oscars.  Below is an image of the Power Portal dashboard.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Trump Budget-Border Wall, Oscars Political Speeches, Russians Track U.S. Satellites, Chinese Equifax Hackers, and MLB Playoffs Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The New Hampshire primary and the Democrats’ race to take on President Trump in November; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and the effects on China’s economy; President Trump’s budget and the cuts to services and increase in border wall funding; the political speeches at Sunday evening’s Oscars ceremony; the report the Russian’s are tracking U.S. military satellites; Chinese military hackers are accused of executing the Equifax breach; and MLB floats a new playoff format in which division winners get to choose opponents among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Shreveport, Louisiana programmer and air personality Nina Montgomery – who serves as PD and DJ on Cumulus Media’s urban AC KVMA “Magic 102.9” – was recently honored for her significant contributions to Shreveport’s African-American Community.  Montgomery was recognized at the Shreveport-Bossier-DeSoto African-American Scholarship Awards Banquet.  Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “Nina has been a spark of light for the African-American Community in Shreveport and Bossier City for many years.  Nina has committed to spread this light to the community and listeners of urban AC powerhouse KVMA-FM, day in and day out.”…..Entercom appoints Lisa Powell SVP and market manager for its Greensboro, North Carolina cluster that includes hip hop WJMH “102 JAMZ,” country WPAW “93.1 The Wolf,” urban AC WQMG, adult contemporary WSMW “98.7 Simon,” and Gospel outlets WEAL-AM and WPET-AM.  Entercom regional president Doug Abernethy says, “For over two decades, Lisa has faithfully led our sales efforts in the Triad and obtained outstanding results.  We are excited to recognize her accomplishments with a well-deserved promotion and are confident in her ability to lead our cluster to further growth.”…..The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” cast member Kellie Rasberry is launching her second podcast, this one based on the morning show’s “Love Letters to Kellie” segment.  It’s being produced by longtime show producer Robert Ehrman.  Rasberry says, “Robert and I have been working on this project for quite some time and I’m so excited that we finally get to share it with the world! While we’ll be having a lot of fun on this podcast, I realize people are trusting me to give them advice that can often have serious consequences. I don’t take that lightly.”  She already hosts a podcast titled, “A Sandwich and Some Lovin.’”…..SiriusXM announces that Harry Styles will perform for SiriusXM and Pandora on Friday, February 28 at a secret location in New York City.  The intimate set for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners will feature Styles performing songs from his recent sophomore album, Fine Line, released via Columbia Records. The event will also include an interview with Harry Styles and “The Morning Mash Up” hosts Ryan Sampson, Nicole Ryan, and Stanley T.

PPM Analysis: Holiday 2019 ExtraTALKERS magazine manager editor Mike Kinosian offers this “extra” look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey.  This report looks at the weekly 6+ AQH share movement from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, based on degree of improvement or loss, by format and more.  See the analysis here.

Friday, December 6, 2019

| December 6, 2019

Weiss Named iHM NYC Market President. Region senior vice president of  sales for iHeartMedia’s New York group, Bernie Weiss, is appointed market president of iHeartMedia New York City. Weiss will continue to report to iHeartMedia market groups division president Scott Hopeck. At the same time in a corresponding move, director of sales Steve DeLusant takes over for Weiss. Hopeck states, “I’m thrilled to promote both Bernie and Steve. It is especially rewarding to find the best candidates for key leadership roles in your own building. They are extremely knowledgeable about our ever-evolving business and have built their personal brands by accelerating the growth of our iconic stations. I’m confident they will continue to elevate our New York operation to even greater heights.” Weiss remarks, “Listeners continue to crave companionship and advertisers continue to demand ROI – broadcast radio delivers on both fronts. iHeartMedia continues to be one of the most innovative media players, offering the best content and programming for hundreds of millions of listeners. I am looking forward to working with the New York team to build on our already strong connection with listeners, advertisers, and in the community.” Weiss joined iHeartMedia New York in 2004 as an account executive for urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1” and previously held several radio general sales management positions in Europe. DeLusant was sales manager for several iHM New York City stations and earlier was senior account executive for Emmis Communications, where he specialized in multicultural marketing. Earlier in his career, he was a sales associate for iHeartMedia’s WLTW. In addition to news/talk WOR “The Voice of New York,” iHeartMedia’s New York City cluster consists of market-leading (adult contemporary) WLTW “106.7 Lite FM”; CHR WHTZ “Z-100”; classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3”; urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1”; and rhythmic CHR WKTU.

KABC Resets Its On-Air Lineup. Major changes going into effect January 1 at Cumulus Media Los Angeles news/talk KABC include Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty (“The Armstrong & Getty Show”) slotted in morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am). The syndicated duo succeeds locally-originated “The Morning Drive with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.” Continuing at 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is Larry O’Connor (based from Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk WMAL). Aforementioned John Phillips segues solo from morning drive to assume the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm slot occupied by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Leeann Tweeden (“Dr. Drew Midday Live”). Unchanged is Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm), but the local 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm “Peter Tilden Show” will give way to Westwood One’s Michael Savage. Thus, displaced by the changes are Jillian Barberie, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Leeann Tweeden, and Peter Tilden. KABC general manager Drew Hayes comments, “KABC has a proud history as one of the first ‘all-talk’ radio stations in the United States. With these great additions to our lineup, KABC will offer our audience even more of the content that they love, featuring outstanding local and nationally recognized talent.” KABC will continue as the flagship for University of Southern California football and basketball. KABC more than doubled (+.4) its 6+ AQH share in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 – .7, July – August – September – October, Nielsen Audio, 6+) but “790 News-Talk-Evolved” forfeits one-tenth in the November 2019 sweep to .6 (#35 to #38, 6+).

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/22).  The new episode titled “The Trump Paradox!” looks back at this past week of December 2-6, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Blanquita Cullum, talk show host, WCGO, Chicago /Smart Talk Network; Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, Fox News Channel / Fox News Radio; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; William O’ Shaughnessy, CEO, Whitney Global Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

WDAF To Become K.C. Chiefs Flagship in 2020. As part of a multi-year agreement between the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and Entercom Kansas City, country WDAF “106.5 The Wolf” will become the key station of the 70-station Chiefs Radio Network as of February 16, 2020. Sports talk sibling KCSP “610 Sports Radio” will become the official “broadcast partner” of the Chiefs, with rights to Chiefs programming, including radio broadcast rights to the Chiefs weekly in-season press conference with the club’s head coach (Andy Reid) and a weekly one-on-one interview with the starting quarterback (Patrick Mahomes). In addition, KCSP will broadcast the “Chiefs Kingdom Radio Show” (Monday, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Cross-town Cumulus Media classic rock KCFX “101.1 The Fox” has been the team’s flagship since 1990. Entercom regional president/market manager Dave Alpert declares, “We are extremely pleased to enter into this new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the NFL’s most well-respected and prestigious organizations. Entercom’s eight-station cluster of music, news and sports talk stations hosted by Kansas City’s leading personalities align with vast digital and podcast opportunities. We will deliver the premium and comprehensive coverage Chiefs Kingdom desires seven days a week, all season long.” Kansas City Chiefs president Mark Donovan comments, “We look forward to partnering with ‘106.5 The Wolf’ and the powerful Entercom family of stations. The ability to bring our game broadcasts and existing weekly radio shows under one roof is a large part of this change, but we are equally excited about creating new content and developing new opportunities for Chiefs fans to engage with their favorite team.” Returning for his 27th season as play-by-play announcer will be Mitch Holthus, who has called a franchise record 426 regular and postseason Kansas City contests.

ESPN Radio Taps Fitz To Succeed Smith. “First and Last” (5:00 am – 6:00 am) host Jason Fitz is selected to replace Stephen A. Smith in ESPN Radio’s 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (ET) slot. The change is effective next month (1/20) and allows Smith to devote more time to his ESPN TV duties. Smith, however, will make a regular weekly appearance on Fitz’s show, “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz,” which will be simulcast on ESPNews. Executive vice president/executive editor of production Norby Williamson states, “Sports fans are passionate and they love spirited debate. Jason will be joined daily by a lineup of experts and sports fans who call in to further the debate and deliver their strong opinions.” Fitz, formerly of country group The Band Perry and a regular on ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo,” comments, “I’m excited to host a show aligned with one of the biggest franchises at ESPN that will let me continue to push the ‘First Take’ topics forward and keep building my relationship with ESPN Radio listeners that means so much to me.” Fitz studied classical violin at The Julliard School. 

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at performances in the sports talk format. Roughly half the eligible sports talk panelists improve October 2019 – November 2019 (52%, 6+) while just over one in three falter (37%); the remaining 11% are unchanged from last month. Meanwhile, essentially three of every five qualifying sports talk stations register November 2018 – November 2019 gains (61%, 6+), while one in three (33%) stumble; the remaining 6% are steady from a year ago. The format is #1 in Philadelphia (Entercom’s WIP) and Long Island (Entercom-owned WFAN-FM). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. One-year Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle vice president/market manager Ann Marie Mulholland has departed the cluster. Director/brand content Scott Mahalick is absorbing those duties on an interim basis. Mulholland previously worked in the market as general manager/director of sales for Crista Ministries contemporary Christian KCMS; general sales manager of Entercom rocker KISW; local sales manager of Sandusky smooth Jazz KWJZ; and she was general sales manager of CBS Radio-owned (now Entercom) Pittsburgh hot AC WBZZ. In addition to KKNW “Alternative Talk 1150 AM,” Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle consists of adult contemporary KRWM “Warm 106.9”; adult standards KIXI “AM 880”; CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5 – Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station”; and country KNUC “98.9 The Bull.” ….. After spending the last ten years at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN,” program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert departs. Per a Facebook post, he writes, “Well, I’ve written this and deleted it a million times trying to find the most articulate way to say this but as of this week, I am no longer a member of the ‘101 ESPN’ team. Tough to write and see but excited/terrified/anxious/hungry – and a bunch of other emotions – to see the next chapter.” Tommy Mattern, the program director of alternative cluster-mate KPNT “105.7 The Point,” adds WXOS PD duties ….. Radio/Audio nominees for the 2020 Writers Guild awards have been announced. In the “Radio/Audio News Script – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, or Breaking Report” category, the nominees are: “CBS News on the Hour with Norah O’Donnell – El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio – Communities in Mourning,” written by James Hutton, CBS News Radio; “Hail and Farewell: Remembering Some Headline Makers,” written by Gail Lee, CBS News Radio; “World News This Week, August 9, 2019,” written by Stephanie Pawlowski and Jim Ryan, ABC News Radio; and “World News This Week, September 13, 2019,” written by Joan B. Harris, ABC News Radio. In the “Radio/Audio News Script – Analysis, Feature, or Commentary” category, the nominees are: “The Enduring Legacy of Jackie Kennedy Onassis,” written by Dianne E. James and Gail Lee, CBS News Radio and “Woodstock: Back to the Garden,” written by Gail Lee, CBS News Radio. Winners will be announced February 1, 2020 in New York City at an event held in the Edison Ballroom.

