Tag: "Debbie Kenyon"

Monday, April 15, 2019

| April 15, 2019

Brown Parts Ways With iHeartMedia Denver. The approximately 12-year association between talk show host Michael Brown and iHeartMedia Denver has come to an end. While this turn-of-events isn’t something Brown wanted or anticipated, he emphasizes he has “fond memories” of his time in radio and is “looking forward to getting behind the microphone as quickly as possible.” He maintains radio is “a fantastic medium that will never disappear,” and he “readily embraces” the digital aspect of the business. Citing conversations he had with iHeartMedia regional senior vice president of Denver programming JoJo Turnbeaugh, Brown – who served as under-secretary of Homeland Security in both of George W. Bush’s administrations – reports his departure is owing to “format changes.” Brown’s Denver radio career began at news/talk KOA, where he did part-time work before becoming a full-timer. He then spent several years in afternoon drive on news/talk sibling KHOW, and recently returned to KOA. Regarding his highly-publicized experiences during Hurricane Katrina, Brown co-authored June 2011’s “Deadly Indifference, The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond.” In it, he criticizes the performance of several people and critiques his own performance by stating that he “failed to be ready for the press and was too timid in his response.” Politically, Brown describes himself as “very clearly center-right, conservative, with a strong libertarian bent.” He appears at #83 on The Talkers Magazine 2018 Heavy Hundred.

Thomas Inducted Into The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. In recognition for her career in radio and community service, Entercom Detroit WWJ “News Radio 950” reporter Vickie Thomas was honored yesterday (4/14) in a ceremony at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Entercom Detroit senior vice president/market manager Debbie Kenyon states, “For more than 25 years, Vickie Thomas has been informing our listeners on major stories that impact our community in and around Detroit. Vickie is an incredible journalist who isn’t afraid to pose tough questions to city leaders and other officials to report a fair and accurate story. She is well deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to have Vickie inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.” Thomas comments, “In thinking about my over 30-year career in radio, with most of that time spent at WWJ, I can’t help but acknowledge all the people who took the time to encourage me and guide me. I’m really a reflection of those outstanding individuals. This award is extremely special because it comes from my peers. I’m blessed to have my body of work in journalism acknowledged by the selection committee; I thank each member who poured over all the applications and deemed me worthy of this honor.” Thomas, who joined WWJ in 1991, has earned awards from the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan Associated Press, and the National Association of Black Journalists. She graduated cum laude and with honors in journalism from Wayne State University in 1989.

MONDAY MEMO: The Podcast Consumer 2019.  In our on-demand culture, consumers have taken control of their media.  We call the audio version “podcasting,” something everyone seems to be doing now.  But who is listening?  In this week’s Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the recently released Edison Research “Podcast Consumer 2019” report. Click here to read how he outlines ways radio broadcasters can exploit this trend.

