Tag: "dies"

Wednesday, July 5, 2020

| August 5, 2020

Entercom Names VP of News; 10 Promoted to Executive Posts. In a memo to staff from Entercom president and CEO David Field, he announces that news pro Bill Smee is named to the newly created position, vice president of news. Smee has served with CNN, NBC News, and Slate during his career. Field says Smee “will spearhead our work to enhance and expand our news brands, building on their unparalleled position in our communities and adding new products and capabilities across our broadcast, digital, podcast, and smart speaker platforms. We are very excited about the future of our news and news/talk brands and the robust opportunities that lie ahead.” Field also announced the following promotion of 10 staffers to the following positions: Chris Ebbott, vice president, programming; Chad Fitzsimmons, senior vice president, promotions & experiences; Rose Isard, vice president, senior counsel; John Kennedy, senior vice president, engineering; Jennifer Morales, vice president, corporate communications & PR; Nancy Muir-Gaire, vice president, facilities management; Johnny Palumbo, vice president, senior counsel; Reggie Rouse, vice president, programming; Jeff Sottolano, executive vice president, programming; and Stephanie Taylor, vice president, benefits, compliance and talent acquisition.

David Field Positive About Entercom’s Future. In the same memo referenced above, David Field says he’s optimistic about the future for Entercom even though he says the road will “be bumpy and the continuing toll on our society tragic.” He says that since the nation’s economy bottomed out in April, things are improving. “Since then, our revenues have shown strong and steady improvement with each successive month getting progressively better. While there is still a long way to go, momentum is building as sports return. RADIO.COM remains the country’s fastest growing digital platform, our podcasting business continues to expand and thrive, and we are reactivating customers who shut down in the spring. In addition, advertising rates are rebounding as clients return and inventory tightens across all media during this intense political season. We are counting on our sales teams to be at their very best in the weeks ahead to help drive a speedy recovery.”

Saga Communications Q2 Revenue Down 47.6%. Reporting its second quarter 2020 financial data, Saga Communications’ net operating revenue for the period was $16.9 million, a decrease of 47.6% compared to the same period in 2019. During Q2 of 2019, the company reported net income of $4.7 million. In Q2 of this year, Saga is reporting a net loss of $4.9 million. Saga says, “Saga Communications, Inc. reported today that second quarter revenue and related net income (loss) was materially impacted by disruptions to businesses and service providers activities from closures and restrictive measures imposed by governmental authorities attributable to COVID-19 in the markets in which the company operates, and the nation as a whole. The inability for businesses and service providers to operate normally negatively impacted all broadcast and other media advertising. Initial industry estimates for radio broadcast revenue predicted a decrease in gross revenue of more than 50% for the month of April. This held true for the company as well. The company, however, did show monthly revenue improvements for each subsequent month, as the company concentrated on new revenue strategies and enhanced engagement with its existing and new advertisers. This trend has continued through Q2 and further revenue improvement has been noted in the beginning of Q3. From the company’s low point in April when its gross revenue was down 55% compared to the prior period, its revenue has continued to build.  The company’s July revenue was down 29% over the prior period. These amounts represent gross cash revenue. Trade and barter revenue are not included in these gross revenue numbers, because it only represents approximately 2% of the company’s revenue each month. From the start of Q2 to the end of the first month of Q3 there was a reduction in the decline in revenue by approximately 50%.”

Round Two of July PPMs Released. The second round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington adds two-tenths to finish with an 8.4 share and is #1 for the fourth straight survey. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington tacks on one-tenth for a 7.7 share and the #2 rank. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle is flat with a 7.1 share and continues at #1 for the fifth survey in a row. iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix adds three-tenths for a 4.4 share finish good for #6 in the market. Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis picks up three-tenths, good for a 5.0 share and the #9 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Steve Borneman Named COO for JAM Media Solutions. Radio executive Steve Borneman joins JAM Media Solutions as chief operating officer. JAM owns and operates two music outlets and a digital publication in Muscatine, Iowa and news/talk WZPR “News/Talk 92.3,” three music outlets and the digital platform OBXToday on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  Borneman, who most recently was COO of Pamal Broadcasting, will be based in North Carolina. JAM Media Solutions CEO Jonathan Mason says, “I am excited to work with Steve again. We worked together at 77 WABC in New York. Steve is one of the best operators in radio and an amazing human being! JAM Media Solutions is excited to welcome him to the family and we look forward to winning with him!” Prior to joining Pamal, Borneman served as president and general manager at Cumulus Media New York.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Sammy Simpson tweets that he’s been hired as the new brand/content manager for Capitol Broadcasting Company’s Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina stations that include adult contemporary WRAL-FM, a trio of sports talk outlets – WCMC-FM, “The Buzz,” and WDNC – and “95.7 FM That Station.” He starts on September 8. In June, the company eliminated the sports content director post held by Dennis Glasgow…..Public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington is in turmoil over allegations of sexual harassment at the American University-owned property. It all came to a head after the WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a story by Rachel Kurzius that details allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU reporter Martin Di Caro. The Washingtonian reports that at an all-staff meeting, numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he says he will not do at this time. Former WAMU chief content officer Andi McDaniel left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and CEO, effective in September. The DCist piece indicates she was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.….Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa is joining the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network and will air all games when the season begins. Cox Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “We know that Green Country football fans are eager for more ways to listen to their favorite teams and we are glad to add the Chiefs Radio Network to our programming. This has been a while in the making and we are very proud of what is about to hit the airwaves at KRMG.”…..Public media WGBH firm announces it has hired two journalists for its growing newsroom. Carrie Saldo joins WGBH as a reporter covering Worcester County and will be based in WGBH’s recently announced Worcester news bureau. Former Boston Globereporter Megan Woolhouse reports on education for the WGBH news K-12 education desk.

Former Radio Exec Norm Schrutt Dies at 87. Former former Capital Cities/ABC executive Norm Schrutt died in Atlanta Tuesday (8/4) at age 87. Salem Radio Network V.P. of News/Talk Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine he worked for Schrutt while serving as president and GM of WLS-AM, Chicago in the early 1990s. He says that in recent years, Schrutt led a talent agency in Atlanta representing broadcasters. “Norm was a larger-than-life personality in his own right, with a sarcastic, wry sense of humor. Once when his daughter was about to give birth to his first grandson, I asked him if he wanted to be called Grandpa or PaPa or some other nickname. He replied, “I’d like the kid to call me Mr. Schrutt.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race/Tuesday Primaries, Trump Axios Interview, Portland Protests, TikTok Deal/U.S.-China Relations, Beirut Explosion, Tropical Storm Isaias, and Pro Sports Leagues’ Struggles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future cases; the November presidential election, the debate over vote-by-mail, and the results of Tuesday’s primary elections; the criticism of President Trump’s interview with Axios; the BLM protests taking place in Portland; the deal for Microsoft to acquire Chinese app TikTok and U.S.-Chinese relations; the explosion that rocked Beirut; the damage along the East Coast from Tropical Storm Isaias; and the positive COVID-19 cases affecting pro sports leagues 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. Non-commercial triple A WXPN, Philadelphia is airing a special series of broadcasts all next week, beginning on August 10. “Woodstock Week: Back to the Garden Again” will feature all 33 music sets from the 1969 Woodstock music festival. In August 2019, WXPN exclusively replayed every moment from the four-day Woodstock festival in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. Listeners from across the globe tuned in and WXPN’s special broadcast was picked as a “Who Won the Week?” winner on MSNBC. WXPN associate GM for programming Bruce Warren says, “Our four-day broadcast last year was a unique, one-time opportunity to bring the entire Woodstock festival to WXPN listeners in celebration of its 50th anniversary. This year, we’re looking forward to hearing the full music sets performed by all 33 Woodstock artists – from Joan Baez to Johnny Winter – that will really highlight what the music meant at that special point in music history.”

Monday, August 3, 2020

| August 3, 2020

Monday Memo: 2 Magic Words. Your Mom and Dad were right. “Please” and “Thank you” will distinguish you, particularly in these coarse, troubled times. And in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke makes the case for “two more ‘Magic words’” broadcasters and podcasters should use as often as possible. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Stimulus Bill, Presidential Race/Vote by Mail, Portland Protests, Tropical Storm Isaias/SoCal Apple Fire, Microsoft-TikTok Deal, and Pro Sports Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the stalled stimulus talks in Congress as the previous package expires; the November presidential election and President Trump’s remark that it should be delayed due to concerns about vote-by-mail fraud; the violent protests continuing in Portland; Tropical Storm Isaias hits the Southeast Coast and thousands are evacuated in Southern California due to the Apple Fire; Microsoft’s deal to acquire TikTok from its Chinese developer; and COVID-19 takes its toll on U.S. pro sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Gone Too Soon. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about two radio professionals who passed away last week: Herman Cain and Bob McCurdy. Lapa says he knew both men and learned a lot about leadership, sales, and radio from them. Read it here.

