2017 NAB Show: Cars, Congrats, and Commish #1. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2017 NAB Show for TALKERS magazine. In today’s report, Cooke covers yesterday’s Radio Luncheon where attendees heard Ford Motor Company’s Scott Burnell speak and witnessed Premiere Networks’ Delilah inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame. Also yesterday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai delivered the keynote address and reassured attendees that he remains “‘fundamentally optimistic about the future of broadcasting’ because of the ‘localism, diversity, and public service’ that distinguishes diligent broadcasters.” Read Cooke’s entire report here.
Hannity Plans Legal Action Against Debbie Schlussel. On his Fox News Channel program last night (4/25), Sean Hannity led off the program by addressing the allegations being directed against him by attorney and conservative media figure Debbie Schlussel. Detroit-based Schlussel stated during an interview on KFAQ, Tulsa’s Pat Campbell program that Hannity propositioned her after a book signing event in Detroit about a decade ago and that, after she rebuffed his advances, she was blacklisted from being a guest on Fox News Channel. Last night, Hannity said, “I have to start tonight by addressing a well-orchestrated effort by the intolerant left in this country that is designed to silence every conservative voice and by any means necessary. Now, I’m speaking out tonight so that you, our audience, will understand what is really happening and what is at stake when it comes to freedom of speech in this country.” He said in a prepared statement that he is planning legal action against Schlussel. “This individual is a serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade. The individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear and besmirch my reputation. The individual has not just slandered me over the years, but many people who this individual disagrees with.” Schlussel told NBC News she doesn’t believe Hannity will sue because, “If he did, it could spur other people to come forward and he wouldn’t want that.” NBC News notes that Schlussel is a polarizing media figure, having suggested that President Barack Obama is a “secret Muslim” and that death camps in occupied Poland during World War II were run by Poles and not Germans. Read the NBC News piece here.
Emmis to Sell $80 Million in Assets. Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications will be a different company in July of 2018. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that under pressure from lenders, the company will shed $80 million worth of its radio assets in order to pay down debt. This is the result of recently renegotiated terms with lenders JPMorgan Chase Bank and Bank of New York Mellon. Emmis CFO Ryan Hornaday tells the IBJ, “We’re confident that we can achieve the $80 million [divestiture] without selling a substantial portion of the portfolio. We do still have some very desirable assets.” The company owns 19 radio stations in five markets: New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Austin, and Indianapolis. The IBJ reports that Emmis’ total debt was $221 million as of February 28, 2017. Read the story here.
Nielsen Explores All-News, News/Talk Listening Trends Over Seven Years. There’s been a lot of scrutiny of the audiences for all-news, news/talk, and talk oriented public radio leading up to and since the 2016 election. Over all, according to ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys of radio listening, the three formats have realized increased listenership of late. Now, Nielsen shows how listening to the all-news and news/talk formats has changed over the past seven years, based on PPM data. (Remember, Nielsen includes public talkers in the larger news/talk category.) The result is that listening to all-news has remained fairly steady during that time across the three demos cited – persons 6+, 18-34, and 25-54. For news/talk, the format scored a 10.6 share in March of 2011 (6+), and a 10.2 share in March of 2017. In the 25-54 demo, 2011 saw an 8 share compared to this year’s 7.6 share. And probably buoyed by younger public radio listeners, the 18-34 demo rose from a 4.2 share in 2011 to a 4.6 share this year. See the whole report here.
ESPN Layoffs Coming Today. The names of those who are exiting sports media giant ESPN will begin to trickle out as time passes, but for now only a few of the estimated 100 ESPN staffers – mostly television and radio personalities – are known, with reporter Ed Werder tweeting that he’s been let go. It’s unclear how many of the cuts are from the radio and the television sides of the operation, but ESPN chief John Skipper says in a memo to staff, “A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions…we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent — anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play — necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.”
TALKERS News Notes. We now know the trial date for the Nielsen vs Bubba the Love Sponge suit in Florida. U.S. District Court Judge James D. Whittemore has scheduled the case to start on January 2, 2018, with a pre-trial conference on December 8, 2017. Judge Whittemore also ruled on Bubba’s motion to exclude Nielsen Audio expert witness David Haas, denying it…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that WGN, Chicago director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus will exit the station and join Jimmy deCastro’s new sports marketing and rep firm After The Whistle as a partner…..Public radio icon Robert Siegel announces he’s retiring as host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” in January of 2018. Siegel assumed that position in 1987. He’s been with NPR since 1976…..Here are some more winners of 2017 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards: In Seattle, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO “News 1000/FM97.7” is honored with the award for Overall Excellence. The station also took first place for Breaking News for its coverage of the Seattle May Day protests. CBS RADIO’s WCBS-AM, New York; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; WBZ-AM, Boston; WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and five other stations amassed 25 awards with the four mentioned being honored for Overall Excellence. Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix picked up three Murrows, including Overall Excellence.
U.S.-North Korea Tensions, Trump’s First 100 Days, Sanctuary Cities Ruling, Canadian Lumber Tariff, Mexican Wall, Trump’s Proposed Tax Cuts, Michael Flynn Case, Ivanka in Berlin, and MLB, NBA, and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/25). The military tensions between North Korea and the United States and concerns about a full-blown war starting; the judging of the Trump Administration’s first 100 days; a California judge blocks part of President Trump’s sanctuary cities order; talk about the effects of Trump’s tariff on Canadian lumber; debate over whether President Trump’s Mexican wall will actually get funded and built; the tax cuts being proposed by the Trump Administration; comments from House members that it appears Michael Flynn broke the law in accepting payments from Russia; Ivanka Trump attends European conference with Angela Merkel and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Former WJMN, Boston personality Bobby Blaze is joining Beasley Media Group’s crosstown rhythmic AC WBQT “HOT 96.9 FM” to host the afternoon drive show, effective tomorrow (4/27). Blaze says, “I’m so excited to be back on Boston radio and being surrounded by the most talented on-air team in Boston. You only become great when you’re surrounded by great people and that’s what ‘HOT 96.9’ represents.”…..Morning personality Fitz exits Entercom’s country KKWF, Seattle “100.7 The Wolf” and the “Fitz in the Morning” program. Entercom states, “‘Fitz in the Morning’ will no longer be on air on 100.7-FM The Wolf in Seattle as of Monday, April 24. Fitz has been an important part of the station for nearly 12 years, but we have decided to part ways. We wish him well, and we will be conducting a nationwide search for the station’s next morning show.” In the interim, morning personalities Ellen Tailor and Randy The Biscuit will host the program…..The afternoon drive Zepp & Terri show – featuring Brian Zepp and Terri Traen – exits Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis. The two had been partnered on the show for the past year. Traen was formerly part of the Tom Barnard morning show. As a result of the move, Ray Erick is now hosting the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot…..With the departure of Brett Hall from the stations – and the radio biz – Saga Communications names Tom Scott morning drive host at hot AC KJBX, Jonesboro, Arkansas and to voice track the night show at sister country KDXY.
Karaoke for a Cause. Pictured above at Cumulus Media’s Stage 17 in New York City are members of the band Ocean Park Standoff and staffers from Voss Foundation. The band performed for an intimate group of listeners on Monday (4/17). Afterward, WPLJ personality Ralphie Aversa sang karaoke to the group’s new single “Good News” competing against a winning listener. “Karaoke for a Cause” is raising awareness of Voss Foundation and VOSS Water’s annual #31Days to Make a Difference initiative. Voss Foundation is dedicated to providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene as a means to enable community-driven development in Sub-Saharan Africa and raising awareness of the ongoing need in the region.
Cumulus Media Reports 2016 Q4 and Full-Year Financials. The company had not been hiding the fact that the news of its revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 or the whole year would not be positive, and the results were not surprising. Cumulus Media reports its Q4 net revenue was $299.5 million – down 3% from the same period in 2015, and the full-year net revenue was $1.14 billion – a dip of 2.3% compared to all of 2015. Separating the company’s two reportable segments – the radio station group and Westwood One – for the fourth quarter of 2016 the radio station group was up 1.3% on net revenue of $209.7 million. However, Westwood One was down 12.3% on net revenue of $89.1 million. For the whole of 2016, the radio station group’s net revenue was $802.3 million, an increase of 0.8%. Westwood One’s net revenue was $336.6 million, a decrease of 8.8% from 2015. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “We entered 2016 with a singular objective: to fix the core business problems – poor culture, poor ratings and poor operational execution – which was essential to establishing a foundation on which to build improved financial results. Throughout the year we made significant progress addressing each of these areas, most visibly in ratings growth where we’ve outperformed the industry for 15 straight months. In fact, with two back-to-back quarters of revenue share increases on the station side, a trend which continued through January, we have early evidence that, despite a tough industry environment, our foundational work is beginning to translate into improved financial performance.”
Legendary WSB-AM, Atlanta Celebrates 95 Years On Air. It was on the Ides of March in 1922 that WSB-AM began broadcasting to the citizens of North Georgia. On Wednesday, Cox Media Group celebrated the anniversary. WSB manager of program operations and community affairs Condace Pressley states, “In 1922, WSB was licensed to deliver weather reports. Today, delivery of accurate and dependable news, weather and traffic remains our calling card, but this station and its people are so much more. Service to the Atlanta community is in WSB’s DNA.” Station director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs adds, “The WSB brand of local news, weather and traffic has grown from being on AM only to now serving north Georgia on FM, mobile, and digital. It all boils down to our slogan – Depend On It!” See a cool presentation of WSB’s 95-year history here.
WVON, Chicago Adds Maze Jackson to the Matt McGill Morning Show. Local political commentator and strategist Maze Jackson is joining Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s morning program, the “Matt McGill Morning Show,” on WVON, Chicago, effective April 3. The station says this move is being made to secure WVON’s position as a contributing voice in the upcoming gubernatorial and mayoral elections, in addition to increasing the station’s overall rankings. McGill has been solo host of the morning show on WVON for the past six years – a role in which he’ll continue. Jackson joins the show after contributing for the past two years as a weekly commentator and guest host. WVON says, “Jackson has a diverse array of experience in the worlds of business, politics, and community engagement. Jackson spent over 20 years lobbying for high profile clients, creating community-based solutions and driving the discussions that shape impactful policies as former executive director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.”
TALKERS Magazine Publisher Michael Harrison Joins WPHT, Philly’s Rich Zeoli for His New Podcast. At CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is launching a new podcast that features content not heard on the WPHT airwaves. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison joined Zeoli for his inaugural show. In addition to addressing such topics as the Trump Administration’s impact on news/talk radio and the influence of politics on talk radio, the two delved into “inside” radio subjects including the evolution of the talk radio format, changing media technology, and the public’s evolving media habits. Listen to it here.
Desert Broadcasters Brings Palm Springs AMs Back to Life; KGX Branded ‘Real Talk.’ The two Palm Springs signals – KPSI-AM 920 and KWXY-AM 1340 – went dark last August after longtime owners Rozene and Ric Supple decided to exit the radio business. Enter Garry Wing and Desert Broadcasters who acquired the stations and just put KPSI – now KGX “Real Talk” – and KWXY back on the air. KWXY is a soft AC. The Desert Sun reports that Wing wants to create a talk station with less political vitriol (and less “fake outrage”). Radio America personality Chad Benson’s show is featured on the station. Wing says the station will air a combination of local and national talk shows. Both stations occupy the early 1960s-era broadcast facility pictured in the photo here, taken from the Desert Sun’s video report.
iHeartMedia Unveils ‘SmartAudio’ Advertising Product at ‘SoundFront.’ At Wednesday’s client-focused “SoundFront” up front event, iHeartMedia introduced its SmartAudio digital data advertising product, now a part of the programmatic solution SoundPoint. iHeartMedia says SmartAudio goes farther in leveraging the power of SoundPoint to help advertisers evaluate, plan and buy broadcast radio, enabling them to build innovative campaigns that target key audience segments. iHeartMedia president of national sales, marketing and partnerships Tim Castelli says, “We’ve been testing SmartAudio with some of the top brands and we’re already seeing additional impact for those using it. They’re able to leverage the product’s flexibility to decide which specific ad to run based on something as simple as whether the local sports team won or lost last night’s game…Industry response to our SoundPoint platform has been so well received that we’re now unveiling SmartAudio which allows audience segmenting and dynamic creative capabilities all in one planning and buying tool.”
TALKERS News Notes. Public radio outlet WBEZ, Chicago is debuting a new podcast series called, “Written Inside: Stories About Prison Cells.” The series consists of essays by inmates at Illinois’ Stateville Correctional Center about their prison cells – shedding light on the everyday experience of incarceration. The series was the idea of award-winning, Chicago-based author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz. He began working with the inmates through Northwestern University colleague Jennifer Lackey, who invited him to speak to a class she taught at the correctional center. Kotlowitz asked the 15 male inmates facing long sentences to complete a writing exercise describing their cells. He recognized the potential each story possessed to reveal the realities of life in prison…..“Motley Fool Money” host Chris Hill (left) is pictured here with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin (right) recording a segment for Hill’s program at SXSW in Austin, Texas earlier this week. Hill says, “We talked about the scene in Austin, what the major entertainment companies are doing to lure audience, Apple’s foray into original programming, VR in movies and a lot more.”
Trump Travel Ban Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 13-17. The second travel ban order by President Donald Trump and its block issued by a Hawaii judge was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump Administration budget cuts. Coming in at #3 was the interest rate hike by the Fed, followed by the GOP health care plan at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2017. The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces its class of inductees for 2017. They include: Johnny Dowd/Jaybeau Jones from “JB 105,” Providence; French-language broadcaster and current WNRI partner Roger Laliberte; WHJJ and WPRO personality Myrna Lamb; current WPRO-AM program director Tony Mascaro; former RAB SVP and Rhode Island radio manager Dick Rakovan; and former WICE personality Frank Kingston Smith. Also the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State by John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores, and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – will go to Mowry Lowe –a pioneering New England newscaster, gifted announcer and premier radio executive. The Station of the Year Award will be presented to iHeartMedia Providence to commemorate a successful multi-station food drive to feed the hungry in Rhode Island. The Legacy Station of the Year award recognizes top 40 WICE-AM. A reunion with some of the station’s legendary Hall of Fame DJs, staff and listeners is planned.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Appears on WJR, Detroit’s Paul W. Smith Show. This morning’s WJR, Detroit live broadcast of the Paul W. Smith St. Patrick’s Day show was not the first appearance on the station by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. He’s been a guest on the show before. Pai (left) is pictured here with Smith (right) on stage at The Cube Theatre inside the Max M. Fisher Music Center.
PodcastOne Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz Guests on Harrison Podcast. The executive chairman of PodcastOne and noted industry pioneer, Norm Pattiz joins TALKERS founder Michael Harrison for an in-depth conversation about the general state of radio, podcasting and audio media on this week’s installment of the award-winning series, “Up Close and Far Out.” The compelling dialogue was recorded this past Friday, inspired by the Thursday release (3/9) of the annual Edison Research/Triton Digital 2017 Infinite Dial Study. Pattiz sums up his impression of the study as follows, “I was very encouraged relative to the audio medium as a whole by the information that came from the study. There’s good news in it for almost everybody that’s in the audio space.” Pattiz and Harrison cover a lot of ground touching upon advertising trends, the evolution of audience measurement metrics, in-car listening habits and much more in this conversation that is a must-listen for radio and audio media professionals. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Imaging, voiceover and production firm Benztown announces it has brought Katrina Woolverton, J.D., LL.M, aboard to serve in the newly created position of general counsel…..On Monday (3/20), WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” is hosting Warner Bros. Records recording artist Bebe Rexha as its guest to host a cooking demonstration at the brand new CBS RADIO Chicago Culinary Kitchen. Rexha will show off her culinary skills while being interviewed by “B96” morning show hosts J Niice, Showbiz Shelly and Producer Gabe. The segment will take place in front of a live studio audience made up of about 20 station contest winners who also get tickets to Rexha’s concert that evening at the Metro theater.