TALKERS News Notes. All remaining regular season and postseason play of the New York City Football Club will air in Spanish on the ESPN app, along with the iHeart and Tune-in apps. In addition, select games of the American professional soccer team will air locally in New York City on WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes Radio 1050.” ESPN Radio Group senior vice president Tim McCarthy remarks, “WEPN-AM is proud to be associated with a tremendous brand like NYCFC. We believe giving our  listeners a choice on quality play-by-play has tremendous value; this agreement with NYCFC does just that.” NYCFC chief executive officer Brad Sims notes, “We are excited to have our 2019 matches broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes platforms. We want to give our fans many different ways to follow our club. This is a terrific alliance that will make our games even more accessible. New York’s Hispanic community is extremely passionate about soccer and is an integral part of our fanbase, so it continues to be a priority for us to provide Spanish-language presentations. ESPN is a leader in the sports media landscape and we’re looking forward to working together.” Roberto Abramowitz and Ariel Judas will give their commentary throughout the season ….. Changes to take effect in three weeks (5/6) at Emmis-owned WFNI “Indy’s Sports Center – The Fan” will find Jeff Rickard and “Big JoeStaysniak moving from mid-days (10:00 am – 12:00 noon) to morning drive (7:00 am – 10:00 am). “Jeff & Big Joe” will succeed ESPN Radio’s “(Mike) Golic & (Trey) Wingo,” while ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard with Stugotz” will inherit the vacated 10:00 am – 12:00 noon slot …. A nine-year program director of iHeartMedia-owned WGAR “Cleveland’s Country 99.5,” Charley Connolly is named operations manager of Cumulus Media’s eight Youngstown stations and will be the day-to-day PD of country WQXK “K-105” there. Cumulus Youngstown vice president/market manager Bill Kelly comments, “We are fortunate to have someone of Charley’s background available to us in Youngstown. This is going to be fun.” In addition to WGAR, Connolly programmed iHeartMedia Cleveland’s adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.” Prior to that, he performed similar responsibilities for Cumulus Media Nashville’s news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” and country WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon.” In addition to WPIC “News Talk 790,” WBBW “Sports Radio 1240 AM,” and WLLF “Sports Radio 96.7 FM,” Cumulus Media Youngstown consists of aforementioned WQXK; CHR WHOT “Hot 101”; classic rock WYFM “Y-103”; classic country WSOM “America’s Music”; and classic hits-oldies WWIZ “Z-104.” ….. Approximately 250 guests attended last Friday’s (4/12) eleventh annual “Hurley in the Morning” charity dinner and silent auction, which raised $40,000. Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes keynoted the festivities at Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino – Hotel. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the highest levels of government, business, and industry sectors,” declares Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG morning talent Harry Hurley. “Todd is a kind and generous friend. He is such a well-respected talent and a wonderful gentleman. Todd took the time to greet every guest, making each one feel like the most important person in the Ocean Ballroom.” Resorts Casino – Hotel president/chief executive officer Mark Giannantonio opines, “Harry could take his iconic event anywhere – it was truly spectacular. Todd Starnes was engaging and entertaining. Our audience enjoyed his humble, friendly, and unifying message. Resorts was happy and proud to once again host this charity dinner and we look forward to hosting Harry’s event again next year.” Starnes did his 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm Fox News Radio talk show onsite. Among dignitaries attending were congressman Jefferson Van Drew; New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney; New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella; and current and past New Jersey state legislature members. Ahead is Hurley’s twelfth annual charity golf open (6/21) in Egg Harbor Township (New Jersey) ….. Following his tenure as Reach Media’s integrated ad sales coordinator, Erick Vilson joins Sun Broadcast Group as national account manager and will be based in New York City. Sun Broadcast Group chief operating officer Julio Aponte, Jr. comments, “I was very impressed with Erick’s background, reputation, and his dedication to excellence. Bringing someone with his digital and event experience on-board will allow our team to offer greater business opportunities for our agencies and a deeper connection with our national audience for our advertisers.” Vilson notes, “Becoming part of the Sun Broadcast Group family is a fantastic opportunity. Their reputation in the industry, new approach to business, and clever ways to market their offerings was very attractive to me. I am very excited to bring my experience to the sales team.” Vilson has held sales and operation positions for iHeartMedia and Emmis.

Mueller Report Anticipation, College Admissions Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Assange Case Free Speech Implications Top Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio This Weekend.  According to the research of TALKERS, news/talk shows across the country this weekend (4/13-14) were largely focused on the topics of anticipation of the Robert Mueller Report’s planned delivery to Congress this Thursday, the next level of the College Admissions Scandal and charges filed against celebrity participants, the 2020 Presidential Race, and the Julian Assange Case’s implications on free speech and the free press going forward.