Convention Coverage Unlike Any in History. News and management pro Tom Tradup (pictured below at the 2016 RNC) writes in an exclusive opinion piece for TALKERS magazine about the challenges facing radio news and radio talk show hosts covering the 2020 national political conventions. The Salem Radio Network V.P. of News/Talk Programming says, “Pity the responsibility of my network as well as our colleagues at ABC Audio, CBS Radio, and the soon-to-be-defunct Westwood One radio news as we have dodged and weaved as COVID-19 impacted the venerable institutions known as National Conventions for both the Republican and Democratic parties. (Full disclosure: most of us have long understood that the actual ‘news value’ of political conventions was zero, but we nevertheless turned out every four years to provide coverage of delegates from Wisconsin wearing dopey yellow foam triangles shaped like cheese on their heads as we dodged screams and urine from various protest groups.)” Read his entire piece here.

WXYT-FM, Detroit Personality Jamie Samuelsen Dies at 48. It was just last week that WXYT-FM, Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announced to listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer since January of 2019 – something he kept to himself until the very end. On Saturday (8/1) Samuelsen passed away at age 48. The Detroit Free Press shares comments from Samuelsen’s friends and co-workers – a number of whom got the chance to visit with him last week after he made his diagnosis public. The Free PressAnthony Fenech writes that Samuelsen – who had been working from home since the COVID-19 outbreak – was not in pain toward the end but his energy was very low. He leaves behind his wife Christy and three children: Caroline, 16, Josh, 14, and Catherine, 11. Samuelsen had been co-hosting the morning drive show with Mike Stone on the Entercom sports talk station since August of 2016.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Adds Jesse Kelly Show. The nationally syndicated “Jesse Kelly Show” is now airing on Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte on Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The Key Networks-syndicated show debuted in April and airs live weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. WBT-AM/FM brand manager Mike Schaefer says, “Jesse Kelly represents the evolving sonic landscape of news/talk. Jesse’s informed, funny, and brings unique experience and wisdom to the listeners that has been earned as both a Marine Corps combat veteran and a congressional candidate. We’re excited to bring Jesse’s show to the listeners of WBT!”

Jim Bryant Leaving Hubbard Radio’s 2060 Digital. After heading up Hubbard Radio’s digital marketing agency 2060 Digital for the past eight years, Jim Bryant announces he leaving the company and his role as president of the division. He says, “I’m an entrepreneur at heart and feel like we’ve now built the business to a day-to-day operating level. My goal was to build the business, and I think we did that…and, quite honestly, 44 years in this business is about as much fun as one guy can handle. I appreciate the huge vote of confidence Ginny Morris and Hubbard Radio afforded me, allowing me to stretch out, take smart chances, and surround myself with the terrific talent required to keep moving this business forward.” Hubbard EVP and CFO Dave Bestler says, “There is no way our digital platform would be where it is today without Jim. His vision and leadership have made 2060 Digital one of the leading digital agencies in each of our radio markets. During the past two years, Jim has focused on expanding 2060 Digital services beyond our radio footprint to new markets, including Indianapolis, Nashville, Detroit and Columbus. His vision has come to life and we look forward to continuing to grow the 2060 business on top of the strong foundation that Jim built.” 2060 Digital general manager and Hubbard SVP of digital strategies Steve Goldstein is assuming Bryant’s duties.

Air Talent Shuffle at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell reports that Entercom’s Charlotte sports talk station WFNZ-AM is swapping midday and afternoon drive shows. Effective today, “The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey” moves to the midday daypart (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) and Nick Wilson and Josh Parcell move to the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. According to the piece, Bailey is pleased with the move to middays saying it “aligns with a lot of things in my life right now.” Bailey also hosts the Charlotte Hornets pre-game show on the station.

Farkas Exits ‘101.3 The Game’ in Burlington. At VOX AM/FM’s Burlington, Vermont sports talk outlet WCPV-FM “101.3 The Game,” program director and air personality Brady Farkas exits after four years. Station GM Ken Barlow tells the Burlington Free Press, “These things are never easy. (Farkas) is a very good guy, a very knowledgeable sports guy, and in many aspects of the job he did just fine. But we felt the station was mired in the position it’s in and we need revenue to be able to have it grow an audience and the program director is one of the primary people responsible for that.” Farkas tells the paper he’s proud of his time at the station, “We went through an affiliation switch from ESPN to FOX Sports Radio in fall of 2018 and delivered a number-one-rated station in fall of 2019. I am proud of the work our staff accomplished in order to achieve that.”

TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles sports talker KSPN “ESPN 710” unveils its new programming lineup that takes effect on August 17. The changes were necessitated in part by owner ESPN’s decision to promote Keyshawn Johnson to host of the network’s national morning show called “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin” and co-starring Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti. KSPN will air that program via delay (it’s to air live in morning drive Eastern Time) and Travis Rodgers – formerly part of the KSPN “Keyshawm, LZ and Travis” show – will serve as the local host. “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, followed by Max Kellerman from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Steve Mason and John Ireland move from afternoons to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart and the new afternoon drive show is LZ Granderson and Jorge Sedano. San Diego-based Scott Kaplan hosts evenings when there is no play-by-play…..From August 10-14, legendary Chicago disc jockey John Records Landecker will fill in for Bob Sirott hosting the morning drive show on Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago. Sirott says, “Listeners are going to discover that John’s middle name truly is ‘talk!’”…..Roanoke.com reports that the “Big Dawg Sports Talk” show with Rick Watson returns to the New River Valley for morning drive on Monticello Media’s WRAD-AM/FM. The program aired in the market from 2001 to 2010 when the previous station owner canceled the show. Watson serves as director of broadcasting for Radford University and that includes his work as the voice of RU athletics…..iHeartMedia Orlando announces the launch of “Financial Fix” – an online financial resource hub where financial advisors, realtors, tax professionals, bankruptcy lawyers, and more can be featured for the local community to connect with. iHeartMedia Orlando’s Chianna Ray says, “‘Financial Fix’ will be an important resource for our community. Many people do not know where to start when it comes to unexpected financial situations such as refinancing, retirement funds withdrawal, grants qualifications, and more. This hub will be a great place for the community to find solutions in one centralized place.” iHeartMedia Orlando is promoting “Financial Fix” on-air on all of its stations, as well as on social media and the stations’ websites.

iHeartRadio Announces ‘The Next Great Podcast’ Search. In conjunction with the content creation platform Tongal, iHeartRadio unveils its search for “The Next Great Podcast.” Now through August 27, creators around the world can pitch for the chance to produce a new podcast series of any genre and to work with The iHeartPodcast Network to launch the new series. Creators will be asked to submit a short synopsis and treatment that describes their podcast idea, along with links to past work and an optional audio trailer and pitch video. Pitches will be narrowed down by a panel of podcasters, led by head judge and broadcaster Dan Patrick, and 10 semifinalists will be awarded $1,000 to further develop their idea into a 10-minute pilot. These pilots will be shared on “The Next Great Podcast” feed in the fall for fans everywhere to listen and vote. One winner will be crowned “The Next Great Podcast,” featured on iHeartRadio stations across the country and work closely with Patrick and iHeartRadio’s team of expert podcast producers to develop their podcast into an original series for distribution by The iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Audio is thriving and is the breeding ground for some of the best IP out there right now. Podcasting has always been an ideal place for cultivating new talent and we are excited to join forces with Tongal to reach their impressive community of creatives as we search for the next great podcast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Milwaukee, the iHeartMedia cluster that includes urban contemporary WKKV “V100.7,” country WMIL, classic hits WRIT “95.7 BIG FM,” sports talker WRNW “97.3 The Game,” and WOKY-AM “The BIG 920” are launching “Brilliantly Black” – a community resource initiative to support local Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and non-profits. iHeartMedia Milwaukee president Colleen Valkoun says, “I want to congratulate our team on this grassroots opportunity to support Black-owned businesses. Please join us in supporting the Black business community. I am thrilled we can use our stations to impact and inform the public about this much-needed community resource.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative WHKF, Harrisburg “ALT Rock 99.3” adds Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” to the morning drive daypart…..Condolences to the family and friends of Riverbend Communications CHR KFTZ, Idaho Falls morning drive personality Tara Longmore Moss, who died over the weekend after a brief, unexpected illness. Moss’ co-host Brad Barlow tells KPVI-TV, Pocatello, “Tara is that host that I never heard anyone say anything bad about. All I ever heard was how much people loved her and how much people thought of her as a friend.”