Townsquare Media Announces Q4 2016 Net Revenue Up 5.8%; Up 3% for 2016 on Pro Forma Basis. Those numbers are for the company as a whole. Townsquare Media breaks its quarterly financial reports into two segments: Local Marketing Solutions (including broadcast and digital products) and Entertainment (live event experiences and music and lifestyle content directly to consumers, and promotion, advertising and product activations). For the fourth quarter of 2016, Townsquare Media reports the Local Marketing Solutions segment’s net revenue was $119.5 million – an increase of 5.1% on an actual basis. For all of 2016 on a pro forma basis (pro forma for the acquisition of NAME and the divestiture of 43 of its towers on September 1, 2015), the segment’s net revenue was $342.2 million – also up 5.1%. For the company as a whole, 2016 pro forma net revenue was $516.9 million, an increase of 3% over all of 2015. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price adds, “In 2016, we delivered net revenue, net income and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 17%, 127% and 9%, respectively. On a pro forma basis, net revenue growth of 3.0% was driven by the strong performance of our local products and offerings within our Local Marketing Solutions segment, where pro forma net revenue increased 5.1% over the prior year. This year we focused on strengthening our balance sheet; through EBITDA growth and debt repayment we reduced net leverage from 5.5x at the start of the year, to 4.9x at year end.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to Address 2017 NAB Show. New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will address the 2017 NAB Show at a general session on Tuesday, April 25 in Las Vegas. The address is expected to provide insight into the FCC’s policy and regulatory objectives related to broadcasting, technology and communications law and regulation. Pai was appointed as an FCC Commissioner by President Obama and confirmed in May of 2012. President Trump designated him chairman in January. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “We know from his tenure as FCC commissioner that Ajit Pai believes deeply in the value of free and local broadcasting. Chairman Pai’s appearance at NAB Show represents a tremendous opportunity for attendees to hear first-hand about his regulatory philosophy and priorities.”
Phil Valentine Now Airing in Afternoons on KCMO-AM, Kansas City. Local talk show host Mike Ferguson is leaving the Cumulus Media station to take on the communications director role at the Show Me Institute. That opens up the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot for Westwood One’s Phil Valentine show to take over. In announcing the move, WW1 notes that in Valentine’s home market of Nashville, Valentine “is #1 Persons 25-54 in Nashville. His show draws more listeners in his home market than Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck combined.” Commenting on joining KCMO-AM, Valentine says, “If ever there were a perfect market for our show it’s Kansas City. What a heritage station! They have big plans to take this station to the top and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
Alpha Media Drops Local Morning Show on Sports Talk WMEN, West Palm Beach. The duo of Joe Raineri and Steve Zemach have exited Alpha Media’s sports talk WMEN, West Palm Beach “FOX Sports 640.” The station is now running the full lineup of FOX Sports Radio programming. Replacing Raineri and Zemach is the “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis” program.
PodcastOne Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz Guests on Harrison Podcast Tomorrow (3/14). The executive chairman of PodcastOne and noted industry pioneer, Norm Pattiz joins TALKERS founder Michael Harrison tomorrow (3/14) for an in-depth conversation about the general state of radio and podcasting on the award-winning weekly series, “Up Close and Far Out.” The compelling dialogue was recorded this past Friday, inspired by the Thursday release (3/9) of the annual Edison Research/Triton Digital 2017 Infinite Dial Study. Don’t miss it, posted bright and early tomorrow morning right here on Talkers.com, PodcastOne and iTunes.
Trump’s Obama Wiretapping Accusations, Trump Fires Preet Bharara, GOP Health Care Plan, the “Deep State” concept, Trump-Russia Connection, North Korea Threats, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Donald Trump’s accusation the Obama Administration ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower; President Trump fires U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara after Bharara refused to resign in accordance with the administration’s request that he and 45 other U.S. Attorneys do so; questions about what the GOP-engineered replacement of the Affordable Care Act will entail; talk about the existence of a “Deep State” that operates the government behind the scenes; Democrats’ wishes to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the possible connection between Russian agents and the Trump campaign; the growing nuclear missile capabilities of North Korea; and the Sunday afternoon revelation of the teams making the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. At last week’s annual Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference presented by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the MAB presented its 2016 broadcast excellence awards. Cumulus Media’s WJR reports that it won 22 awards across numerous categories, including: 2016 Commercial Station of the Year; Best Regularly Scheduled Weekday Broadcast – The Mitch Albom Show; Best Morning Show Broadcast Personality – The Paul W. Smith Show; and Best Regularly Scheduled Weekday Broadcast Personality – The Frank Beckmann Show. WJR program director Mike Wheeler says, “We’re really proud of the way the WJR team serves our audience, advertising partners and community. It is gratifying to have the MAB validate our efforts.”…..Westwood One will tip off coverage of the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship on Tuesday (3/14) with play-by-play coverage of all 67 games. In addition, Westwood One will broadcast the NCAA Men’s Final Four on Saturday, April 1, and the National Championship Game on Monday, April 3, in both English and Spanish, live from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Charleston, South Carolina, Cumulus Media appoints 20-year radio programming pro Kathy Brown as program director for hip hop WWWZ “93 Jamz” and urban contemporary WMGL “Magic 107.3.” She comes to Cumulus from her most recent position with iHeartMedia programming hip hop KMJM “100.3 The Beat” and Gospel KATZ-AM “Hallelujah.” Cumulus Media Charleston operations manager Bill West says, “Kathy is a pro and I’ve already been inspired by hearing her ideas for our brands here in Charleston.”…..Mapleton Communications ups Jamie Patrick to program director for country KDRK, Spokane “93.7 the Mountain.” Patrick host the morning show, is music director and assistant operations manager – all duties he will continue while ascending to PD…..Entercom names Lindsey Martin director of promotions for its five-station Sacramento cluster…..Cumulus brings Appleton/Oshkosh market radio pro Dan Markus aboard to host the morning drive show on its adult standards WNAM and middays on classic hits WVBO. Markus spent 17 years programming the company’s Green Bay classic hits outlet WOGB…..iHeartMedia classic rock KZPS, Dallas “Lonestar 92.5” is presenting the return of the “Bo and Jim Bash VI” taking place on August 18 at Starplex Pavilion in Dallas. This annual event, presented by the station and the morning team of Bo Roberts and Jim White, will this year feature Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and Stone Cold Sweat featuring Bo and Jim. KZPS program director Don Davis says, “Foreigner is coming off a sold-out show last month in Dallas and we have been after Cheap Trick since year one, so to say we are excited about this lineup would be an understatement. And if Foreigner and Cheap Trick weren’t enough, I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the night than having Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and Bo and Jim’s Stone Cold Sweat open the show this year.”…..Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina hip hop WZFX “Foxy 99” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee and DJ Envy – to the station’s program lineup for morning drive…..Entercom launches new urban station “Hot 103.7 FM” on translator K243AV, New Orleans. Entercom New Orleans VP and market manager Chris Claus says, “We are focused on delivering the content and music that we know listeners in New Orleans are looking for. The combination of well-known and live local talent and the R&B hits that fans want to hear on 103.7 FM is a magical one that has not been on the dial in New Orleans.” Tom “Jammer” Naylor – who programs sister CHR WEZB “B97” – will serve as the program director. Urban radio pro Jay Dixon is consulting the station. On air is Abraham “Big Abe” Johnson on the “Big Abe in the Morning” program. Terrence “Terry Bello” Burton is hosting afternoon drive…..JVC Media has partnered with major Long Island retail locations and DNS publications to publish a quarterly country music newspaper called This Is Country. JVC says the free, full-color magazine will contain exclusive interviews, stories, pictures, news, album and movie reviews, up-coming events around Long Island “and other information a country music lover will not want to miss.” JVC’s country WJVC-FM, Center Moriches, New York “My Country 96.1” is promoting the publication that launches April 15.
KMOX, St. Louis Extends Calhoun and Ackerman. St. Louis heritage news/talk KMOX announces it has signed staffers Michael Calhoun and Tom Ackerman to new, multi-year contracts that include some new duties for both. Calhoun and Ackerman are part of the CBS RADIO station’s “Total Information AM” morning drive program – Calhoun as co-host and news reporter and Ackerman as a personality and the station’s sports director. KMOX program director Steve Moore states, “Tom and Michael are talented personalities who play integral roles at the station. Tom was born and raised in St. Louis so reporting the news and sports in the city he loves is a natural progression for him. Michael is an award-winning field reporter who brings a unique voice to KMOX that instantly connects with listeners.” Ackerman expands his role to serve as co-host of “Total Information AM” alongside Debbie Monterrey and Calhoun. Calhoun adds field and spot news reporting to his responsibilities. Calhoun will also continue to serve as KMOX’s lead reporter on St. Louis’ “Start Up, Entrepreneurs and Innovation” initiatives and continue to host “Nothing Impossible,” a show that informs listeners about how innovators are transforming and revitalizing the St. Louis region.
Grayson Exits KMOX; Headed for Crosstown KTRS? A report by Joe Holleman in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Jon Grayson has exited CBS RADIO’s news/talk KMOX where he was hosting the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am show. Grayson’s “Overnight America” show had been syndicated nationally in a deal with Westwood One but that was shut down at the end of 2016. Now, after 16 years at KMOX, Grayson may be headed across the street to news/talker KTRS. Holleman reports that’s the industry chatter. KTRS reportedly has an opening for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show. The station also recently hired former KMOX personality Doug McElvein.
Madison Talk Host Mitch Henck Moves Forward on Digital Platform. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes about Madison talk radio personality Mitch Henck – one of a number of personalities cut free with the demise of the progressive talk format on iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison last fall. Henck has recently launched the web-based platform MadisonTalks.com, where his program and others continue to provide the market with “outside the box” digital content. Though he was heard on WXXM for years, Henck says his political leanings are not so easily qualified. “I am center-right on economics and more libertarian on social issues. I like splitting hairs and challenging callers to make their argument.” Read the whole story here.
11th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Scheduled for June 28-29. This year’s 11th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire/Let’s Make America Great Again radio row broadcast will take place on June 28 and 29 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is again producing the event at which talk hosts from across the country will broadcast live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, White House officials and those who live and work along the southern border. FAIR executive director Bob Dane states, “This event has always been about holding our elected leaders accountable and educating the public. In particular, this year, lawmakers must be reminded that Americans strongly support President Trump’s immigration policies. Otherwise, the noise made by vocal special interests – which the mainstream media loves to amplify – will dominate. Talk radio remains the bullhorn of the ‘silent’ majority.” Reservations are required and hosts/producers should contact event manager Cassie Williams at 202-328-7004 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve their spot. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and expenses are taken care of by FAIR. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews with an expected crowd of 60 talk hosts.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Touts AM Revitalization at NABA Symposium. The new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission addressed the attendees at yesterday’s “Future of Radio and Audio” symposium presented by the North American Broadcasters Association. Among the topics he discussed was AM revitalization. He kicked that off by stating, “It’s no secret that many stations in the AM band are struggling. The band’s overall listenership has declined, and advertising revenues along with it. This stems mainly from the band’s technical problems. Every day, it seems harder to get a quality AM signal.” Pai boiled his solution down to the two-pronged approach of making it easier for AM operators to acquire FM translators and encouraging the activation and use of FM chips in smartphones. Regarding FM translators, Pai said AM station owners have complained that it can be difficult finding a location for translators. “That’s why we’ve proposed a new reform that my fellow Commissioners and I will vote on next week. This measure would give AM stations greater flexibility in siting their translators. It’s a small step that would be a big help to AM broadcasters. This year, we also plan to open two new windows in which AM stations that still don’t have an FM translator can apply directly to the FCC to get one authorized. And we’ll keep working on ways to improve signal quality on the AM band and reduce AM broadcasters’ operating costs.” As for FM chips in smartphones, Pai said he’s against mandating those chips be activated – he’s a free-market guy who doesn’t approve of such a heavy-handed approach, and he thinks it’s outside of the FCC’s purview. He noted that in the U.S., “only about 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States have activated FM chips, and the percentage is lower in Canada. By comparison, in Mexico that number is about 80%…[but] despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%.”
Andy Pollin Joins WJFK-FM, Washington for Weekends and Fill-Ins. Washington, DC sports talk personality Andy Pollin is no longer a free agent. The market sports media figure was recently set free by Red Zebra’s WTEM “ESPN 908” after almost 25 years at the signal. Now, he’s being heard on CBS RADIO’s crosstown WJFK-FM on weekends and in fill-in situations. The Washington Post reports that Pollin will host a regular Saturday show with (also former WTEM) personality Thom Loverro from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon starting February 25. WJFK-FM program director Chris Kinard tells the Post, “It just gives us more great talent. You can never have enough good people, and to have someone the caliber of Andy Pollin available is a pretty rare thing. He hasn’t been available for 25 years, because he’s done such a good job. So to have someone like that available, we’d be crazy not to work something out with him.”
WQAM, Miami Re-Ups with the Miami Hurricanes. Miami sports talker WQAM inks a new multi-year deal to continue serving as the flagship station for University of Miami football and men’s basketball. Pictured at the contract signing in Coral Gables on Thursday (2/16) are (from l-r): WQAM program director Ryan Maguire, “The Voice of the Hurricanes” Joe Zagacki, WQAM host Curtis Stevenson, Miami football coach Mark Richt, Miami athletic director Blake James, and WQAM host Joe Rose.
Nielsen: 2016 Election Year Good for News Radio. Ratings giant Nielsen issues data – illustrated in the graphic above – showing the rise in listenership to news radio during the 2016 election year. Nielsen notes that just as in the previous election year of 2012, the number of people tuning in to all-news stations, news/talk stations and public radio NPR affiliates spiked, making it the most-listened-to radio format by persons 6+ in PPM markets during 2016.
Allegations of Trump Campaign’s Russia Connections and Michael T. Flynn’s Resignation Top News Talk Stories for Week of February 13-17. The allegations that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian agents prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Trump travel ban issue and the related Mexican wall matter. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s contentious relationship with the news media, followed by Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal as nominee for labor secretary at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Windy City radio programming pro Patty Martin is joining digital platform AccuRadio to program its world music and Celtic channels. He says she’ll also be involved in programming adult rock and adult alternative formats. Martin – who served in the market programming Hubbard’s classic hits WDRV and CBS RADIO’s triple A WXRT – tells Feder, “It’s all the fun of radio programming without the headaches!”…..KSWD, Los Angeles “100.3 The Sound” midday personality “Uncle Joe” Benson signs a new contract to continue with the Entercom classic rock station. Program director Dave Beasing says, “Joe is the best-known and most-loved classic rock DJ in Los Angeles. The reason is simple. He’s literally written the book on classic rock, and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”…..A new Sunday night show dedicated to the women of alternative rock is launching on Cumulus Media’s alternative KCJK, Kansas City “X1015” featuring host Lauren O’Neil…..iHeartMedia Fort Myers announces media personalities Lulu and Lala are joining hot AC WZJZ “Y100.1, 90s to Now” as 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight hosts effective immediately. The station says, “The ‘Y100.1’ night show with Lulu and Lala will feature the dynamic pair’s unique take on pop culture news and fun antics with listeners, along with special celebrity guest interviews and Y100.1’s unique blend of today’s hits and 90’s throwbacks.”
Feature Story: Internet Radio’s Backbone. As far as TALKERS magazine is aware, nobody gets audio content on the Internet with the ease and sophistication (not to mention affordable rates) the way Backbone Networks does. In this piece published Friday (2/10), managing editor Mike Kinosian delves into how Backbone – in the words of president and CEO Rich Cerny, “the only completely integrated radio station service comprising live production, automation, storage, streaming, syndication, live assist, and call-in phone system,” works for content creators. Plus, interwoven into this feature is how Cerny’s past experience in fiber optics and television broadcast production played into the creation of Backbone Networks. Read it all here.
Hillman to Lead Sales at Beasley Media’s Southwest Florida Group. Sales pro Allyson Hillman is named director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Southwest Florida cluster that includes news/talk WJBX, sports talk WWCN, CHR WXKB, rock WRXK, adult contemporary WJPT, and Spanish music W251AL. Beasley says, “Allyson brings three decades of broadcasting and advertising to this position. She served in management for 10 years in Detroit radio and has relocated to Southwest Florida from Savannah-Hilton Head. Allyson has worked in the radio, television, Internet, digital and outdoor industries, including careers as retail sales manager, local and general sales manager, director of business development and director of sales.”
Steve Deace Show Thriving on CRTV. In our recent reporting Salem Radio Network’s addition of Chicago-based talk host Joe Walsh to its evening lineup, TALKERS wrote that the Steve Deace show had been bumped from the schedule by Walsh. But Deace tells us there’s more detail to how the change took place. Deace’s show is, and has been, produced by Conservative Review TV (CRTV). Late last fall, CRTV and Deace chose to move the show from SRN to CRTV’s own platform. That initiated the change in SRN’s evening schedule. Deace says, “Fifteen months ago, we debuted on Salem with 11 affiliates. We’re leaving with approximately 70. They did a great job for us, never interfered with my content on the air, and I have no complaints whatsoever. I still have the same high regard for [Salem SVP] Phil Boyce I’ve always had.”
TALKERS News Notes. The FCC filing for Michael Crute’s purchase of WRRD-AM, Waukesha (Milwaukee market) from Good Karma Broadcasting is public, so we now know the price of the signal is $767,000. Crute, who with partner Dominic Salvia co-hosts the progressive talk show “Devil’s Advocate,” is programming a
progressive talk lineup on the station. The duo was formerly based at iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison, Wisconsin when it was progressive talk outlet “92.1 The Mic.” The station flipped formats after the holidays. The “Devil’s Advocate” airs in afternoon drive on WRRD…..Berkshire Broadcasting’s news/talk WLAD-AM, Danbury, Connecticut is now heard in the market on the FM dial after the station adds translator W231DJ at 94.1 FM to the station’s broadcast.