Progressive Talk Radio Champ Thom Hartmann Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. What is the state of progressive news/talk radio on the commercial and non-commercial dial? What is the liberal talk radio view of the early competition in a crowded field of hopefuls vying for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination? And what is the general status of the “Left” in American politics in 2019? Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Thom Hartmann – consistently ranked the most important progressive talk radio host on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Hartmann (heard daily 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET) tackle these and other pertinent issues in an illuminating conversation that gets right to the heart of today’s talk media landscape. Harrison states, “Thom Hartmann has not only earned the respect of people on all sides of the political spectrum for his authentic, even-handed approach to today’s issues from the liberal perspective, but the unique and aggressive multi-platform distribution paradigm that he and his team have developed over the years stands as a model for independent radio syndication of all ideological stripes going forward into the digital era. The radio industry should pay attention to this innovative broadcaster.” 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.

Survey Says: Social Media Use Unchanged. Notwithstanding privacy controversies, “fake news,” and social media censorship, the share of adults in the United States who say they use certain online platforms or apps is statistically the same as it was this time last year. That is the conclusion of a Pew Research Center study conducted January 8 to February 7 (2019). The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter are each basically the same as in 2016. Instagram, however, shows an uptick during this same timeframe, growing from 35% of adults to 37%. Roughly seven of every ten adults in this country say they still use Facebook; nearly three of every ten visit Pinterest; and more than one of every five are Twitter users. Of all Facebook users, approximately three of every four visit the site every day – half check that platform several times a day. Those particular numbers identically mirror Pew’s 2018 survey results. At the same time, YouTube use remained at 73%, while LinkedIn users went from 25% to 27%. Slightly more than half of YouTube users (51%) visit the site daily – up from the 45% who said the same in 2018. According to the report, Instagram and Snapchat are especially popular with younger adults, with Instagram used by two of every three 18 – 29-year-olds and Snapchat used by slightly more than two of every five (62%) people in that demo.

Lilly Broadcasting Becomes A Radio Player. As a result of paying $900,000 for three Warren (Pennsylvania) stations it is acquiring from Frank Iorio’s Radio Partners LLC, San Luis Obispo, California-based Lilly Broadcasting enters the radio business. The three Warren-area outlets involved are WNAE “News Talk 96.7,” classic hits-oldies WRRN “92 Gold,” and WKNB “Kinzua Country 104.3.” Lilly owns television facilities in Honolulu, Erie (Pennsylvania), Elmira (New York), Marquette (Michigan), and the Caribbean. According to Lilly Broadcasting president Kevin Lilly, “The Warren radio properties create synergies with our current footprint in our Pennsylvania television DMA, comprised of Erie, Warren, and Crawford counties. They will allow us to better serve our viewers and now our radio listeners while in their homes, cars, and online. We look forward to providing the best content available for our listeners and will improve the news, weather, and sports information on all platforms.”

 

 

San Antonio’s New Vibe. KXTN “Tejano & Proud,” San Antonio transitions to KVBH “Vibe 107.5.” Of the rhythmic hot AC presentation that will mix “pop, hip-hop, and R&B artists from the 1980s and early-2000s,” Univision San Antonio vice president and general manager Chris Morris states, “We are excited to launch a brand-new format that reflects the distinct musical tastes of San Antonio – one of the most diverse communities in the nation. By reformatting and optimizing our audio portfolio, we are able to better serve our audience and give them more of the content they love.” In conjunction with the format flip, the “Tejano & Proud” format shifts to a simulcast on KVBH-HD2 and KCOR, while “Univision Deportes Radio” moves from KCOR to KROM-HD3. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 survey period, KXTN ranks #14 (3.1). Its February 2018 through February 2019 high was 4.0 (6+) in February 2018.

