Tag: "Evan Roberts"

Friday, July 7, 2017

| July 7, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Legendary Radio Trade Publication Writer Claude Hall Dies.  Details are sketchy and TALKERS will have more details on Monday morning (7/10), but reports indicate that Claude Hall, the legendary radio trade publication writer who presided over Billboard magazine’s historic “Vox Jox” column during the 1970s and is credited with coining the longtime popular term “Easy Listening” for that particular radio format has died at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas due to injuries suffered from a fall earlier in the week.  He had continued to publish the “Vox Jox” column in partnership with veteran talk show host and radio station owner Rollye James as a weekly online newsletter published Mondays specializing in the activities of older and retired radio broadcasters (www.voxjox.org).  According to James, “His family was with him and loved him dearly. He loved his friends, students, and colleagues. He remained proud of radio and music stemming from his days listening to radio as a kid.”  James reports that she will devote this coming Monday’s column to the life of Claude Hall and post reactions and reflections on his life from many of the broadcasters who knew him.  Hall was a prolific writer who wrote books about radio as well as novels.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “There was once a time when Claude Hall was the major source of all information pertaining to the radio industry.  He is the founding father of the style of radio trade publishing that has set the tone of this business for the past five decades.  I am lucky to have known him and remember what a thrill it was to appear in his columns back when I was a young DJ and PD in my 20s.  His love of radio and contributions to this industry are incalculable.  He is number one with a bullet!”

Townsquare Media to Acquire Six Western Massachusetts Signals. This deal between Townsquare Media and Gamma Broadcasting LLC and Berkshire Broadcasting Co., Inc. will add six stations and two FM translators to Townsquare’s portfolio.  Those stations are: hot AC WBEC-FM, news/talk WBEC-AM, classic hits WUPE-AM/FM (and an FM translator at 94.1 FM), adult contemporary WNAW-AM, adult contemporary WSBS-AM (and translator W277CJ at 103.3 FM).  Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We are very excited to announce this transaction which will strengthen our footprint in the Northeast.  We look forward to partnering with the Pittsfield team to bring our resources, including our digital and live event products, to Berkshire County’s advertisers and audience, and further build upon their success in the market.”  Townsquare expects the acquisition to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to closing conditions and customary regulatory approvals.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to Sub at WFAN Next Week.  When out-going New Jersey Governor Chris Christie co-hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm show at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York with the station’s Evan Roberts on Monday and Tuesday (7/10-11), it won’t be the first time he’s appeared there.  Christie – a big sports fan and unabashed Dallas Cowboys backer – has appeared on the AM drive “Boomer & Carton” show as a guest.  With PM driver Mike Francesa leaving the station at the end of the year, there’s speculation about whether Christie is a candidate for the afternoon show.  A piece in NJ.com references WFAN program director Mark Chernoff’s February 2017 comment that Christie is “among many names being considered” as a replacement for Francesa.

SiriusXM Severs Ties with Gregg “Opie” Hughes. After 13 years with SiriusXM, Gregg “Opie” Hughes is let go by the satcaster.  He posts on Facebook, “Humbled by the love and support. Wish I can write everyone back. There is absolutely no justification for my firing. Thats why their statement is so vague. Won’t be sitting out long. Although may take a few days to fish.”  The chatter on social media among Opie fans hints that a supposed video of a fellow staffer using the bathroom may be the reason for the dismissal.  Regardless, as Hughes indicates above, he plans to continue hosting a show on some platform.  When Opie and then-partner Anthony Cumia joined SiriusXM, they had their own channel.  A couple of years ago, SiriusXM changed that and the “Opie Radio” show had been available on its Faction channel.  Industry watchers remember that Cumia was fired from the satcaster in 2014 after his Times Square altercation with a black woman that devolved into a social media post involving racial epithets.

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick Ends Cancer Treatment. Sad news this week as KTRH, Houston morning drive personality Matt Patrick announces to his audience that he’s ending his treatment for an aggressive case of esophageal cancer.  The station’s Facebook page posted the following: “On ‘Houston’s Morning News’ this morning, Matt revealed he has exhausted all options and has discontinued cancer treatments.  Matt and all of us at NewsRadio 740 KTRH, and the iHeartMedia family, thank you all for your constant love and support during this difficult time.”  Patrick was diagnosed in 2015 and this week’s news comes at the time of Patrick’s six-year anniversary at the station.

