Tag: "Donna Baker"
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Hits Kansas City. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” event to KC this week, presenting last night (10/20) at Church of the Resurrection. Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day event in KC on Wednesday. Ramsey, along with best-selling author Chris Hogan and Ramsey personality Christy Wright, presented common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 550 team members. This is the first time EntreLeadership 1 Day was made available by live stream and was broadcast to more than 13,000 participants. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate news/talk KCMO to promote the event. Pictured above are Cumulus Media Midwest regional VP Donna Baker (left), Ramsey, and Cumulus KC operations manager Lance Tidwell (right). Baker comments, “The KCMO “Talk Radio” team continues to expand relationships with our audience and clients thanks to our partnership with Dave, resulting in sold-out events both days in KC! Our ‘Evening with Dave’ event is a special opportunity to bring like-minded clients together. We hear feedback about how much it means to share time with Dave, make new friends and business contacts, and spend a fun evening with our programming and sales teams. This event ranks high on our list of favorites and has a meaningful impact on increasing revenue and ratings.”
Hooley to Exit WKNR, Cleveland. Afternoon personality (and former Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter) Bruce Hooley Tweets that he’s exiting Good Karma’s Cleveland sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN 850 Cleveland” for a new gig that’s yet to be announced. He did indicate that he’ll be heard in Cleveland “and elsewhere.” Hooley handled the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show, sandwiched between “Golden Boyz” with Aaron Goldhammer and Emmett Golden (heard from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mark “Munch” Bishop’s “Cleveland Tonight.” There’s no word from Good Karma what its plans are to fill the gap.
Sports Talker KKSE, Denver Announces New Program Lineup. In Denver, KSE Radio Ventures-operated KKSE “Altitude Sports Radio 950” has a new air talent lineup. The “Vic and Kyle” show breaks up with Vic Lombardi moving from afternoons to the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Kyle Keefe exiting the radio side (he remains an “Altitude Sports TV” personality). Scott Hastings and Tom Helmer leave the morning daypart to host 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in place of the syndicated Rich Eisen show. Marc Moser is partnered with Julie Browman for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, and the afternoon show hosted by Nate Kreckman and Tom Nalen moves to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The Presidential Race/Wednesday’s Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21. The 2016 presidential race remains at the top of TALKERS magazine’s weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. Related stories follow with voter fraud and election tampering concerns at #2 and the lingering backlash of the Hillary Clinton email server case at #3. Coming in at #4 was the military campaign against Islamic State in Iraq to retake the city of Mosul. The Talkers Ten TM is published every Friday at Talkers.com. You can this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime, former WOR, New York general manager Bob Bruno is taking to the airwaves for a weekly, two-hour show on Whitney Media’s WVOX-AM, New Rochelle, New York. Bruno’s program is titled “The Best of Everything” and he promises “eight fabulous decades of the greatest pop music ever recorded from Sinatra to Springsteen.”…..The weekly, Doug Stephan-hosted “American Family Farmer” talk program is added to the schedule at KRFE-AM, Lubbock, Texas.
Talk Host Jerry Doyle Dead at 60. TMZ is reporting that Jerry Doyle – talk show host and star of the 1990s TV sci-fi series “Babylon 5” – is dead. The site reports that he was found unresponsive at his home in Las Vegas and that no foul play is suspected. Doyle rose to fame in the talk radio business in the mid-2000s after his show was syndicated by Talk Radio Network. He continued to host a daily show produced by America’s Talk Network and distributed by Talk Radio Network Enterprises until his death. TRNE CEO Mark Masters said in a statement, “I am stunned and saddened by the news of Jerry’s sudden death. He was a dear friend and a prince of a human being. We have worked together for the last 12 years and no host was more loyal at my side.” Doyle was a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He worked for many years on Wall Street prior to getting into acting and, ultimately, talk radio.
Daily Radio Feature Starring Greg Knapp Launches. The name of the program is “The Motivation Minute with Greg Knapp” and it’s being syndicated by Kansas City-based Rockcastle Media Networks. The company describes the show, launching August 1, as a weekday feature designed to inspire and empower adults across all formats. Rockcastle Media Networks president/CEO Will Sterrett says, “Greg Knapp is an exceptional talent with a real passion for helping others maximize their potential. The self-improvement industry is worth an estimated $10 billion in the US each year, and it’s a largely untapped segment for radio. We’re proud to partner with someone so exceptional to create ‘The Motivation Minute with Greg Knapp’ and help stations unlock additional opportunities.” Knapp has hosted talk shows at KCMO, Kansas City; KLIF, Dallas; and his own nationally syndicated “Greg Knapp Experience” program. He’s also author of Go!: How To Find And Pursue Your Passionate Purpose.