More Than A Million Smiles. As part of its fourth annual “Laugh United: A Night of Cocktails and Comedy,” Westwood One’s “The Bob & Tom Show” raised a record $1,053,500 in Vienna, West Virginia for the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Pictured here is show cast member Josh Arnold who performed with fellow veteran touring comics Greg Hahn, Jack Freeman, and Henry Phillips. Parkersburg (West Virginia) rocker WHBR “103.1 The Bear” is the local “Bob & Tom Show” affiliate.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After nearly four years with iHeartMedia Denver CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party,” morning driver J.J. Kincaid (of “JJ & Nina”) departs. Immediately in advance of his Denver stint, Kincaid had a nine-year afternoon drive run in New York at co-owned/similarly-formatted WHTZ “Z-100” and spent three years in Dallas at another iHeartMedia CHR, KHKS “106.1 Kiss-FM” ….. On the heels of Beasley Media Group Boston flipping WBOS from “Alt 92.9” to “Rock 92.9” last Thursday (4/11), the station eliminates the music director position that was held by Joel Weiss, who exits. After having spent 13 years in a similar position at Cox Media Group Tampa’s WSUN, Weiss joined WBOS less than a year ago ….. Formerly the program director/afternoon drive talent at Martz Communications Group-owned WAMO “Pittsburgh’s #1 for Hip-Hop,” Jonathan Steele, will join Beasley Media Group Detroit’s WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” next Monday (4/22) as afternoon drive personality, using the air name “J. Steele.” According to WMGC vice president and market manager Mac Edwards, “When we heard J.’s demo, he jumped to the top of our list. Having the opportunity to meet him and discover his impressive skill set as both a person and personality, there was no denying J. Steele was the right talent at the right time to help us write the next chapter of success.” Program director John Candelaria comments, “We are very impressed with J.’s experience and his strong desire to entertain the listeners in Detroit. I am excited to hear his high energy interactive show and see him earn the community’s respect.” Steele adds, “This is the job I dreamed about as a little kid. I am beyond excited to light up the airwaves for this incredible radio station.” The revised weekday “Bounce” line-up includes: “The Gello Show with Joanna” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); J. Steele (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and DJ Dinero (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. With Emmis Indianapolis’ WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” ever since the country outlet launched in 2005, morning talent Dave O’Brien exits, as his contract isn’t renewed. O’Brien started his Indianapolis radio career in 1996 at WRZX, later going to WNOU for two years and to WENS in 2004 ….. Jazz KUVO, Denver program and content director Nikki Swarn is appointed PD for Rocky Mountain Public Media‘s new R&B/hip-hop streaming service, “The Drop.” Swarn comments, “It is such an honor to get to serve the Colorado community through this incredible opportunity. We anticipate engaging Coloradans with an exciting blend of their favorite artists, while providing a platform for new and Colorado-based musicians as well. The audience consuming R&B and hip-hop is vast and hungry for dynamic experiences in music; we want to fill that void.” Swarn previously was Entercom Denver’s director of promotions and marketing and spent six years as Max Media Denver’s director of marketing and promotions ….. In separate fundraisers for their respective communities, two Alpha Media country-formatted properties (WFLS and KZKX) recently combined to bring in nearly $200,000. Completing its eleventh year of working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, WFLS “93.3 – Today’s Country,” Fredericksburg (Virginia) accounted for $135,479 in a two-day event hosted by the station’s morning team – Steve & Jessica. That figure broke WFLS’ previous records. Alpha Media market manager Beth Vickers states, “It is a privilege to lead a team of individuals who are passionate about helping others. Steve & Jessica were amazing hosts, pulling long hours to make it all happen. Our community and our listeners were so generous with donations – results like this make a difference.” Meanwhile, co-owned/similarly-formatted KZKX “KX-96.9,” Lincoln (Nebraska) – along with the Starlite Event Center – raised over $60,000 for American Red Cross flood relief during a one-night (3/29) benefit concert. Entertainment was provided by local bands Dylan Bloom, Bucka Ruse, and Sack of Lions. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “That night was a humbling experience as the people of Saunders County and surrounding areas – many of them flood victims themselves – came together with auction items and monetary donations to go directly to their friends, family, and neighbors. We are so blessed to have listeners like this in the KZKX family.” Severe flooding began impacting Nebraska in mid-March. The “KX-96.9” donation check was presented to the American Red Cross last Thursday (4/11).