Comrex Now Shipping ACCESS MultiRack. The rackmount multi-channel IP audio codec from Comrex occupies 1RU and can handle up to five full-duplex IP audio connections simultaneously. ACCESS MultiRack is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs, including ACCESS Rackmount; ACCESS Portable 2USB; ACCESS NX Portable; ACCESS NX Rack; BRIC-Link; and BRIC-Link II, as well as the FieldTap smartphone app. Comrex ACCESS MultiRack is Tech3326, AES67 and SMPTE 2110-30-compatible. ACCESS MultiRack includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks. By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), or combining the network bandwidth of multiple networks (bonding mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event the primary network falters. Each of ACCESS MultiRack’s codec instances can deliver and receive four contact closures, as well as transfer ancillary data to the far-end using the serial data channel. Comrex has designed and manufactured broadcast equipment since its incorporation in 1961.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. More than a quarter of a million dollars ($257,268) was raised in Entercom Philadelphia classic-hits oldies outlet WOGL’s 18th annual “98.1 WOGL Loves Our Kids Radiothon” to benefit Children’s Miracle Network at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president/market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “We are so grateful for WOGL listeners and community members who donated and also very thankful for the volunteers and on-air personalities who contributed their time and talent to help make this year’s radiothon a huge success.” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia president/chief executive officer Madeline Bell notes, “The hospital programs funded by radiothon donations make a lasting difference in the lives of our patients and their families. Each year, we look forward to raising awareness of these very important services.” Airing this past Tuesday (12/3) and Wednesday (12/4), WOGL’s radiothon concluded with on-air hosts Marilyn Russell, Glenn Kalina, Bobby Smith, and Nicky G. presenting the check to CHOP ….. The 13th annual “An American Country Christmas with Kix Brooks” features special guests sharing holiday music, favorite traditions, and memories. Among those joining Brooks are Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Brett Eldredge, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban. Stations can air the show from Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One  6:00 am – 12:00 midnight  (Saturday) 12/21 through Christmas Day (Wednesday, 12/25) …..  For the third consecutive year, iHeartMedia San Diego CHR KHTS “Channel 93-3” morning drivers Kramer & Geena teamed up with “A Million Thanks” to send letters to deployed military members. Over 50,000 letters were collected from the San Diego community and are on their way to the troops ….. As part of Beasley Media Group Tampa rhythmic CHR WLLD’s eighth annual toy drive to benefit the Children’s Home Network, “Wild 94.1” program director/morning personality Orlando Davis climbs the toy drive platform today (Friday, 12/6) and will remain there until next Saturday (12/14). Davis will do his morning show from that platform every day next week ….. In its annual “Toys For Tunes” on-air event this past Wednesday (12/4, 6:00 am – 7:00 pm), Hubbard Broadcasting Cincinnati rhythmic hot AC WREW “Mix 94.9” raised over $8,00 for Cincinnati Children’s Child Life Program to ensure that every child staying at the hospital during the holidays receives a new toy. Listener song requests were granted, in exchange for a $20 donation ….. On “Giving Tuesday” (12/3), Mid-West Family Broadcasting Madison (Wisconsin) alternative WRIS “The Resistance Is On 106.7” announced that More Smiles Wisconsin is the recipient of its “Community Awareness Grant” for the coming year. WRIS launched a community awareness grant that will provide a local non-profit with $15,000 in advertising in 2020. Applicants were considered for the grant based on multiple factors including the organization’s history of community service, connection to the community, mission within the community, demonstration of need, population served, and geographic region served. More Smiles Wisconsin is a non-profit that provides access to quality dental care to Medicaid, BadgerCare, and uninsured populations of south central Wisconsin. “The Resistance” hopes to help in their goal of increasing funding and awareness so that they may continue to help a growing number of patients …..  WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz” morning host/music director Kaylan Moody is leaving the Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala (Florida) alternative outlet in two weeks (12/20). Moody notes, “I am so grateful for all I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had, but I am excited to keep growing. I am moving to Nashville to pursue a career in the record label industry. The dream job is radio promotion, but I am excited to take on whatever opportunities may arise to get my foot in the door and to start learning.”

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

| August 6, 2019

Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.”  During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Ten Candles Atop WBZ-FM’s Birthday Cake. One week from today (Tuesday, 8/13), Beasley Media Group Boston sports talk outlet WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” will commemorate its 10th anniversary by airing a ten-hour special (7:00 am – 5:00 pm) celebrating Boston sports moments and events. It will include the victories and agony the city has experienced, as well as special moments that have been broadcast the past decade. According to Beasley Media Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna, “In ten short years, [WBZ-FM and national spoken-word brand manager] Mike Thomas and the amazing team that he has assembled have built ‘The Sports Hub’ into an award-winning iconic brand and a household name in New England.” Thomas states, “It is an honor to work with the incredibly-talented ‘Sports Hub’ staff, on and off-the-air Not many people gave us a chance ten years ago. We were heavy underdogs – but so were Boston teams for many, many years. The ascendancy that Boston sports fans have experienced is unprecedented. We are just happy to have been along for the ride the past ten years and we look forward to many more victories to come.” Nielsen Audio July 2019 results will be released later today, but in Boston’s June 2019 report, WBZ-FM placed fourth (5.6, 6+). “The Sports Hub” is the flagship station of the Stanley Cup runner-up Bruins; Super Bowl champion New England Patriots; and the Celtics. By the way, in the years since “The Sports Hub” surfaced in 2009, the Patriots have won three Super Bowl titles (2015, 2017 and 2019) and the Red Sox have scored two World Series championship banners (2013 and 2018). The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in the 2010 – 2011 season, while the Celtics were NBA champions in 2008 – one year before “The Sports Hub” debuted.

Cumulus Media Faces $233,000 Sponsorship ID Rule Violations Fine. The infraction as cited by the FCC stems from Cumulus Media’s apparent violations of the commission’s sponsorship identification rules. In addition, Cumulus Media ostensibly failed to promptly self-report some violations, even though the company agreed to do so under a 2016 consent decree with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. It is noteworthy, however, that the commission’s “Notice of Apparent Liability For Forfeiture” only advises Cumulus Media on how it has perhaps violated the law and sets a proposed fine. This isn’t a final ruling. The FCC cannot impose a higher penalty than the proposed $233,000 amount. Cumulus Media has a chance to appeal to the “Notice.” Prior to  acting further to resolve the matter, the commission will evaluate Cumulus Media’s legal arguments and any submission of evidence. More than three years ago, the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau reached a $540,000 settlement with Cumulus Media regarding sponsorship identification in radio ads promoting a proposed energy project. It was the largest payment in FCC history for a single-station violation of the commission’s sponsorship ID laws. The settlement resolved an investigation into whether the company’s Dover, New Hampshire country outlet WOKQ “The Big 97.5” violated the rules. The FCC is alleging that in 2017 and 2018, seven Cumulus Media operations failed, in 26 instances, to air appropriate sponsorship identifications as required by its rules. Moreover, the FCC claims the company waited approximately eight months before reporting some rule-breaking, which would be in conflict of its 2016 consent decree commitments.

“Share of Ear” Study Highlights Audio Habits of Registered Voters. Share of Ear views how Americans consume audio content. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One has released results of Edison Research’s recent quarterly analysis. Edison reports share of audio time spent and percentage of Americans who use each type of content. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “To build name recognition, candidate perception, affinity, and voting intent, campaigns have to reach as many voters as possible. According to this new analysis, AM/FM radio has massive and powerful ad-supported audience shares among registered voters and key voter segments.” Among registered voters, AM/FM radio’s share of audio time spent (80%) is eleven times larger than Pandora (7%), twenty times larger than Spotify (4%), and twenty-seven times larger than SiriusXM (3%). Terrestrial radio has the highest share of ad-supported audio time spent among all three major political affiliations: Independents (79%), Republicans (82%), and Democrats (78%). Each quarter, Edison Research conducts a national study of 1,000 Americans (13+) to measure reach and time spent listening to audio sources. Respondents complete a 24-hour diary of their audio listening on an assigned day. Diaries were completed both online and by-mail using a paper diary. Diaries were completed in English and Spanish. Each report consists of 4,000 respondents representing the prior year worth of surveys. This wave is based on persons from the third and fourth quarters of 2018, and the first and second quarters of this year (2019).

 

Recipe for Better Sales Revenue: Better Sales Compensation Programs.  In an exclusive TALKERS advice piece posted today (8/6), veteran radio/media sales pro Bill Brady – president/CEO of Futures & Options, Inc. – suggests that the key to reviving radio sales is to reward hard-working, well-trained reps with increased compensation packages.  He writes, “Over the last generation, radio companies have gone through several rounds of sales compensation reductions.  Sales staffs were reduced in size and byzantine commission and compensation plans were implemented.  Radio revenues have essentially stagnated ever since.” Read the article here.

Entercom, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics Join Forces. As part of the multiyear, multiplatform agreement, Entercom Philadelphia’s 50,000-watt WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” becomes the new radio home for Penn State football and men’s basketball games, beginning with the 2019 – 2020 athletic season. In addition, Radio.com will feature ancillary on-demand programming. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager David Yadgaroff remarks, “As a proud Penn State alum, the easy access to Penn State sports content on air and on Radio.com makes me very happy for our listeners, the University, and all alumni. This will be an excellent partnership with Penn State Athletics and will complement our existing portfolio of leading sports coverage in the city.” Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics vice president Sandy Barbour states, “We appreciate the opportunity to create a new radio partnership with Entercom. The tremendous reach of WPHT ‘Talk Radio 1210’ allows us to connect with Penn State alumni and fans throughout the Delaware Valley, and promote the comprehensive excellence of Penn State Athletics. We look forward to our new partnership and having a great new radio home for Nittany Lion basketball and football in metro Philadelphia.” Penn State Sports Properties vice president and general manager Doug Nelson adds, “We’re happy that WPHT ‘Talk Radio 1210’ will serve as our new radio home for Penn State football and men’s basketball in Philly. The enhanced radio audience and promotional opportunities for Penn State with our new Entercom partnership are exciting for both fans and advertisers.” WPHT cluster-mates KYW “News Radio 1060,” WIP-FM “Sports Radio 94,” adult contemporary WBEB “B-101.1,” classic hits-oldies WOGL, and CHR WTDY “96.5 Today’s Hits” will provide promotional support for Penn State Athletics.