Gerry V Returns to Sports Talk Radio in Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer calls Gerry Vaillancourt “one of the first sports talk radio hosts in Charlotte.”  Gerry V left the market when the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets left for New Orleans back in 2002, but he’ll return on Monday, July 17 to host the afternoon drive show on HRN Broadcasting’s WZGV-AM “ESPN 730.”  Current afternoon host Bobby Rosinski is moving to the AM drive daypart for the new “Wake Up Call” show with co-hosts Molly Cotten and Walker Mehl.  Gerry V launched his sports talk career in 1990, working at both WFNZ-AM and WBT-AM prior to leaving the market 12 years later.  Read the Observer piece here.

Chicago Stations to Simulcast Spot Promoting Radio Advertising. On Monday (7/10), more than 40 Chicago market radio stations will simultaneously air a :60-second spot consisting of an interview with Wintrust Financial Corporation founder, president and CEO Ed Wehmer speaking about radio as the most effective medium for advertisers.  Matt Scarano is chairman of the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland Committee and he states, “The Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland are proud to unite as a group to highlight Wintrust and their investment in radio.  Wintrust is a valued partner to our industry and a testament to the results that radio delivers for an advertiser.”  The spot will air on a diverse group of radio stations, involving all formats, including music, news, sports, and Spanish language.

CNN-Trump Wrestling Video Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 3-7. The controversy over the CNN-Trump wrestling video, including the blowback the news organization faced after finding the video’s creator, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was North Korea’s apparently successful test of an ICBM and President Trump’s warning to the hermit kingdom.  Coming in at #3 was Trump’s trip to Europe for the G20 summit, and following at #4 was the allegations of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. From Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch comes the news that Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne promotes news director Kayla Blakeslee to program director, taking over for Ryan Wrecker who left to take a talk host position at KMOX, St. Louis.  Blakeslee continues to serve as news director…..Kevin McCullough’s Saturday evening “Radio Night Live” supercast (radio and TV) adds new affiliate stations KJPW, Lebanon/Waynesville, Missouri; KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota; WKRO, Cairo, Illinois; and WGNU, St Louis…..The Newsmax TV video simulcast of the nationally syndicated Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo program adds another hour to its carriage of the show.  Pags tells TALKERS that Newsmax TV – which can be seen on DirecTV 349, UVerse 1220 (among other cable systems) and online at Newsmaxtv.com – begins broadcasting hours one and two of the show, effective Monday (7/10)…..The Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson program is now heard on Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-AM, Kansas City as program director Alan Furst adds the show to the station’s lineup…..SiriusXM is presenting subscribers comprehensive coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2017 All-Star Week from Miami, featuring coverage of the 88th All-Star Game.  In addition, on Sunday (7/9), it will air the exclusive radio broadcast of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, featuring the top minor league prospects from the U.S. facing off against their counterparts from around the world.

KSPN, Los Angeles Transmitter Site Damaged by Driver Under the Influence. The Thursday incident did not cause any damage to the “ESPN LA” transmitter but the man police took into custody after the incident caused damage to the site’s perimeter fence and started a brush fire in the grass that scorched about an acre.  Authorities were on the scene quickly and arrested the man they believe was under the influence.  The suspect’s vehicle was in flames when fire personnel arrived and was consumed by the fire.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/7) with Karen Hunter, Craig Schwalb and Ethan Bearman.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo); the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard); and the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).  Today (7/7), the first series of “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” begins with a conversation between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter).   Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. More from Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch as we’re tipped that Swick Broadcasting’s hot AC WLKI, Angola drops the syndicated Jeremy Robinson-hosted “The Jeremy Show” and will install air personality Tiny in the daypart with news director Sheila McCrea joining him…..IRW also reports that Federated Media’s Fort Wayne promotions director Sally Allgeier is exiting the cluster and will be replaced by Paige Fransen…..Rincon Broadcasting’s rock KTYD, Santa Barbara announces the addition of Bill Pesso to the air staff as morning drive co-host with current station APD Lin Aubuchon for the “Morning Mojo” program.  Pesso was most recently afternoon personality at the company’s sister adult contemporary KSBL “K-Lite.”  Program director Dennis Mitchell comments, “We’re thrilled to have two of the most fun and locally tuned-in people to host the new ‘Morning Mojo.’ It’s been a long time coming and we know our listeners will love it.”…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX, Detroit re-brands the Jim O’Brien-led morning program as “Big Jim’s House.”  The station recently added air personality Erin Vermeulen to the program and O’Brien comments, “I am so excited to welcome all our listeners into ‘Big Jim’s House’ with Erin V. and Producer Ryan.  This will be my 15th year at WCSX.  Everyone on the show has a deep-felt love for Detroit and believes in where we’re going.  Our house is full of fun and great classic rock!”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