Monday, July 2, 2018

| July 2, 2018

Price: Who Else Must Die?  Business continuity expert Howard B. Price writes about the importance of security at media outlet offices in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the Annapolis, Maryland newspaper Capital Gazette.  “This is not the time for the media to cower in fear.  This is the time for action.  This is the time to stop talking about this issue of violence perpetrated against members of the media – and start DOING SOMETHING…The work we do every day – and the toxic environment in which we do it now – exposes print and broadcast journalists, crews and support staff to unspeakable risks that would have been unheard of just a few short years ago, except in war zones and riots.  Yet, most often the response within our industry is – crickets.  Or a series of lame excuses.  Or an unending game of kick the can into the next budget cycle.  Or the next.  Or the next.”  Read what Price has to say about developing a security and safety plan here.

Iowa Sports Media Pro Larry Cotlar Dies in Des Moines Flash Flood.  Central Iowa sports radio personality Larry Cotlar died on Saturday (6/30) after being swept away by flash flood waters in Des Moines.  The 65-year-old broadcaster had been the voice of Drake University men’s basketball for the past 12 seasons and was currently hosting a weekly sports talk show on Saga Communications’ KRNT, Des Moines “1350 ESPN.”  According to WHO-TV, Cotlar’s van became stalled in high waters.  Cotlar and unnamed occupants left the van but Cotlar was swept away.  His body was found several hours later a couple of blocks from the van.  Cotlar started his sports radio career on WHO-AM in 1981.  He’s also served at Des Moines stations KXNO and KBGG in addition to producing and co-hosting the “Out of Bounds” show on KCCI-TV.  Saga issued the following statement: “All of us at 1350 ESPN and the Des Moines Radio Group are devastated by the loss of our voice, our colleague, and our friend, Larry Cotlar… today, our thoughts are with his wife, Deb and their son, Zach. There is absolutely no replacing Larry.  He will be thought of fondly and missed greatly by his family, friends, and his extended families in the sports and broadcasting communities.”

WCCO, Minneapolis’ John Hines to Retire at Summer’s End. Minneapolis-St. Paul news/talk station WCCO-AM announces that late morning talk show host John Hines is retiring from his position at the end of the summer (though he will continue to do part-time fill-in work for the station).  He’s been with WCCO since 2012.  He released a statement saying, “I am thankful to the many listeners who have supported me over the years and to WCCO in allowing me the opportunity to extend my career these past years.  I am also pleased that WCCO has invited me to stay on in a part-time/fill in capacity.”  During his career in the Twin Cities, he’s worked at WWTC, KSTP-AM, WLOL-AM, and KSTP-TV, among others.

Mike Valenti Signs New Deal with WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports talk personality Mike Valenti signs a new, long-term deal with Entercom sports talker WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” to continue as host of the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Valenti is a native New Yorker who made his way to Michigan to study at Michigan State and began his radio career as a producer in the Lansing market.  Prior to joining WXYT-FM in 2007, he was co-host of “The Sports Inferno” on WXYT-AM. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Mike is an extraordinary talent who has a great rapport with Detroit sports fans.  He has built a dedicated listener base and we’re thrilled to have him on the 97.1 team for years to come.”

Ex-“stream”-ly Enlightening Net ResultsTALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at how stations’ streams add to their (6+) ratings, based on data from Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys.  Kinosian notes that during the most recent survey, “Among all formats throughout the entire 48 PPM markets, there are only 34 instances of a station’s online ‘stream’ appearing in print during the May 2018 sweep.”  See which stations are getting credit for streaming listening and how it affects their overall ratings in Kinosian’s report here.