Mayor Joins iHeartMedia Louisville For Its First Community Breakfast. Last Friday’s (8/2) event at the Muhammad Ali Center united over 125 community leaders, business partners, and non-profits to showcase iHeartMedia Louisville’s commitment to the community. WHAS “News Radio 840” on-air talent Terry Meiners hosted the event which spotlighted iHeartMedia Louisville’s community partners. In his keynote speech, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer discussed the importance of giving back within the community. Fischer comments, “Compassion is good for business and it’s good for our city and our country. I want to thank the folks at iHeartMedia Louisville for supporting our vibrant and active non-profit community.” Plans call for iHeartMedia to quadruple its efforts by providing media support to twelve non-profit organizations that fall under the “Kids: Heart of Kentuckiana” theme. Region president for iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Earl Jones notes that, “Each campaign will include PSAs, on-air personality endorsements, as well as streaming and digital placement. We are committed to using our resources to amplify the message of these organizations that work so hard for our community.” Pictured below (left to right) are Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Region president Earl Jones, and WHAS “News Radio 840” afternoon personality Terry Meiners.

SiriusXM To Debut Daily “Jess Cagle Show” This Fall. Former editor of Entertainment Weekly (2009 – 2014) and People (2014 – 2019), Jess Cagle will host a two-hour weekday (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, PT) Los Angeles-originated eponymous show on SiriusXM starting this fall. It will feature pop culture news and long-form conversations from Cagle and co-host Julia Cunningham. Of Cagle, SiriusXM senior vice president of news, talk, and entertainment Megan Liberman notes, “It’s hard to think of anyone who knows Hollywood better or could bring more insight and expertise to the conversation about pop culture. This show will be a destination for the biggest stars in movies and television and a must-listen for entertainment fans.” SiriusXM chief entertainment anchor Cagle states, “As a magazine editor, I’ve done a lot of work with SiriusXM. The producers and executives there have been magnificent partners – smart, strategic, and innovative. Over the years, SiriusXM has become a second home to me. I’ve always wanted to do a news and talk show with a lot of humor, smart commentary, and in-depth interviews. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make that a reality, and excited to work with SiriusXM on their growing podcast and video content. I’m a longtime fan of Julia Cunningham, and am really looking forward to working with her every day.” In addition to his daily show on “SiriusXM Stars” (channel 109), Cagle will host SiriusXM Town Hall events and appear across channels. Cagle spearheaded the partnership with SiriusXM to launch Entertainment Weekly Radio and recently joined the USC Annenberg Center of Communication Leadership & Policy as a senior fellow.

Focus 360 Partners With Lipstick & Vinyl. As a result of investing in the female-oriented podcast network Lipstick & Vinyl and assuming its ad sales representation duties, Focus 360 cracks the podcast arena. According to Focus 360 chief executive officer Phil Brown, “We have been looking for a podcast partner that offered stand-out content. By seeking out the underrepresented and diverse voices in the marketplace, Lipstick & Vinyl delivers audiences that are super-loyal and highly engaged. Expanding our suite of audio ad platforms enables us to offer more solutions to our advertisers.” Lipstick & Vinyl founder and chief executive officer Allyson Marino notes that, “Focus 360 is known for its outstanding relationships with agencies. That is extremely important to the growth of our company and our content partners. Podcasts provide a wonderfully unique and intimate way to connect with people and tell stories. Focus 360’s expertise in audio ad sales made them the perfect choice to help us grow.” Lipstick & Vinyl network hosts include journalists, TV writers, comedians, single mothers, and advocates for social change.

TALKERS News Notes. Changes going into effect today (Tuesday, 8/6) at iHeartMedia San Diego sports talk KLSD “XTRA 1360” find  Darren Smith taking over mid-days (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm) and Jon Schaeffer shifting from that slot to 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, where he’ll join “Loose Cannons hosts Steve Hartman and Rich Ohrnberger. Prior to his west coast broadcast career, Smith spent four years (1998 – 2002) at ESPN Radio, where he produced several programs, including “The Dan Patrick Show.” Smith will be joined by senior reporter/producer – and San Diego State University grad – Marty Caswell. Taking an “NFL Insider” role with the station is Nick Hardwick, who most recently co-hosted mid-days with Schaeffer. Hardwick’s “Football Hour” will air Monday and Friday at 8:00 am. The revised KLSD “XTRA 1360” weekday lineup is: Costa & Richards (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Darren Smith (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “The Loose Cannons” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); and Ernie Martinez (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm) ….. Meanwhile, across the hall at news/talk KOGO “News Radio 600,” Lou Penrose’s “Penrose Report” grabs the vacant afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) opening created when Carl DeMaio (“The DeMaio Report”) exited to focus on running for California’s 50th congressional district seat. Director of news & sports programming for iHeartMedia San Diego/Riverside Brian Long notes, “Lou Penrose is an exciting talent and a perfect addition for the afternoon drive show.” Penrose runs a full-service government relations and public affairs consulting firm and has served as district chief of staff for multiple U.S. congress members, including John Campbell, Ed Royce, and Mary Bono. He previously was director of news & talk programming for Morris Media’s KNWZ, Palm Springs (California) …..  Having covered the Washington Nationals for NBC Sports Washington, Bobby Trosset joins Hearst Television Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090” and co-owned WIYY “98 Rock.” He will anchor morning sports updates on both stations and be a significant part of the stations’ coverage of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. WBAL & WIYY president and general manager Cary Pahigian declares, “Nobody covers sports in Baltimore like we do. The home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football welcomes Bobby Trosset to Maryland’s most-connected and elite sports staff.” Trosset – who starts his new assignment this Thursday (8/8) – adds, “Baltimore’s loyalty to its sports teams is second to none. I’m ecstatic to be returning to the city I called home during my college years at Loyola and look forward to providing coverage, insight, and analysis to a passionate fan base.” ….. “The Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth” begins two weeks from this Saturday (8/24) at 12:01 am throughout Long Island Sound. The tournament offers up to $40,000 in cash prizes, including the grand prize of $25,000 for heaviest bluefish. Connoisseur Media Bridgeport, Connecticut news/talk WICC “600 AM” will broadcast hourly update results all weekend from Captain’s Cove and interview the first-place winner live … After 14 years with ESPN, Ryen Russillo departs to join Bill SimmonsThe Ringer. On Twitter, Russilo writes, “So … the news is out. I’m headed to [The Ringer]. Want to thank [ESPN] for the last 14 years. I grew up on [SportsCenter]. To be on the actual set, my name on a show, I have to remind myself at times how cool that is.” Using the same social media platform, Simmons tweets, “Happy to confirm that [Ryen Russillo] will be working exclusively for [The Ringer] for all multi-media stuff starting in September. Will be a regular on my BS Pod as well.” ….. This Saturday (8/10), iHeartMedia Wilmington, Delaware holds its 15th annual “Miles For Military” motorcycle ride to benefit USO Delaware. A number of on-air personalities from the cluster will be on site hosting the event, one of the largest motorcycle rides crossing the state. Participants will finish at Dover International Speedway. USO Delaware director Bruce Kmiec remarks, “We are excited about our partnership with iHeartMedia Delaware for the ‘Miles for Military’ motorcycle event. It has grown over the years into a household name event. We are floored by the amount of support we get for our current military and their families by all the riders that attend this amazing event. The money raised provides funding to over 50 USO Delaware military support events and programs we hold each year.” The five-station iHeartMedia Wilmington cluster consists of WDOV “News Radio 1410,” WILM “News Radio 1450,” and WWTX “Fox Sports 1290,” as well as WDSD “94.7 Delaware’s Continuous Country,” and hot AC WRDX “92.9 Tom-FM.” ….. In an unusual move, “CNN Newsroom” showed the names of 49 GOP lawmakers who turned down an invitation to discuss this weekend’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton. “CNN Newsroom” offered 50 Republican lawmakers a chance to discuss the attacks. Yesterday (Monday, 8/5), it led an interview with Florida Republican Congressman Ted Yoho by naming the 49 other GOP lawmakers, who refused to come on the network to talk about the shootings.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With over 20 years of broadcast industry experience, Al B. Sure! last night (Monday, 8/5) debuted his Sunday through Friday, 7:00 pm – 12:00 pm, REACH Media-syndicated “Love and R&B Hosted By Al B. Sure!” program. The five-hour longform show launched on affiliates in markets that included Dallas; Washington, DC; Detroit; St. Louis; Cincinnati; Columbus; Raleigh; and Richmond. REACH Media and Radio One chief executive officer David Kantor comments, “Al B. Sure! has a style that’s been well-established with his music, performance, and past broadcast experience that is ideal for evening listening. I’m confident he will be a nightly draw to a very large listening audience.” According to the host, “I am elated to be part of what media icon Ms. Cathy Hughes identified as the ‘Dream Team of Radio’ – REACH Media. I look forward to taking ‘Love and R&B’ to a new level.” When the program director of San Francisco’s KISQ “98.1 Kiss-FM” heard Al B. Sure! being interviewed in the early-2000s, he asked the singer if he would do a weekend radio show. Shortly thereafter came Al B. Sure!’s syndicated “‘Secret Garden Radio” show. His musical career dates back to 1988 with “In Effect Mode,” which was certified triple platinum and spent seven straight weeks at #1 on the R&B chart. He has received four Grammy awards; the American Music Award for “Best New R&B Artist”; and more than 75 ASCAP awards for writing and composition performance. Sean Andre is the program’s producer. Founded by Kantor and Tom Joyner in 2003, REACH Media is an Urban One company ….. Under program director Jeremy Reyes (a.k.a. “DJ Jeremiah Red”), Entercom Los Angeles introduces “FireLane” on KAMP-HD3 and Radio.Com. The station features mixers such as DJ Vice, Flipside, DJ Lisa Pittman, DJ Majestik, DJ Sophenom, DJ Drew Pierce, and DJ Sabio. Entercom Southern California regional president Jeff Federman notes that we are “currently living in a world where music tastes have collided and consumers are more interested in the authenticity of the music blend, rather than the genre. I have to credit a member of our team for suggesting the development of a station that encompasses today’s ‘festival tent’ feel with rhythmic, dance, hip hop, and EDM all being represented.”

 

 

July 2019 PPM Data – Round One. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.

New York City

Spoken-Word Formats – Down or flat the past five survey periods for a collective loss of three-tenths (1.8 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WOR “710 The Voice of New York” picks up one-tenth in July to 1.6 (6+) and repeats at #20. The March 2019 through July 2019 topline for Townsquare Media’s similarly-formatted WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” is a very consistent 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.3 (#23 to #22, 6+).  May’s one-tenth increase halted five straight down or flat sweeps that resulted in an overall loss of four-tenths. Following four successive decreases accounting for a loss of six-tenths (1.5 – 1.3 -1.2 – 1.0 – .9, 6+), news/talk WABC adds one-tenth to 1.0 (#24 to #23, 6+). Cumulus Media is selling WABC to John Catsimatidis Red Apple Media for $12.5 million; the deal is expected to close later this year.