Thursday, July 30, 2020

| July 30, 2020

Herman Cain Dies After Battle with COVID-19. Business executive, talk radio host, and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has died after an almost monthlong battle with COVID-19. Cain, 74, was admitted to the hospital around July 2. He’d traveled from his home base of Atlanta, appearing at President Trump’s Tulsa rally (where he was photographed not wearing a mask) and also visited the Phoenix area. The Herman Cain website states, “We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight. He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle.” Cain had a history of cancer. For years, he hosted a radio talk show on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta — taking over the late morning daypart previously occupied by Neal Boortz — and was in national syndication for a period of time. Recently, he’d been doing a talk show available via his website. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We in the talk media industry have lost one of our own with the tragic passing of Herman Cain.  He was not only a luminous example of the African American entrepreneurial spirit and largely unheralded conservative political influence, but he was also an accomplished, dedicated talk show host who rose to the heights of the Heavy Hundred for his successful work at WSB and presence in national syndication.  He was on the verge of adding yet another chapter to his talk media career with a new show on Newsmax TV.  It is a shame our industry has lost such an important voice and yet another stark example of why we must take this wretched virus seriously.”

Urban One Reports Second Quarter Net Revenue Down 37.5%. The first big radio company out of the gate with Q2 2020 financial data is Urban One, Inc. – parent of Radio One. The company reports that net revenue was approximately $76 million, a decrease of 37.5% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $30.2 million, a decrease of 33.1%. Operating income was approximately $20.4 million compared to approximately $29.1 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “The economic impact of Covid-19 is fully evident in our second quarter numbers: radio advertising was down 51%, and event revenues were -96% year over year. Our TV and digital businesses fared better, with TV advertising revenue down 4.4% and digital -20%, highlighting the benefits of our diversified media asset base. We had to make tough decisions to reduce costs, and I am proud of how our team, including on-air talent, made sacrifices and worked diligently to keep us operating smoothly through the pandemic. With the issue of racial equality featuring so prominently around the world, it is critical that diverse voices continue to be heard and I thank all our staff and talent for their exceptional work engaging with our audience and clients. The outlook for the rest of 2020 remains uncertain, but I anticipate a similar pattern of strong performance from our TV business offsetting some of the weakness in radio advertising and events. On a same station basis, our Q3 core radio business is currently pacing -41% and we continue to see sequential improvement. Our cost saving measures remain in place, liquidity is strong with $70 million of cash on the balance sheet, and I firmly believe that Urban One will continue to successfully navigate our way through these unprecedented times.”

Good Karma Brands Recognizes Mike Golic’s ESPN Radio Career. Tomorrow (7/31) is the last day of ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” morning radio program as the company’s new radio programming schedule begins on Monday (8/3). While Trey Wingo’s future with the company is unknown at this time, Mike Golic is transitioning to a position as a college football analyst with ESPN and in recognition of his radio work, Good Karma Brands’ ESPN radio stations are celebrating his 22 years in mornings on ESPN Radio with “22 hours of Golic.” Good Karma Brands’ ESPN stations in Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Madison, and West Palm Beach will be featuring memories, pictures, videos, and stories from his career. Additionally, Golic will also be interviewed on 850 ESPN Cleveland’s “The Really Big Show” with Tony Rizzo and Aaron Goldhammer today (7/30). Golic played football at St. Joseph’s High School in Cleveland before heading to Notre Dame and the NFL.

CBS Audio and Skyview Networks Renew Partnership. After two years of their network sales and distribution partnership, Viacom’s CBS Audio Network and Skyview Networks announce they are renewing to continue their relationship. In a press release, the companies say, “Since partnering in 2018, the CBS network’s audience and revenue have grown through expanded programming and content integration campaigns that generate enthusiastic support and strong results from the advertising community. In the next phase of the partnership, the companies will further develop the CBS sales strategy that leverages its personalities and influencers in both long-form and short-form programming.”  CBS Audio Network and CBS News Radio vice president and general manager Craig Swagler says, “Our CBS Audio Network partnership with Skyview Networks strengthens our ability to drive sales efforts. This collaboration continues to assure our 23 million weekly listeners that they will continue to get the highest level of quality journalism they are accustomed to, while also providing for new opportunities for growth.”

Industry Mourns Bob McCurdy. Radio sales and management pro Bob McCurdy died yesterday (7/29) after a long battle with cancer. The All-American basketball star at University of Richmond got into radio at WLEE, Richmond in 1976. He joined Katz Radio in Chicago in 1980 and, several years later, moved to New York to lead that office for Katz. In 1990, he was named president of Katz Radio. In recent years McCurdy returned to his roots in local radio taking on a leadership position with Beasley Media Group. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says of McCurdy, “Bob was a trusted confidant, a valued advisor, and an incredible ambassador on behalf of the Beasley Media Group family and the radio industry. His love and passion for the business could be seen and heard in everything he did within our company as well as the industry. Bob will be greatly missed and will be forever remembered as a beloved member of our family.” In a recently completed book about leadership, culture, and sales, McCurdy wrote, “It has often been said that one can never tell where a teacher’s influence ends. The same is true with leaders. As leaders, we are teachers and as with teachers you can never tell where an effective leader’s influence ends. That makes for an amazing legacy.”

Gordon Hastings: McCurdy. Retired Katz Television/Radio president Gordon Hastings writes a tribute to the late Bob McCurdy. He says, “I am not exactly sure why but he was always simply, ‘McCurdy.’  Stu Olds would say, ‘Get McCurdy in here.’  Jim Greenwald, ‘Who’s this guy McCurdy everyone talks about?’  ‘McCurdy taught me,’ said many of the dozens of ‘survivors’ of McCurdy’s legendary sales training program.” Read the complete tribute here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, School Opening Debate, GOP Stimulus Bill, Tech CEOs Before Congress, Presidential Race, BLM Protests/Federal Troops, and U.S. Pro Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and in other countries, plus the projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools in the fall; the wrangling over what will be in the final Republican stimulus bill; CEOs from Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple appear before the House Judiciary Committee; the November presidential election; the Black Lives Matter protests and the controversial use of federal troops; and the issues pro sports leagues are facing playing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo says he’s launching a new, national program on Monday (8/3) via USA Radio Networks that will air 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He says it’s debuting on stations in Dallas and Miami. Sileo says he’s also hosting a local show on Cielo Media Holdings’ WNMA, Miami “1210 The Man” from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm….. GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs tells TALKERS magazine she’s had a busy summer having just published her 7th and 8th books. She says, “Generation Alpha: They’re Alpha for a Reason is a book on the generation that follows Generation Z, temporarily called Generation Alpha. It describes how their generation may be the most challenged when it comes to identity, social interactions, education, and health. The Art of the BooBoo is a guide written by me, some former students who are now physicians, and my own kids, for parents on how to navigate through minor illnesses, or booboos, their children may incur.”…..ESPN Audio says it is collaborating with voice-over artist and host Cayman Kelly “to bring his contemporary sound to the network.” Kelly will work with ESPN Audio on a variety of sound for the network’s programming including updates, promotions, and more. Kelly’s career has included work across ESPN and other TV networks, radio stations of all genres, video games, live concerts and events and corporate presentations.

Multi-talented Talk Personality Steve Trevelise Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  He’s a news/talker heard weekday evenings on one of the most innovative radio stations in America – New Jersey 101.5. He’s also a sports/talk host heard weekends on one of the leading radio stations in that genre – WIP, Philadelphia.  And he’s an established stand-up comic who’s opened for some of the greats for the past decade-plus at top clubs and venues all over the Delaware Valley.  Steve Trevelise is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Born and raised in the Garden State, Trevelise is described by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison as being “a real Jersey boy who, although not a member of the Four Seasons, is a man for all seasons.” Harrison and Trevelise take the listener on an insightful tour of today’s politically polarized society, the mask debate, similarities and differences between 1968 and 2020, the long-lasting impact of John Lennon and the Beatles, the state of pandemic-era sports, and the challenges faced by humorists during an age of hyper-political correctness. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, programming pro Scott Jameson is named director of programming for Beasley Media Group’s cluster there that includes: rock WRIF-FM, classic rock WCSX-FM, hip hop WMGC-FM, urban contemporary WDMK-FM and the Praise Network. Jameson most recently was vice president of classic rock programming, program director of classic rock KQRS-FM and operations manager of KQRS-FM, KXXR-FM & WGVX-FM in Minneapolis for Cumulus Media. He says, “Joining Beasley Media Group in Detroit is a terrific opportunity. The Midwest is home for me, so it’s a natural fit. The legendary WRIF-FM and heritage WCSX-FM, joined with ‘The BOUNCE,’ ‘KISS,’ and ‘PRAISE’ boast exceptional talent across all five brands. Adding Beasley’s commitment to the community, along with an aggressive digital presence, turns listeners into fans. I’m thankful to Justin Chase for approaching me about the Detroit situation and grateful to Mac Edwards and Brian Beasley for their endorsement.”…..Also at Beasley Media Group, the company announces that Al Beck adds evening jock duties at WRXK-FM, Fort Myers “96 K-ROCK.” Beck currently serves as the producer of the “Dave and Chuck The Freak Morning Show” at WRIF-FM, Detroit, is co-host of the Nerd Radio podcast, and can also be heard evenings on WBOS-FM, Boston “ROCK 92.9.” Beasley Media Group Southwest Florida operations manager Adam Star says, “We are excited to add Al Beck to our on-air line up at WRXK. Al’s on-air rock presentation is stellar, plus his connection with our syndicated morning show, Dave and Chuck the Freak, doesn’t hurt either! We felt bringing him on the air made perfect sense to embrace the Fort Myers rock world.”