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post:  Special Presentation by WFAN, New York, Afternoon Drive Mega-Star, Mike Francesa.  Today (7/2), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each business day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place.  Today’s sixth installment features the special presentation by WFAN personality Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer Bernadette Duncan.   Videos already posted include:  Salem SVP Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?”  Last week’s posts also include the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s Fireside Chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman.  Also posted: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

Talk Host Phil Valentine and Book Publisher Question Google’s Ad Rejection.  As regular TALKERS readers are probably aware, Nashville-based, nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine is an author and filmmaker in addition to his radio work.  He just published his latest novel, a spy-thriller titled, Barbican: A Sterling McQueen Spy Story, and publisher Oxley Durchville created a 30-second video ad to promote the book and submitted it to Google Adworks.  They were surprised when the ad was rejected for “dangerous and derogatory content.” They’ve reached out to Google for further explanation but have not yet heard back.  You can see the ad here.  Oxley Durchville and Valentine are concerned the rejection has nothing to do with the ad but with Valentine being a conservative talk host.  After viewing the ad, the consensus among TALKERS editors is that a rushed and harried censor probably noted the tone of the ad, saw the phrase “politically incorrect” connected with the book cover’s swastika image, and arrived at this conclusion. Time will tell if the two parties can resolve this issue.

Giordano Hosts Eagles QB Nick Foles at Speaker Series.  Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia talk show host Dom Giordano (left) chatting with Philadelphia Eagles QB – and Super Bowl LII MVP – Nick Foles (right).  The interview was a special installment of the station’s “Speakers Series.”  Foles talked about his new book, Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure and Overcoming the Odds (2018, Tyndale Momentum).  WPHT says listeners who attended the live event made it the largest audience to date for the series.

Veteran Talk Show Host Mike Siegel Broadcasts from the Free Iran 2018 Rally in Paris.  Longtime radio talk show host and author Mike Siegel brought his microphone to Paris where he conducted numerous interviews on the site of yesterday’s (7/1) Free Iran 2018 rally.  The rally is an annual call for a democratic Iran and included hundreds of dignitaries from around the world joining tens of thousands of Iranians supporting the ousting of the nation’s authoritarian regime.  Pictured is Siegel (right) interviewing former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (left) who was one of the many speakers at the event.

TALKERS News Notes. The weekend “Hugh Hewitt Show” on MSNBC has aired its last episode.  During Saturday’s program – which was a “best-of” format – Hewitt announced the end of the show that began a year ago.  He offered no reason, but Mediaite’s coverage of the story notes that the weekend edition of “FOX & Friends” on FOX News Channel topped Hewitt’s program in the ratings.  The Salem Radio Network-syndicated radio personality did say he will remain with MSNBC as a contributor and a guest on “Meet the Press.”…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program adds new affiliates.  The Saturday night edition of the show is airing on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston.  Other new stations include: KYCA-AM/FM, Prescott, Arizona; and WRKQ-AM, Madisonville, Tennessee.  “Free Talk Live” is heard on 190 affiliate stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that journalist, author, and radio personality Amy Guth is named executive director of the Midwest Independent Film Festival. Guth is a weekend personality on Tribune’s news/talk WGN.

Air Personality and Programmer Richard “Box” Bachschmidt Dead After Suicide. Radio programming and on-air pro Richard “Box” Bachschmidt has died after apparently committing suicide in Charleston, South Carolina.  Most recently, he’d been hosting an Internet morning program.  He left his gig with LM Communications where he was hosting AM drive on triple A WCOO, Charleston “The Bridge” in February.  During his career he’d also served with iHeartMedia as host and PD at news/talk WSC, Charleston and APD at Cumulus’ WTN-FM, Nashville.