Powerful Revenue Panel Video from TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Posted Today. One of the highlights of the recent TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention – “Generating Revenue in the Digital Era” – is posted today (7/28) on Talkers.com. The panel discussion was part of the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention that took place May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the panelists include (in alphabetical order): Dr. Asa, host, Dr. Asa Network; Kathy Carr, VP sales and marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Bill Hess, VP, news/talk, Cumulus Media/ PD WMAL, Washington, DC; Brian Landau, EVP digital sales and strategy, DGital Media; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM Milwaukee radio operations/VP news, talk, sports programming, E.W. Scripps Company; Tom Leykis, CEO/founder, The New Normal; and Doug Stephan, host Stephan Multimedia. To view the panel discussion in its entirety, please click here. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more videos from Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations that will be posted in the days and weeks to come.
The Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, ISIS Church Attack, John Hinckley to Be Released, the Zika Virus, Freddie Gray Case, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The action taking place at the Democratic National Convention and the activities of candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the execution of a priest during an ISIS inspired attack in Northern France; Ronald Reagan would-be assassin John Hinckley to be released; fears the Zika virus is infecting Americans who have not traveled abroad; charges against final three officers in the Freddie Gray case are dropped and five of the six officers charged to sue prosecutor Marilyn Mosby; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KCMO, Kansas City Morning Anchor Dennis Rooney Dies. After a two-year battle with cancer, KCMO, Kansas City morning news anchor Dennis Rooney died on Wednesday (7/27). Prior to joining Cumulus Media’s KCMO, Rooney was news director and anchor at Union Broadcasting in Kansas City. The station notes that Rooney was a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and that while there, he worked 40 to 50 hours a week driving a truck while attending classes. Cumulus Media Midwest regional vice president Donna Baker states, “For nearly 20 years, thousands of KC radio listeners have listened to and loved Dennis Rooney. His brilliant writing and trusted voice as news anchor, combined with his signature quick wit, made him a legendary on-air personality beloved by listeners and team members alike. Our deepest condolences to his family. Dennis will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”
Odds & Sods. NFL training camps are open, signaling the beginning of the 2016 campaign and FOX Sports Radio’s “Jay Mohr Sports” will hit the road to report from three team camps. He’ll broadcast from Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, California on August 2; from the Denver Broncos camp in Englewood, Colorado on August 4 and 5; and from the Los Angeles Rams camp at UC-Irvine on August 8…..For the fourth straight season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will join KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “SPORTSRADIO 93.7 THE FAN” for weekly appearances on the station’s Cook & Poni show. The Ben Roethlisberger show will take place Tuesday’s at 11:00 am…..NFL great Brett Favre is joining SiriusXM NFL Radio to host a show this season. It will be Favre’s first regular sports media role since retiring after the 2010 season. Favre will host a series of hour-long broadcasts during this season. He’s being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton next month and the debut show on August 5 will be a special, “Town Hall”-style program from Canton, Ohio.
Cool Job Opportunity. West Virginia Radio Corporation has an immediate opening for an afternoon drive radio talk show host on a 13-station network. The ideal candidate will mix sports, popular culture and news to deliver a fast-paced, compelling and entertaining show, while interacting with callers and listeners through social media. The position also includes opportunities for radio and TV play-by-play. WVRC is a family-owned heritage radio company with state-of-the-art equipment, excellent benefits and a highly professional work environment. Send a cover letter, resume and audio samples to: firstname.lastname@example.org. WVRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Tom Becka Returns to Kansas City as KCMO Re-Vamps Lineup. Last week, Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City cut ties with 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm personality Greg Knapp. It turns out that was phase one of a programming lineup restructure. Talk host Tom Becka – who previously worked in the market at crosstown KMBZ – joins the station to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Local host Rob Carson remains in the morning drive slot. Current KCMO personality Mike Ferguson moves to the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm slot, followed by Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Westwood One’s Michael Savage from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Cumulus Media Midwest regional VP and market manager Donna Baker comments, “KCMO talk radio takes an exciting step forward today. Welcoming Becka back to KC, Mike Ferguson continuing local community conversations over the lunch hour, and Dave Ramsey returning to three hours in the afternoon are powerful additions to our talented lineup.”