| June 20, 2017

WFAN, New York Celebrates 30 Years. On July 1, CBS RADIO is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the birth of sports talk radio outlet WFAN, New York.  In honor of the 1987 launch of the station, WFAN is celebrating with a special day of live broadcasts from Vanderbilt Hall inside the world famous Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan this Thursday (6/22) from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm.  The day begins with a special broadcast of “Boomer & Carton,” (also simulcast on CBS Sports Network) followed by Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, and Mike Francesa.  WFAN operations manager and CBS RADIO VP of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “We are proud to be a part of the fabric of New York sports.  WFAN has wonderful, appreciative and engaged listeners who are the backbone of the station, as well as leading talent, that together allow WFAN to achieve groundbreaking success and have helped the station become an institution in the Big Apple.  It is no coincidence that the station is nicknamed ‘The Fan,’ acting as a mouthpiece for die-hard sports enthusiasts.”

TALKERS News Notes. From his recent Twitter post, sports radio pro Kevin Sherrets announces he’s exiting CBS RADIO’s sports talk KHTK, Sacramento as a result of the station not renewing his contract.  Sherrets has been program director with the station since August of 2015…..CBS Radio News wins three Edward R. Murrow awards from the RTDNA for outstanding radio journalism, taking home the top award for “Overall Excellence” for the 11th time.  “The World News Roundup” was deemed “Best Newscast” for its coverage of the Baton Rouge police shooting and the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The broadcast was co-anchored with Peter King in Baton Rouge, Steve Futterman in Cleveland, and Steve Kathan, who anchors the program.  Coverage of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando earned the staff the “Breaking News” honor…..AdLarge Media is repping the 2017 schedule of college football games being covered by Gino Torretta’s Touchdown Radio.  Its first game will be Ohio State at Indiana on August 31.  Torretta handles color analysis with Taylor Zarzour and Roxy Bernstein doing play-by-play…..Sun Broadcast Group signs chief operating officer Julio Aponte to a multi-year extension.  Under the agreement, Aponte continues to head the daily operations of Sun’s New York City and Boca Raton offices as well as oversee the company’s sales department…..Independent sales rep firm Regional Reps Corp. announces the signing of client Impact Radio Group of Boise…..Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum is pictured at right accepting two silver awards from the New York Festivals International Award Competition for the World’s Best Radio Programs.  Westwood One was honored for Best Investigative Reporting for Kastenbaum’s “Dead People Voting” story and for Best Coverage of a Breaking News Story for the network’s coverage of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Keeping Up with Every Word. WFAN, New York sports radio personality Richard Neer writes today about the tricky business of staying in tune with word usage changes and being sensitive to the public’s perception of certain words.  “Political correctness does serve a purpose and the concept was founded with good intentions. However, it has run amok. It is one thing to be aware that certain words are deemed offensive and to use them anyway, in defiance of accepted norms…It is frustrating when you’ve used a word your entire life without a second thought and with no bad intentions, only to be told it is hurtful and no longer appropriate. Sometimes, it feels that you must dance among raindrops to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes.”  Read Neer’s entire piece here.