Monday, March 9, 2020

| March 9, 2020

Talk Radio Rises to Coronavirus Challenge. This past weekend seems to have marked a tipping point in America regarding public anxiety over COVID-19, still commonly referred to as the coronavirus.  Fears and near panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events.  Add to that discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the “weaponization” of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth.  Most talk media broadcasters tell TALKERS that this crisis provides radio both the mission and calling to provide a significant degree of comfort and helpful information to the public – thus showcasing its pertinence as a vital medium in the 21st century.  Broadcasters who spoke to TALKERS about this include: Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM; Mike Salk, Bonneville Seattle; Chris Little, KFI, Los Angeles; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, West Palm Beach; Ryan Wrecker, KMOX, St. Louis; Harry Hurley, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan, nationally syndicated “DJV Show”; Dr. Daliah Wachs, GCN-syndicated host; Heidi Harris, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Jim Bohannon, Westwood One-syndicated host; Bob Lawrence, Saga Communications; Michael Berry, KRTH, Houston and in syndication; and Richard Neer, WFAN, New York.  Read it here.

Monday Memo: Coronavirus Conundrum: It’s the story-of-the-week every week, and the public health sector is working overtime to keep it from becoming the story-of-a-lifetime.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “If listeners don’t hear ‘Coronavirus’ on your air, you’re wallpaper.  If you are telling them something they haven’t yet heard elsewhere, they will listen more and tell others what they heard (and where).”  And he outlines specific tactics.  Read it here.

Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, North Korea Fires Missiles, and Greece-Turkey Immigrant Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The status of the coronavirus pandemic and public officials’ response to it; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus and the break of the Saudi-Russian oil pact that’s sent prices plummeting; the battle between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the party’s nomination; North Korea fires more test missiles; and the violence over the refugee crisis at the Greece-Turkey border were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KFYI, Phoenix Moves James T Harris to Mornings; Debuts ‘Russell & Hunter’ Afternoon Show. Phoenix news/talker KFYI moves “The Conservative Circus With James T Harris” from afternoon drive to mornings and launches the new afternoon drive show “Russell & Hunter.”  The iHeartMedia station says, “‘The Conservative Circus with James T. Harris’ is a highly entertaining look at the news of the day from an unapologetically conservative point of view.”  Station PD Aaron Trimmer adds, “James T. Harris is an unrivaled talent in the world of talk radio.  The success he has had hosting afternoon drive on 550 KFYI made him the obvious choice to now take over mornings.”  Previous morning drive host Mike Broomhead exited at the end of his contract in January.  He joined Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KTAR-FM for mornings in February.  iHeartMedia says Mike Russell and Rob Hunter bring more than 25 years of combined experience in Phoenix talk radio to afternoon drive.  “Together, ‘Russell & Hunter’ will continue to serve Phoenix’s passionate conservative audience by being ardent defenders of small business, the 2nd Amendment and traditional American values.”

WABC, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Vows to Run for Mayor of New York. Longtime New York City talk radio host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa tells the New York Post he intends to run for mayor of New York.  Sliwa has not filed any paperwork to officially join the race and he’s expected to continue co-hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show with Juliet Huddy on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York.  The piece notes that Sliwa left the Reform Party recently and registered as a Republican.  Sliwa points to six issues he says are the most important facing New Yorkers: crime in the streets, crime on the subways, the homeless, emotionally disturbed people, the New York City Housing Authority, and affordable housing.

Talent Changes Coming to Sports Talk ‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh. The afternoon drive show at Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh is splitting up, with longtime hosts Adam Gold and Joe Ovies soon to be hosting separate programs.  Raleigh News & Observer sportswriter Joe Giglio is joining the radio station and will co-host the afternoon drive show with Ovies.  Gold will host his own sports talk show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. In a press release, station program director Dennis Glasgow comments, “It’s not often that you have the unique opportunity to get better when moving an air personality of Adam Gold’s stature to another timeslot and also add a sports reporting vet like Joe Giglio to an already established show, so we’re very fortunate.  In the end our listeners are the big winners.”  Gold’s new program will replace the regionally syndicated David Glenn show on WCMC-FM.

‘K-News 94.3 FM’ Palm Springs Host Bill Feingold Dies at 70. The Desert Sun reports KNWQ-AM/K232CX, Palm Springs talk radio host Bill Feingold died on Friday (3/6) at age 70.  Feingold, who co-hosted the morning show with Kevin Holmes on the Alpha Media station, was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer in August.  It had spread to his lungs and bones.  But Feingold underwent chemotherapy and returned to the radio program after showing improvement.  Eventually, the cancer worsened, and he was hospitalized.  During his time as radio host in Palm Springs, Feingold befriended such celebrity residents as Suzanne Somers and Gavin MacLeod.

Ed Wilson to Lead CMG’s CoxReps and Gamut. Sale executive Ed Wilson joins Cox Media Group to serve as executive chairman for its CoxReps and Gamut national ad platform businesses.  CMG president and CEO Kim Guthrie says, “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ed for years.  He is a business builder and a natural networker in both traditional and emerging media.  His experience and industry relationships will serve him well in this role.  We look forward to his perspective as we leverage our industry leading position to evolve these important businesses.”  Wilson has served in leadership roles at The Tribune Company, FOX Broadcasting, NBC, and CBS.  CoxReps’ chief operating officer Ann Hailer and Gamut SVP of client solutions Soo Jin Oh will continue in their current roles, reporting directly to Wilson.

Weekly ‘Day 1’ Show to Celebrate 75 Years on Radio. Every Sunday since April 1945, the weekly, half-hour Protestant religious program “Day 1” has aired on radio stations across the country.  Although originally titled, “The Protestant Hour,” the program from Alliance for Christian Media has never been a 60-minute show and when Reverend Peter Wallace started working on the show 19 years ago, it was decided the show’s name needed a change.  Wallace tells TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, “We came up with the name ‘Day 1,’ which sounds good in the media environment.  We are on several news/talk stations [including Cox Media Group Atlanta flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM] so it fit into that milieu.  It refers to when the program generally airs – Sunday – the first day of the week.  It’s the day people generally go to church and has an inspirational, hopeful ‘first day’ of the rest of your life feel to it.”  Read the full feature here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on two radio stories from the Windy City.  First, WGN-AM sports reporter and podcaster Adam Hoge is leaving the Nexstar Media Group news/talker to join cable’s NBC Sports Chicago where he’ll be a White Sox insider on the regional network.  Second, crosstown sports talker WMVP “ESPN Chicago” is adding a nightly baseball show hosted by Jonathan Hood, effective March 23.  The Good Karma Brands-operated station will air the show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..According to a piece by Rob Tornoe at the Philadelphia Inquirer, WIP morning show producer Joe Weachter was released from a Florida hospital last Thursday morning after experiencing a health scare while on a flight from Philly to Tampa.  Weachter was on the plane, along with morning host Angelo Cataldi and WIP personality Ava Graham heading to Florida to cover Phillies spring training when lost consciousness shortly after leaving his seat to use the restroom.  Fortunately, Dr. Edward Dickinson – a professor of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – was on the flight and, along with the assistance of an unnamed paramedic, treated Weachter who regained consciousness after about 10 minutes…..Seneca Women Podcast Network and iHeartMedia enter into a multi-year partnership to co-produce and distribute “a slate of high-quality, women-focused podcasts in the areas of women in business, leadership, current events, health and more, providing inspiring, purpose-driven and actionable content from a diverse range of women’s voices.”  As part of the deal, new and existing podcasts on the Seneca Women Podcast Network will join the iHeartPodcast Network.  iHeartMedia will now co-produce the hit podcast series “Seneca Women Conversations on Power and Purpose” hosted by Ambassador Melanne Verveer and Kim Azzarelli.  “Seneca Women Conversations on Power and Purpose” will debut March 9 on iHeartRadio with 19 episodes in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Popular Twin Cities radio personality Brian Zepp returns to Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS as part of the “KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard.  Zepp was an air personality on the station for 19 years before exiting for a position at Orion Media‘s classic rock KBZN-FM, Bozeman, Montana “The Eagle” three years ago.  He says, “After having been away from KQ for a couple of years, I’ve come to realize there is just no better experience in my profession than being a part of the ‘KQ Morning Show.’  It’s great to be reunited with Tom and the crew, but even sweeter being reunited with the KQ listeners.”…..In Dallas, Michelle Boros joins iHeartMedia’s hot AC KDMX, Dallas “102.9 NOW” as the new morning drive personality.  Boros was most recently an air personality and music director at Entercom’s CHR KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio.”  Station program director Jay Shannon comments, “We’re excited to add Michelle to the ‘102.9 NOW’ morning lineup.  Her years of experience along with her DFW background and roots make her the perfect fit.”…..Radio pro Gary Saunders joins Tracy Johnson Media Group to work on TJMG’s Personality Magnet Show Prep Service.  Saunders has been serving as executive producer for the Compass Media Networks syndicated “DeDe In the Morning” program as well as APD for Service Broadcasting’s hip hop KKDA, Dallas…..Publicist Taryn Pray joins Nashville-based publicity firm Monarch Publicity.   During her more than 13 years in the publicity biz, she worked with UMG Nashville and Sony Music Nashville before starting her own independent publicity company in 2013.  Monarch Publicity’s clients include Chris Bandi, Chris Young, Craig Morgan, Laine Hardy, Matt Stell, Sara Evans, The Shires, Temecula Road, Tiffany Woys, and Music Health Alliance.