A May/June loss of seven-tenths (4.2 – 4.0 – 3.5, 6+) by Entercom sports talk WFAN is followed by a July improvement of one-tenth to 3.6 (6+) as the Yankees’ flagship inches up from ninth to eighth. Off one-tenth (1.7 – 1.6, #19 to #20, 6+), WEPN has its weakest 6+-stat (1.6) since “Holiday” 2018’s 1.4. Before adding two-tenths in May, “98.7 ESPN New York” posted a 1.8 (6+) in three of the previous four sweeps (1.8 – 1.8 – 2.2 – 1.8, 6+).

Entercom all-news siblings combine for a net June 2019 – July 2019 decrease of four-tenths, after an overall May 2019 – June 2019 loss of one-half share. Specifically, WINS is trending 3.9 – 3.5 – 3.2 (6+) and drifts from the top ten (#9 to #13), while Mets flagship WCBS-AM falters by a collective full-share via four straight declines (3.4 – 2.9 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.4, flat at #15, 6+). In advance of adding two-tenths in May, WINS was -1.1 in three successive down or flat reports (4.8 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+).

While unchanged at #18, WNYC Broadcasting Foundation news/talk WNYC-FM has lost a collective eight-tenths in three successive negative or neutral sweeps (2.9 – 2.4 – 2.1 – 2.1, 6+). An April boost of three-tenths curtailed four successive down or flat sweeps that resulted in an overall -1.0 (3.6 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 2.9 – 2.6, 6+).  The February 2019 through July 2019 topline for co-owned news/talk WNYC-AM is .4 – .3 – .4 – .3 – .2 – .3 (#37 to #35, 6+).

New York City Music Formats – Within 3.1 – 3.7 range (6+) in each of the last ten ratings periods (3.6 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 3.7, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR WKTU erupts with an increase of six-tenths to 4.3 (eighth to sixth, 6+). The last time “103.5 KTU” reached the four-share level (6+) was in September 2018 (4.0). Its format rival, Emmis’ WQHT “Hot 97,” has lost a collective half-share in four straight down or flat moves (3.8 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.3, #11 to #12, 6+). Peekskill, New York-licensed Pamal Broadcasting adult contemporary WHUD “100.7 – Westchester & The Hudson Valley’s Music Station” debuts with a .5 (#27, 6+). This marks the third month in succession that WLTW “106.7 Lite FM” logs a 6.8 (6+), as the iHeartMedia adult contemporary outlet is #1 for the 25th consecutive ratings period. WLTW posted a one-half share increase in March, but surrendered seven-tenths in April. A combined -5.3 in January/February (12.5 – 7.6 – 7.2, 6+), “Lite FM” was +5.8 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (6.7 – 9.1 – 12.5, 6+). In back-to-back mega losses totaling a massive -2.7, WPLJ has virtually wiped away its May AQH-stat (3.1 – 1.5 – .4, 6+) and plummets from the top twenty (#20 to #31). In conjunction with its sale from Cumulus Media to Educational Media Foundation, WPLJ flipped from hot AC to contemporary Christian “K-Love Classics.” The legendary contemporary music outlet went out on a very positive note leading up to the format flip though, as it posted five straight New York City gains for a cumulative +1.1 (2.0 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 3.1, “Holiday” 2018 through May 2019, 6+). Down one-tenth in May, Entercom hot AC WNEW-FM “NEW 102.7” follows the WPLJ format change with a combined June/July gain of six-tenths (3.0 – 3.3 – 3.6, 6+) and enters the top ten (#13 to #8). Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish contemporary WPAT-FM “Amor 93.1” notches its fourth successive up or neutral move for an overall plus of six-tenths (2.9 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.4 – 3.5, flat at #11, 6+). In the last six sweeps, Spanish tropical sibling WSKQ “La Mega 97.9” has recorded a 5.0 (6+) on three occasions and a 5.3 (6+) the other three times (5.3 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.0, fourth to fifth, 6+).

Los Angeles

Spoken-Word Formats – After a combined May/June uptick of eight-tenths (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KFI “AM 640” drops two-tenths to 4.3 (6+) but carries on in fifth-place. Ever since debuting in February, its internet stream notched three straight up or flat moves (.6 – .6 – .7 – .8, #34, 6+), but disappears from print in June and July. Co-owned news/talk KEIB regains the one-tenth it lost in July (.9 – 1.0, flat at #32, 6+). “AM 1150 The Patriot” was off by just an overall one-tenth in three straight down or flat sweeps (9 – .8 – .8 – .8, 6+) before adding two-tenths in May to 1.0 (6+). Having regressed by three-tenths in June (.9 – .6, 6+), Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA “AM 870 The Answer” rebounds with a spike of two-tenths to .8 (#35 to #34, 6+). Cumulus Media-owned KABC “790 News-Talk-Evolved” loses half (-.3) its 6+ AQH-share in three straight dips (.6 – .5 – .4 – .3, #41 to #42, 6+).

Just as they were in June, iHeartMedia sports talk/Dodgers flagship KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports” and Disney-owned KSPN “710 ESPN” are deadlocked at #27, as both repeat June’s 1.4 (6+). KLAC was up two-tenths in June and KSPN improved by one-tenth.

Five straight negative or neutral monthlies by KNX “1070 News Radio” accounted for a full-share loss in that January 2019 – June 2019 timeframe (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.1 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.7, 6+) but the Entercom operation is up one-tenth in July to 2.8 (#14 to #13, 6+).

Up one-tenth after June’s loss of one-half share (2.3 – 1.8 – 1.9, 6+), Pasadena City College news/talk KPCC “The Voice of Southern California” remains at #23.

Los Angeles Music Formats – Recording an AQH share between 1.4 – 1.9 in each of the last ten sweeps (1.8  – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.9, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KSCA “Zona MX 101.9” busts out an improvement of seven-tenths to 2.6 and reenters the top twenty at #16. This is its finest 6+-performance in over a year (2.6, as well in May 2018). Bouncing back from June’s decrease of eight-tenths with a one-tenth gain to 5.9 (6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5” is #1 the tenth straight time. After its “Holiday” 2018 13.0 (6+), “Coast” has followed with 6.2 – 6.5 – 6.5 – 6.3 – 6.6 – 5.8 – 5.9 (6+). Prior to January when it surrendered a -6.8 to 6.2 (6+), KOST was an overall +8.4 through five improvements in a row (4.6 – 4.7 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 9.0 – 13.0, 6+). Co-owned hot AC KBIG “104.3 My-FM” is up or flat the third straight time for a half-share gain (4.1 – 4.5 – 4.6 – 4.6, unchanged at #4, 6+). While it repeats in eighth-place, KLOS logs its seventh straight up or flat trend for a net gain of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.3, 6+). Meruelo Media Holdings acquired KLOS from Cumulus Media for $43 million and is programming the station under a Local Marketing Agreement. A loss of three-tenths to 2.9 (6+) by Spanish Broadcasting System regional Mexican KLAX not only snaps at seven its consecutive string of up or flat moves that yielded a +1.1 (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.2, 6+), “97.9 La Raza” exits the top ten (#9 to #11). Notwithstanding that it has lost eight-tenths in five consecutive negative or neutral sweeps (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.7 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss FM” continues in seventh-place. Prior to June, the last time “Kiss” was under a four-share (6+) was in “Holiday” 2018 (3.5). Meanwhile, Entercom-owned/similarly-formatted KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio” is within 2.0 – 2.9 territory the 26th time in a row (2.4 – 2.3, #16 to #17, 6+). Slipping from #18 to #19, iHeartMedia’s KYSR “Alt 98.7 – LA’s New Alternative” has lost two-tenths in four consecutive sweeps without an increase (2.4 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2, 6+). It remains two-tenths ahead of format rival, Entercom-owned KROQ (flat at 2.0, #20 to #21, 6+), whose June gain of one-tenth ended four consecutive negative or neutral sweeps that resulted in a collective half-share deficit (2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+).

Chicago

Spoken-Word Formats – Even though Tribune Media news/talk and White Sox flagship WGN repeats June’s 2.9 (6+), it drops from #12 to #13. Not only is WLS-AM “890 AM” without a loss the seventh consecutive report, doubling (+1.1) its 6+ AQH share in that “Holiday” 2018 through July 2019 timeframe (1.1 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 2.1 – 2.2, 6+), the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet is back in the top twenty after a lengthy absence (#21 to #20).

In May, Entercom sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” posted its best 6+-showing (4.2) since October 2018, but the Cubs flagship loses a combined four-tenths in June/July (4.2 – 3.9 – 3.8, flat at #7, 6+). Erasing June’s loss of two-tenths with a July increase of three-tenths (1.4 – 1.2 – 1.5, 6+), Disney/ESPN-owned WMVP “ESPN Chicago 1000” progresses from #26 to #24.

Dipping from third to fourth, Entercom news outlet WBBM-AM is an overall -1.4 via six successive down or neutral moves (6.2 – 6.1 – 5.8 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+). Prior to April, WBBM-AM finished on top the previous three survey periods.

Off a collective nine-tenths in three consecutive sweeps without an increase (3.4 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.5, 6+), Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ ends the slide with a gain of two-tenths to 2.7 (unchanged at #19, 6+).

Chicago Music Formats – A combined -1.3 in May/June (5.6 – 5.2 – 4.3, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC WVAZ “V-103” reduces roughly half the deficit with an improvement of six-tenths to 4.9 (fourth to third, 6+). The combination of a three-tenths uptick by Hubbard Broadcasting classic rock WDRV “97.1 The Drive” (5.1 – 5.4, second to first) and an equal margin decrease by hot AC cluster-mate WTMX “101.9 The Mix” (5.5 – 5.2, second to first, 6+) results in the siblings swapping places at the top. “Mix” was #1 the past three months and continues its relatively steady January 2019 through July 2019 topline of 5.4 – 5.5 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 5.6 – 5.5 – 5.2 (6+); April’s 5.9 was its highest 6+-stat since November 2017’s 6.3. A combined +.9 in May/June (3.9 – 4.5 – 4.8, 6+), Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WLS-FM “94.7 Chicago’s Classic Hits” surrenders all but one-tenth of that increase (4.8 – 4.0, -.8, 6+), skidding from third to sixth. Advancing from #18 to a three-way scrum at #16, Entercom-owned WUSN “US-99 Chicago’s Hottest Country” has a February 2019 through July 2019 topline of 3.0 – 2.6 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 2.7 – 2.8 (6+). Similarly-formatted/iHeartMedia-owned WEBG repeats June’s 1.6 (6+) but inches up from #24 to #23. Before dropping two-tenths in June, “Big 95.5 Chicago’s New Country” had been up or flat the previous seven sweeps for an overall gain of four-tenths (1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.8, 6+). Chicago’s three principal adult contemporary operations all record June 2019 – July 2019 fluctuations of one-tenth. On the positive side, iHeartMedia’s WLIT “93.9 Lite FM” is up or neutral the fourth time in a row for a gain of four-tenths (3.9 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 4.2 – 4.3, sixth to fifth, 6+) and Venture Technologies Group-owned WRME-LP “FM 87.7 – Me TV” has its third straight bump for a collective increase of six-tenths (2.5 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.1, #12 to #11, 6+). Prior to gaining three-tenths in June, WLIT was an overall -9.4 as a result of five successive down or flat reports (13.3 – 5.0 – 4.4 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.9, 6+); “Lite FM” was a combined +10.1 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (3.2 – 8.4 – 13.3, 6+). June’s 3.0 marked the first time WRME-LP reached the three-share level (6+) since November 2018’s 3.3. Meanwhile, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WSHE “100.3 SHE,” which was up one-tenth in June, returns that increase in July (2.8 – 2.9 – 2.8, #15 to part of that three-way logjam at #16, 6+). Before faltering by one-half share in May, WSHE notched an overall increase of eight-tenths via four consecutive positive or flat moves (2.5 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.3, 6+). Up four-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss, alternative WKQX logs a 3.0 the third time in a row (2.6 – 2.8 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.0, #12 to #13, 6+). Meanwhile, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI-FM has a January 2019 through July 2019 topline of: 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 2.8 (flat at #16, 6+).