Trump’s Travel Ban Strategy, ICE Raids/Cost of Mexico Wall, Russia-Snowden Relationship, Flynn-Russia Talks Controversy, North Korea ICBM Tests, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketches, Nordstrom-Ivanka Trump Flap, Yale Changes College Name, and Al Jarreau Dead at 76 Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing legal clash over President Donald Trump’s travel order and the possibility he writes a new order this week; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau begins raids to capture “known criminals” and the related issue of the U.S.-Mexico wall and Trump’s promise to reduce the cost; conflicting reports about whether Russia will turn Edward Snowden over to the U.S. to curry favor with President Trump; the status of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over reports he engaged with Russia prior to Trump being sworn in as president; the test of a mid-range ICBM by North Korea; the numerous sketches poking fun at Trump and administration officials on “Saturday Night Live”; Nordstrom’s dropping of the Ivanka Trump lines; Yale changes name of Calhoun College due to John C. Calhoun’s advocacy of slavery; and musician Al Jarreau’s death at age 76 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dr. Dave Returns to Dayton Air on 80s Rock WZLR. Radio personality Dave Gross, a.k.a. Dr. Dave, is back on the radio in Dayton on Cox Media Group’s 80s-intensive classic hits simulcast WZLR/W266BG. Back in the late 1980s, Dr. Dave was the ringleader of the “Z93 Morning Zoo” on then-CHR WGTZ – the program that dominated the morning ratings in the market. His new show, “Dr. Dave and the Eagle Morning Zoo,” is the first show with a live personality on the station. In a piece in the Springfield News-Sun, Cox Ohio VP of marketing Nick Roberts says the Dayton market is one of the biggest in the nation for 80s rock. See the whole story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At its urban contemporary WHQT, Miami “HOT 105,” Cox Media Group announces syndicated personality Michael Baisden is taking over the afternoon drive show, effective February 20. WHQT director of branding and programming Phil Michaels-Trueba states, “Michael was a part of the ‘Hot 105’ super brand from 2007 to 2013 with a proven track record of success. I am happy to welcome Michael, George Willborn, and Tamara G back home to our already stellar lineup of icons.”…..iHeartMedia names Todd Zarnitz, a.k.a. Carson, afternoon drive personality for CHR stations KPWK, Seattle “Power 93.3” and KKRZ, Portland “Z100.” Pacific Northwest Region SVP of programming Tim Herbster states, “We are excited to add Carson to our teams here in Portland and Seattle. His passion, enthusiasm and wealth of experience will be a great addition to help us grow ‘Z100’ and ‘Power 93.3.’”…..In Indianapolis, WLHK “HANK FM” afternoon personality JD Cannon announces he’s retiring from the station – and from full-time work in radio – on April 28. Cannon will remain with the Emmis station as “brand ambassador.” In announcing his semi-retirement, Cannon says he’s been blessed to have had a 44-year career on country music…..Townsquare Media announces programming pro Dusty Hayes is assuming the operations manager role at its Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana station group that includes news/talk KEEL, country KXKS, adult contemporary KVKI, CHR KRUF, and rock KTUX…..Townsquare Media names Braden Smith operations manager for its Amarillo, Texas cluster consisting of news/talk KIXZ, country KATP, adult contemporary KPRF, hot AC KMXJ, and CHR KXSS. He’ll serve as brand manager for KATP. He comes to Townsquare from his previous position with Alpha Media country outlet WLFV, Richmond “The Wolf.”
Skype Sessions Rub Some WH Journos the Wrong Way; Others Not Worried. Regular readers of TALKERS magazine are aware that the Trump White House has opened some of the press briefings to offsite news organizations and talk show hosts via Skype. Some in the White House press corps are reportedly irked by the intrusion of more media outlets vying for time with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer – some even more so allegedly because of the inclusion of radio talk show hosts. The first Skype Session (2/1) featured talk show hosts Lars Larson of KXL, Portland; Dale Jackson of WVNN, Huntsville, Alabama; Jeff Jobe of Kentucky-based Jobe Publishing; plus TV news staffers Kimberly Kalunian of WPRI-TV, Providence; and Natalie Herbick of WJW-TV, Cleveland. Tom Blumer writes in the conservative media outlet Newsbusters that some in major news organizations – especially at CNN – are upset with what feels like an intrusion. See his piece here. But CBS News reporter Major Garrett says in a story by CBS about the matter, “I cannot complain about more reporters asking questions. If the Skype questions are softballs everyone will see it. And if a White House gains a reputation for taking softball questions and avoiding tough questions, that will become obvious to the country.” Needless to say, talk hosts and local media outlets such as WPRI-TV and WJW-TV are thrilled to be able to connect with the White House press corps. As for the questions posed by the talk hosts, Lars Larson asked if the Trump Administration has considered its stance on what some in the U.S. West believe is the too-large amount of land that is federally owned. Dale Jackson asked if the administration has taken steps to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) immigration programs in light of the president’s tack on immigration policy.
Chris Rongey Joins WXOS, St. Louis. A third voice is added to the afternoon drive program “The Fast Lane” on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN.” Joining Randy Karraker and Brad Thompson is Chris Rongey. He’d been with WSCR, Chicago for the past 14 years handling pre-game and post-game duties for White Sox games. He also served as an update anchor at the station and wrote for the suburban Daily Herald. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are excited to welcome Chris Rongey home. He is a tremendous talent and will be a great addition to the ‘101 ESPN’ team.”
Entercom Surrenders KDND, Sacramento License. The Federal Communications Commission had been taking the rare action of designating the 2013 renewal application of Entercom’s KDND, Sacramento for hearing, due to the death of station contest participant Jennifer Strange in the now infamous “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” promotion. Now, Entercom announces it is voluntarily giving up the station’s license. The company states, “After careful consideration, Entercom determined it is in the company’s best interests to voluntarily turn in the KDND license to facilitate the timely FCC approvals for the planned combination with CBS Radio.” At least partly responsible for the FCC’s actions was the Sue Wilson-led Media Action Center which had filed the petition to deny for the station’s license renewal. MAC had also attempted to get the Commission broaden its hearing to include the entire Entercom Sacramento cluster. As of today, Entercom is moving the CHR format heard on KDND to its current hot AC KUDL at 106.5 FM.
iHeartMedia Names Mike Saffer Tucson Market President. Moving from his most recent position as VP of sales for Clear Channel Outdoor in Tucson is Mike Saffer, who takes on the market president position at iHeartMedia Tucson. Its stations in that market include news/talk outlets KNST and KTZR, as well as CHr KRQQ, hot AC KMIY “My 92.9,” hip hop KOHT “HOT 98.3,” country KYWD “97.1 The Bull,” and Tejano KXEW-AM “Tejano 1600.” About his new gig, Saffer comments, “I am elated to make the transition into the iHeartMedia family here in Tucson. Being raised in Tucson, the talent at these stations has always played a major role in my life. I am excited to work with those same stations to build upon their legacy and strengthen our relationship with both advertisers and the community.”
Pollnow to Lead Cumulus Green Bay. The Green Bay cluster of Cumulus Media has a new vice president and market manager as Don Pollnow returns to Wisconsin to lead the company’s six-station group. Though Pollnow has most recently been serving with LM Communications in Lexington, Kentucky as national sales manager, he served as general manager for NRG Media’s Wausau-Steven Point station group in the past. Cumulus’ Green Bay stations include: sports talk simulcast WDUZ “The Fan,” country WPCK “NASH FM 104.9,” hot AC WQLH “ Star 98,” triple A WKRU, and classic hits WOGB.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicates “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WRRD, Milwaukee in the evening slot nightly, and at WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire for weekends…..ICYMI, yesterday during Westwood One’s Super Bowl LI pre-game and halftime programming, host Jim Gray did a recorded, one-on-one interview with President Donald Trump. He told Gray he was rooting for the Patriots, spoke about his friendship with Tom Brady, and discussed topics including sports gambling, concussions in the NFL, use of medical marijuana by NFL players, and how his immigration policy might affect Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympics bid…..Boston University-owned pubcaster WBUR, Boston appoints Brian Hardzinski associate producer for the local talk show “On Point with Tom Ashbrook.” Hardzinski served to the past 11 years at the University of Oklahoma’s KGOU, Norman.
Travel Order Court Battle, U.S.-Russia Relations, Yiannopoulos Berkeley Speech Protests, Iran Missile Test, Marine Le Pen’s Campaign for President, Gorsuch SCOTUS Nomination and Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing controversy over President Donald Trump’s travel order targeting seven predominantly Muslim nations and federal judge James Robart’s temporary restraining order staying the order; the relations between the U.S. and Russia and Trump’s comments to Bill O’Reilly about Vladimir Putin; last Thursday’s canceled speech by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos at UC-Berkeley after violent protests; U.S. response to Iran over its test of a missile last week; the nationalist campaign of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen; the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court justice; and Sunday night’s Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and Falcons were some of the most-talked-about news/talk stories this past weekend.
Chase Murphy to Program ‘Mix 96.5’ in Houston. Programming pro Chase Murphy joins CBS Radio as program director for hot AC KHMX, Houston “Mix 96.5.” SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Chase is a leader, a team builder, a talent coach and a builder of brands. He is the perfect fit for KHMX, a big brand with great heritage in the Houston market.” Murphy previously served with iHeartMedia as an operations manager and regional program director. He also worked with Entercom in the Greenville market.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Boston, “The Morning Wake UP” with co-hosts KJ Carson and Kesha Monk debuts today on the new urban AC WKAF “97.7 FM, Boston’s #1 For R&B.” Entercom split the simulcast of rock WAAF and WKAF back in early January and today is launching the new morning show. Chris Malone is programming the station…..Mapleton Communications promotes Tommy Del Rio from his regional program director post to vice president of top 40 programming. Del Rio is in charge of the programming for all seven of Mapleton’s CHR-formatted stations…..In the Yakima market, Brian Henderson and Todd E. Lyons Esq. are being paired up for mornings on Townsquare Media’s active rock KATS. Henderson previously served as PD for Radio Yakima’s crosstown classic rocker KRSE “105.7 The Hawk.” In addition to morning show duties, Henderson is handling the brand manager position at KATS…..Brazos Valley Communications appoints Shalayna Valencia regional director of events & digital for its stations in both the Odessa-Midland and Bryan-College Station markets. Valencia was previously market president for Townsquare Media’s Odessa-Midland operations…..Radio pro Sari Zalesin joins the marketing division at mobile app developer jacapps. At the same time, the company promotes Alex Burnstein to the new position, director of marketing.
PPM Analysis: AC and the 2016 Holiday Survey. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a detailed breakdown of the (6+) performances of adult contemporary outlets based on data from the 2016 Holiday PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. See which stations benefitted the most from the infusion of Christmas music, as well as how AC-formatted stations performed compared to the 2015 Holiday survey, plus more. See it all here.
FCC Chairman Pai Vows to Remove ‘Unnecessary or Counterproductive Regulations.’ At his first press briefing as Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Ajit Pai told reporters that the Commission’s main goal is to “remove unnecessary or counterproductive regulations from the books.” These comments came after the Commission voted 3-0 to eliminate two requirements: (1) that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public; and (2) that cable operators maintain for public inspection the designation and location of a cable system’s principal headend. Pai says, “These measures follow directly from Commissioner O’Rielly’s diligent work to identify unnecessary paperwork burdens. In all, this action reduces regulatory burdens on commercial broadcasters and cable operators without adversely affecting the public interest.” It remains to be seen if a Pai-led Commission will move to end the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership ban in the near future. Remember that Pai issued strong comments against keeping the ban after it was retained in the latest Quadrennial Review under former Chairman Tom Wheeler. Pai also did not comment to reporters about his plans to move to overturn the net neutrality regulations passed during the Obama Administration.
Buck Sexton Takes Over Host Role at Premiere’s ‘America Now.’ The new name of the show is “Buck Sexton with America Now,” and Premiere Networks announces that Sexton will begin hosting the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show on Monday, February 6. The company says Meghan McCain leaves the show to focus on her expanded role at FOX News Channel. Sexon has been serving as a regular fill-in for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Previously, he’s been a CNN contributor, and radio/TV host for Beck’s TheBlaze. He formerly served as a CIA officer in the Counterterrorism Center and the Office of Iraq Analysis. He completed tours of duty as an intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other hotspots around the globe. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott comments, “We couldn’t be happier to welcome Buck as host of ‘America Now.’ He’s smart and engaging, and his previous work with the U.S. Intelligence Community makes him uniquely qualified to lead conversations about the news, events and issues that affect all Americans. We’re confident Buck’s distinct perspective will resonate with America Now’s national audience and create powerful multi-platform opportunities for our partners.”
KXL, Portland’s Lars Larson Joins White House Presser Via Skype. At today’s White House press conference – in which four media outlets will be allowed to ask questions of Press Secretary Sean Spicer via Skype – KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks-syndicated talk show host Lars Larson will be taking part in the event. The White House announced the launch of the “Skype Seats,” designed to allow media outside of Washington to participate in the daily White House press briefings. Larson says in a statement, “For a long time I wished I had the opportunity to ask questions at a White House briefing. In fact, I’d love to ask questions every day. Years ago I actually inquired about what it would take to get a one- or two-day pass to go to the White House briefing. I would be willing to fly to DC and do that, but you’d only get that one opportunity and not the daily opportunity the major media get.” Larson will be able to ask his question around 2:00 pm ET.
Trump Travel Order/Protests, Gorsuch Nominated for SCOTUS, Sanctuary Cities Order, Dems Block Votes on Cabinet Picks, and Super Bowl LI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). The controversy over President Donald Trump’s order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the ensuing protests; Trump names U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch his nominee for the Supreme Court; Trump’s threat to sanctuary cities and the lawsuits planned by several of those cities; Democrats block votes on three of President Trump’s cabinet picks; and the build-up to Super Bowl LI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Capitol Broadcasting Re-Brands WCLY; Adds FM Translator. Triangle sports talker WCLY-AM adds an FM translator at 95.7 and re-brands the station “95.7 The Ticket.” The station airs largely syndicated sports talk programming plus local and regional play-by-play. Capitol Broadcasting operations manager/program director Dennis Glasgow states, “We couldn’t be more thrilled that with our great weekday lineup and partners, our listeners will have an additional FM signal in Raleigh to enjoy great sports programming.” Capitol Broadcasting also operates sports talk outlets WCMC-FM “99.9FM The Fan” and trimulcast WDNC-AM/W257CS/W243DK “Buzz Sports Radio.”
TALKERS News Notes. New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett appears as the first guest on the “Forbes Under 30” podcast that launched today (2/1) on PodcastOne. The program is hosted by Forbes contributor and former PBS personality Steve Goldbloom. On the show, Bennett talked about his brother’s success in the league and why he continues to play football as he creates children’s books, apps and more. The focus of the new program is on “young innovators, disruptors and entrepreneurs who are changing the world. It features past and present members recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 lists, along with up-and-comers who match the profile of future list-makers.”…..Former Minnesota Governor, pro-wrestler and radio talk show host Jesse Ventura is launching a new variety news show titled, “The World According to Jesse,” on RT America beginning this spring. RT America says the program will “tackle both the current news agenda and deeper issues, such as government hypocrisy and corporate deception with Jesse’s distinctive take on stories sidelined by the mainstream media. Ventura will apply his uncensored, bold, and bare-knuckled approach to thought-provoking interviews and on-the-ground reporting alike.”…..As part of its strategy to deliver an enhanced visual hybrid radio station experience beyond the smartphone, TagStation is increasing focused efforts on the connected car. The company is hiring Derek Rohloff as VP automotive business development to spearhead inclusion in the next generation auto dashboard. TagStation’s activity in the dashboard space began in 2012, when it worked with a leading OEM to build a prototype for SmartDeviceLink. NextRadio and TagStation president Paul Brenner states, “Derek brings his proven expertise and deep industry contacts to the team which will help us ramp up quickly. The timing is right for the company, as we are poised and ready to showcase what we can offer to the automotive industry.”