Monday, May 7, 2018

| May 7, 2018

Beasley Q1 Net Revenue Up 2.6%. Comparing the first quarter of 2018 to the same period in 2017, net revenue for Beasley Broadcast Group was $55.2 million, an increase of 2.6%.  The report notes last May’s sale of its six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster and the December asset exchange of WMJX-FM, Boston and $12 million for sports station WBZ-FM and states that this report reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three months ended March 31, 2018 and the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations and WMJX-FM in the three months ended March 31, 2017.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “In the first quarter of 2018, we continued to execute well on our integration strategy focused on strong local programming to support our goals of ratings and market leadership at recently acquired stations, while implementing our operating and expense management disciplines…The $1.6 million increase in station operating expenses was largely attributable to the Boston market’s sports leader, WBZ-FM, and additional one-time costs related to New England Patriots’ Super Bowl programming.  However, the ongoing success of our expense management initiatives resulted in a year-over-year reduction in operating expenses at our Tampa, Charlotte, Detroit, Fort Myers and Augusta clusters.  As a result, while Beasley’s SOI declined 1.5% year-over-year, after excluding the SOI contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville station divestitures from the comparable 2017 period, first quarter SOI would have been flat.  With our strong operating cash flows we have invested in our broadcast and technology platforms while pursuing select accretive acquisitions and station swaps. At the same time, Beasley remained committed to enhancing shareholder value through capital returns and capital structure improvements. In this regard, during the first quarter, we increased our quarterly cash dividend by 11.1% and declared our nineteenth consecutive quarterly cash dividend. In addition, interest expense decreased approximately $1.2 million year-over-year, reflecting the recent refinancing of our senior debt, which reduced our interest rate by 200 basis points. We also used cash from operations to make voluntary debt repayments of approximately $3.0 million and ended March 31, 2018 with total outstanding debt of $222 million.

E.W. Scripps Q1 Conference Call May Shed Light on Sale of Radio Division.  Or it may not.  It depends on whether Scripps is in serious talks to sell its radio division and whether or not those parties want any public disclosures made at this time.  Scripps made the announcement last fall that it would be selling the radio division that it acquired in the Journal Communications deal to allow it to focus on its television segment. Because of that, Scripps is listing the radio stations as “discontinued operations” in its financial reports. Today’s press release notes, “At the end of 2017, radio operations were classified as held for sale. The radio segment results are included in discontinued operations. All periods have been adjusted to reflect this presentation. Discontinued operations include a $20 million non-cash charge to write down the assets of our radio business to fair value.”  There have been rumors that Scripps has a buyer for its largest market stations – news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI-FM in Milwaukee – and many industry watchers suspect that buyer is Entercom.  Today’s conference call is 9:00 am ET.

Cumulus’ Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors Files Proposed Finding of Facts; Challenges Stated Value of the Company. The 56-page document filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York by The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Cumulus Media Inc., Et Al. challenges the company’s and the senior lenders’ assessment that Cumulus Media is worth $1.67 billion, arguing that its true value is between $2.1 and $2.4 billion.  As Cumulus announced last week, the court has confirmed Cumulus’ reorganization plan based on the $1.67 billion valuation.  In Friday’s filing, the unsecured creditors try to make the point that the calculation of multiples in assessing the value of Cumulus’ stations is too low, “Cumulus should receive a premium multiple relative to comparable companies in the radio industry.”  It also argues that Cumulus’ tower portfolio’s fair market value is $134 million and should add “an additional $45 to $55 million in incremental value to the company.” Read details here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago all-newser WBBM-AM is officially recognizing its 50thanniversary as a news station (the actual 50th was Sunday).  The Entercom station is celebrating the milestone on its website with a history of the station plus photos, old ads and logos and much more.  Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that director of news and programming Ron Gleason told staffers in a memo, “Think about 50 years — all that’s transpired, all the chronicling of Chicago, the state, the country and the world.  You and your predecessors have covered some incredibly exceptional events, and devastating tragedies, doing so with credibility and without bias every step of the way.  I’m so lucky to be part of this, and proud to work alongside each of you on a daily basis.”…..Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee combines with sister country station WKTI to bring home 15 awards for excellence from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.  WTMJ picked up “News & Talk Station of the Year,” “News Operation of the Year,” and “Social & Digital Media Operation of the Year.”  Vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “‘WTMJ Radio’ and ‘KTI COUNTRY’ are committed to providing community service, local news, programming and multi-platform local content to serve our communities.  To be recognized by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is truly a meaningful honor.”…..Mike Calta show cast member Sandra Carmin Herrst was arrested over the weekend on domestic violence charges after she allegedly hit her boyfriend.  Herrst, who goes by Carmin on the WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” morning show, was arrested and released on her own recognizance…..The Westwood One nationally syndicated weekly talk show “Sterling on Sunday” announces it has inked its 50thaffiliate station with the signing of WBAP, Dallas.  The show is hosted by longtime radio executive Walter Sabo, a.k.a. Walter Sterling (pictured at left), who says, “Successful talk stations are aggressively widening their topic offerings and I’m delighted to be heard on 50 of them…and counting.  ‘Sterling on Sunday’ resonates with audiences because it’s a reflection of their real lives. We talk about life with family, life at work, life at the mall. It’s all very relatable. The power of the mirror always wins.”…..The third season of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” launches on May 22 with five episodes covering the story of the rise and fall of Bikram yoga and how the community is still grappling with its identity in the wake of the sexual assault allegations against its founder Bikram Choudhury.  The podcast is reported and produced by ESPN’s Julia Lowrie Henderson.….Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets agree to a multi-year deal for the station to air Nets games and related programming through the 2020-21 season.  As part of the deal, in the case of conflicts, Nets games will air on sister all-news WCBS-AM.

Fifth Annual GAB Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The 5th annual GAB Radio Talent Institute returns to the campus of the University of Georgia today and Beasley Media Group VP of corporate communications Heidi Raphael was today’s opening speaker for the 10-day institute.  Forty broadcasters from Beasley, Cox Media, Urban One, Entercom, Cumulus, iHeartMedia, Salem Media Group and others – as well as the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons – are coming together to teach the students who come from UGA and seven other schools in the region.  Georgia Association of Broadcasters president Bob Houghton comments, “The Georgia Association of Broadcasters is proud of our partnership with the National Radio Talent System, and now, with our Beasley Media Group relationship, this partnership is even stronger. Over the past five years we have graduated over 100 students who are ready to make a contribution to the future of our industry. I appreciate the nearly 40 broadcasters each year who give their time and talent to speak in the Institute.  Broadcasting, and specifically radio, has a proud past and, with this program, a bright future.”  Pictured above is WSB-FM, Atlanta “B 98.5” afternoon personality Madison James (at left) teaching students.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case/‘SNL’ Sketch, Iran Nuclear Deal, Facebook Helps ISIS Supporters, McCain HBO Documentary/Book, North-South Korea Talks, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Stormy Daniels payoff, Rudy Giuliani’s role representing President Trump, and the “Saturday Night Live” sketch lampooning the issue; the Trump Administration’s stance on the Iran nuclear deal; allegations that Facebook’s “suggested friends” feature has been connecting those with ISIS sympathies; terminally ill Senator John McCain’s HBO documentary and new book; the peace talks between North and South Korea; Major League Baseball action and NBA playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Is Nearing an Early Sellout. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – set for Friday, June 8 in New York City – is on course to again be an early sellout.  Friday, May 11 at 5:00 pm ET has been set as the absolute cut-off date past which new registrations will no longer be taken – although according to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We might have to stop taking registrations before that because the number of bodies we can accommodate at this basically intimate gathering is indeed finite.” The power-packed program 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 rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to on-air and online broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers and up-to-the-minute agenda as well as registration, hotel and sponsorship information by clicking here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – which can come at any moment. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible.