Thursday, March 7, 2019

| March 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 15, 2019

| February 15, 2019

Cox Sells Majority Stake of News/Talk WHIO, Dayton, Two Music FMs, and TV and Newspaper Properties. The “buyer” here is Apollo Global Management which – according to a piece in today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution – is acquiring a controlling interest in Cox Enterprises’ 14 television stations, its newspapers, and its three Dayton, Ohio radio stations.  Cox made no secret of the fact it was shopping its television assets, but bunching Dayton radio outlets news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, country WHKO-FM, and rock WZLR-FM was not expected.  Cox will retain a minority stake in the new company.  Interestingly, Cox Media Group will continue ownership of the AJC, as well as its other radio stations and media outlets in other markets.  Why is Apollo interested in the Dayton radio stations?  The AJC writes, “The newspapers, radio stations, and WHIO-TV in Dayton share a unique business model that involve full integration of their operations.  Apollo plans to maintain the Cox Media management and operating structure within the new company, which has yet to be named.”

Newt Gingrich Podcast Launches on Westwood One. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Westwood One partner to create the “Newt’s World” weekly, original podcast.   The press release states that the program “will offer stories, conversations, and context on a different topic each week, from history to health, national security to science, and much more…’Newt’s World’ isn’t a podcast about politics; it’s a show that explores the past, present, and future to help listeners contextualize current events and important discoveries across all aspects of our society.  The inaugural episode of ‘Newt’s World’ features the father of our country, the man who led the first Americans to freedom, George Washington.”  Gingrich says, “I spend most of my time doing two things: learning and teaching.  I’m looking forward to bringing others on the journey with me to fully explore fascinating topics together.  Some weeks we’ll be talking about history, some weeks we’ll learn about the future, and others we’ll look at what is happening right now in culture, science, and events.  We live in an amazing world, and there’s an enormous amount to learn and share.”

Former Sports Talk Host Marty Tirrell Faces Fraud Charges. Former KXNO, Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell is being held in a Polk County, Iowa jail until space opens up at a residential release facility.  The 59-year-old is charged with six counts of fraud as federal prosecutors charge he swindled at least eight people out of $1.5 million. The allegations against Tirrell include that he sought investors for a business in which he would buy tickets to sporting events and sell them at a profit.  Prosecutors say initially Tirrell paid back his investors, but later began lying to them and used their money for personal expenses and to pay back other investors.  When they sought the promised return on their investment, Tirrell allegedly wrote checks he knew would bounce or provided them with false wire transfer information. See the Des Moines Register story here.

Gomez ‘American Grit’ Podcast Addresses Immigration Reform. Radio pro Joe Gomez is producing a podcast called ‘American Grit’ that he tells TALKERS magazine is dedicated to covering immigration reform and current events.  Gomez, who served as a radio reporter for iHeartRadio (KOA, Denver and KRTH, Houston), CBS, and NBC, hosts the program.  The podcast is available via iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher.  Check it out here.

Border Wall Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 11-15. The battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation and the related ruling by a judge that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort lied to investigators.  Coming in at #3 was the Green New Deal, tied with the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, followed by the Andrew McCabe CBS interview 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.

Alliance for Women in Media Foundation Names New Board and Directors. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces its 2019 National Board of Directors. New to the AWM board are Abby Greensfelder, co-founder & co-owner, Half Yard Productions; Brenda Hetrick, chief revenue officer, Matrix Solutions; and Katherine Wolfgang, head of public relations, CBC.  AWM/F board chair and president Christine Travaglini says, “We are thrilled to have these talented, accomplished women joining our leadership for the next two years.”  Keisha Sutton James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, will serve as incoming chair, Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency, will serve as treasurer. Josie Thomas, executive vice president, chief diversity and inclusion officer, CBS Corporation, will serve as treasurer-elect, while Sarah Foss, senior vice president, strategic initiatives, Freewheel Advertisers at FreeWheel will serve as immediate past chair.  The following individuals will serve as directors at large of AWM: Joyce Fitch, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc.; Jinny Laderer, president, vCreative; Meg LaVigne, president of television, Litton Entertainment; Kelly DeLace Perdomo, vice president, content, sports, entertainment, and partnership marketing, SiriusXM; and Diane Schwartz, SVP and group publisher, Access Intelligence.  The following individuals will serve as directors at large of AWMF: Anne Cowan, senior vice president, communications and marketing, CTAM; Annie Howell, co-founder and managing partner, The Punch Point Group; Deborah Parenti, publisher, RadioInk, RBR and TVBR; Rob Stoddard, SVP program network policy, NCTA; and Kristen Welch, chief financial officer, Illustrative Mathematics.  At the same time the AWM/F announces that the 2019 call for entries for the annual Gracie Awards was the most successful in the program’s history. AWM/F executive director Becky Brooks adds, “The number and caliber of extraordinary programs and performances entered for the 2019 Gracie Awards is an unprecedented milestone for the AWM/F.  Gracies judges – women and more men than ever before – include executives and talent from across every form of media.  They have their work cut out for them in deciding the 2019 winners from this exceptional pool of nominees.”  The 44th Annual Gracie Awards Gala will take place May 21, at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills and the Gracie Awards Luncheon will be held June 26, in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Michael Harrison Explores the Impact of Changing Communications Technology on the Human Nervous System. One of the common themes of the present era is the challenge people face in keeping pace and coping with the exponential changes in communications technology. On this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” the TALKERS founder interviews theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge, and licensed psychotherapist Dr. Bryan Robinson about the rapid changes taking place in our noisy world. Join them for a deep dive into the realm of neuro-plasticity, the sounds of silence, and escaping from the maddening, non-stop workplace. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Adult contemporary WDZH, Detroit “987 The Breeze” names husband-and-wife radio duo Chadd & Kristi (pictured) hosts of the station’s morning drive program, effective Monday (2/18).  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “As a husband and wife team, Chadd and Kristi will bring a unique perspective to our airwaves and we are excited to welcome them to ‘The Breeze.’  They are both full of energy and our listeners can look forward to hearing all of their entertaining relationship and family life stories every workday.” Chadd & Kristi come to Detroit from their most recent position at Beasley Media Group’s WPBB, Tampa (recently flipped from AC to classic rock)…..iHeartMedia’s WRVE-HD2/W260CH “Wild Country 99.9” enters in to an agreement with NASCAR to broadcast each Monster Energy Cup Series race, including the Daytona 500, FireKeepers Casino 400, and Food City 500.  “Wild Country 99.9” program director Terry O’Donnell says, “It’s an honor to be the new home for NASCAR in the Capital Region.  NASCAR is the #1 spectator sport in America and since so many of us are on the move, we can’t always catch the race on TV.  Now, listeners can hear the races live on their phone, smart speaker or in their car via iHeartRadio.”…..There’s a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast starring Mario Lopez titled “Listen To Mario” that launches today (2/15).  In its inaugural episode, Lopez sits down for a candid conversation with Mark-Paul Gosselaar (a.k.a. Zack Morris from “Saved By the Bell!”) in which they discuss their childhood hairstyles, reminisce about “Saved By The Bell,” and much more.

Monday, December 10, 2018

| December 10, 2018

Report: Cumulus Interested in WGN-AM, Chicago.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert FederCumulus Media – owner of news/talk WLS-AM, classic hits WLS-FM and alternative WKQX – is interested in buying legendary news/talk WGN-AM.  Television station company Nexstar has bid to acquire Tribune Media – 42 TV stations, numerous digital properties and cable channel WGN America – for $4.1 billion.  A report in Crain’s Business Chicago indicates that although Nexstar is “in no hurry” to sell WGN-AM, it is not planning to build out a  radio division and will likely sell the station.  None of the major radio operators are up against the AM ownership cap in Chicago so Cumulus, Entercom, Hubbard or iHeartMedia could be contenders to acquire the station.  Feder says that Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner told staffers Cumulus would be interested in the station.

John Hanson Named Program Director for WCCO-AM, Minneapolis.  Taking over after the departure last month of station OM and PD Andy Bloom as program director for news/talk WCCO-AM is John Hanson.  He joins the station from the company’s Kansas City sports talk duo KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and KWOD “1660 The Score.”  Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “John brings extensive knowledge of the Minneapolis community to his new role with 830 WCCO. I trust our listeners will enjoy the innovative and exciting programing that he will add to the station.”  Prior to joining Entercom in 2013, Hanson co-hosted “Twin Cities Live” on KSTP-TV, Minneapolis.

Jeff Styles Returns to the Air in Chattanooga. Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning drive personality Jeff Styles is back on the air in the market today on Brewer Broadcasting’s news/talk WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ “NoogaRadio 92.7 FM” for a daily show in the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot.  Styles was let go from WGOW by Cumulus Media after being arrested during a road rage incident in which he was shot in the arm by the other motorist.  The case was bound over to a grand jury but the charges against him were dropped.  WGOW subsequently named midday host Brian Joyce host of “The Morning Press” with co-hosts Jim Reynolds and Kevin West.  Styles’ new program is called “Fred the Show” – Fred stands for Free Radio Every Day – and Styles says, “I’m excited to have a platform to listen, and talk to, listeners again…I’m chomping at the bit, excited to stir things up!”