Sean Strife to Program ‘Y957 FM’ Cedar Rapids. Named to the program director role at iHeartMedia’s KOSY, Cedar Rapids, Iowa “Y957 FM” is Sean Strife. He most recently was producer for KIIS, Los Angeles’ “On Air With Ryan Seacrest.” He also produced the “Jesse Lozano in the Morning” show and was an air personality at sports talk KLAC. He’s originally from Boca Raton, Florida and began his career in the radio industry in Gainesville and West Palm Beach before moving to LA in 2013. iHeartMedia Cedar Rapids SVP of programming JJ Cook says, “Sean was the obvious choice for this role – he brings his major market experience, format knowledge and industry connections with him to help ‘Y957 FM’ continue its strong growth in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City markets.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Mike Allen announces he’s leaving his home of the past 10 years – Entravision’s country KNTY, Sacramento “101.9 The Wolf” – for a soon-to-be-announced gig elsewhere. He’s been afternoon host, assistant program director and music director at the station. He’ll continue to host the USRN-syndicated “25 Years of Hits” country program…..There are changes to announce at Entercom’s Austin cluster: The company names Matt Wheeler creative services director for the whole station group and APD for adult contemporary KKMJ “Majic 95.5” and hot AC KAMX “MIX 94.7.” Sean Mack is appointed music director for KAMX. And Orphan Andrew is assigned the duty of voice tracking the KAMX evening show from his home at the company’s CHR KDND, Sacramento “107.9 The End,” where he handles middays…..The lineup is set for the Grand Ole Opry at this month’s Country Radio Seminar on February 22 – the kick-off night of the three-day event at Omni Nashville. Playing the show will be: Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins, Crystal Gayle, LOCASH, Cam, Michael Ray, Chris Lane, Carly Pearce, and Dailey & Vincent. The concert starts at 7:00 pm following the CMA Welcome Reception in the Performance Hall…..iHeartMedia debuts a new country station on Millman, Iowa-licensed translator K243CA (Des Moines market) branded “96.9 The Bull.” The Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show will be featured in morning drive. Market president Joel McCrea states, “‘96.9 The Bull’ provides an amazing opportunity for Des Moines by offering a wider variety of music and entertainment. We couldn’t be more excited to connect Des Moines country music fans with the hottest country artists.”
It’s Official: Trump Names Pai FCC Chairman. On the heels of news reports suggesting that President Donald Trump would name Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai the new chairman, he’s done just that. Pai will lead the three-member commission consisting of Pai’s fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly and Democrat Mignon Clyburn until two more commissioners are named to the body by Trump. Pai’s statement was simple: “I am deeply grateful to the President of the United States for designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.” While Pai has been a friend to the radio industry, serving as a commissioner who is sensitive to efforts such as AM revitalization, the speculation is that this FCC will reverse Tom Wheeler-era policies on net neutrality, broadband subscriber data privacy and others.
Rhode Island Talk Host John DePetro Returns to Radio on WADK, Newport. A little more than a month after exiting Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence, longtime Rhode Island talk radio personality John DePetro returns to the airwaves via 3G Broadcasting’s WADK, Newport, Rhode Island for a show that launches tomorrow (1/25) from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. In announcing the news, DePetro states, “I am now the exclusive owner of the ‘John DePetro Show,’ which gives me full ownership of the content of the show and the freedom in the future to syndicate my popular, highly rated, entertaining program. My listeners should get ready for the most entertaining radio I have ever done, and I will continue to tell it like it is.” DePetro’s deal with the station includes a two-hour Saturday “John DePetro Show Week in Review.” Station owner Bonnie Gomes comments, “John DePetro and I have known each other since the late 80s when we worked together at a Providence radio group. John has a well-known, entertaining program and it matches with our goal of making 1540 AM WADK completely live and local. We are excited to welcome John to our broadcasting family and know that he will bring a new, exciting, entertaining twist to our current programming lineup.”
DGital Media and The Players’ Tribune Partner for Podcast Network. Sports-themed media platform The Players’ Tribune partners with DGital Media to release its first podcast. The Derek Jeter-founded podcast network will feature “oral histories, athlete-hosted podcasts, a flagship show and other topical series.” The first show is “Giant Steps,” an oral history podcast that chronicles the rise of the New York Giants’ first Super Bowl championship in 1986. The 60-minute episode, narrated by Michael Strahan, features first-person accounts from Carl Banks, Harry Carson, Pepper Johnson, Leonard Marshall, George Martin, Elvis Patterson, Lawrence Taylor and Bill Parcells. The Players’ Tribune president Jaymee Messler comments, “‘The Players’ Tribune’ has become a destination for thoughtful, insightful storytelling related to topics both on and off the field. We’re excited to introduce another medium for athletes to share stories and discuss important issues through a unique and intimate listening experience. DGital Media is a terrific partner on the launch of this newest extension of our premium content offerings.”
Trump Withdraws US from TPP, Women’s Marches Aftermath, Trump Federal Hiring Freeze, Deadly Southeastern Tornadoes, ‘SNL’ Writer Suspended, Parliament to Vote on Brexit, and Super Bowl LI Matchup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23). President Donald Trump signs executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal; the aftermath of the Women’s March in DC and in cities across the world; Trump enacts federal government hiring freeze; the deadly tornadoes that tore through the Southeast U.S.; a “Saturday Night Live” writer Katie Rich is suspended for her tweet targeting Barron Trump; Britain’s Parliament prepares to vote on the country’s exit from the European Union; and the Super Bowl matchup between New England and Atlanta were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York late morning hosts Sid Rosenberg (left) and Bernard McGuirk (right) are both re-signing with the Cumulus station for new, three-year deals. McGuirk and Rosenberg both still have their roles on the “Imus in the Morning” program. The new deals pertain to their “Bernie & Sid” 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Rosenberg tells TALKERS magazine, “I’m excited to spend the next few years at WABC! [Market manager] Chad Lopez and [program director] Craig Schwalb have been a joy to work for and I’m blessed with the best, funniest and most talented partner in the business!”…..Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM announces the schedule for its Phillies program “The Hot Stove” with Phillies play-by-play team Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen. The hour-long show will air four consecutive Wednesdays at 6:00 pm beginning February 1.
Doug McIntyre and Steve Martin Sell Out Four Nights in Southern California. Pictured above are film and comedy legend Steve Martin (left) and KABC, Los Angeles morning personality Doug McIntyre (right) on stage during one of four performances that took place January 8-11. McIntyre hosts the Distinguished Speakers Series and Martin recently joined him at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, the Redondo Beach Center for the Performing Art in Redondo Beach, the Thousand Oaks Civic Art Plaza in Thousand Oaks, and the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. Previous guests in the series have included John Cleese, Betty White, Ron Howard and Robert Redford among others. Photo: Sue Swan.
Westwood One Names Switzer VP/GM of Music & Entertainment – Country. This is a return to the Westwood One fold for Bryan Switzer. He served with then-ABC Radio Networks, Citadel Media and Cumulus Media Networks from 2006 through 2014 overseeing Nashville marketing, promotion, and affiliate sales for “American Country Countdown,” the 24-hour formats and more. He returns to the media biz from his most recent executive post with JennsCo Chemical Solutions. As vice president/general manager, music & entertainment-country for Westwood One, he’ll be in charge of the marketing and operations of all owned and represented country shows.
Renda Broadcasting Appoints Steve Granato PD for Fort Myers-Naples Cluster. Taking over for Randy Savage, who left the program director position with Renda Southwest Florida to join Cumulus’ Wilkes-Barre cluster, is Steve Granato. He’ll program the company’s four-station cluster including country WWGR “Gator Country 1019,” adult hits WJGO “1029BOBfm,” hot AC WSGL “Mix 104.7,” and news/talk WGUF “98.9 Naples FM Talk.” Granato previously served with Renda Broadcasting programming the company’s Pittsburgh properties in the early 1990s.
WMMR, Philly Names Brent Porche Overnight Jock. Philadelphia heritage rock outlet WMMR announces Brent Porche is named the station’s new overnight personality. The Beasley Media Group-owned station notes that “it’s rare a radio station that goes eight years between full-time hires. It’s rarer still that the position is for a full-time, overnight air talent.” Porche takes over for Jacky Bam Bam who recently was promoted to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show. Porche says of his new gig, “It’s like a lifelong fan rooting for the Eagles and getting hired to play on the team – with all his favorite players! I’m honored to join Preston & Steve, Pierre Robert, Jaxon, Jacky and all the DJs on such a legendary station.”
Jenkins to Lead Alpha Media’s Moberly-Macon, Missouri Station Group. Thirty-year radio pro Mike Jenkins is named market manager for Alpha Media’s Moberly-Macon, Missouri station group that includes, country KRES-FM, oldies KIRK-FM, Christian contemporary KTCM-FM, and news/talk KWIX-AM/FM. Alpha Midwest Region EVP George Pelletier says, “We are pleased to welcome Mike Jenkins to our Alpha operations in Moberly. Mike has a terrific track record of success everywhere he has worked. His reputation of being a great leader, inspired broadcaster and client-oriented sales champion convinced us that he was the right kind of person to lead the Alpha team in Moberly, Missouri.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. San Diego CHR KHTS-FM “Channel 93.3 FM” names Ethan Cole evening personality. Cole stays with iHeartMedia having spent that past two years producing the “Matty in the Morning” show for WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108 FM.”.…..Saga Communications names Mark the Shark afternoon drive personality at classic rock WKLH, Milwaukee WKLH-FM “Rock 96-5.” It’s a return to Brew City for The Shark. He served with former rock outlet WQFM (now AC WLDB) during the 1980s and 1990s…..The Cantore + Woods morning show with Chris Cantore and Steve Woods exits Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “FM 949” after 15 months in the daypart. No word on the new morning drive show yet…..WNKS, Charlotte “KISS 95.1” intern Whitney Thore and the “Maney, Roy and LauRen Show” are back on television for tonight’s (1/24) season premiere of the TLC Network show, “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” starring Thore. The show follows Thore, a passionate dancer on her way to maintaining a healthy life style through dance and a “No Body Shaming” policy…..iHeartMedia’s Fresno country outlet KHGE “102.7 The Wolf” is hosting the 2017 Acoustic Kick-Off Concert featuring live performances by country music recording artists Hunter Hayes, Casey Donahew and Lucas Hoge tomorrow night (1/25) at the Tower Theater in Fresno. The Wolf program director Nick Cash says, “We love to connect our ‘102.7 The Wolf’ listeners with the hottest new country artists in a live and intimate setting. Hunter has a big, young following in the Central Valley and we can’t wait to sing along with them in the crowd at Acoustic Kick-Off Concert!”
Odds & Sods. There’s news to report from the Nielsen–Bubba the Love Sponge legal war. Bubba’s legal team has been arguing that Nielsen’s arguments for keeping certain documents confidential are unfounded and that they should be made part of the public record. However, Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore ruled against Bubba, stating that “challenging a confidentiality designation is not the proper procedure for a court to decide whether the public has a right to access a pleading.”…..Longtime CBS Radio News reporter Dan Raviv leaves the news organization in surprising fashion – with a tweet at the end of his coverage of the Presidential Inauguration. He wrote, “Radio friends, I had the bittersweet honor of declaring (I swear it was short) at the end of our 90-min. coverage that it is my last on CBS.” Raviv had been with CBS Radio News since 1978.
Trump Sworn In/ObamaCare Executive Order, Women’s Marches, Trump Press Team’s Inauguration Crowd Dispute, Allegation of Trump Business Interests Conflicts, Cabinet Confirmation Hearings, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Friday’s inauguration of President Donald Trump and his signing of an executive order pertaining to the Affordable Care Act; the Women’s March on DC and the marches in various cities across the nation; the Trump press team’s offering of “alternative facts” regarding the size of the crowd at the inauguration; the planned suit by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington over Donald Trump’s business interests; the confirmation hearings of the several cabinet nominees; and Sunday’s NFC and AFC Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Louisville Non-Com Hacked; Anti-Trump Song Plays on the Air. Non-commercial low power FM WCHQ, Louisville was the victim of a hack on Friday afternoon (1/20) that resulted in the rap tune “F*ck Donald Trump” by YG & Nipsy Hussle playing in a loop for about 15 minutes. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that station manager Kathy Weisbach was able get the digital song file to stop playing. Station program director Gary Simpson tells the paper that whoever hacked the station got in via the software it uses for its FM audio and that the software permits EAS alerts from getting on the air. He speculates that since other stations use the same software, other outlets could be vulnerable to a hack. See the Courier-Journal story here.
Danny Meyers to Program ‘Movin’ 107.7’ in Norfolk. Programmer Danny Meyers joins iHeartMedia’s Norfolk cluster to serve as program director and morning drive personality at urban contemporary WMOV “Movin 107.7, Hampton Roads’ Feel Good Music.” The station says Meyers – who was most recently morning host at CHR WXLK, Roanoke – will oversee WMOV’s “on-air content and music programming, as well as broadcast the local morning show with his perspective on pop culture and community news.” Meyers says, “I’m excited to start a new chapter at ‘Movin’ 107.7’ and become part of the iHeartMedia Norfolk family, especially after a record-setting revenue year for the station. I know the team is ready for an even bigger 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Alternative KDGE, Dallas is no more but iHeartMedia is not letting go of the annual “Edgefest” concert promotion. Now, the company’s rock KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” is presenting “Edgefest 2017” scheduled for April 1, 2017 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The acts signed up for the daylong, two-stage event are: Blink 182, The Offspring, 311, Chevelle, The Toadies, Naked and Famous, The Nixons, The Record Company, Goodbye June, Black Pistol Fire, Dreamers, Missio, Badflower and The Wrecks. iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Patrick Davis comments, “This year’s ‘Edgefest’ has one of the strongest lineups we’ve ever had, with a variety of established and rising star artists. As a nod to the 25th anniversary of the show, we are pleased that several of these ‘Edgefest’ alums are back to celebrate with us.”…..At the Saginaw, Michigan station group of Alpha Media, Joby Phillips is adding the program director responsibilities for hot AC WGER “MIX 106.3” to his workload. He’ll continue to program country WCEN “94-5 The Moose” and host the station’s afternoon show.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to Step Down. Since the November election, there’s been a lot of speculation about whether FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would remain on the Commission or step down and today he announces he’ll do the latter. He says he’ll step down on January 20. “Serving as FCC Chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life. I am deeply grateful to the president for giving me this opportunity. I am especially thankful to the talented Commission staff for their service and sacrifice during my tenure. Their achievements have contributed to a thriving communications sector, where robust investment and world-leading innovation continue to drive our economy and meaningful improvements in the lives of the American people. It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners to help protect consumers, strengthen public safety and cybersecurity, and ensure fast, fair and open networks for all Americans.” The radio industry isn’t quite as sanguine about Wheeler’s tenure. In general, the radio biz believes it was far down on Wheeler’s priority list – broadband seemed to be top-of-mind for the chairman – and that was underscored by the decision to leave the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership ban in place in the most recent Quadrennial Review. There’s been no indication from the Trump Administration whom it might like to see as FCC Chair, but there is speculation that Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai may be at the top of the administration’s list.
Salem Chicago Re-Signs Dan Proft. Morning personality Dan Proft will continue to co-host the morning drive show on Salem Media Group’s news/talk WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” after signing a multi-year contract extension. Proft – who previously served with Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM – joined Salem’s WIND in 2015. He co-hosts “Chicago’s Morning Answer” with Amy Jacobson. WIND general manager Jeff Reisman states, “We’re extremely pleased with Dan’s contributions to the station. The combination of Dan and Amy Jacobson as a team has helped to grow both the audience and the revenue of this radio station to all-time highs. We’re excited that Dan will be a part of our future and continued success, as well.”
Trump Administration Transition/ Cabinet Nominations, Allegations of Russian Influence in the Election, Fed Raises Interest Rates/Record High Dow, Trump Meets with Tech Execs, Syria Civil War, U.S.-China Relations, Uber Self-Driving Cars, Bitter Cold Weather, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nomination of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State; allegations of Russian hacking into the DNC’s files to influence the election outcome and that the operation was sanctioned by Vladimir Putin; Fed Chair Janet Yellen raises interest rates and the related record-high Dow Jones industrial average; Trump’s Wednesday meeting with numerous Silicon Valley executives; the Syrian civil war and the violence against civilians in Aleppo; the state of U.S. relations with China after Trump’s Taiwan incident and China’s continued military build-up in the South China Sea; the controversy in California as Uber tests driverless cars in San Francisco; the bitter cold weather affecting much of the northern U.S.; and the week’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Talk show host Rob Carson is launching a content initiative via Soundcloud and Patreon. After a two year stint at Cumulus Media’s KCMO, Kansas City, Carson tells TALKERS, “I am starting a new venture before my next radio gig. I’ve rebuilt my radio studio to not only to talk around the nation but to do an audio and video podcast. The Patreon site allows passionate followers to pay as little as $1 a month for a daily podcast, audioblogs, syndicated comedy and more.”…..Salem Media Group announces that in Philadelphia, it has appointed Gregg Stiansen as the new general manager of news/talk WNTP and Christian talk WFIL. The former Nassau Broadcasting and Connoisseur Media exec takes over for the retiring Russ Whitnah…..ESPN Radio is providing coverage of 27 college football bowl games, including the matchups from the College Football Playoff, including the January 9 National Championship Game. That game will be called by ESPN Monday Night Football voice Sean McDonough with analyst Todd Blackledge and reporters Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons.….Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle helped raise more than $502,000 for the non-profit organization Treehouse, which addresses the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Yesterday’s 28th Annual Holiday Magic Fundraiser will provide for each youth in the program one significant holiday gift along with support for programs and services throughout the year.