Saturday Immigration Policy Protest Rallies/Abolish ICE Movement, Open Supreme Court Seat, Iran Sanctions/Regime Change, New Canada Tariffs/Trade War Concerns, North Korea Nuclear Program, Lopez Obrador Wins Mexican Presidency, LeBron James Signs with Lakers, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Saturday’s “Keep Families Together” rallies and the related movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau; the open Supreme Court Justice seat; President Trump’s call for renewed sanctions in Iran and Rudy Giuliani’s statement that the Trump wants Iranian regime change; Canada puts tariffs on more American goods and concerns about the effects of a global trade war; new intelligence suggesting North Korea is expanding its nuclear missile program; leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wins the Mexican presidency; LeBron James’ new deal with the Los Angeles Lakers; and Major League Baseball 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. Radio Hall of Famer Wolfman Jack is back on the air as Envision Networks begins offering digitally remastered programs.  The classic radio show is available as a five-hour weekly show and contains Wolfman’s comedy bits, funny phone calls, crazy characters, celebrity interviews, and great music from the 60s and 70s. Wolfman Jack Licensing executive producer Jay Harvey says, “We are delighted to be working with Danno and his team at Envision Networks.  The world famous Wolfman Jack Radio Show is back and sounding better than ever.”…..Country air personality Roxanne Steele exits Entercom’s WYCD, Detroit.  The company has scrubbed her info from that station website and Steele posted the following message, “I’m back from vacation but on a permanent vacation from WYCD.  I’m still having a hard time processing that I no longer wake up and go to a job I absolutely loved. This is like a bad dream that doesn’t seem real even though I’ve been through this before.”…..Anaheim Broadcasting’s rock KCAL, Riverside-San Bernardino is saying adios to longtime personality Kelli Cluque who is joining Cal State Bernardino to serve as operations manager for the school’s Coyote Radio station.

Monday, November 23, 2015

| November 23, 2015

Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories.  The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.  The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.

hessbillCumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager.  Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster.  Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats.  In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence;cumulus logo WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington.  Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer.  The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding.  He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role.  Bill is deserving of this recognition.”  Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’  Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”

spadeabillBill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show.  Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation.  Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhartgearhartjim on an extended leave of absence.  Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show.  Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.”  Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”

valentimikeDetroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti.  Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid.  But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunchwxyt-fm logo criticism of the team’s performance.  Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways.  ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade.  CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a wjr logolong time.  It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.”  Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true.  It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal.  But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management.  Read it here.

Odds & Sods.  Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salemmalzbergsteve Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM.  The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.

boonecharlieLegendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88.  As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s.  He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998.  Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010.  Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959.  He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.

Bill Payne Dies at 76.  Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76.  Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio.  Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962.  His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma.  The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.

Monday, March 30, 2015

| March 30, 2015

garciatonySix Tips for Success in Syndication.  The syndication game in the radio business has gotten so much more competitive over the years that today one must have a well-thought out and almost flawlessly executable plan in order to successfully bring a radio show to a national audience.  That warning doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it’s just gonna be real hard.  But Global Media Services principal Tony Garcia – a veteran of the radio and syndication businesses – writes in TALKERS magazine that a quick rundown of his six-point checklist can let you know whether or not you have a reasonable shot.  Point #1 is Know Your Product.  Sound easy?  Read more here.

ramseyDallas15Dave Ramsey Does Dallas. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author, Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Verizon Theater in Dallas where he hosted his “Smart Conference.”  This day-long event took place on Saturday, March 28 and included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.  Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Dallas on Friday, March 27 during which Ramsey and Hogan spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees.  Ramsey partnered with CBS RADIO-owned local affiliate KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080” to promote the appearances.

gallagherFergusonPlayposterMike Gallagher to Play Roles in Ferguson: The Play.  Nationally syndicated talk radio pro Mike Gallagher – whose program is heard around the nation via Salem Radio Network – will take part in a controversial stage production in Los Angeles based on the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.  Regular TALKERS magazine readers are aware that Gallagher is, in addition to his radio work, an accomplished stage actor.  Hegallaghermike appeared on Broadway in the musical Memphis and who took home a TONY Award as one of the investors in the 2014 Broadway revival of Pippin.  In this production, based on the Grand Jury witness testimony, Gallagher will play three roles: a lawyer, a forensic toxicologist and a medical examiner.  At the end of the production, the theatre audience will be asked to judge whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted.  The play will be presented at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles for four nights – April 26-29.  The producers of the Phelim McAleer-written and Nick DeGruccio-directed play hope to bring it to the stage in Ferguson itself.