Doug McIntyre to Exit KABC, Los Angeles. Longtime KABC-AM, Los Angeles personality Doug McIntyre announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media news/talk station after his contract expires at the end of this month.  McIntyre is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News.  In a Tweet, McIntyre says, “Time for me to say goodbye.  After 22 years, I will do my last show at KABC this Friday, December 14th.  What a great run and wonderful experience it has been.  This was a tough call, but I appreciate KABC management for for respecting my decision.”

Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Top Format in PPM Markets.  According to data from Nielsen Audio, overall (Persons 6+), news/talk is the most-listened-to radio format of 2018 to this point with 10% of the AQH audience. Looking at the 25-54 demographic, CHR was again the dominant format with 8% of the AQH audience.  Although news/talk’s audience skews older, it still was the third most-listened-to format (tied with adult contemporary) with 7% of the AQH audience.  Keep in mind that Nielsen lumps public radio news/talk in with its commercial brethren and that certainly adds some youth to that figure, as it likely does with the 18-34 demo, in which news/talk scores 4.3% of the AQH share.

The Bob & Tom Show Renews with iHeartMedia for 13 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom” show announces it has struck a renewal deal with iHeartMedia to continue being carried by 13 of the company’s radio stations, including home base WFBQ, Indianapolis; WQMF, Louisville; WTUE, Dayton and more.  The program is distributed by Westwood One.  Show host Tom Griswold says, “Thanks to [EVP/GM iHeartMedia national programming group] Brad Hardin and all the folks at iHeart for keeping our long relationship moving forward.  Many of these stations have been with us for years, so they are jewels in the ‘Bob & Tom’ crown.  Actually, we started our syndication at WFBQ and we’re happy to continue our close and unique tie with that special group in Indianapolis.”

Kim Komando Show to Air on Bloomberg TV in January. Beginning on Saturday, January 5, the new, television version of the weekly Kim Komando program will air on the Bloomberg Television Network at 4:00 pm ET.  Komando’s show is produced by her WestStar Multimedia Entertainment firm and the TV show will be produced at WestStar’s $8 million broadcast center in Phoenix.  Komando says, “We’re thrilled to take our content to an international audience.  We’re taking what we’ve perfected on the airwaves over the last 20 years, reaching millions of Americans each week and sharing it worldwide.  How cool is that?”  The press release says that the program “will be expertly produced to speak to Bloomberg’s loyal audience of business executives, industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs.”  Komando adds, “We’re all about tech wellness and helping consumers use technology to enrich their lives and improve their businesses.”

TALKERS News Notes. In a report by Paul Farhi in The Washington Post, it’s revealed that NPR employs “an army of temps” that for them creates a “workplace of anxiety and insecurity.”  Farhi writes, “Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR.  Temps do almost every important job in NPR’s newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them.  Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests.”  Temp workers are covered under NPR’s union contract and they make a base salary as per that contract.  According to the piece, about 20%-22% of NPR’s 483 union staffers are temps…..iHeartMedia and Learfield announce that new Milwaukee sports talk outlet WRNW “97.3 The Game” will serve as the new radio home of the Wisconsin Badger Sports Network in Milwaukee.   iHeartMedia division president Jeff Tyler comments, “We have enjoyed great success with many of our new sports/talk and entertainment brands and are excited about the launch of ‘97.3 The Game’ for Milwaukee and Southwestern Wisconsin.  We are also pleased to continue and expand our longtime partnership with Learfield’s Badgers Sports Properties and the University of Wisconsin with ‘The Game,’ ‘The Big 920’ and all the other Milwaukee stations and of course our iHeartRadio brand.”…..National radio rep firm Gen Media Partners announces its acquisition of  Regional Reps and The Tacher Company.  In a press release, GMP says, “While the newly acquired companies will continue to operate on behalf of the radio stations they represent, Gen Media Partners’ combined roster of 4,000 radio station partners will create more opportunities for national advertisers, particularly when they are looking for scale in radio.”  GMP CEO Kevin Garrity says, “With the increased scale and reach, we can develop more national opportunities and generate more agency business for our independent radio partners, while we continue to provide the exceptional service and support that are our hallmark.”  Regional Reps chairman Stuart Sharpe exits while Greg Tacher and Joe Costello of The Tacher Company and Jeff Slivka of Regional Reps remain with their respective companies and take on expanded roles within the Gen Media Partners organization.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Cabinet, Financial Markets Activity, Charlottesville Murder Conviction, Southeast Winter Storm, Paris Riots, Huawei CFO Arrest, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; changes in the Trump cabinet as William Barr to be nominated for attorney general, Heather Nauert to be UN ambassador; and questions arise about a new chief of staff; the huge stock selloff and the activity on the world’s financial markets; James Alex Fields Jr. is convicted of murder in the death of Heather Heyer at the 2017 Charlottesville protests; a winter storm dumps heavy snow in the Southeast; France continues to deal with violent protests over economic matters; the tense U.S.-China relations after the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, BC; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today looking at urban contemporary.  Three PPM market urban contemporary stations had improved more than a share over the November 2017 survey: Urban One’s WQOK, Raleigh “K97.5” (up 1.5); iHeartMedia’s WZRL, Indianapolis “Real 98.3” (up 1.4); and Urban One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92 Q Jams” (up 1.1). There are no urban contemporary outlets that rank #1 in their markets (6+), but WQOK, WERQ, and iHeartMedia’s WUBT, Nashville all ranked #2 in their respective markets in the November 2018 survey. See the whole report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Toledo Blade reports a major shuffle of morning show talent at the Cumulus Media cluster in Toledo.   Beginning next Monday (12/17), classic hits WRQN morning hosts Cliff and Lyn will join Gary Shores on country WKKO-FM, 99.9 “K-100.”  Denny Schaffer’s morning team moves from hot AC WQQO-FM to WRQN.   Meanwhile Eric Chase, who handles evenings on WQQO, assumes mornings on the station.  The following Monday (12/21), Jeremy “Pyke” Peterson takes over mornings on classic rock WXKR-FM as Mark Benson retires after a 22-year stint with the station…..In Seattle, Michael Kraig exits Hubbard Broadcasting’s country KNUC where he’d been handling the evening show.

Monday, February 12, 2018

| February 12, 2018

Beasley Media Group Reports Pro Forma Q4 Net Revenue Down 6.9%.  Due to the number of recent acquisitions, sales and asset swaps Beasley Media Group has been involved in, the company’s financial reports can be a bit confusing.  It is reporting a $4.8 million, or 9% year-over-year, increase in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2017.  That figure reflects the inclusion of stations acquired from Greater Media in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and New Jersey (announced in the summer of 2016), partially offset by the disposition of the Charlotte and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations (to Entercom, announced in the fall of 2016) and strong non-recurring political advertising revenue recorded in the year ago fourth quarter.  But the 6.9% dip in net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2017 is pro forma and reflects the company’s legacy Beasley Broadcast Group operations, the Greater Media stations, and the recent acquisition of sports WBZ-FM, Boston (exchanged with Entercom for WMJX-FM, Boston and $12 million), while excluding the Charlotte and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations and WMJX-FM, as if all transactions had been completed on January 1, 2016.  In a press release, CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Throughout 2017, we continued to actively manage our station portfolio to extract operating and financial synergies from the acquired Greater Media stations, while implementing our proven strategies across our platform, which are focused on delivering strong local programming, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results.  On a GAAP basis, fourth quarter net revenue rose 9.0% compared to the prior year, primarily reflecting the acquisitions and divestitures to our platform on a year-over-year basis.  Pro forma net revenues for the three months ended December 31, 2017 declined 6.9% compared to the prior year period, reflecting $3.9 million in non-recurring political advertising revenue and softer national advertising revenue. The year-over-year decline was partially offset by a 6.5%, or $3.5 million, reduction in pro forma station operating expenses. As a result, Beasley’s fourth quarter pro forma SOI declined 7.8% year over year while SOI margins were relatively flat compared to the prior year period…Looking ahead to 2018, we intend to continue our strategic priorities of realizing synergy targets, reducing debt and leverage, taking advantage of political revenue opportunities, improving top and bottom-line performance and returning capital to shareholders through our quarterly cash dividend. With enhanced opportunities to monetize our strong core programming and local brands, we remain confident in the radio industry and in Beasley’s growing broadcast and digital platform. We look forward to realizing the strategic benefits of the WBZ transaction in 2018 and remain confident that our ongoing initiatives to drive sales, productivity and efficiency across our platform, combined with prudent management of our capital structure, is a proven formula for sustained long term financial growth and the creation of shareholder value.”

Dennis Miller Back in the Westwood One Fold. Comic, TV star, “SNL” alum, and former radio talk show host Dennis Miller is back with Westwood One, this time delivering two daily, one-minute programs to affiliate stations.  Miller hosted a daily, midday talk show on WW1 for eight years.  Now, he returns to the company with commentaries that present “his idiosyncratic take on topical issues, the culture, and what Americans are talking about in two distinct 60-second programs, Monday through Friday.”  Westwood One EVP of News & Talk Bart Tessler says, “Dennis Miller is a multi-talented, multimedia comic icon and we are thrilled to have him back on Westwood One.  Even with all his success, ‘The Miller Minute’ may be the best format yet for Dennis to entertain and inform listeners with his humor and idiosyncratic style.  He can’t wait to re-engage with his radio audience, affiliates, and advertisers.”

WGR-AM , Buffalo to Roast Bills’ Fred Jackson.  Buffalo sports talker WGR-AM is honoring former Buffalo Bills player Fred Jackson at the 4th Annual WGR Celebrity Roast this Thursday (2/15).  The event is being hosted by WGR morning show host Howard Simon and will feature an all-star panel of former teammates, including: Eric Wood, Aaron Williams, Bryan Scott and Ryan Fitzpatrick, as well as Jackson’s own twin brother, Patrick Jackson.   Entercom Buffalo SVP and market manager Greg Ried states, “The city of Buffalo is incredibly passionate about their hometown Buffalo Bills and Fred Jackson is a respected and beloved figure in the community.  Jackson was a unanimous decision by the WGR team.  For his determination, compassion and drive, on and off the field, we are excited to honor him at this year’s WGR Celebrity Roast.”  The WGR Celebrity Roast has become a signature event in the Buffalo community.  Former WGR Celebrity Roast honorees include former Buffalo Sabres players Marty Biron, Mike Robitaille and Rob Ray, as well as former Buffalo Bills player Andre Reed.