Rock Radio Pioneer and Station Owner Dex Allen Dies at 74.  As reported by LARadio.com, radio pro Dex Allen has died at age 74.  Allen started his career as a DJ and rose through the ranks to work in management and sales before entering the radio ownership business.  LARadio.com writes: “Dex was best known for spearheading the ‘underground’ movement at KPRI, San Diego.  In the late 1960s, he drove to Southern California every weekend to work as a jock at KDAY, Los Angeles (1969-70).  Eventually he became general manager of several stations in San Diego.  Dex made one of those rare journeys from DJ to station owner.”  After years in management, Allen formed Commonwealth Broadcasting and acquired a number of stations.  He was most recently president/CEO of Pacific Start Communications.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York alternative WBMP “ALT 92.3” has a new programming leader as Entercom announces Mike Kaplan is named SVP of programming and PD for the station.  At the same time, the company brings Christine Malovetz aboard to serve as midday personality on the station. Kaplan was most recently PD for iHeartMedia’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7.” Malovetz was most recently host of middays and assistant program director for Entrercom’s KNOU-FM, St. Louis.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We are thrilled to welcome Mike and Christine to ‘ALT 92.3’ and are looking forward to having their talent and drive propel the brand to new heights in New York.”…..In Miami, Rick Party announces he’s left Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WHQT “HOT 105” after he and the company could not agree to terms on a contract extension…..iHeartMedia appoints Scotty Davis afternoon drive host for country WFUS, Tampa “US103.5.”  Davis slides over from the cluster’s CHR WFLZ where he also hosted afternoons.  He says, “I’ve been eying a move over to the country format for quite some time.  This is a natural next step for my career and I’m thankful to everyone at iHeartMedia for believing in me!”…..Pictured below are hosts Bobby Bones (left) and Candace Cameron Bure (right) backstage at Saturday’s 2018 iHeartCountry Festival By AT&T at The Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Monday, November 16, 2015

| November 16, 2015

Paris Terror Attacks and Saturday’s Democratic Candidates Debate Lead Weekend News/Talk Discussions.  Friday’s deadly terror attacks in Paris, the larger topic of the ISIS problem and Saturday’s Democratic candidate’s debate were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.  TALKERS magazine research reveals the two topics – at times intertwined – were front-and-center on stations airing live and local and/or live national talk shows on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.

price howardPrice: How Did Your Station Respond to France’s 9/11?  Attempting to foresee the unforeseeable is part of what Howard B. Price is paid to do as director of business continuity for ABC Television.  He’s written numerous articles about preparing for disasters and events that should affect your programming and/or your ability to operate a radio station as usual for TALKERS magazine.  Today’s article addresses Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and how some stations failed to break programming in any way.  He says localizing the story is part of how it should be addressed.  “There were local stories springing from the events in Paris all over the US.  Security around sports stadiums was being ramped up (one of the Paris attacks took place at a soccer game where the French president had been in attendance).  More police were being dispatched to major transportation centers, and tourist areas known to draw big crowds.  I live near a nuclear plant – and I sure wish my local station was updating me on security there.  I live near a major bridge, the loss of which would severely impact our local economy…and disrupt transportation between New York City and points to the north, east and west.  I live near major commuter rail lines, the loss of which would cripple the ability of people to commute to their jobs.  I live in a community with lots of shopping malls.  And parks.  And movie theatres. And bars. Which in Paris and other places, have been the scenes of recent terror attacks.  I’d like to know what my local officials are doing to protect us against similar attacks here.  I’d like to hear what my neighbors are thinking and saying about it.”  Read Price’s entire piece here.

bubbaBubba The Love Sponge Files Motion to Dismiss $1 Million Nielsen Lawsuit.  After Nielsen Audio filed its $1 million dollar civil suit against Bubba The Love Sponge for his admitted ratings tampering in the Tampa market which it claims has resulted in its “reputation and the reputation of its ratings reports” having been “damaged irreparably,” TALKERS legal analyst Steven J.J. Weisman wrote that Nielsen’s claims appear to be “very much a dramatic overstatement.”  Since the initial tampering was discovered, Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa has been delisted from both the September and October PPM surveys, even though Nielsen stated to customers that the Tampa ratings were not compromised.nielsen logo  Now, Bubba’s legal team files a motion to dismiss the fraud suit against him stating that Nielsen has not shown proof of ongoing ratings tampering.  Bubba’s counsel also argues Nielsen’s filing in federal court is improper.  “Nielsen cannot manufacture federal jurisdiction by plucking from mid-air the nice round compensatory damages figure of $1,000,000, and without offering a shred of support for this number.  Instead, Nielsen promises that this isolated disagreement among private actors has harmed not just Nielsen but ‘the entire radio industry.’…Nielsen’s ‘entire radio industry’ theory of harm simply cannot serve as the basis for subject matter jurisdiction.”  Nielsen claims it has more evidence of tampering that led to the October survey for Tampa being delayed and WBRN again being delisted but has not released that information publicly.

ramseyEMS15Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Master Series Features Live Broadcast.  Last Friday (11/13), nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his EntreLeadership Master Series event at Ramsey Solutions’ headquarters in Nashville.  As part of the event, his daily radio program was broadcast live with this special edition focused on leadership and business questions from callers, e-mails and event attendees.  Ramsey Solutions says the EntreLeadership Master Series condenses “20 years of business and leadership wisdom into a seven-day event.  Business owners and leaders who attend walk away with practical ideas that can improve their communication, organization, team culture, finances, negotiating and selling skills, marketing, advertising, and ability to make tough decisions.  EntreLeadership combines the innovative spirit of an entrepreneur with the passion and drive of a leader.  This philosophy is how Ramsey has grown his highly successful company and trained his leadership team since day one.”  The photo here shows the Dave Ramsey show being produced during the EntreLeadership Master Series event.

hillaustinTalk Radio Personality Austin Hill Dies Unexpectedly.  Author, public speaker and radio personality Austin Hill died unexpectedly on Friday (11/13) from what appears to have been a cardiac event.  Hill, who’s worked at such secular news/talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles; KSFO, San Francisco; and KFYI, Phoenix during his career, was hosting a daily morning drive program on the internet station www.myfaithradio.com.  He was also serving as a regular fill-in host for WMAL, Washington’s “Drive at Five” afternoon drive program.  Hill was in his early 50s and leaves behind a wife and his son, Graham, a high school senior.

bouvardpierreWestwood One Invites Radio People to ‘State of American Podcasting’ Webinar.  The webinar is on Wednesday (11/18) at 2:00 pm ET and is being moderated by Westwood One’s chiefWW1StateofPodcasting15 marketing officer Pierre Bouvard with special guests Brendan McDonald, executive producer and co-creator, “WTF with Marc Maron”; Stuart Last, VP, audioBoom; and Jenna Weiss-Berman, director of audio, Buzzfeed.  WW1 says the webinar is for marketers and advertisers, podcast creators and producers, and media and audio enthusiasts and will reveal insight gained from its commissioned studies of the podcasting platform, including: Never-before-heard insights on the podcast consumer; how marketers really feel about podcast advertising; where podcasts fit in the marketing mix; and competitive research from podcast advertisers. Register here.

wrko15WRKO, Boston Raises $357,000 for Fisher House Boston.  WRKO, Boston held a day-long radiothon live from the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center on Friday (11/13) from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm to raise funds for the Fisher House Boston.  The programming featured moving stories from veterans, their families and Fisher House Boston staff.  In addition to WRKO listeners, Mark Wahlberg, Mike Eruzione, and others called with their donations that totaled more than $357,000.  WRKO personalities Kim Carrigan, Barry Armstrong, Jeff Kuhner and Howie Carr anchored the day’s programs.  WRKO operations manager Michael Czarnecki says, “Fisher House is an incredible organization, attending to the care and housing of families who have already made such a sacrifice for the American people.  I am so proud of the WRKO and Fisher House staff for all of their hard work today.  Once again the WRKO listeners demonstrate that they’re true patriots in their love of our country and support of our troops.”