Hugh Hewitt Keynotes Bold Gold Foundation Event. Nationally syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt is serving as the keynote speaker at The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation’s 3rd Annual Event and Dinner on June 27 at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre.  The Salem Radio Network personality will speak about the role NEPA (Northeastern Pennsylvania) played in the 2016 election, the future of media, and the importance of the preservation of freedom of speech.   At the event, Pocono Raceway president and CEO Brandon Igdalsky will be honored with the Bold Gold Foundation’s ‘Atlas Award for Citizenship.’  The non-profit Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation – formed by Bold Gold Media Group president Vince Benedetto – works to help young professionals enter broadcast media fields, with an emphasis on news and talk formats.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Georgia U.S. House Special Election, U.S.-Russia Syria Tensions, Sean Spicer Speculation, Otto Warmbier Dies, London Mosque Attack, Trump-Tech CEOs Meeting, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19). The special counsel investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, and whether the president himself is under investigation; the special election between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel for Georgia’s sixth congressional district seat; military tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the downing of a Syrian fighter jet by U.S. forces; speculation about White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stepping down from that position; the death of former North Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier; the attack on Muslim worshippers in London by a man driving a vehicle; Monday’s meeting between President Trump and some of the nation’s tech CEOs; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Change has come to morning drive – and at least one other daypart – at Cumulus Media’s country WKHX, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5.”  The station announces that morning show personality Dallas McCade is being promoted to music director.  With this move she departs the “Cadillac Jack and Dallas Mornings” program but will remain on air in another, yet-to-be announced daypart.  At the same time, morning show co-host Cadillac Jack says he’ll be off the air until Thursday morning (6/22), when the station reveals its new morning show lineup…..Erin Vermeulen joins WCSX, Detroit’s “Classic Rock Mornings: with Big Jim O’Brien as the newest member of the show, effective July 10.  Most recently with iHeartMedia on KFI, Los Angeles’ Bill Handel show, Vermeulen began her radio career on the former WYUR, Detroit.  WCSX program director Jerry Tarrants says, “Choosing a native Detroiter with a wealth of global experience was a no-brainer for us.  Erin will be a great on-air complement and partner to Big Jim O’Brien.”…..In New Orleans, Cumulus Media flips frequencies for its country and alternative rock stations.  The alternative format moves from WZRH at 106.1 to its new home as WRKN, branded “ALT 92.3 FM.”  The “NASH” format slides up the dial to the 106.1 position.  Cumulus says the “frequency flip brings alternative tock to two-thirds of Louisiana’s total population and comes in response to the increasing demand for alternative rock in the Gulf South among men and women equally, primarily among those aged 18 to 44.”  The alt rock format was originally launched in the market in 2015 as “106.1 the underground alternative.”…..WMGK, Philadelphia morning personality John DeBella, via his “11th Annual John DeBella Veterans Radiothon,” helps raise more than $154,000 to benefit local veterans through the Veterans Multi-Service Center.  The VMC provides services, programs, opportunities and advancement to veterans…..Last week, Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities John Boy and Billy were honored with the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters’ 2017 Hall of Fame Award for their outstanding contributions to the broadcast industry in North Carolina…..Pandora has let go of its only FM radio station, selling KXMZ, Box Elder, South Dakota (Rapid City market) to Haugo Broadcasting for $300,000.  It bought the station from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 in 2013 in hopes that it could use its status as owner of a terrestrial station to lower its royalty payments.

Friday, July 20, 2012

| July 20, 2012

Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo.  In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.”  He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.”  The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming.  In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation.  I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list.  It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well.  I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo.  I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.  Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success. 

All the best

Mike

2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year.  The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas.  This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year.  Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10.  DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.  He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner.  Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary StationJan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the YearHubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year.  News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year.  WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year.  The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC.  Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze.  The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months.  TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees.  The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration.  Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.

Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston.  Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day.  Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO.  During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.”  In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon.  As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format.  We’ll know soon enough.

Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative.  Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com.  The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show.  Using the line, “Online.  On the Air.  On Your Doorstep.”  The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper.  The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.

Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh.  Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program.  WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision.  WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM.  He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20.  The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years.  Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years.  Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago.  The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.  WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD.  The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts.  De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.

Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State.  November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game.  Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go.  I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game.  That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.”  The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.

2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week.  The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20.  Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims.  At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program.  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 from Talkers.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.

Mike & Mike on David Letterman.  ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.