TALKERS News Notes. Former New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria – now one-third of the WEEI, Boston midday show with Glenn Ordway and Lou Merloni – was suspended from the Entercom station for a week and issued an apology after a bit aired in which Fauria used a stereotypical Asian accent to imitate sports agent Don Yee.  During the bit, Fauria was reading phony texts purported to be from Yee to Boston Herald sportswriter Ron Borges regarding Tom Brady’s contract situation with the Patriots…..In Philadelphia, “SportsTalk 94WIP” personality (and former Eagles player) Jon Ritchie was off the air last Friday (2/9) after being arrested for DUI and simple assault.  According to Philly.com, Ritchie was arrested early Friday morning, hours after the parade in Philly celebrating the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.  The paper does not explain the circumstances surrounding Ritchie’s arrest.  Ritchie co-hosts the midday show with Joe DeCamara…..Dayton sports talk station WING-AM has a new program director as Justin Kinner is promoted from the interim PD position.  Alpha Media says that Kinner previously worked as the afternoon drive host at WING-AM.  He also has experience as an account executive in the market.  Alpha Media Dayton OM Bo Matthews comments, “It was clear from the moment I arrived that Justin was the guy to become the new PD of WING-AM.  I wish I could bottle up his passion and excitement and pass it around.”…..Twin Cities sports media figure Patrick Reusse is leaving KSTP-AM’s “Saturday Morning Sports Talk” program that he’s been co-hosting with Judd Zulgad.  His role on the program will be taken over by KSTP Vikings reporter Matthew Coller.  Reusse – who also writes for the Minneapolis Star Tribune – continues to host afternoon drive and the one-hour “SportsTalk” show he co-hosts with Joe Soucheray at 3:00 pm on the Hubbard Brodcasting station.

Rob Porter Resignation/#MeToo Movement, Trump-Russia Probe, Dow Selloff, North Korea Diplomatic Overtures, Iranian Drone Case, PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The aftermath of the resignation of White House aide Rob Porter over allegations of domestic violence and President Trump’s Tweet that the #MeToo movement is ruining careers; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the big Wall Street selloff that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average lose more than 2,000 points; North Korea’s use of the Olympic games for diplomatic overtures and criticism of the America media’s “fawning” coverage of Kim Jong Un’s sister’s appearance at the Olympic Games; Israel’s shooting down of an Iranian drone modeled after a U.S. drone Iran captured several years ago; the athletic events at the Winter Olympics; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Birmingham, Cumulus Media appoints Phillip March program director for urban AC WUHT “Hot 107.7.”  He was previously director of urban programming for Alpha Media’s Louisville, Kentucky stations.  Cumulus Media Birmingham VP and market manager David Walls says, “We are elated that Phillip is joining our team.  He brings experience, passion, knowledge and leadership to our team.  He is a true leader and an outstanding teacher.  It is a huge win for Cumulus Birmingham and for our community as well.”…..Program director Lauren MacLeash exits Entercom’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “BUZ’N” after a stint of more than three years with the former CBS RADIO cluster.  The company is beginning a search for her replacement…..Beasley Media Group inks Terrie Carr to a multi-year deal to continue serving as program director and midday personality at WDHA-FM, Dover, New Jersey.  Carr was elevated to program director last summer.  She says, “I am both energized and honored to continue my career with my Beasley and WDHA family and for the opportunity to help lead the greatest air staff a person could ask for.  The challenges, new pathways to technology, and sheer madness of our business keep me inspired beyond my wildest dreams every day!”…..Keith Barton is succeeding Dave Paulus as general manager for Max Media’s Norfolk cluster…..Curtis Media announces Max Miller and Amy Kay are teaming up for the “Max & Amy in the Morning” program on hot AC WMGV, Greenville-New Bern “V103.3.”  Their program replaces the syndicated “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.”

Thursday, February 1, 2018

| February 1, 2018

iHeartCommunications Declines to Make $106 Million Cash Interest Payment. This move, like Cumulus Media’s similar tactic last fall, is designed to spur action in the company’s efforts to restructure its debt.  Today, iHeartCommunications, Inc. (iHeartMedia is the parent company of iHeartCommunications) announced that its board of directors elected not to make a cash interest payment of $106 million (due today, 2/1) to holders of its 14% senior unsecured notes due 2021 as active discussions continue among its lenders, noteholders, and financial sponsors regarding a comprehensive debt restructuring.  “The board elected not to make the payment in connection with ongoing efforts to proactively and comprehensively address the company’s capital structure.  The decision will not trigger an event of default under the indenture as the company will utilize a 30-day grace period under the indenture during which it retains the right to make the interest payment to the holders of the notes and remain in compliance with the indenture governing the notes.  The board is considering options as part of its strategy to achieve a comprehensive restructuring of the company’s debt.”

SiriusXM Q4 Revenue Up 8%.  The satellite radio company did take a loss of $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, but that was due to a $185 million charge associated with the revaluation of the company’s deferred tax assets as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For the year of 2017, SiriusXM’s net revenue was positive to the tune of $648 million.  In the fourth quarter, SiriusXM recorded a decrease of approximately $72 million in the fair value of its investment in Pandora, reversing the prior quarter’s unrealized gains.  The satcaster reports that it gained 1.56 million self-pay subscribers during 2017 to put its total self-pay subscribers at approximately 27.5 million.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “The fourth quarter capped a strong year for SiriusXM and was our best quarter for self-pay subscriber growth in five years. We exceeded all of our 2017 subscriber and financial guidance, even after increasing these targets during the year.  I am particularly pleased that we achieved this growth in an environment of slowing auto sales.”

‘Radio War’ Gets KBME, Houston Booted from Super Bowl Radio Row.  A good old-fashioned radio war tactic escalated tensions between iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston “SportsTalk 790” and Entercom’s KILT-AM “Sportsradio 610,” resulting in KBME losing its credentials to broadcast from the Super Bowl LII radio row.  It all started when KBME morning host Josh Innes sent his producer, Jim Mudd, to video KILT-AM’s Seth Payne and Mike Meltser as they did their show.  It had the intended consequence of riling up Payne, who soon was in a verbal argument with Innes.  Audio from the confrontation ended up on both stations’ airwaves.  WEEI, Boston’s Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane (mornings on the Entercom sports talk station) were broadcasting their show nearby and captured the donnybrook on video.  After it was all over, the NFL removed KBME from the radio row.  See the Houston Chronicle’s story and the WEEI-shot video here.

KXL, Portland Announces New Afternoon Team. The new afternoon drive team for Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101” is Lucinda Kay and Cooper Banks.  Kay is promoted from her part-time position with the station.  She has an extensive background in radio and television news.  She launched her career in journalism in 1994, working as a TV news anchor and reporter – in both English and Spanish – for several years.  She hosted her own talk show in Spokane.  She started freelancing for KXL in 2016.  Cooper Banks worked as an afternoon DJ at KWKJ, Warrensburg, Misourri in 2004.  He was hired as news director for KMXL/KDMO, Joplin, Missouri two years later.  He later jumped to KMBZ, Kansas City as a producer, reporter, and news anchor.  Alpha Media Portland content director Bruce Collins says, “I am extremely excited to work each day with Cooper and Lucinda.  They have the talent that will take KXL to a new level in pm drive.”

Westwood One at Super Bowl LII.  The official network radio partner of the NFL and Super Bowl LII reports that it is on the scene in Minneapolis preparing for its coverage of the game.  Westwood One says it’s been busy taping interviews and special features for the coverage.  In addition, its personalities (and some from partner NBC Sports Radio) have been visiting radio row.  Above is Super Bowl XXXI-winning coach Mike Holmgren (center), one of Westwood One’s Super Bowl LII analysts, doing an interview with KKFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” personalities Dan Barriero (right) and Justin Gaard (left).

26th Wing Bowl Takes Place Tomorrow Morning.  With SportsRadio 94WIP’s Wing Bowl 26 taking place tomorrow morning at the Wells Fargo Center, the official weigh-in takes place tonight, live on WIP, Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Chickie’s and Pete’s.   The Entercom sports talk station has scheduled 29 eaters to record their official “eating” weight and record their age, height, and hometown.  Members from each eater’s entourage and Wingettes will be on hand to cheer on their favorite eaters to victory.  This year, WIP personalities Marc Farzetta, Ava Graham, Al Morganti, and Rhea Hughes will also compete in Wing Bowl 26.  The Overall Winner of Wing Bowl 26 gets a 2018 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown, plus Steven Singer Jewelers is presenting $5,000 cash and a custom Championship Medal and Ring.  The First Responders Champion Prize is a Harley Davidson XL 883N Iron Sportster Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson.  The Wingette of the Year walks away with $5,000 Courtesy of Dr. Steven Davis & Davis Cosmetic Surgery, and Best Wing Bowl 26 Entourage wins $5,000 cash, courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers.

NRG Media Names New General Managers in Omaha and Wausau.  There are new general managers at NRG Media’s Omaha and Wausau station groups.   Kurt Luchs leaves the Wausau, Wisconsin station group where he’s been GM for almost five years to lead the Omaha cluster that includes news/talk KOIL and sports talkers KOZN and KOZT.  In Wausau, Aleese Fielder is promoted from director of sales to general manager.  NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass says, “The goal of NRG Media is to be a destination company for our team to build a career, so I am very excited to be able to promote from within.  These promotions are well deserved, together Kurt and Aleese turned Wausau around and helped make it one of the most successful markets in the company.  We like to reward a job well done and these moves are a definite win-win for two very talented teams.

Major National Programming Executives Set to Speak at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The roster continues to grow as the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention continues to name what will be a stellar list of some 50 or more leaders from the programming, talent, sales, management, ownership and technical sectors of the field. Convention organizers have named (in alphabetical order): Canadian radio giant Bell Media national news/talk format head (and PD of NEWSTALK 1010, Toronto), Mike Bendixen; iHeartMedia SVP of news/talk/sports programming, Chris Berry; Salem Media Group SVP/director, spoken word format, Phil Boyce; and Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming, Mike McVay. These outstanding individuals join (in alphabetical order) Beasley Broadcasting CEO, Caroline Beasley; Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity; Westwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; PodcastOne founder/executive chairman Norm Pattiz; and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as conference speakers. More speakers will be announced here in the days and weeks ahead leading up to the event. For more information about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! see story below.

TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Tomorrow! The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end tomorrow (Friday, February 2 at 5:00 pm ET). Those registering before the deadline will save $50. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and at the dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern-day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

TALKERS News Notes. In the Winchester, Virginia market, Centennial Broadcasting changes the simulcast of classic country on WZFC-FM, Strasburg, Virginia and will instead simulcast its news/talk WINC, Winchester “Newstalk 1400” on WZFC’s 104.9 FM signal.   Company market manager Larry Weiss says, “Centennial Winchester is excited about the prospects of extending the reach of our highly regarded ‘Newstalk 1400’ station programming further south in the Shenandoah Valley, utilizing the powerful WZFC signal.  This move will allow us to extend the news/talk brand, including our roster of well-established national hosts, south of Winchester into the Warren and Shenandoah County areas.”…..WVLZ, Knoxville “Sports Radio 1180” owner Doug Mathews is selling the station to fellow Knoxville station owner Aaron Ishmael.  He owns crosstown oldies WKCE.  Ishmael begins operating WVLZ under an LMA today (2/1).  The Knoxville News reports that two WVLZ personalities Tony Basilio and Jayson Swain – have ended their brokered arrangements with WVLZ.  It’s not known if Ishmael intends to change the sports talk format…..JVC Media signs an extension to carry Frank MacKay’s two programs – “Breaking it Down” and “52 Players” – on WRCN, Riverhead (Long Island) and WSWN, Belle Glade, Florida (West Palm Beach).