Report: ‘Nearly 40’ Laid Off at TheBlaze. According to a published report by Lloyd Grove in The Daily Beast, close to 40 staffers have been let go from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – just a year after numerous staffers were laid off in May of 2015. Grove’s piece says this is part of a restructuring required by the covenants of a “multimillion-dollar bank loan” recently taken out to keep the company going. Layoffs reportedly affect some 20 at offices in New York, 12 in Washington, five at a dozen in Washington, five at a documentary studio in Columbus, Ohio, plus several in a Los Angeles office. Back in February, Kraig Kitchin stepped down from his CEO role with TheBlaze to focus on “existing commitments.” Director of advertising sales Jeremy Price and director of marketing Liz Julis also exited at that time. The story says these changes do not affect Beck’s Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Read Grove’s piece here.
Kenetta Bailey Named SVP of Marketing for CBS RADIO. Joining CBS RADIO as senior vice president, marketing is Kenetta Bailey. She was most recently heading up her own consulting firm – KB Consulting – in which she worked with a variety of start-up businesses on subscriber growth, social media and branding. She also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez states, “I’m thrilled to welcome Kenetta to our leadership team, and look forward to introducing her creative energy and brand expertise into everything we do. We have a tremendous opportunity to expand the strength of our brands locally and nationwide, as well as define our long range position in the marketplace. I know Kenetta will play an instrumental role in the telling of our story to the industry.” Bailey will be responsible for the marketing and brand positioning of the company, its stations and its digital products. She’ll also provide business-to-business marketing support and work with the division’s market managers and station management to develop and coordinate strategy for their local marketing efforts.
When Your Station IS the News. Last week’s attempted takeover of a media outlet in Baltimore by an allegedly deranged man happened at a television station. But, it could just as easily have been a radio station group. ABC Television Network director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column published today (5/2), that “comprehensive, well-resourced and well-rehearsed emergency planning not only assures your continued ability to operate in times of crisis, but more importantly, shows your staff and clients how much you care.” He notes that the Sinclair-owned station and its staffers were prepared and it showed in how the situation was dealt with. Read Price’s valuable advice for preparing for potential emergencies here.
2015 Acquisitions Help Entercom to Q1 Net Revenue Hike of 23%. During 2015, Entercom added stations to its portfolio in deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville. Those deals helped the company’s first quarter 2016 net revenue soar to $96.1 million. Company CEO David Field says, “But the bigger news is that we had another great quarter of organic revenue growth. Same station revenues increased 6% for the quarter… In sum, it was a terrific quarter. What is important to note is that is part of an increasingly consistent pattern of Entercom delivering solid growth quarter-after-quarter. This now marks the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating organic revenue growth for Entercom.”
The Presidential Race/Trump Protests, Iraq Parliament Protest, Seattle May Day Violence, 9/11 Report Controversy, White House Correspondents Dinner, and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the California Donald Trump protests; the storming of the Iraqi Parliament by anti-government protestors; Sunday’s violent May Day protests in Seattle; controversy over the validity of the contents of the 9/11 report and Saudi Arabia’s threat to the U.S. if blamed for the terror attacks; the various political jabs from speakers at Saturday’s annual White House Correspondents Dinner; and the 2016 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Reports Record Attendance. The immigration-oriented radio row scheduled for June 22-23 in Washington is filling up with radio talk show hosts fast. The “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event is produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform and executive director Bob Dane calls it an all-time high attendance record and adds that it’s “no surprise given immigration is the hottest issue in a high-profile, turbulent campaign.” FAIR says there are three remaining broadcast slots up for grabs. The event on Capitol Hill pulls together talk hosts, lawmakers, law enforcement and media. FAIR covers all expenses and engineering. Call for details at 202-328-7004.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk KDCO, Denver adds an FM presence in the market via translator K284CI at 104.7 FM. Mile High Sports Radio operates the stations under an LMA from Kona Coast Radio….. The Red State Talk Radio Network-based talk show “Standing Ground” hosted by Jeremy Leahy adds new affiliate station WJHC, Jasper, Florida (between Jacksonville and Tallahassee). The show airs at 11:00 pm on Sunday evenings…..Alpha Media’s Mason City, Iowa stations news/talk KGLO and standards KRIB pick up 11 honors in the Small Market Division of the 2015 Iowa Broadcast News Association awards. KGLO’s Bob Fisher won four first-place awards for Best Newscast, Sports Play-by-Play, Political Coverage, and Public Affairs.
TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2015 Delayed One Day – Coming Tomorrow Wednesday, March 25. TALKERS magazine has delayed the date for the posting of the 2015 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” which was originally set to be posted today. The list will be revealed tomorrow (3/25) at approximately 2:00 pm ET. This will mark the 20th consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.” According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015.” Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”
Savage Celebrates Milestone! Talk radio icon Michael Savage – now syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating 21 years in radio today (3/24) with a special program that will reflect on his more than two decades on the air. Savage is recognizing his time on the radio by encouraging listeners to call in and share their favorite memories from past shows. He’ll also play rare archival show segments from over the years throughout the program.
Robinson to President Post at iHeartMedia Ventures Group. This is a promotion for iHeartMedia’s EVP of strategic development as Joseph Robinson is named president of the iHeartMedia Ventures Group in which Robinson will work “to develop high-value strategic opportunities with media, technology, and content companies.” He’ll report to iHeartMedia president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler, who states, “Joe has played an invaluable role in helping iHeartMedia explore new digital and technology opportunities for both consumer-facing and internal initiatives. I’m delighted that Joe is expanding his role with us; his new leadership position will be instrumental in our continued success as a 21st century media company — one that is both relentlessly forward-looking on the technology front and focused on using iHeartMedia’s cross-platform assets in creative ways that help redefine the future of consumer media and entertainment.”
Sutton to Program KCMO, Kansas City. Talk radio pro Steve Sutton is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City. Sutton is an experienced broadcaster who’s worked at CBS RADIO, iHeartMedia, ABC, and Air America (where he was co-creator and VP of programming and operations). Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re very excited to have Steve join us in Kansas City. He’s a multi-formatted programmer with amazing life experiences. I can’t wait to hear how he sets news/talk radio on its ear.” Sutton comments, “A life of amazing experiences continues in Kansas City at KCMO. We all do this because it’s fun and fulfilling. And now, thanks to Lew Dickey, John Dickey, Mike McVay, and Mark Sullivan, I get to do it again. Donna Baker and I arrive within a week of each other. We both can’t wait to start drawing on the easel.”
WEEI, Boston Re-Ups with Michael Holley. Boston sports talkers WEEI announces that PM drive personality Michael Holley is “in it for the long haul with his veteran partner, Dale Arnold.” Holley just signed a new, multi-year contract that will keep the duo together in the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift (along with recent addition Jerry Thornton). Holley comments, “I’m so grateful to be able to do a job that I love, in a region that I love, speaking and working with people that I love. There have been so many incredible stories in New England sports the past decade-plus, and I’m excited and humbled that I’ve been able to share in the journey on the radio. I look forward to many more great shows with Dale, Jerry and our producers Andy Massaua and Ben Kichen.”
WOLB, Baltimore Morning Host Larry Young Named TALKERS 2015 “Humanitarian of the Year.” Veteran radio talk show host and former Maryland State Senator Larry Young has been selected by the TALKERS magazine editorial board as this year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host. The prestigious honor – also known as “Humanitarian of the Year” — will be presented to Young during the Awards Presentation at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015. The presentation will be made by Carole Marks, CEO of Talk Media, Inc. WOLB, owned by Radio One, is an urban/talk-formatted station serving the Baltimore-area African American community. Young began his show and radio career on the station in 1998 hosting weekday mornings, 6:00 am to 10:00 am, after a turbulent and controversial career in Maryland state politics. Since then, he has accrued a number of honors celebrating his work in the community as a broadcaster including “Best Radio Station” by Baltimore City Paper in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009. He also has been the recipient of such awards as the 2007 Pinnacle Award presented by the American Development Consortium, the 2009 Ed Bradley Award presented by the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the 2011 Unsung Hero Award presented by the Grace Outreach fundraising committee and prestigious 2012 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award presented by the Greater Baltimore Urban League. Young, a longtime member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” is held in extremely high regard not only within the community served by WOLB, but by his co-workers as well. WOLB general manager Howard Mazer tells TALKERS, “Larry Young is the kindest and most helpful person I know. The word NO is not in his vocabulary. When anyone in the community calls Larry, he will go out of his way to help them. It does not matter the time or the day.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “I have had the personal pleasure of spending time with the folks at WOLB at the station’s community functions where I have witnessed this man in action first-hand and I must say – the work of Larry Young and the relationship he has with his listeners and co-workers is absolutely inspiring – makes me proud to be in radio. And it is not a single day, promotion or activity that we are talking about. Every moment of his work on and off the air involves the concepts of service and connection. Larry Young and WOLB are the very essence of ‘community’ as it applies to radio.” Talkers New York 2015 – the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention — takes place on Friday, June 12. As of today’s posting, it is 75% sold out. For complete agenda details and registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please click here.