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

| July 2, 2014

alphamedia logoAlpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting Become Alpha Media; Main Line Deal Closes. Portland-based L&L Broadcasting operates 43 stations in seven markets; the merged company’s corporate headquarters will continue to be in Portland, where Alpha Broadcasting owns six radio facilities.  In addition to this merger, L&L’s $57 million deal to purchase 19 Main Line Broadcasting stations has been finalized.  Alpha Media chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger of Portland’s Alpha operation into our newly created Alpha Media results in one company operating all markets.  Our ‘Live and Local’ vision continues to be our focus.  By adding the former Main Line markets, we can continue to develop ourmain line broadcasting footprint with attractive markets operated by great radio people.  We are excited to add them to our growing company.” L&L Broadcasting president and chief executive officer Bob Proffitt remarks, “From the day we visited each Main Line market, we knew they were full wilsonlarryof talented radio broadcasters who understand our vision and how we operate.  We feel our live and local approach will enhance each market’s rating and revenue potential.  Having Portland in the fold allows us to liberally use some of the best brains in the radio business to help listeners, clients, and employees at our other markets throughout the country.”  According to Main Line Broadcasting chief executive officer Marc Guralnick, “It has been a great nine years at Main Line Broadcasting.  I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best people in the industry.  I am excited to have our talented broadcasters now under the leadership of Larry Wilson, Bob Proffitt, and the Alpha-L&L team.  I wish L&L and this tremendous staff much continued success.”  The four markets for Philadelphia-based Main Line are Louisville, Dayton, Richmond, and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  The company was represented in the transaction by Media Venture Partners.

katztonyTony Katz Assumes Morning Drive Role at WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Monday (6/30) was the first day on the job for new WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning show personality Tony Katz.  He replaces Steve Simpson who recently exited the station after 22 years.  Katz had been hosting the 9:00 pm to 12:00wibclogo midnight show at WIBC-FM from his home in Los Angeles but is moving to Indy for this new role.  Emmis market manager Charlie Morgan recently told the Indianapolis Business Journal the move to replace Simpson with Katz was the result of the station wanting a more opinionated, commentary-driven show than the newsy approach Simpson was comfortable with.  “He’s just not the right guy for what the role of host now requires.  What we’re asking our hosts to do is offer opinion and perspective, and [Simpson] was not comfortable with that.  He was more comfortable in a more traditional news role.”

gottliebdougCBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gottlieb Show Gets Cable Simulcast.  Beginning August 25, the Doug Gottlieb show will be seen on cable’s CBS Sports Network in addition to being heard on the CBS Sports Radio Network.  The program will be simulcast live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  CBS Sports SVP of programming Dan Weinberg says, “Adding the Doug Gottlieb show greatly strengthens our afternoon lineup adding three hours of live and relevant content each day.  Doug’s show is high-energy, insightful and entertaining and we are excited to extend the reach of his radio show to the CBS Sports Network television audience.”

kfbk logoKFBK Boosts Murray to News Director.  Assistant program director Mike Murray is elevated to news director at Clear Channel Sacramento talker KFBK.  Vice president of programming Ken Charles – who programs KFBK and sibling talker KSTE – comments, “In determining the needs of our department, and wanting to make sure there is one vision and voice between programming and news, Mike rose to the top as the right candidate for the role.”  In the next few weeks, there will reportedly be some news/programming restructuring associated with Murray’s promotion.

keiperjenniferKeiper Returns to WLS-AM, Chicago as News Anchor.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Jennifer Keiper is back with news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago after a six-year absence during which she worked as Midwest correspondent for Fox News Radio.  Keiper will anchor the news during afternoon drive, where Roe Conn and Richard Roeper are currently heard.  Keiper is taking over for Susan Carlson who resigned two months ago to join WMAQ-TV.  Read Feder’s column here.

mathenysamMatheny Named EVP/Chief Technology Officer for NAB.  Joining NAB from Capitol Broadcasting to serve as the new EVP and chief technology officer is Sam Matheny.  His work as part of the corporate staff involvement in several Capitol Broadcasting media ventures: general manager at News Over Wireless, which provided the first local television news applications for wireless carriers; manager of Digital Cinema at Microspace Communications, deploying digital cinema as a viable market for satellite delivery; and vice president & general manager at DTV Plus, which developed and launched the nation’s first DTV datacasting service.  Matheny is currently a member of the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council and is a member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers.  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB is thrilled to have Sam Matheny joining the team as our new CTO.  Sam’s roots are in broadcast localism and service to the community, but he is also a technology strategist determined to push broadcasters to embrace digital and Internet opportunities that generate revenue.  Today, tens of millions of our listeners and viewers are legally accessing broadcast programming on platforms and devices that are IP-based, portable and mobile. We believe Sam is the right choice to press these digital strategies forward and lead our industry’s technology future.”

joycebrianpanelWGOW, Chattanooga Host Brian Joyce Moderates Panel on Democracy and Human Rights in Geneva.  Tennessee talk radio personality Brian Joyce (pictured here, bottom, far right) was recently in Geneva, Switzerland at the invitation of the Geneva Press Club to moderate a panel discussion on democracy and human rights.  Among the members of this panel were Egyptian MP and Secretary General of Egypt’s Industry & Energy Committee Hatem Azzam (second from right, standing).  Joyce is going abroad this weekend to speak at a public rally in Istanbul, Turkey in Alfatih Square in Istanbul to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the military coup in Egypt, which took place on July 3, 2013.  He was invited by a Turkish organization called Union of NGOs of the Islamic World, in cooperation with the Egyptian Solidarity Movement. Joyce says the Turkish government and Turkish people have been strong, vocal critics of military rule in Egypt, as well as of violations of democracy and human rights across the Muslim world.

pavlinahannityPavlina Interviews Sean Hannity on Talkers TV.  Sixteen-year-old talk media prodigy, Pavlina Osta, host of the syndicated radio show “Pavlina’s Kidz Place,” conducted an interview with Premiere Radio and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity at the recent Talkers New York 2014 convention. That 15 minute interview is currently playing on Talkers TV located at the top of the upper right hand column of boxes on every page on Talkers.com.  Pavlina has been broadcasting since she was 11 years old and has an amazing track record of conducting exclusive interviews with more than 300 stars from the fields of entertainment, sports, politics and media.  David Bernstein, GM of Talkers broadcasting operations says, “This young woman is going to be a huge media star.  She has everything going for her – even a local Gracie Award to her credit.  Watch out world, Pavlina is coming!”

marconiawardMeet This Year’s NAB Marconi Radio Award Finalists. They are listed below and the list encompasses 21 categories.  The Marconi Radio Awards are given by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to honor excellence in broadcasting. “Legendary Station”:news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; talk KXLY-AM, Spokane; sports WFAN, New York; country WIL-FM, St. Louis; and adult contemporary WLEN-FM, Adrian, Michigan. “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”:Bob & Tom, Westwood One; Elvis Duran, Premiere Radio Networks; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Radio Networks; Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Radio Networks; and Rickey Smiley, Radio One/REACH Media. “Major Market Personality of the Year”:Carter Alan of WZLX, Boston; Big Boy of KPWR, Los Angeles; Kevin & Bean of KROQ, Los Angeles; Preston & Steve of WMMR, Philadelphia; and (Fred) Toucher & Rich (Shertenlieb) of WBZ-FM, Boston. “Large Market Personality of the Year”:Bo Matthews of WIL-FM, St. Louis; Dr. Don (with Rachael and Grunwald) of WYCD, Detroit; Jim “JJ” Johnson of WOMC, Detroit; Larry Richert of KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; and Ryan & Shannon of KSTP-FM, Minneapolis. “Medium Market Personality of the Year”:Brent Johnson of WTCB, Columbia, South Carolina; Cole Johnson of WNVZ, Norfolk; Kevin Miller of KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho; Chris Kelly & Chris Demm of WKRR, Greensboro; and Jeff Walker of WKRZ, Wilkes Barre-Scranton. “Small Market Personality of the Year”:Bill Barrett, Tim Fox & Tracy Berry of KKNU-FM, Eugene, Oregon; David Gustafson of KJSK-AM, Columbus, Nebraska; Dottie Ray of KXIC-AM, Iowa City, Iowa; Brian Egan, Rusty Bumper & Amanda Walton of WKWS-FM, Charleston, West Virginia; and Brian Lee & Chris Wolfe of KZOQ-FM, Missoula, Montana. “Major Market Station of the Year”: country KKBQ, Houston; urban AC WBLS, New York; rock WMMR, Philadelphia; hot AC WTMX, Chicago; and country WUSN, Chicago. “Large Market Station of the Year”:adult contemporary KRWM, Seattle; CHR WBLI, Long Island; talk WCCO, Minneapolis; talk WTMJ, Milwaukee; and sports WXYT-FM, Detroit. “Medium Market Station of the Year”:rock KAZR-FM, Des Moines; hot AC KSTZ, Des Moines; country WIVK-FM, Knoxville; talk WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and country WUSY-FM, Chattanooga, Tennessee. “Small Market Station of the Year”:talkKFGO-AM, Fargo, South Dakota; CHR KNDE-FM, Bryan-College Station, Texas; full-service adult contemporary KYNT-AM, Yankton, South Dakota; country WFRE-FM, Frederick, Maryland; and adult contemporary WLEN-FM, Adrian, Michigan. “Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”:KIFM, San Diego; WBEB, Philadelphia; WILV, Chicago; WMEE-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and WVAF, Charleston, West Virginia. “CHR Station of the Year”:KQKS, Denver; WBBM-FM, Chicago; WNVZ, Norfolk; WPOI, Tampa; and WVAQ, Morgantown, West Virginia. “Country Station of the Year”:KCYY, San Antonio; WIL-FM, St. Louis; WKLB, Boston; WLHK, Indianapolis; and WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “News-Talk Station of the Year”:KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTMY, Minneapolis; WGCV-AM, Columbia, South Carolina; and WLW, Cincinnati. “(Classic Hits-) Oldies Station of the Year:”WJMK, Chicago; WMJI, Cleveland; WSRZ, Sarasota; WXGL, Tampa; and WOGL Philadelphia. “(Contemporary Christian) Religious Station of the Year”:KKJM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KKLA, Los Angeles; KLTY, Dallas; KNOM, Nome, Alaska; and WMHK, Columbia, South Carolina. “Rock Station of the Year”:KROQ, Los Angeles; KSWD, Los Angeles; WBAB, Long Island; WDRV, Chicago; and WSUN, Tampa. “Spanish Station of the Year”:KLZT, Austin; WNUA, Chicago; WYUS-AM Milford, Delaware; WYUU, Tampa; and WXSH, Georgetown, Delaware. “Sports Station of the Year”:KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; KFXN-FM, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP-FM, Philadelphia; and WXYT-FM, Detroit. “Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KPRS, Kansas City; WGCI-FM, Chicago; WHQT, Miami; WQHT, New York; and WVKL, Norfolk. “Noncommercial Station of the Year”: KPCW, Park City, Utah; KUNV, Las Vegas; WEAA, Baltimore; WRHU Long Island; and WSDP,  Canton, Michigan. Winners will be announced in two months (9/11) at the awards dinner in Indianapolis during this year’s NAB Radio Show.