State of the Union Address, FBI Memo Controversy, Trump-Russia Investigation, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Gowdy to Leave Congress, Flu Epidemic, Social Media Fraud, Black Panther Film, and Super Bowl LII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; the battle over whether to release the FBI memo that alleges law enforcement abuses and Congressman Adam Schiff’s allegation that Congressman Devin Nunes made changes to the memo; Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; Congressman Trey Gowdy announces he will not seek re-election; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; the social media scandal involving allegations numerous high-profile people bought artificial followers from a firm called Devumi; the new superhero film Black Panther; and the build-up to Super Bowl LII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Powerful Candid Conversation with WABC, New York Personality Curtis Sliwa on Harrison Podcast. New York City radio icon Curtis Sliwa is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Sliwa, whom Harrison describes as a “performance artist,” is the founder and leader of the grassroots crime fighting organization the Guardian Angels, as well as serving as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party. Sliwa is a longtime Big Apple talk show host heard mostly on WABC during the past few decades. He is currently recovering from serious surgery in the aftermath of an ongoing battle with Crohn’s Disease and other gastroenterological issues – resulting in him having to dry out from opioid addiction. Harrison and Sliwa talk about a range of subjects including prescription drugs, the state of radio, street crime, politics, Donald Trump and the peculiar nature of ego. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Some of the performers taking part at the March 11 iHeartRadio Music Awards are being announced by iHeartMedia.  The fifth “fan-fueled” iHeartRadio Music Awards takes place at the Forum in Los Angeles and will feature: Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Maroon 5, Camila Cabello, Charlie Puth and Backstreet Boys will be among the performers.  The event is being hosted by Hailey Baldwin and DJ Khaled and is being simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET…..Alpha Media Dayton names programming pro Bo Matthews operations manager for the cluster and content director for adult hits WGTZ “92.9 Jack FM” and country WCLI “101.5 Hank FM.”  Matthews was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Cincinnati.  He began his career in Youngstown, Ohio with then-Jacor and worked his way up the programming ladder at Clear Channel and iHeartMedia.  Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick comments, “Bo is a world-class, ‘A’-level programmer who is energized, pursues excellence as a habit, and understands the mission and how to achieve it.  We look forward to his leadership on the Alpha content team.”…..Envision Networks announces that its ‘90s rock weekend show “The Core” adds new affiliates, bringing the Envision Rock Network affiliate count to more than 350.  Adding the program are: KUBQ, La Grande, Oregon; WTCX, Ripon, Wisconsin; and WKBH, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

| December 19, 2017

Midwest Television to Sell San Diego TV and Radio Stations to Tegna for $325 Million.  Obviously, the bulk of that price tag relates to the value of the television stations KFMB-TV and the sub-channel that carries The CW.  But, included in the deal between Midwest Television and Tegna are the two radio stations – news/talk KFMB-AM and triple A KFMB-FM.  Tegna is the company that operates the television and local digital media outlets that used to be part of the Gannett brand before the company split, with Gannett continuing to operate the newspaper division.  The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the $325 million acquisition is a cash deal.  It cites a Tegna spokeswoman saying Tegna has no plans to make any changes to the operations of the TV or radio stations.  Tegna owns 46 television stations in 36 markets.  The San Diego radio stations will be its first radio properties.

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Anchor Russell Mills Takes Part in Journalists Trip to Pakistan.  The program that brought KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa anchor and reporter Russell Mills (pictured) to Pakistan is a cooperative effort between the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord School of Journalism, the U.S. State Department and a Pakistani organization called Uks (the Urdu translation of which is “reflection”).  In the first chapter of his reports from Pakistan, Mills says the country has come far in recent years.  Back in 2002, the only radio and television outlets were run by the state.  Now, there are private media entities and Mills says reporters enjoy “a great deal of latitude in what they cover and how they cover it.”  But, he says they also “face the possibility of censorship, from both the military and civil government.”  He says the strict blasphemy laws complicate the journalistic process and physical danger is real: 14 journalists were killed in 2014.  Read his report here.

Boyd Named to Lead Cumulus Mobile.  This is a promotion within Cumulus Media for Don Boyd, who leaves his general sales manager role at the company’s Atlanta station group to move to Mobile to lead the cluster as vice president and market manager.  Cumulus Mobile includes: news/talk WQXW, urban contemporary WDLT, CHR WABD, hip hop WBLX, and Gospel WGOK-AM.  Cumulus Media EVP Bob Walker comments, “Don Boyd is a seasoned media manager and operator with an established track record in leading high-performing teams that grow station brands and drive revenue.  He will be a great addition to the team in Mobile as vice president/market manager of our five-station group.”

FOX News Radio Renews Deal with CMG for Brian Kilmeade Show.  The nationally syndicated Brian Kilmeade radio show picks up some additional broadcast hours on three affiliates and is added to the program schedule on another.  The new deal between FOX News Radio and Cox Media Group brings the Kilmeade talk show to KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the first time.  It also extends the airing of the show to 9:00 am to 11:00 am on WDBO-FM, Orlando and WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton.  Kilmeade is one third of the FOX News Channel “Fox & Friends” morning show alongside Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.

TALKERS News Notes. At news/talk KQTH, Tucson, talk show host James T. Harris exits the station after a six-year run.  Harris was a weekend and fill-in host at Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee before relocating to Tucson to host the two-hour midday show in October of 2011.  In September of 2012, he moved to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm afternoon drive daypart.  Scripps has not announced its plans for the afternoon show…..NPR reveals its plan for the afternoon “All Things Considered” program with the impending retirement of longtime host Robert Siegel.  The public radio content creator is moving national security correspondent Mary Louise Kelly into the co-host role alongside Audie Cornish and Ari Shapiro, effective January 17.  Kelly McEvers has been co-hosting both “All Things Considered” and producing “Embedded.”  She will relinquish the ATC role and continue to focus on “Embedded.”…..There’s been a change of heart at TV One, though it’s hard to tell if Reach Media syndicated radio star Tom Joyner’s call for a boycott of TV One forced programmers to reconsider canceling the Roland Martin-hosted news program, “NewsOne Now.”  Regardless, TV One (a subsidiary of Urban One) now says it will not cancel the program and is “working to restructure ‘NewsOne Now’ in 2018 under a new format that will better serve its audience and advertisers.”…..iHeartMedia begins broadcasting the signal from all-news WBZ-AM, Boston on the HD-2 channel of sister CHR WXKS-FM at 107.9 FM.

ESPN’s John Skipper Resigns to Seek Addiction Treatment.  The report that ESPN president John Skipper is resigning his position with the sports media giant to seek addiction treatment shocked the media world.  After all, Skipper had just signed a new multi-year contract and there were no indications (at least none reported) that something like this was an issue.  Executive chairman John Bodenheimer will slide back into the president role for the interim while the company seeks a new president.

GOP Tax Reform Plan, Soaring Dow, Washington Train Disaster, Obama-Hezbollah Drug Trafficking Allegation, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-China Relations, North Korea Nuclear Threats, The Last Jedi, and Sunday’s NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18). The politics of the GOP tax reform plan and reports of the public’s mood on the matter; the Dow rises 5,000 points in Donald Trump’s first year in office; the deadly Amtrak train crash in Washington state; the allegation an Obama Administration policy left the door open to Hezbollah-sponsored U.S. drug trafficking; the status of Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the tenuous relations between the U.S. and China over the Trump Administration’s national security policy; North Korea’s nuclear program and threats against the U.S.; the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Windy City radio pro Dave Fogel joins Kim Berk to co-host the AM drive show on Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Fogel was most recently co-host of the morning show on crosstown adult hits WJMK, but Entercom quickly flipped the station to hip hop after acquiring it in the CBS RADIO merger.   Fogel had been heard on WLS-FM in the past – from 2010 through 2013 in morning drive.  With Fogel’s arrival, local weather personality Brant Miller leaves the co-host role and will anchor the weather on Cumulus’ WLS-FM and news/talk WLS-AM…..After last week’s shuffle of rock station frequencies in the Denver Region, iHeartMedia announces the flip to country for KWYW, Denver – now branded as “106.7 The Bull.”  The station launches 10,000 commercial-free songs in a row and will be an affiliate for Premiere NetworksBobby Bones morning drive show…..Urban radio pros Donnie Simpson and Tony Perkins are being reunited at Radio One’s urban contemporary simulcast WMMJ, Washington/WDCJ, Prince Frederick, Maryland “MAJIC 102.3 and 92.7 FM.”  Effective January 16, the afternoon show becomes “The Donnie Simpson Show” featuring Simpson and Perkins.  The duo worked together on Radio One’s hip hop WKYS-FM from 1985 to 1992.  For the past 20 years, Perkins has been serving with WTTG-TV “FOX 5 Washington.”  Radio One DC VP and general manager Jeffrey Wilson comments, “We are honored to deliver ‘The Real Sound of the DMV’ and that’s not better defined than the historic pairing of Donnie Simpson and Tony Perkins.  So, for the great people of this region we made it happen.  Donnie and Tony are back together for the New Year.  And with that new partnership, comes new opportunities to serve our communities with Donnie, Tony, and our friends at ‘FOX 5’ in the months and years to come.”  Perkins will remain with “FOX 5,” hosting Friday and Saturday mornings, beginning January 19…..Cumulus Media names programming pro Roger McCoy program director and afternoon drive host for country WLXX-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “NASH FM 92.9.”  McCoy has been with the company’s country WESC, Greenville, South Carolina as evening personality…..Rock radio programmer Russ Mottla is the new program director at NRG Media’s rock KFMW, Waterloo/Cedar Falls/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Mottla has served as vice president of programming at Envisage Radio Group.  He’s also held programming positions at such rock outlets as WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire; WIYY, Baltimore; and WFNX, Boston.

Bob & Sheri Welcome Troops Home.  The nationally syndicated Bob & Sheri show helped welcome the troops coming home through the Charlotte airports as part of USO’s annual Operation Exodus.  Bob & Sheri helped provide “big smiles, words of gratitude and breakfast to 3,900-plus men and women returning from deployment and heading home to family and friends. Many of the troops traveling for Operation Exodus are fresh out of basic training and returning home for their first visit since enlisting.  Pictured above are Bob (far left) and Sheri (far right) with service members.

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