Salem-Owned WIND, Chicago Debuts New Program Schedule; Dave Ramsey to Join the Station in June. The Chicago secular news/talk outlet WIND “AM 560 The Answer” announces its lineup changes that take effect on both Monday, March 30 and Monday, June 1 of this year. WIND has made official the addition of Dan Proft as permanent morning co-host, alongside Amy Jacobson, in which the duo will host the newly created, “Chicago’s Morning Answer,” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. Station general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Dan Proft is the perfect addition to our lineup. As the only talk radio station in Chicago dedicated to talking about politics, current events, and breaking news, Dan Proft provides the kind of analysis and insight that our audience has come to expect from us. ‘Chicago’s Morning Answer’ will be the go-to place in Chicago to get up to speed on what’s happening in the world each morning.” Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher will be added to the station’s lineup airing live from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Dennis Prager will follow from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, replacing Dennis Miller. Then, on June 1, nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey will begin airing in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot, immediately following the Joe Walsh program that will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Finally, “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” (syndicated by Compass Media Networks) will debut on March 30 in the 4:00 am to 5:00 am slot.
Michael Harrison and Norm Pattiz Discuss a Wide Spectrum of Media Issues on PodcastOne. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and PodcastOne founder/CEO Norm Pattiz engage in an illuminating conversation about media and its impact on society in the third and latest installment of the podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two iconoclastic media figures draw upon their radio industry experience and 38-year friendship in tackling such issues as net neutrality; new advertising techniques; the impact of consolidation on radio; differences between radio and TV; the evolving state of journalism; the effect of fractionalization on the national consciousness, problems and changes in music radio and the burgeoning state of podcasting. To hear the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
KKOH, Reno APD Phil Parriott Dies in Auto Accident. Tragic news from the Cumulus Reno station group after news/talk KKOH, Reno assistant program director Phil Parriott died early on the morning of March 21 from injuries sustained in a car accident. Station staffers are saying Parriott was an extremely valuable member of their team who will be deeply missed by current and past co-workers who call him a friend. KKOH program director Dan Mason states, “We report tragedy in the news every day and can easily forget that real people are involved. We’re reminded of that as we mourn our friend and colleague today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil’s family during this difficult time.”
Greater Media Named ‘Best in Philly’ Again. For the fourth consecutive year, Greater Media’s radio properties have been named among the “Top Workplaces in Philadelphia” by Philly.com. Hundreds of companies take part in the survey, but only a select few companies are awarded top workplace. The Greater Media Philadelphia station group consists of rock WMMR; classic rock WMGK “102.9 MGK”; adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM”; and sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” The evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program was based entirely upon feedback from an employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics in the fall of 2014. Greater Media Philly VP and market manager John Fullam comments, “Great companies start with great employees. We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.”
2016 Presidential Prospects, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, UVA Rape Investigation, Battle Against Militant Islam, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23). The potential candidates for president in 2016; the controversy over the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the strained relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama and the recent Israeli elections; the police statement that it failed to find corroborating evidence in the Rolling Stone-reported UVA gang rape story; the militant Muslim organizations waging war in the Middle East and Africa; concern over Russia’s recent uptick in military maneuvers; and the weekend’s NCAA tourney action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago. As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets. According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9” shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.” Chicago’s “FM News 101.1” (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.” It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.
Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus. The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013. Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown. In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation. Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved. I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice. We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.” Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News. But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions. The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract. Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.
Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features. British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.” Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood. Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.” Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence. We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”
Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today. As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago. Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.
Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6. Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand. His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.” Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.
Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks. The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.” Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others. Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team. Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.” Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.
John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director. There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel). John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis. NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to. Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series. Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.” Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT. Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle. Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network. He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter. He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska. We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball. I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”
Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place. The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it. Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they? Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!
Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers. Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago. Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.
TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.” The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles. In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective. Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.
A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa. The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market. Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career. Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.
2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.