Save the Date! Talkers 2017 Set for Friday, June 2, 2017 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled Talkers 2017: A New Era, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 2, 2017 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age at the dawn of the Trump Era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ Talkers 2017: A New Era will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary, Talkers 2017: A New Era is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, December 23. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Corpse Blinks: AM Radio Isn’t Dead. On the heels of yesterday’s story in TALKERS magazine about the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council’s “12 Imperatives” memo to the Trump Administration that offered a plan for “short-term survival and long-term humane decommissioning of the AM band,” managing editor Mike Kinosian compiles some data from Nielsen Audio to illustrate that “the AM band is not in the morgue just yet.” Kinosian admits that some of the highest-profile AM radio success stories are from the top three U.S. markets, “but at the same time, AM stations do in fact comprise 40% of the top 10 list of the country’s highest billers.” Today’s feature offers data from AM stations that finished in the top 15 in all 48 Nielsen Audio PPM-markets (November 2016, 6+). Check it out here.
House Bill Would Overturn Ban on Cross-Ownership. A bill filed yesterday by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) and co-sponsored by John Yarmuth (D-KY) would eliminate the ban on cross-ownership of a broadcast outlet and a newspaper in the same market. The ban was kept in place by the Tom Wheeler-led FCC in the recent Quadrennial Review, a move that many broadcasters (and both Republican FCC Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly) say keeps a policy that is out of touch with the current media landscape. But with Donald Trump ready to assume the presidency and Congressman Walden soon to be Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the opportunity to overturn the ban is on the horizon. Critics of the bill say cross-ownership decreases the diversity of news outlets. Action on the bill is unlikely to be taken until after the inauguration.
Polston Named Indy Market President for iHeartMedia. The new market president for iHeartMedia’s Indianapolis cluster is Brad Polston. He comes to iHM from his most recent position with Comcast Spotlight in Indianapolis where he served as general manager. iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana region president Earl Jones says, “Brad’s ability to create and lead winning teams makes him a perfect fit for this position. I’m confident that his experience and passion for driving results will lead iHeartMedia to continued success.” The company operates rock WFBQ “Q95,” sports talk WNDE-AM, “FOX Sports 975,” alternative WOLT “Alt 103.3,” and hip hop WZRL “Real 98.3” in Indy.
Trump Transition/Cabinet Nominations, Election Recount Efforts, Juveniles Charged in Gatlinburg Fires, Pearl Harbor Anniversary, ‘Fake News’/Pizzagate, Syrian Civil War/U.S. Russia Relations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The ongoing transition of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominations; the efforts to recount the election results and a Michigan court’s decision to halt that state’s recount; two juveniles are charged with starting the deadly wildfires in Gatlinburg; the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor; the “fake news” controversy and the related Washington Pizzagate case; the Syrian civil war and the relations between the U.S. and Russia; and National Football League action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. The Hollywood Reporter’s 2016 Women in Entertainment Power 100 is out and Cumulus CEO Mary Berner made the list. She is the only radio executive to make this year’s list and one of 26 new faces…..SiriusXM and Barstool Sports are teaming up to present a new, daily show that features Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. The show will launch on January 3 and air daily from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm on the SiriusXM Rush channel. SiriusXM says, “Portnoy and his army of bloggers have built a cult following based on their takes on sports, pop culture, girls, entertainment and current events. For the common man, by the common man has become a point of difference for Barstool Sports’s unique agenda-less view on the world.”…..KLGR, Redwood Falls, Minnesota’s farm director Dustin Hoffmann has been honored with two farm reporting awards. The Minnesota Farmers’ Union recently named Hoffmann the 2016 Agriculture Communicator of the Year. At the same time, the Redwood Area Cattlemen’s Association awarded Hoffmann as one of two recipients of its new Hot Shot Award, for individuals who’ve made a great impact in the beef industry…..Next Tuesday (12/14), KIRO-FM, Seattle, in partnership with Treehouse, will host the 28th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Fundraiser. Bonneville Seattle Media Group VP and market manager Carl Gardner states, “Here at KIRO Radio, we cover the news and keep people informed 24/7. But for one day each year we pause to join with our listeners and advertisers for some holiday magic – to put a gift into the hands of every foster child in Washington State.”
MIW Radio Group Accepting Applications for Mildred Carter Mentoring Program. The Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is in its 16th year and the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group is pleased to announce the opening of the application window for the 2017 term. The program pairs up-and-coming women who currently work in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. Lindsay Cerajewski serves as chair of the 2017 MIW Radio Group’s mentoring committee (she’s also director, partnership marketing and branded content for Emmis Digital in Chicago). She comments, “This provides a wonderful opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge and access to some of the most influential women in radio.” A total of four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry – within the sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2017 program. Of those, at least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate and one spot designated for a digital candidate. For mentee criteria, and instructions on how to apply, please visit http://tinyurl.com/MIW2017. The deadline to apply is Friday, January 6, 2017.
Salem Third Quarter Net Broadcast Revenue Up 3.2%. Chief executive officer Edward Atsinger said on the Q3 conference call that Salem Media Group’s total revenue was up 5.6% but expenses were up 7.3%, “resulting in a 1.5% decrease in adjusted EBITDA.” Atsinger said the expenses increase was almost entirely the result of increased health care costs. Back to the numbers, in the Broadcast segment, net broadcast revenue was $51.1 million, an increase of 3,2% over the same period a year ago. However, station operating income decreased by 2.1%. Atsinger reported that although they booked $1 million of broadcast political revenue during the quarter, that was down about 20% from the same period during the 2012 campaign. However, Atsinger adds, “Network revenue was up 29.2% for the quarter. Obviously, this extraordinary political year is a major driver in this revenue growth, and our nationally syndicated hosts have significantly increased their profile beyond the exposure of their own radio programs, which has resulted in an increased time spent listening to their shows and better response for advertisers, all of which has led to higher renewals, higher rates of renewals, and additional advertising clients.”
Townsquare Media Net Revenue Flat in Q3. On a pro forma basis, Townsquare Media’s Local Marketing Solutions segment – the one that includes broadcast and digital – saw net revenue increase 3.8% over the same period a year ago. It was the Entertainment segment – live events – that had a tough quarter and drew the company down to a net revenue decrease of 0.8%. Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “On a pro forma basis, our Local Marketing Solutions segment continued its positive momentum by delivering another quarter of solid growth, with net revenue increasing approximately 4% over the prior year period. These results were offset by a decline in our Entertainment segment due primarily to exceptionally poor weather at four of our largest fairs. Excluding those fairs, Townsquare’s pro forma net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increased approximately 2% and 3%, respectively.” For the first nine months of the year, Townsquare’s (pro forma) net revenue is up 2.2% and the Local Marketing Solutions segment is up 5.1%.
Saga Communications Q3 Net Revenue Rises 6.8%. Reporting financial data for the third quarter of 2016, Saga Communications’ net revenue was $36.1 million – an increase of 6.8% over the same period a year ago. Breaking the radio segment out from the television segment, radio’s net revenue was $29.8 million – an increase of 4.6% over 2015’s third quarter. For the year so far, Saga’s net revenue is $105.3 million – up 8.3% over the first nine months of 2015.
WABC, New York Officially Names Sid Rosenberg Imus Sports Anchor. A press release from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York officially announces that Sid Rosenberg is returning to the “Imus in the Morning” show to serve as sports anchor, however the presser makes no mention of Warner Wolf, who exited the show suddenly on Friday (11/4). WABC program director Craig Schwalb comments, “Sid’s triumphant return to ‘Imus In The Morning’ has reunited him with an incredibly gifted cast. Their collective chemistry is exceptional.” Rosenberg adds, “I’m really excited to be back with Imus and the guys in the same role where it all started for me nearly 17 years ago.” Rosenberg will continue to co-host the late morning show with now-fellow Imus cast member Bernard McGuirk.
NAB to Sue FCC Over Quadrennial Review. This suit must be filed by Monday and that is presumably what the National Association of Broadcasters will do as EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton says it’s difficult to believe the Federal Communications Commission could recommend (on a 3-2 party line vote) going forward with decades-old policy when technology is moving the industry ahead at the speed of light. The cross-ownership rules seem particularly out of date considering what’s been going on in other sectors of the media, says Wharton, who tells Broadcasting and Cable, “Broadcasters want to compete in the digital age and continue being a trusted source for local news and information, but FCC rules need to reflect 2016 and not the 1960s. It defies belief that the FCC allows AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner mergers while barring two Topeka TV stations from combining, or a radio station from buying a newspaper.”
Today’s Presidential Election; the U.S. House and Senate Races; Voter Fraud and Poll Hacking Concerns; UVA Administrator Awarded $3 Million in Rolling Stone Rape Story Case; Hillary Clinton’s Emails Troubles; and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7). The presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the down-ticket races for U.S. House and Senate seats; concerns over voter fraud and the possibility of hacking the electronic polls; a jury awards a University of Virginia administrator $3 million in her case against Rolling Stone and the author of a discredited story about a gang rape at the school; the private email server case surrounding Hillary Clinton’s campaign; and the weekend’s NFL Action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Ginny Morris to Chair RAB Board of Directors. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces the new slate of officers recently to its board of directors and new, incoming directors. Chairperson and CEO of Hubbard Radio Ginny Morris is elected chair of the RAB board of directors. Cox Media Group RVP Susan Larkin is the vice chair. The finance chair is Steve Newberry, president and CEO of Commonwealth Broadcasting. The secretary is Mike Hulvey, COO, Neuhoff Communications, and immediate past chair is Hartley Adkins, president, Northeast Division & Corporate Operations, iHeartMedia. Newly elected directors are: Brian Beasley, EVP, chief operating officer, Beasley Media Group; Jonathan Brewster, CEO/president, Cherry Creek Radio LLC; Mike Tarter, president/CEO, Forcht Broadcasting; and Sabina Widmann, VP, general manager/director of sales, radio, Univision Radio. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “We are excited to have Ginny Morris at the helm of the RAB board of directors. With Ginny’s tremendous experience and passion for this industry, the organization is well-positioned to continue to lead and advocate for radio.”
Entercom CEO David Field Issues Statement on KDND License Review. On Friday, TALKERS magazine reported on the FCC’s order for a Hearing for Renewal for Entercom’s KDND, Sacramento as a result of the 2007 death of “Hold your wee for a Wii” contestant Jennifer Strange. On Friday, Entercom CEO David Field issued the following statement: “What happened at KDND in 2007 was a terrible tragedy that pains us deeply. Throughout our 48-year history, we have had a steadfast commitment to being a caring and responsible corporate citizen, firmly committed to public service. We take great pride in all of the work we have done to serve our communities. Nonetheless, we fully recognize that all of our good work cannot undo that tragic event nine years ago. We do believe it is important to note that the jury that heard this case concluded that Entercom Communications Corp. was not negligent. What happened was the result of unauthorized and appalling actions by certain station employees who violated corporate procedures. None of that diminishes our sadness and we remain committed to continuous improvement in our efforts to serve the public.”
Radio talk Shows to Be Simulcast on C-SPAN2 This Week. In this week leading up to next Tuesday’s elections, C-SPAN2 will be simulcasting four talk radio programs as they discuss the issues. C-SPAN will simulcast the Bill Press show on Tuesday from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET; on Wednesday, Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt show will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET; on Wednesday, the Thom Hartmann program will be featured from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; and on Friday, SRN’s Mike Gallagher show will be simulcast from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup notes that Gallagher will be traveling with GOP candidate Donald Trump and Gallagher’s show will emanate from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and other stops during the week. Tradup adds, “The stunning FBI discovery of 650,000 new e-mails and their securing of a warrant to review them was the latest – but surely not the last – bizarre turn in Campaign 2016. We’re honored that C-SPAN is turning to Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt, who have followed every step of this groundbreaking campaign, to share their perspective with C-SPAN’s TV audience nationwide.”
Alpha Media Promotes Milt McConnell to National Sales Role; Lisa Decker Joins Portland Station Group. This promotion of the company’s Portland, Oregon market manager necessitates new faces in that cluster to assume vacant positions and that’s exactly what’s happened in the market that serves as the company’s corporate base. Portland SVP and market manager Milt McConnell is upped to the corporate role of VP, national and group sales strategy. Radio sales and management pro Lisa Decker – who’s served with CBS RADIO and iHeartMedia in addition to her most recent post as director of corporate sponsorships at classical KING-FM, Seattle – joins Alpha Media as SVP and market manager. Amy Leimbach moves up from her regional director of business development post at the cluster to VP sales, Portland – Live Performance Lounges. Company president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “This is an exciting time for Alpha Media. With our major growth in 2016, we have been focused on recognizing key players and evolving to the next level. Milt has always been a high performer, even back in the Citadel days. In his new role, he will work closely with our national rep firms as well as our business development team.
Odds & Sods. Former U.S. Rep Mike Rogers sat in for WJR, Detroit’s Frank Beckman today from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Rogers hosts the “Something to Think About” feature distributed by Westwood One and also serves as CNN national security commentator…..JVC Media’s Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN, Patchogue, New York is covering next Tuesday’s elections with a remote broadcast from Ristegio’s Restaurant & Lounge starting at 7:00 pm. Station personality Jay Oliver and the “LI News Radio” team will be broadcasting live and presenting local, state and national election results…..Westwood One News is providing comprehensive election night coverage on Tuesday, November 8 that includes anchored continuous coverage and special reports every 15 minutes from 7:00 pm ET through at least 1:00 am ET Wednesday, November 9. Live continuous election night coverage will be anchored by Westwood One News correspondent Jim Bohannon, with reporting by correspondents Steve Kastenbaum and Bob Costantini with the Trump and Clinton campaigns, and their other correspondents in the field. Westwood One News will also provide regular updates on senate and house races and major referendums across the country.
The Presidential Race, New Clinton Emails Case, Acquittal of Oregon Protestors, Dakota Pipeline Protests, Bob Dylan and Nobel Prize, the World Series, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The race for president between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; FBI Director James Comey’s announcement of potential new emails investigation into Hillary Clinton; chatter about the effects of the recent acquittal of the Oregon national park protestors; the status of the protest by native Americans and others of the Dakota pipeline project; Bob Dylan beaks his silence on winning the Nobel Prize for Literature; the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs; and the weekend’s NFL Action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hillsdale College/TALKERS Magazine Presidential Election Talk Radio Debate in DC Aired Live on CSPAN2; Available on Talkers TV Soon. The Hillsdale College/TALKERS magazine Presidential Election Talk Radio Debate that took place in Washington, DC earlier today was aired live on CSPAN2. For those who wish to see the event, the video will be featured on Talkers TV in the coming weeks. The debate was moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and the panel of participants included: (in alphabetical order): Thom Hartmann, syndicated host, WYD Media; Hugh Hewitt, syndicated host, Salem Radio Network; Joyce Kaufman, afternoon host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami; Joe Madison, morning host, SiriusXM “Urban View” channel; Larry O’ Connor, morning co-host, WMAL, Washington, DC; and Chris Stigall, morning host WPHT, Philadelphia. The event took place at Hillsdale’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship at 227 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC.
Alpha Media Sells Salina-Manhattan, Kansas Cluster to Rocking M Radio. This divestiture of stations is the first on record for Alpha Media, as far as TALKERS can tell. The company is selling its stations in the Salina and Manhattan, Kansas markets to local operator Rocking M Radio for an undisclosed price. The five stations in the deal are: news/talk KSAL-AM, Salina; classic hits KSAL-FM, Salina; standards KABI-AM, Abilene; country KYEZ-FM, Salina; and adult contemporary KBLS-FM, North Fort Riley. Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt comments, “We’re happy for our employees in Salina to be joining such a great company. Rocking M Media is a strong force in Kansas radio and media.” Because Rocking M already owns three signals in the market, it goes over the FCC cap and is announcing that it will spin KBLS-FM to Manhattan Broadcasting Company for an undisclosed sum.
Emmis Finds Buyer for Texas Monthly. Just two days after Emmis Communications’ announcement that it found buyers for its stations in Terre Haute, Indiana, the company reports it has signed a deal with Genesis Park to sell the assets of Texas Monthly for $25 million, subject to working capital adjustments. The press release indicates that “Genesis Park is a regional private equity firm that has built successful communications and technology businesses in Texas for many years. Examples include CapRock Services, Alpheus Communications and Vivante GMP.” It was founded by Paul Hobby. Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “Texas Monthly has been a member of the Emmis family for 18 years, so today is bittersweet. We want to thank all of our employees for their dedication and hard work. This transaction allows us not only to de-lever our balance sheet, but puts TM in the capable hands of one of Texas’ great families, the Hobbys.” Emmis is still exploring opportunities to sell four other publications and New York radio signal WLIB-AM.