kgy logoKGY Inc. Sells KGY-AM, Olympia to Catholic Broadcaster.  Sports talk KGY-AM, Olympia, Washington is being sold to Sacred Heart Radio for $250,000, according to The Olympian.  The station has been in the Kerry family since current KGY Inc. business manager Nick Kerry’s grandfather Tom Olsen purchased it in 1939.  KGY Inc. will continue to operate country outlet KYYO-FM “96.9 KAYO” and translator K237FR at 95.3 FM.

SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Ruling, Obama Executive Actions, Illegal Immigrant Influx-Amnesty Proposal, Global Warming Debate, Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Sarkozy Investigation, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1).  The backlash over the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive case; John Boehner’s threat to sue President Obama over the executive actions issue; debate over amnesty as the Southwest deals with an influx of minor illegal immigrants; continuing disagreement over the issue of man-made climate change; high tensions in Israel following the deaths of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian youth; the corruption investigation of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the U.S.’s exit from the World Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, February 1, 2013

| February 1, 2013

rodgersleeLongtime KSFO and KGO, San Francisco Personality Lee Rodgers Dies.  San Francisco talk radio host Lee Rodgers – who spent the last part of his career on the radio in the market co-hosting morning drive with Melanie Morgan on KSFO – died on Thursday while being operated on for a heart condition.  Rodgers had been dealing with heart ailments for some time and Thursday’s surgery was, according to a blog post by his widow Susan, risky but something Rodgers was willing to undergo.  Rodgers and Morgan were ousted from their KSFO morning show position in February of 2010.

kochedFormer Talk Host Ed Koch Dies at 88.  Ed Koch was known to most as a former U.S. Representative and the former mayor of New York City but he was also a progressive talk radio host after his days in New York City Hall.  He worked at WABC, New York in the middays in the mid-1990s.  He was respected by conservatives and liberals alike and often referred to as the “sane liberal” by conservatives.  In recent years, Koch also hosted a Friday evening program on Bloomberg Radio’s WBBR, New York.

escarsegaronCumulus Names Ron Escarsega OM for KGO and KSFO, San Francisco.  Moving up from Cumulus Media’s Los Angeles cluster where he served as assistant program director for news/talk KABC, Ron Escarsega takes the position of operations manager for news KGO and news/talk KSFO.  Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay states, “Ron has done a great job for us in Los Angeles. We’re excited at the skills he brings north to the Bay Area.”  Escarsega says, “I’m excited for the new challenge to work with two iconic stations KGO and KSFO.  I appreciate the confidence Cumulus has shown in me and look forward to the new challenge.”  KGO and KSFO program director Paul Hosley exits the company.

nms2013logoDate Set for TALKERS New York City Conference.  Save the date!  The 16th annual TALKERS Conference is set for New York City on Thursday, June 6, 2013.  Formerly called “The New Media Seminar” the event – now simply titled TALKERS New York 2013 – will again take place at the comfortable and modern Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  It will be a power-packed full day of special addresses, panels, presentations, and social networking opportunities tackling the key issues facing talk radio and its relationship with the new talk media (internet, satellite, cable TV) as well as the general radio industry including music radio and the changing role of the disc jockey.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This will be a TALKERS conference for the new era.  Our presentation this year will be so fresh and vital to the survival and ‘thrival’ of the business that we actually are moving beyond the title ‘New Media Seminar.’  It is not to be missed.”  Stand by for full registration, sponsorship and unfolding agenda details posted here before the end of the week.  Registrations will not go on sale until next Monday, February 4 after which, due to limited space and seating, it is expected to be a rapid sellout.  Registration will be limited to members of the working media only.

riverageraldoGeraldo Rivera Contemplating U.S. Senate Run in 2014.  Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York-based midday talk personality Geraldo Rivera said on his radio program on Thursday that he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014.  He told listeners, “I mention this only briefly – fasten – I am and have been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey.  I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey.”  The Christian Science Monitor examines Rivera’s chances here.  Though New Jersey is a fairly blue state, whether this is Rivera musing out loud or he’s serious about this will become clearer over time.  He wouldn’t be the first to turn a talk radio gig into a U.S. Senate seat.  Al Franken did it in Minnesota.

gallaghermikeSalem Radio Network Teams with USCCA for Second Amendment Protection Petition.  The petition – which obtained its 60,000th signature during Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Thursday (1/31) – is a combined effort of the United States Concealed Carry Association and Salem Radio Networks.  The petition is intended to be delivered to Congress to request that the Second Amendment be honored as Washington works on gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown massacre.

wdbo logoCox Media’s WDBO, Orlando Produces Student-Led Gun Legislation Debate.  The event took place yesterday evening on the University of Central Florida campus where pre-law students in the Moot Court program debated the issue before a live audience and live on WDBO.  The debate was moderated by midday personality Mel Robbins. Station program director Drew Anderssen stated, “Student safety is at the core of the gun control debate in Washington.  The politicians have spoken.  Our talk hosts have spoken.  But, we haven’t heard a long-form discussion on the issue from students.  Thanks to the UCF Moot Court Team, we’re able to present our auditorium and radio audiences with a truly bi-partisan discussion on an issue that will shape our nation’s future from people who represent our nation’s future.”

donahuetomTalk Host Tom Donahue Returns to Terrestrial Radio on KCAA, San Bernardino.  Talk radio pro Tom Donahue – who’s been producing his own talk show in various digital formats recently – is taking to the airwaves of Southern California on Broadcasting Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda (San Bernardino market) for a weekly Friday program airing at 6:00 pm.  Donahue’s program remains part of the internet Talk Superstation lineup.  He says he plans to grow his station affiliate base and eventually expand beyond his new weekly endeavor.

stockalanOdds & Sods.  KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock sits in for Rusty Humphries on his Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated show this afternoon (2/1)…..WTOP, Washington, DC reporter Neil Augenstein came to the rescue of a Virginia man whose car had been pulled down the road and into a ditch by flood waters early Thursday morning.  Augenstein came upon the van while driving in the early morning hours.  He was able to confirm that man was okay and phoned authorities to send a rescue crew…..Premiere Networks “Coast to Coast AM” star George Noory is stewartmarthaprofiled in St. Louis Magazine.  Noory splits his time between St. Louis and Los Angeles and in the piece speaks about his journey from news broadcasting to radio and how it influences the show today plus more…..SirusXM launches a new Martha Stewart program called, “Martha Live.”  This program debuts February 19 and will be a daily, two-hour live program airing from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET and will feature segments including “Ask Martha,” with live call-ins; “Mostly Martha,” with high-profile guest interviews and discussions; segments hosted by Martha’s favorite experts; as well as curated segments from Martha’s vast archives of radio and television.

freemanedgeTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WGSO, New Orleans; WLNI, Lynchburg, Virginia; and WGAW, Gardner, Massachusetts to its roster of affiliates…..WREC, Memphis adds the Dave Ramsey program to its lineup…..“Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford” picks up its 75th affiliate station with the addition of WTYS, Marianna, Florida.  Lipford also produces a companion syndicated television program of the same name…..Chris Markowski’s “Money Minutes” feature is added to the Salem Tampa stations.

Immigration Reform Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 28.  The Obama Administration’s proposal for immigration reform was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 28 – February 1.  Coming in at #2 was the report of the shrinking GDP in the U.S. tied with the Obama Administration’s shutting down of the bi-partisan jobs council.  At #3 was the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing followed by Gabrielle Giffords’ gun legislation testimony at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research form TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s chart here.

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