brandmeierUnhingedlogoJohnny B’s ‘Talk Unhinged’ Debuts on Westwood One Today.  Stating that the program is debuting on 100 affiliate stations across the country, Westwood One announces the new Jonathon Brandmeier show is called “Talk Unhinged,” and the company says it’s “an entertaining, offbeat look at news, pop culture, and sports–from the big trending topics to the stories about to fall through the cracks–combined with celebrity interviews and free-wheeling audience interaction.”  It airs live from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and launches on such Cumulus Media stations as: home base WLS-AM Chicago; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KLIF-AM Dallas; WWBA-AM, Tampa; KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City; WPRV-AM, Providence; and KTBL-AM, Albuquerque; among others.

pagetommyCumulus Media Recruits Tommy Page for New Executive Role.  Former Pandora, Billboard and Warner Bros. Records exec Tommy Page is now with Cumulus Media as senior vice president of brand partnerships  where he’ll focus live events for that division of the company.  In this position Page will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey, who comments, “As an artist and marketer, Tommy is a natural choice to create meaningful connections between artists, brands and their passionate fans through immersive and measurable marketing experiences.  Tommy has a deep understanding of the live experience and helping advertisers bring their brands to life with unique partnerships.”

veatanyaVea Promoted at KSL in Salt Lake City.  The new title for Tanya Vea at Bonneville International’s KSL radio and TV is vice president and general manager of KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio.  She has served as vice president station manager at KSL since April 2014, overseeing news, programming, marketing, operations and engineering.   According to a story in the Deseret News, she now assumes responsibility for all operating departments, including sales.  Bonneville president Darrell Brown comments, “Tanya will be an outstanding general manager. She has been a key contributor to many of the cross-platform initiatives, including the groundbreaking DMC combined newsroom for KSL and the Deseret News.  Her expanded role as general manager of KSL will now allow her to have a greater impact on the entire organization.”

Mike FezzeyEx-WJR Leader Fezzey Passes. Former WJR, Detroit president and general manager Mike Fezzey died of a heart attack on March 27 while on a business trip in Naples, Florida. The 58-year-old native Detroiter had been president/general manager of heritage talker WJR from 1994 to 2011, but for the past four years, was president of Huntington Bank‘s southeastern Michigan region. According to a WJR statement, “Mike Fezzey was a community leader; active in many charities and nonprofit activities in Michigan; and he was a leader in his church. Under [his] leadership, [Cumulus Media-owned] WJR maintained [its] position as Detroit’s preeminent radio station, and it became one of America’s leading news-talk stations.” Cross-town CBS Radio market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “Mike was a leader in our industry for years. He was an inspiration to many in the way he transcended his career. He will be sorely missed by all of us.” Huntington Bank released a statement, which describes Fezzey as “an extraordinary member of the Huntington family who was highly committed to the Detroit area and making it a growing, vibrant community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family.” A former president of the Detroit Advertising Association, Fezzey received a Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence from the University of Georgia and the Neal Shine Award for philanthropy in journalism. In July 1996, Feezey selected Paul W. Smith to succeed the late J.P. McCarthy as WJR’s morning drive talent. On Saturday (3/28), Smith voiced a WJR commentary regarding Fezzey. Prior to being elevated to president/general manager at WJR, Fezzey was an account executive and sales manager there. His wife, Suzy, and their three adult children survive Fezzey.

brentmegCarnivalBrent & Meg Receive the Coveted ‘Poopy’ Award.  Nationally syndicated husband/wife duo Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for their role in the “Studio City Beautification” program instituted by the Studio City Resident’s Association and the City of Los Angeles to keep the streets free of unwanted dog droppings.  They are pictured at a special dinner honoring their community-mindedness at Carla’s Café, surrounding LA City Councilmember Paul Kerkorian of the second district (which includes major studios such as Universal and CBS). Meg and Brent are animal lovers and make sure that plastic mitt bags are available to “help dog owners keep our streets clean…not our movies…just our streets.”  The Brent & Meg Show now airs Monday through Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) as well as on its anchor affiliate WWPG 1450, Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Brent & Meg will be serving as Official Masters of Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.  To register, call 413-565-5413 before it, again, sells out.