The Presidential Race and Related Stories at Top of Talkers TenTM for Week of October 10-14. The presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the Donald Trump hot-mic incident followed by the Wikileaks Hillary Clinton document dump at #3. Coming in at #4 was the Fox News report that FBI and CIA staffers questioned James Comey’s decision not to indict Hillary Clinton over the private email server matter. 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.
Odds & Sods. Chicago sports talk personality Terry Boers will be back on CBS RADIO’s WSCR “The Score” on October 24. Boers – the longtime on-air partner of Dan Bernstein – has been off the radio since June dealing with an undisclosed health issue…..After CBS RADIO elected not to re-up its deals with the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards, Hubbard Radio signs up its WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” to serve as the flagship station for the teams…..Speaking of hockey, with the start of the NHL season, fans can hear hockey action via TuneIn’s NHL radio station all season long with no subscription fee.
WBT, Charlotte Seeks Talk Host and Digital Content Editor. Charlotte’s heritage news/talker WBT-AM/FM is seeking a talk show host and management has clear ideas about what it wants and what it doesn’t want. Here’s what the station says: “Charlotte’s News Talk 1110 and 99.3 WBT is looking for personalities that can lead a conversation while being entertaining. Be serious when needed. Embrace the Carolina lifestyle. Someone who is not angry at the world. If you want to talk politics for 3 hours a day please don’t waste your time applying for this role. If you have to lean on guests to get through 3 hours a day we don’t want you. If you get your show prep from Drudge you won’t fit in. This is the perfect opportunity for you if you’re stuck on a cookie-cutter talk station or if you’re a music personality looking to extend your career. Show us what you got. Email your resume and a short aircheck to email@example.com now. No phone calls please.” Simultaneously, the station is also seeking a digital content editor. It says: “What do you get when you mix part writer, editor, news and political junky, student of social media and add a dash of video creator? The making of News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT’s newest Digital Content Editor. Our new team member will be a self-starter that creates, aggregates and maintains content, including text, video, photos and graphics, driving traffic and conversations to our news-talk radio station website, social and mobile efforts and builds communities. Writing and editing succinct, fact-filled content in a compelling and active tone for wbt.com are at the core of this positions duties.” Also apply for that position at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NASHVILLE – Day two of the Radio Show in Nashville included sessions about the connected car featuring Fred Jacobs; a conversation with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn; and it culminated with the Marconi Awards reception. Here are some conversations that took place in the halls of the Omni Hotel, and four blocks away at the home of Cumulus Media, where I was treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the NASH America Morning Show.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NASHVILLE — I’m taking in sessions and talking with people in halls here in Nashville to at the NAB/RAB Radio Show to hear what’s on their minds. Here are comments from some of the folks with whom I spoke on day one of the convention.
Christina Albee, chief marketing officer for Cumulus Media, says she was surprised to find so many young people — and especially young women — in the audience for her speed mentoring session. “The young people are our future. I met people in my session who were running their college radio stations and gaining hands-on experience. We were also not just talking about AM/FM radio with these young people. We talked content and they were really understanding the power of content, whether over the air or digitally or over a mobile device. In publishing there are a lot of women both in and out of management. However, in radio there are more men in leadership roles. Of course at Cumulus, our CEO (Mary Berner) and the Westwood One president (Suzanne Grimes) are women…and then to walk in to this room and see so many college-age women with their high interest level warms my heart, honestly, I’m empowered to want to be a part of the radio business. It bodes very well for the future of radio.”
Beck Ordered to Identify Two Confidential Sources. In a ruling Tuesday (8/9), U.S. district court judge Patti Saris determined Glenn Beck must divulge the names of two sources cited for comments responsible for the Premiere Networks host to be sued for defamation and slander by a student falsely accused in early reports of involvement in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The suit against Beck was filed by Abdulrahman Alharbi, a Saudi Arabian student who Beck claims was the “money man” behind those bombings. He called Alharbi a terrorist – although then-secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said publicly that Alharbi had been questioned about the bombings and he was cleared. Judge Saris categorized testimony about the sources’ information by Beck, producer Joe Weasel, and former The Blaze executive Joel Cheatwood “vague and often contradictory.” She further noted that documents supplied to the court did not validate the story Beck’s people say they were told. On his radio show yesterday (Wednesday, 8/10), Beck emphasized protecting the identities of sources is a longtime First Amendment tradition. The sources, he maintains, are at risk of being killed by “our government or our politicians or political institutions.” Beck, however, was victorious on the issue of applying Massachusetts law – not Texas law – to the case. For that reason, punitive damages will not be awarded. Saris dismissed a claim about another Beck comment that the judge determined applied to the bombers – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
WPRT Slots “Jared & The GM” in PM Drive. The weekday 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm pairing by Cromwell Group Nashville sports outlet WPRT “ESPN 102.5 The Game” of Jared Stillman and former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese (“Jared & The GM”) starts next Monday (8/15). Stillman – who will be transitioning from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon – comments, “We have taken great strides to give the city of Nashville the best sports product and have had a lot of fun doing it. We have an unbelievable team and I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Floyd Reese, who is an amazing [football] general manager and a great host – but most importantly – an even better person.” Reese – who moves over from being a “Sports Night” co-host – remarks, “I am really looking forward to our show. Jared was born and raised in Nashville and has been following Nashville sports his whole life. He is extremely passionate about sports and talk radio. As a sidelight, it’ll be a tremendous look at two generations: the baby-boomers, the finest generation ever produced, as well as millennials, who produced Pokémon Go.” Reese is obviously a baby-boomer, while Stillman is a millennial. In Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 PPM sweep, “The Game” ranks #21 (1.0, 6+), while cross-town format competitor – Cumulus Media‘s WGFX “104.5 The Zone” – is #12 (3.7, 6+); Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” is on top with an 8.2 (6+).
Kellogg Transfers to Cumulus Fort Walton Beach as OM. Inbound from Columbia, Missouri where he was operations manager for Cumulus Media Columbia-Jefferson City the past 12 years, Chris Kellogg relocates to Fort Walton Beach for similar duties at the company’s five-station Florida cluster. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete De Simone states, “The addition of Chris to our team will afford us the additional focus we need to continue to grow our ratings and revenue. We are excited to have the collective firepower of this dynamic programming team at work for our brands, listeners, and advertisers.” Kellogg comments, “Pete has created a terrific atmosphere to foster radio excellence. I appreciate his confidence in me and I am excited to collaborate with the programming team.” The Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach cluster consists of talk WFTW; WKSM “99 Rock”; adult contemporary WNCV “Coast 93.3”; country WYZB “Nash FM”; and CHR WZNS “Z-96.” In addition to his OM duties, Kellogg will program WNCV and WFTW, as well as co-host mornings (with Lisa Captain) on WNCV. He succeeds Hayden Green, who continues programming “Z-96” as he has done the past 16 years and is the station’s afternoon drive talent; Green has been with the cluster the past 23 years.
Neuhoff Names Shamus VP/Programming & Content. Seven-year Neuhoff Communications Lafayette, Indiana operations manager Mike Shamus (“Shamus”) is appointed to the newly created position of corporate vice president of programming & content. Neuhoff Communications chief executive officer Beth Neuhoff comments, “‘Shamus’ is a tremendous talent – a proven manager and leader with a great vision for growing and improving the Neuhoff product lineup. We are confident he will take ‘Media Made Locally’ to a whole new level.” Chief operating officer Mike Hulvey remarks, “We knew we had a rare opportunity to capitalize on Shamus’ vision for connecting with our audiences in meaningful and engaging ways. With our recent expansion, ‘Shamus’ is the guy to motivate and inspire our content and programming teams to create the best local media.” According to “Shamus,” The Neuhoff stations “are truly connected to the communities we serve. Knowing I can enhance that local audience relationship will truly solidify our position as the most important source of information and entertainment in the region.” Neuhoff owns 23 properties in five markets: Bloomington, Danville, Decatur, and Springfield (all Illinois) and Lafayette (Indiana). In addition to his operations manager duties, “Shamus” does morning drive (“Shamus & Annie”) on Neuhoff Lafayette’s WKOA “Lafayette’s Country Leader K-105.”
Odds & Sods. Former Greater Media-owned WMGC, Detroit sports talk host Sean Baligian will co-host Detroit Lions’ pre-game and post-game shows this football season on cross-town Cumulus Media talker WJR. Baligian will be teamed with WJR sports director Steve Courtney. The two see their first action together tonight (Thursday, 8/11) in the initial pre-season game as the Lions play the Pittsburgh Steelers ….. Theater columnist of The New York Post Michael Reidel joins Salem New York talker WNYM “970 The Answer” to host a Saturday 9:00 am – 10:00 am lifestyle show, “On The Town with Michael Riedel.” Vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley comments, “We are thrilled to have Michael on our team. We have a strong desire to support Broadway as the center point of the New York economy and Michael epitomizes both New York City and Broadway. He is going to add a unique quality to our station that is distinctly New York.” ….. McAllen talker KURV shifts Radio America‘s “The Dana Show” to 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. “She communicates the perfect mix of personality, entertainment, and uncompromising values for a new generation of talk listeners,” notes program director Sergio Sanchez.
Bob & Sheri Note Milestone Anniversary. Syndicated from Greater Media-owned flagship WLNK “107.9 The Link,” Charlotte – “Bob & Sheri” traveled to Hudson, New York to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first affiliate, iHeartMedia hot AC WCTW “98.5 The Cat.” Left to right in front of the WCTW prize wheel are Sheri Lynch, WCTW’s Tina Chambers, “The Cat” operations manager Bill Williams, and Bob Lacey. “Bob & Sheri” now have more than 50 affiliates. Their show airs weekdays 5:00 am – 10:00 am on “The Cat.”
Matchmaker Titus Signs With KMG Networks. Plans are in place through KMG Networks’ Krantz Media Group to roll out a radio show next year featuring matchmaker, relationship/dating expert, and author Matt Titus. KMG Networks founder and chief executive officer Gary Krantz says, “The minute I saw Matt in action, we knew immediately that he is the guy to step up and take the job that has been open in radio for years – that of the ultimate national relationship expert for today’s high tech, mobile listeners, appealing to both men and women. We are excited to launch Matt on radio, streaming, and podcasting through our new talent division and watch him soar.” At first, Titus will be available as a guest to stations on a market-exclusive basis through KMG. Among the stations on which he has already appeared are the morning shows of iHeartMedia Detroit CHR WKQI “Channel 95-5; co-owned classic rock WBGG “Big 105.9,” Miami; and Lotus Communications-owned KLPX “Tucson’s Real Classic Rock.” Titus’ television credits include Lifetime‘s 2009 reality show “Matched in Manhattan” and NBC-TV’s “The Match Off.” In addition, he has written “Why Hasn’t He Called?” and “Why Hasn’t He Proposed?” Earlier this year, KMG Talent, in association with Sungate Partners, launched “Always in Fashion” with Mark Weber.
Burns Fumes Over Nielsen’s Pending Policies. In a letter he sent yesterday (Wednesday, 8/10) to the FCC, the Nielsen Company, and the Federal Trade Commission, 3 Daughters Media chief executive officer Gary Burns addressed several issues including his opposition to the way radio stations are counted in specific markets and total line reporting. Nielsen has told subscribers total line reporting will be available only to qualified subscribers “in good standing.” Burns – who owns and operates eight stations in Virginia – writes, “I have strongly disagreed with the Commission’s policy of outsourcing its responsibility for defining radio markets to two commercial enterprises, Nielsen Ratings and BIA/Kelsey. Under a new Nielsen policy, only clients of Nielsen will be able to dictate how many stations an entity can actually own. Subscribers already dictate what counties are home to the metro. If this proposed new Nielsen rule stands, it seems that the Commission will be required to find a new method of determining how many stations are home to a metro. I respectfully request that the Commission weigh in on this policy and [ask] that Nielsen delay implementation of their new policy in order to insure that station counts are accurate, consistent, and to avoid unintended consequences of this new policy.”
Greater Media Drops Sports Talk on WMGC, Detroit. You have to give Greater Media Detroit management credit for having the chutzpah to take on CBS RADIO’s dominant sports talker WXYT-FM, but after three years and little ratings traction, the company is ending the expensive venture and is airing the ‘Detroit Oldies’ format (also heard on WCSX-HD2) on WMGC until a new format is unveiled. Regarding the end of “Detroit Sports 105.1,” Greater Media Detroit VP/market manager Steve Chessare says, “The change comes after much careful consideration of the direction of the station’s format and overall ratings over the past three years. We would like to thank our dedicated listeners and the entire ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ staff for their many contributions to the station in the Motor City. They are true professionals and we are very grateful to them.” The last three Nielsen Audio PPM survey numbers (Persons 6+) comparing WMGC to competitor WXYT-FM were indicative of the gap between the two stations: March – WMGC 0.8, WXYT-FM 5.2; April – WMGC 0.9, WXYT-FM 6.5; May – WMGC 0.8, WXYT-FM 7.3.
Talk Host Joe ‘Pags’ Pagliarulo Renews with iHeartMedia. WOAI, San Antonio-based talk show personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is also heard on iHeartMedia’s KPRC, Houston in the afternoon drive daypart. The company says that under the new, multi-year deal, Pags will continue in these roles. Pags’ program is also syndicated across the country and is heard on almost 50 additional stations. Pags also serves as the host of the iHeartMedia program “The Weekend with Joe Pags” that is aired on iHM stations nationwide. Pagliarulo says, “I am thrilled to continue with iHeartMedia. I am proud to have called iHeartMedia home for more than a dozen years and knowing this fantastic relationship will continue for many more years to come is simply amazing.
NYPost: iHM Creditor Would Rather See Bankruptcy Than Take Company’s Current Offer. Following up on Wednesday’s story about iHeartMedia’s SEC filing indicating that talks between it and a group of senior lenders about restructuring are far apart, the New York Post is reporting that a different lender – not involved in the negotiations referenced – says it would rather see iHeartMedia go into bankruptcy than accept the company’s current offer. That lender believes it could get 90 cents on the dollar in bankruptcy, and that would be better than the interest rate cut and year’s extension on the term that iHM is offering. However, that lender also told the paper he’d prefer a reasonable offer by iHM to seeing the company go into bankruptcy. Read the Post story here.
Deadly Istanbul Airport Terror Attack, the Presidential Race, ‘Brexit’ Aftermath, GOP Benghazi Report, Rio Olympics Troubles, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). The terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that killed 42 and wounded hundreds; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union; the Republicans’ final report on the deadly Benghazi attacks; the myriad troubles Rio De Janeiro is facing as it prepares to host the Summer Olympics; 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.
FCC Commissioner Pai Piles on Criticism of Wheeler’s Ownership Rules. In a statement commenting on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s decision not to change the Commission’s ownership regulations – including eliminating the cross-ownership ban preventing radio and newspapers from being owed by the same companies in the same markets – FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says, “The FCC’s rules should reflect the media marketplace of today. Unfortunately, Chairman Wheeler’s media ownership proposal reflects the world that existed in the 1970s. Last month, the FCC had no problem approving not one, but two multi-billion dollar cable mergers. Last year, it signed off on AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV. Yet, it now gets the vapors at the prospect of a newspaper in Scranton, Pennsylvania owning a single radio station. Whatever the motivation for the Chairman’s proposal, it has nothing to do with the evidence in the record, principled decision-making, or the law. Indeed, given current trends, it is likely that the Commission’s newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership restrictions will outlive the print newspaper industry itself.” Ouch! Broadcasters for years have lamented the Commission’s unwillingness to rescind this restriction. And now, at a time when there has never been more access to different media sources, the refusal to budge seems incomprehensible to many.
PodcastOne-Jericho Network Partnership to Launch Charles ‘Konnan’ Ashenoff Show. This is the first show to come from PodcastOne’s partnership with podcast host Chris Jericho for production, distribution and product marketing of his The Jericho Network. Latino Lucha Libre legend Charles Ashenoff, known to wrestling fans worldwide as Konnan, is the first host to debut on the network. Future podcasts will take full advantage of Jericho’s involvement and interest in wrestling, music, paranormal activity and pop-culture in general. All podcasts on The Jericho Network will be available exclusively at PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app and iTunes. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Chris’ podcasts continue to be among the most successful on PodcastOne’s lineup. There are a lot more things that we can do together, and the Jericho network will give us the vehicle and time necessary with which to do that.”
Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Condemns ‘Net Neutrality’ Ruling. Among those in Washington who disagree with the Appeals Court’s 2-1 ruling defining broadband as a common carrier utility service is Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai who states, “I am deeply disappointed by the DC Circuit’s 2-1 decision upholding the FCC’s Internet regulations. For many of the reasons set forth in Judge Williams’ compelling dissent, I continue to believe that these regulations are unlawful, and I hope that the parties challenging them will continue the legal fight. The FCC’s regulations are unnecessary and counterproductive. Indeed, as Judge Williams put it: ‘The ultimate irony of the Commission’s unreasoned patchwork is that, refusing to inquire into competitive conditions, it shunts broadband service onto the legal track suited to natural monopolies. Because that track provides little economic space for new firms seeking market entry or relatively small firms seeking expansion through innovations in business models or in technology, the Commission’s decision has a decent chance of bringing about the conditions under which some (but by no means all) of its actions could be grounded—the prevalence of incurable monopoly.’”
Singer Bo Bice Guest Hosts on WYAY, Atlanta. Atlanta news/talker WYAY “NewsRadio 106.7” welcomed singer Bo Bice to its airwaves as part of its weekly Casting Call Atlanta program. Casting Call Atlanta is the Cumulus Media station’s search for the next Atlanta talk star. As part of the initiative, three listeners with little or no professional radio experience have participated weekly in the Wednesday Radio Fantasy Camp. Each given one hour between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon for live, on-air auditions. Bice was runner-up to Carrie Underwood on the fourth season of “American Idol.” According to a press release announcing Bice’s appearance on the station, Bice is a self-described talk radio fan and regular listener to “NewsRadio 106.7” when at his home in Lake Jackson, Georgia. WYAY PD Greg Tantum says, “Bo’s appearance captures the spirit of the Casting Call program in that it encourages all voices in the Atlanta community to participate. Not just experienced or seasoned personalities. Casting Call affords the opportunity to discuss relevant issues from all the unique perspectives that make up the fabric of the metro area lifestyle.”
Orlando Host Jim Turner Suspended from WBZW for Anti-Gay Facebook Post. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, afternoon talk host Jim Turner has been suspended from his gig at Salem Media Group’s business talk WBZW after posting comments on Facebook minimizing the deaths of gay victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. Turner’s comments criticizing the media’s coverage of “sexual deviancy” have been deleted and his Facebook account closed. It’s not clear how long he’ll be off the air. His presence remains on the WBZW website.
Cumulus Media Ousts Market Manager John Sutherland in Providence Market. This report comes from GoLocalProv.com and indicates that Providence market manager John Sutherland has been let go from his position with Cumulus Media after just a year on the job. Sutherland replaced Barbara Haynes, who managed the five-station cluster for the previous 10 years. The GoLocalProv.com piece references last year’s death of WPRO-AM afternoon host Buddy Cianci and states ratings and revenue are down at the station. However, the news/talk station has seen its (6+) PPM numbers increase over the last three months, rising from 4.8 share to a 5.4 share.
Orlando Massacre Aftermath, Paris Cop Murder, Gun Control, the Presidential Race, London Sexy Ad Ban, Appeals Court Broadband Ruling, and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/14). The investigation into the possible motives of Omar Mateen and the aftermath of his massacre of 49 at the Pulse in Orlando; the live-streamed murder of a Paris police officer and his wife by an Islamic militant; renewed calls for gun control legislation; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; London’s Muslim mayor bans “sexy ads” in city’s tube stations; Appeals Court affirms ‘net neutrality’; and the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Nielsen: Sports Talk Format Seeing Seasonal Surge. This monthly report from Nielsen Audio based on data from its PPM survey shows sports talk seeing a seasonal, format-wide ratings uptick. Moreover, the May 2016 PPM numbers show audience share up slightly compared to previous May reports. Comparing April to May, among persons 6+ the sports talk format jumped from a 4.5% share in April to a 4.9% share in May. The share among 18-34 audience climbed from 3.2% in April to 3.6% in May, and the sports core demo of adults 25-54 rose a half point to a 5.5% share in May.
Odds & Sods. A couple of Salem Radio Network notes to report: First, SRN talk host Larry Elder was a featured speaker at the 17th annual Orange County “Flag Day Celebration.” In addition to his own speech, Elder introduced U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) who discussed the GOP’s 2016 battle to retake to White House. Second, SRN personality Michael Medved welcomed actor/musician Kevin Bacon and musician Michael Bacon to his Seattle studios on June 14. The Bacons are on tour as The Bacon Brothers Band. They discussed the band’s tour, Kevin’s acting career and “America’s deep political divide over this week’s Orlando massacre vs. the unity we had following the 9/11 attacks.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Kevin Bacon, Medved, and Michael Bacon…..Ahead of the 2016 NFL season, Westwood One inks a multi-year partnership with Loyal Ears Digital to provide “Fantasy Free” to affiliate stations. The content provider says that the Fantasy Free package allows stations to tap into the heavily engaged fantasy sports audience with free games that are legal and that “bring all the excitement that comes with fantasy gaming.” The games are integrated into a station’s website, with station and client branding opportunities…..Neuhoff Media CEO Beth Neuhoff is named recipient of the 2016 Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year honor from the Illinois Broadcasters Association. The award was presented on June 14 on day one of the IBA’s annual two-day convention. IBA immediate past chairman Sarah Hautala says, “Since taking the reins of Neuhoff Communications, Beth has shown strong leadership and has expanded her operations here in Illinois. She continues to support local broadcasting and the interests of broadcasters.”
Loveline Ending Its Run. During his weekly appearance on KROQ, Los Angeles’ Kevin & Bean morning drive program, Dr. Drew Pinsky (“Dr. Drew”) announced today (Thursday 4/21) that after more than 30 years, “Loveline” – the sex and relationship advice program he hosts – will be ending next Thursday (4/28). Adam Carolla, who co-hosted the program with Pinsky for 11 years, will return on that day to be the co-host the final night. The news comes shortly after Dr. Drew’s current co-host, Mike Catherwood, revealed he would be departing the show. It was believed a replacement for Catherwood would be found and the show would continue, however, Pinsky admitted that he had been hosting “Loveline” for free for at least “a couple of years.” Nonetheless, Dr. Drew remarks, “The ‘Loveline’ brand is still strong. Perhaps we will bring it back some day, but for now, this version is ending and I will be focusing on all of my other projects.” Dr. Drew’s first appearance on the program was in 1984 as part of a Sunday night segment called “Ask a Surgeon.” After Carolla joined as co-host in 1995, “Loveline” became a nightly syndicated program.
NAB Show Day 3. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS magazine from Las Vegas and the huge 2016 NAB Show. In today’s column, Cooke reviews the Q&A with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Often accused of being less sensitive to radio’s needs and more concerned with regulating the Internet, Wheeler told the NAB Show attendees that he’s a big fan of radio (NPR is his first choice). He says when asked by interviewer (former NAB TV Board Chair) Marci Burdick about the state of AM/FM in these changing technological times, “The question is whether those managing technology will change with it.” But he says the FCC has worked quickly to process FM translator applications. “Since we opened the window, we have processed over 500 ‘new stations.’” Read the entire report here.
The Presidential Race, Obama Saudi Arabia Trip, Russian Ship Buzzing Incident, Changing Faces of U.S. Currency, Islamic State Europe Threats, Iranian Missile Test, and ESPN Fires Curt Schilling Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The activities of the candidates for president; President Obama’s trip to Saudi Arabia and the possible link between the Kingdom and 9/11; Russia and NATO discuss the former’s Air Force buzzing of a U.S. destroyer patrolling the Baltic Sea; the Treasury Department’s plans to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill; threats by Islamic State to target European vacation spots this summer; the reported test of an ICBM by Iran in violation of the recently signed treaty; and ESPN’s firing of Curt Schilling over the MLB great’s post about bathroom use and gender identification were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Robin Quivers to Host Women of Influence Awards. This year’s 2016 Women of Influence Awards presented by the T.J. Martell Foundation for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research will take place on Friday, May 13, 2016 at The Plaza Hotel in New York. Howard Stern show cast member Robin Quivers will again host the awards celebration that honors “seven outstanding women who have achieved tremendous goals in business and inspire other women around the globe to live their dreams while balancing work, family, home and health.” The seven honorees are: Ariane Duarte, executive chef and owner at Ariane Kitchen and Bar; Debra Joester, president and owner of The Joester Loria Group; Kristine Johnson, CBS 2 co-anchor 5pm and 11pm newscasts; Dalia-Lamming Tilly, M.B.A., comptroller for the Transport Workers Union Local 100; Nancy Lieberman, NBA assistant coach, Sacramento Kings and Hall of Famer; Ruby Marchand, vice president of international repertoire development at Warner Music Group and vice chair of the Recording Academy; and Sue Phillips, president and CEO of Scenterprises.
Odds & Sods. The “Pro Football Weekly Radio” show is back on the air as of April 23 on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network. The show was founded in 1987 by award-winning sportscaster Hub Arkush, who says, “I couldn’t be happier about aligning with Yahoo! Sports Radio for the relaunch of ‘Pro Football Weekly Radio.’ With a partner like YSR, this show will be bigger and better than ever.” It’s being co-hosted by Lewis Woodard and airs Saturdays from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..But Yahoo! is not the only place “Pro Football Weekly” is resurfacing, the newly created Shaw Media Podcast Network is working with BlogTalkRadio for the latter to serve as its podcast platform. Shaw Media’s senior digital editor John Sahly comments, “With the launch of the ‘Pro Football Weekly,’ ‘PFW Fantasy Football,’ ‘Unprintable,’ ‘Chicago Football’ and ‘Huskie Wire’ podcasts, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of the Shaw Media Podcast Network.”
FCC Issues AM Revitalization Plan. Adopted last Wednesday but not released until late Friday is the Federal Communications Commission’s First Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Notice of Inquiry regarding revitalization of AM radio service. Under the First Report and Order, the Commission makes six changes to current rules regarding: the use of FM translators, nighttime and daytime coverage modifications, and elimination of the AM “ratchet” rule, among others. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had already nixed the open window for FM translator applications for AM owners but the Commission addresses the FM translator issue in a two-part move that will likely be well-received by AM owners: First, the Media Bureau will administer a 2016 process allowing AM licensees or permittees to acquire and relocate one and only one authorized, non-reserved band FM translator station up to 250 miles, and specify any rule-compliant non-reserved band FM channel, as a minor modification application. Second, there will be a new FM translator application auction window beginning in 2017 for AM stations that do not file a modification application in 2016. Read the entire FCC order here.
Dave Ramsey Takes ‘Smart Conference’ to Denver. Talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his Ramsey Solutions Smart Conference to Denver’s Bellco Theatre on Saturday (10/24). The day-long conference featured Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, Rachel Cruze, Christy Wright, Chris Brown, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. and provided attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers. Ramsey worked with iHeartMedia’s KKZN “Real Talk 760” and Optima Communication’s KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs “NewsRadio 105.5” to promote the appearance. Pictured here is Ramsey (center) with KKZN program director Josh Everett (left) and KRDO PD Mike Lewis (right).
Larry and Shawn King Podcast Features Guest Donald Trump. In this week’s edition of the “Back & Forth with Shawn & Larry King podcast from PodcastOne, the couple interview real estate magnate and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. According to a press release, Trump “takes listener questions and gets candid about his longtime friendship with the co-hosts.” Other topics include border control, free tuition, his previous comments about 9/11, and “personal experiences that reveal the ‘softie’ Donald Trump that Shawn and Larry know.”
Kane Joins WBBL, Grand Rapids AM Show. Reunited on Cumulus Media’s WBBL-FM, Grand Rapids are Michael Grey and Brett Kane. The latter joins the Michael Grey Show on the sports talk station alongside Grey and producer O.J. Grey and Kane worked together at KXSP, Omaha. Grey returned to WBBL in July after a stint in Omaha followed by a two-year run at KIRO-AM, Seattle.
Odds & Sods. WGN, Chicago, late night host Patti Vasquez is, along with television writer Emilia Serrano and ABC Studios, developing a TV show titled, “The Better Half.” According to a story at Deadline.com, Vasquez has a deal to potentially star in the show but that’s not certain yet. The show revolves around a Mexican-American working mother who “tackles the small and large injustices around her for the greater good, even though many times no one asks her to. Her well-meaning actions create consequences that affect her career, community and home life in the crowded Chicago brownstone she shares with her parents, husband and children.”…..Retired NFL punter Steve Weatherford – who won a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants – was called back into the league while co-hosting his weekend radio show on WEPN, New York “ESPN NEW YORK 98.7FM” on Saturday (10/24). Weatherford was working on the air with Dave Rothenberg when he got a call from the New York Jets to join the team to replace injured punter Ryan Quigley…..Sports XTRA, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning personality Dan Sileo is honored by the Little Italy Association of San Diego. The banner with Sileo’s image that you see in the photo at left is one of many located in the Little Italy neighborhood of the city giving recognition to noteworthy Italians in the San Diego community…..SiriusXM expands its relationship with Breitbart News Network with the addition of a new morning program for the satcaster’s conservative talk Patriot channel. “Breitbart News Daily” will be an “exclusive, conservative news and talk show” hosted by Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon and co-hosted by Breitbart news editor-in-chief Alex Marlow. It will feature interviews with major newsmakers, listener phone calls and interaction, and Breitbart reporters throughout the country and around the world breaking stories on events of the day.
Cool Job Opportunity. SiriusXM Satellite Radio is seeking a producer for the Patriot Channel in its Talk Programming division. The person in this producer position will be responsible for all aspects involved in producing a successful daily talk show on Sirius XM Patriot including studio/technical operations, promotion, production, guest booking, and research. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Previous production experience within radio and/or live studio environment preferred. For more about this position and to apply, click here.
WTMJ Boosts Brooks to Program Manager. WTMJ, Milwaukee assistant program director Eric Brooks is elevated to program manager of the E.W. Scripps talker/Milwaukee Brewers flagship. Scripps Milwaukee radio operations vice president-general manager/Scripps vice president, news-talk-sports programming Tom Langmyer comments, “Eric has been an invaluable partner in handling day-to-day programming responsibilities for WTMJ. In his new and expanded role, he will now lead our content team on a daily basis in programming, news, and sports. Eric will work directly with our fulltime program hosts; the news team; and with the digital content team. Between the recent addition of Dayton Kane as program manager of [co-owned country WKTI] and Eric’s new role with WTMJ, both stations have strong and dedicated programming leadership.” Brooks remarks, “I have always been humbled to be a part of a prestigious heritage station like WTMJ. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with our team every day; this place is truly special. Our goal always will be to have great local programming and a strong commitment to being ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station.'” Before joining WTMJ four years ago as news anchor/producer, Brooks was a news director in Jacksonville, Illinois at WLDS-AM and WEAI-FM. While a student at Valparaiso University, he interned at WGN-AM, Chicago. Ranked fifth (6+) in Nielsen Audio‘s August 2015 PPM report, WTMJ declines for the fourth successive time and is off by a combined 3.7 shares since April (10.1 – 8.4 – 8.0 – 7.1 – 6.4, 6+).
‘AM Tampa Bay’ Host Jack Harris Re-Ups with WFLA-AM. Longtime WFLA-AM, Tampa morning show co-host Jack Harris signs a new, three-year deal to continue his role with the station. Harris is part of the “AM Tampa Bay” program that includes co-hosts Ted Webb and Corey Dylan. iHeartMedia Tampa market president Sam Nein states, “Jack Harris is an icon in the Tampa Bay market. Re-signing Jack to insure he continues as the cornerstone of WFLA-AM for the foreseeable future was top priority for us. Having completed that is something we are very happy to share and celebrate with his many listeners, clients and friends!”
Boston-Based Talk Radio Host Howie Carr Details Threat Against His Life by Whitey Bulger. In a piece written for the Daily Beast, longtime Boston Herald columnist and syndicated talk show host Howie Carr writes about his dealings with convicted mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. Public interest in the Bulger story is high with the current film Black Mass in theaters, in which Johnny Depp plays Bulger. Carr, whose work as a reporter in Boston during the 1970s connected him to Whitey Bulger and his politician brother William Bulger, has written extensively about the Boston crime scene. He wrote the 2006 book, The Brothers Bulger, and the 2011 book, Hitman, about Johnny Martorano, and has a new novel, Killers, based in the Boston Irish mob setting. In the article, Carr writes that he believes Whitley Bulger would have liked him dead but questions the details of some of the stories that surround alleged plans to kill him. Read the whole piece here.
Jorge Sedano Paired with Jen Lada for ESPN Radio’s 9:00 pm ET Show. As TALKERS sources predicted several weeks ago, Jorge Sedano moves back two hours on the ESPN Radio schedule to a 9:00 pm ET start with new partner Jen Lada for the two-hour “Jorge & Jen” program. The announcement from ESPN Radio pretty much wraps the changes to the radio network’s schedule that were precipitated by the departure of Colin Cowherd during the summer. TALKERS sources say Sedano will do more basketball work for ESPN in addition to the radio show but the sports giant makes no mention of that in its press release. Lada joined ESPN earlier this year from her previous role at Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Former FCC Commissioners Copps and McDowell Pen Plea for FM Translator Window. Two former FCC commissioners – Democrat Michael Copps and Republican Robert McDowell – wrote a piece in The Hill that urges the FCC to open an application window for FM translators to AM license holders only. Citing the increased interference with which AM signals must contend in today’s increasingly technical society for one, Copps and McDowell believe the application window must be part of any AM revitalization plan. Read their piece in The Hill here.
Odds & Sods. An expansion of the deal between Radio Express – a supplier of entertainment programming to radio outside the U.S. – and jacapps provides for the former to exclusively market and sell jacapps-branded radio station mobile applications to radio stations around the world. This follows the deal consummated earlier this summer which allows Radio Express to market and sell the V4 platform to radio stations across Latin America and Africa…..The Mix Group is using its booth at next week’s NAB Radio Show in Atlanta to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. For each person who steps into the live Mix recording booth to create on-the-spot radio imaging, Mix will make a donation on his or her behalf.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $235,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney. The annual summer fundraiser for the Broadcasters Foundation of America – the 2015 Celebrity Golf Tournament held at The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conneciticut – raised $235,000 for the charity that provides financial assistance to broadcasters in need. BFoA reports that last year, it gave away close to $850,000 in grants. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the BFoA, including famed sportscasters, athletes, and actors. Celebrity golfers included: Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; Rachel Grant, actress and philanthropist; Jay Harris, ESPN; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, ABC and ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Bruce Beck, NBC -TV; and more. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross.
Chatting Up Miss America. WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley (left) poses for a photo with the newly crowned Miss America – Betty Cantrell of Georgia (right). Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who led the effort to bring the Miss America pageant back to Atlantic City three years ago, called into the program live this morning. As the 2016 Miss America, Cantrell will be working closely with The Children’s Miracle Network for the next year. She is the first Miss Georgia to win the crown since 1953.
Pope Francis’ Visit to America, Trump Candidacy/2016 Presidential Candidates, Potential Government Shutdown, Chinese President Xi Jinping in U.S., FBI Recovers Hillary Clinton Emails, Iran Nuclear Deal, European Migrant Crisis/U.S. Immigration Policy, and Death of Yogi Berra Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/23). The visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis; the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the looming threat of a federal government shutdown; Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States; the FBI’s recovery of some of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails from a private server; the controversy over the nuclear deal with Iran; the migrant troubles being experienced by European nations tied with U.S. immigration policy; and the death of American icon Yogi Berra were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
Monday Trivia Question. Granted, this deals with television, but it most definitely could have talk radio implications. Here goes: What is the most-watched cable news telecast in history? Your hint is that viewership for this broadcast is estimated to have been 24 million. Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed last week’s GOP presidential debate on the Fox News Channel. Among adults 18-49, the roughly two-hour debate drew 7.9 million. More than 20 million debate-related interactions appeared on Facebook. According to The Hollywood Reporter, by way of perspective, the first Republican primary debate in 2011 attracted 3.2 million viewers to FNC, and that channel’s coverage of the final 2012 presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney reached 11.5 million. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “The amazing numbers attracted by the Fox debate certainly underscore the power and potency of politics as an area of interest in America. Those who are loudly touting the death of politics, in general, as a viable genre within the talk radio universe are missing the point. The question should not be IF politics belongs as a mainstay topic of news/talk radio – but HOW it should be done going forward.” Harrison adds, “And that, of course, is not to say that talk radio cannot benefit by tapping into so many other topics of concern to people today beyond politics… but this election is proving that politics is here to stay and to abandon it would be throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.”
KFI, KLAC Add HD2 Coverage. Sports KLAC “AM 570,” Los Angeles will simulcast on the HD2 channel of co-owned iHeartMedia alternative cluster-mate KYSR “Alt 98.7,” while talker KFI will simulcast on the HD2 channel of adult contemporary sibling AC KOST “Coast 103.5.” Senior vice president of programming Andrew Jeffries comments, “Exposing our premiere talk brands of KFI and KLAC to a wider audience on HD is an exciting progression for our programming. It is in our listeners’ best interests to have these stations on every platform they desire, from the AM frequencies, on the iHeartRadio app, and now HD2.” No HD channel for any company appears in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2015 PPM report for Los Angeles. Among persons 6+ in July, KOST’s main “Coast 103.5” channel places #1 overall (5.4); KFI is #8 (3.4); KYSR is tied for #19 (2.4); and Los Angeles Dodgers‘ flagship KLAC is #31 (.9).
Net Q2 Radio One Revenue Grows to $119.8 million. That represents a gain of 10.5% from $108.4 million in 2014. Meanwhile, station operating-income shows a 14.3% improvement (from $41 million) to $46.9. Radio One president and chief operating officer Alfred Liggins, however, comments, “Core radio advertising business was soft for the quarter, although in line with our expectations, and partially offset by the strong performance of our network and syndication business – Reach Media. On a combined basis, radio plus Reach Media revenue was +8.6% versus Q2 2014, or -3.2% after adjusting for the timing of major events. Third quarter core radio advertising revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits, but we expect this decline to be more than offset by the continued strong performance of TV One; we are working diligently to turn around radio performance in our key markets.” Television advertising for the company was up 13.7% for the quarter, and affiliate revenues were +27%. Compared to $10.8 million or 23 cents per share a year ago, Radio One’s net earnings grow to $13 million – or 27 cents per share.
Remembering Frank Gifford. He wore #16 for the New York Football Giants and was one of the NFL‘s premier players in a career that spanned a dozen years (1952 – 1964). Owing to his rugged good looks, Frank Gifford transitioned to broadcasting when his playing days were over. Perhaps seen by some as a pretty boy, the University of Southern California All-American – who died today (Sunday, 8/9) of natural causes in his Connecticut home – constantly burned and embarrassed defenses as a halfback, receiver, or he could even run the option. Not only was Gifford on the Giants’ 1956 championship team, he was the league’s MVP that year and the Pro Bowl MVP two years later. In 2008, Gifford, along with Peter Richmond, wrote “The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever.” The Baltimore Colts beat Gifford’s New York Giants in that game, 23-17. Several particular things worth noting about Santa Monica-born “Faultless Frank” are that, while virtually everyone recalls him for his fame in television, he actually cut his media teeth in radio. Moreover, while most former athletes-turned-broadcasters did (and do) so in the capacity of analyst, Gifford adroitly took charge in the play-by-play role. Others did it before and since, but Gifford was one of the very first who looked and sounded like a professionally-trained broadcaster. In addition, in the overwhelming number of cases, ex-athletes in the booth tend to be one-trick ponies, covering only the sport they played. Not Gifford: He handled multiple sports and was an integral part of ABC-TV‘s “Olympics” coverage. During his playing days, he worked at CBS Radio in several capacities and would go on to anchor a nightly CBS Radio Network sports roundup. Gifford continued his relationship with CBS, doing sports on New York City owned & operated WCBS-TV (channel 2), ultimately graduating to calling Sunday games on CBS-TV. Many would say the huge break for Gifford was shifting to ABC-TV for that network’s “MNF” games. He replaced Keith Jackson in 1971, joining Howard Cosell and “Dandy” Don Meredith. His wife of 29 years, “Today Show” host Kathie Lee Gifford (Frank & Kathie Lee at right), is among those who survive Gifford and she took to Twitter to note she is “deeply grateful to all [for your] outpouring of grace.” CBS Radio Los Angeles CHR KAMP “Amp” morning personality/host of NBC-TV‘s “The Voice” Carson Daly tweets, “My heart breaks for the loss of Frank; we are praying and thinking of [his family] today.” Kathie Lee’s “Today Show” co-host, Hoda Kotb, writes she is “heartbroken.” Also in “The Today Show” family, Al Roker notes that he will “always remember Frank Gifford’s grace, self-deprecating wit and love of his family – so much to so many.” Frank Gifford met Kathie Lee when they guest-hosted “Good Morning America.” That show’s former co-host Joan Lunden writes, “Great guy, great couple.” According to Kendall Jenner, it is a “very sad day. Rest in peace to my Godfather – the legend, Frank Gifford.” Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford have a son and daughter; the 1977 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee had three other children from a previous marriage. This coming Saturday (8/16), Frank Gifford, would have turned 85 years old.
Over $4 Million Generated From FCC FM Auction 98. Results after 10 days and more than 50 rounds find 59 qualified bidders scoring 102 permits, with the FCC taking in slightly more than $4.1 million. It is all part of FM Auction 98, as the FCC auctions FM construction permits. The Erie Company, LLC boasts top bid honors ($714,000) for a Westfield, New York permit, while Iris Media, LLC proposes $421,000 for a Columbia, Missouri permit. Alpha Media remains active by offering more than $400,000 for a permit in Harper, Texas.
Tribune Tower Continues Its Brick Collection. When he was Tribune‘s publisher and company president (1911-1955) Robert R. McCormick requested that his correspondents bring back stones from their travels to add into the base of Chicago’s Tribune Tower. That tradition lives on this Friday (8/14) at 11:30 am when bricks from Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs) and Comiskey Park (Chicago White Sox) will permanently be installed into the limestone exterior of Tribune Tower. WGN-AM host Bob Sirott will host the ceremony, which will include interviews with Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. The bricks will join 148 stones from around the world and all 50 states that are already part of the Tribune Tower’s façade. Artifacts included are from The Alamo, Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, and Abraham Lincoln’s original tomb. Last added to the building were tiles from the Sydney Opera House in May 2006. Tribune-owned talker WGN-AM, of course, was the longtime radio flagship of the Cubs, whose games – as of this year – air on CBS Radio‘s news-formatted WBBM-AM; CBS Radio-owned WSCR “The Score” is the White Sox flagship, but that will change next year when the pale hose shift to Cumulus Media talker WLS-AM.
Odds & Sods. KOIL “The Mighty 1290,” Omaha joins the Kansas City Chiefs’ 65-affiliate radio network. Executive producer Dan Israel notes, “Eastern Nebraska is a vital part of the ‘Chiefs Kingdom’ and we are very excited to welcome KOIL as the new exclusive home of Chiefs coverage for Omaha.” KOIL operations manager Dave Tepper states, “We are honored to join one of the NFL’s most passionate fan bases in cheering on the Chiefs.” The NRG Media talker begins its coverage by airing the team’s first preseason game this Saturday (8/15) against the Arizona Cardinals.
Eight Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame. The ceremony from Canton, Ohio’s Pro Football Hall of Fame was held this past Saturday (8/8). Those honored were Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Junior Seau, Will Shields, Mick Tingelhoff, Bill Polian, and Ron Wolf. Westwood One Sports had live coverage and then continued by airing the Hall of Fame Game the next day between the Minnesota Vikings (14) and Pittsburgh Steelers (3). Shown here are Westwood One’s Scott Graham, 2015 inductee/six-time Pro Bowl selection Jerome Bettis, and Westwood One analyst, Hall of Famer James Lofton.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of RadioInfo.com.
Cool Job Opening for News Reporter/Anchor. Award-winning news/talker WSVA in Harrisonburg, Virginia has an opening in its news department. They are looking for a hard working reporter/anchor to be part of their afternoon drive show and cover and report on local news. Send audio and resume to email@example.com or mail to Frank Wilt, WSVA Radio, 1820 Heritage Center Way, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. Harrisonburg Radio Group. EOE.
State of Radio Audience Measurement Systems to Be Scrutinized at Talkers New York 2015. One of the highlights of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 that is sparking a tremendous amount of interest is the high-powered panel, “The State of Radio Ratings.” Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the scheduled speakers (in alphabetical order) include: Phil Boyce, SVP Salem Media; Erica Farber, president/CEO RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO Amplifi Media; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP audience insights Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO Moceri Media. The session will be introduced by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade and sponsored by Salem Media. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Lots of folks are talking about this panel – so much is brewing in the rapidly changing world of radio audience measurement – whether it is Nielsen Audio making moves to unify over-the-air and online listening or the emergence of interesting new inventions such as the Voltair system and the evolution of PPM…this event will be loaded with provocative questions, answers and takeaways.” The 18th annual installment of longest-running and most important national talk media industry convention takes place on Friday, June 12 at the historic India House in Manhattan’s financial district. Although sold out, the event still has several sponsorship opportunities still available. For information call 413-565-5413. To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.
Jeremy Sinon Named Corporate Digital Director for Hubbard Broadcasting. This is a promotion to the corporate level for Jeremy Sinon who has been serving as the digital director for Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities operations. He will continue in that role in addition to his new post as corporate digital director. The company says that in this position Sinon will work closely with Hubbard EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler and president/COO Drew Horowitz to “oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals.” Speaking about his new position, Sinon says, “It’s really an honor to be given this opportunity to help lead the digital efforts for a company that I care so much about. When I started at Hubbard in 2006 I was one of the first digitally focused hires the company ever made. It amazes me every day when I look around and see how much we’ve grown since. I’m excited about the future. We have really big things in store for us.” Prior to the last nine years with Hubbard Radio, Sinon was a digital director for the iHeartMedia radio group in Minneapolis and worked at the digital agency Omnera.
Howard Stern Show at Center of IRS-Privacy Issue. In a case that some might say could only happen on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show, an IRS staffer has allegedly caused some headaches for the agency that could result in a lawsuit. Here’s the story: an IRS employee was on the phone with a woman who had called with a question about her tax situation. Unbeknownst to her, the staffer was also on hold waiting to get onto the Howard Stern show as “Jimmy from Long Island.” At some point, the call between the taxpayer and “Jimmy” was put on the show but the staffer didn’t realize it. Stern let the call air for a few minutes before trying to alert “Jimmy” that his call was on the program. After the segment was over, the female taxpayer began receiving texts and emails from people telling her that her personal information was broadcast on the Howard Stern show. She is now threatening a lawsuit – against the IRS. Remember, the FCC doesn’t regulate satellite radio in the same way it does AM/FM radio and it appears Stern did nothing wrong. For its part, the IRS has released a statement that it’s aware of the situation and puts taxpayer privacy very high on its list of priorities and promises it is investigating the matter.
Odds & Sods. The former longtime radio voice of Michigan Wolverines football, Frank Beckman, tells his WJR, Detroit audience that his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show will continue as he and owner Cumulus Media have agreed to a three-year extension to his current contract…..SiriusXM is broadcasting this weekend’s college lacrosse action. The satcaster says it will present the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals and National Championship game live from Lincoln Financial Field in Philly on Saturday and Monday…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series that takes in-depth looks at Southern California communities in Downey on June 12. The daylong live remote broadcast will emanate from popular local meeting place Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.
Stephanopoulos Clinton Donations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 18-22. The issue of ABC TV’s George Stephanopoulos making donations to the Clinton Family Foundation without disclosing it to the network or the public was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with Iraq policy questions. Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton private emails matter followed by ISIS’ taking of Ramadi and Palmyra at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WAKR, Akron’s Chuck Collins Dies After Battle with Cancer. The Northeast Ohio radio pro was just 62 years old and had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013. Chuck Collins was most recently operations manager and a talk host for Rubber City Radio’s WAKR, Akron. As part of his OM duties he also was in charge of rock WONE-FM and country WQMX.
A Visit from Richie Aprile. Pictured here are CBS Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb (left) and actor David Proval (right) in the CBS Sports Radio studios. Proval – well known to “The Sopranos” fans as Richie Aprile – stopped by the show to talk about his work on the HBO series, his experience in “The Shawshank Redemption” and his current role in the play, “Queen For a Day,” at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in New York City running through July 26.
The 40th Annual Gracie Awards. Arriving at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday (5/19) was the Alliance for Women in Media Board and AWM Foundation Board. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer at CBS Corporation; Karla Ballard, SVP at Participant Media (and Gracies co-chair); Michelle Duke, vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation; Christine McLaughlin, broadcast lawyer at Sciarrino & Shubert , PLLC; Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships; Kristen Welch, SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Inc. (and AWM Chair); Kay Olin, consultant at Olin & Associates (and past AWM Chair); Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting, (Gracies co-chair and past AWM Chair); Jill Luckett, senior vice president of Program Network Policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Sandy Girard, VP, Brand Management & Development, SiriusXM; and Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency.
By Holland Cooke
- My notes from Sunday’s well-attended RAIN Summit West:
- Clever and profitable ideas from the RAB-at-NAB session “Small & Medium Market Idea Exchange:”
- Bouncing-back-and-forth between the NAB Show and NMX, I’m struck by the value of tips and techniques each group can learn from the other. For instance:
FCC’s Wheeler Agrees to Pursue AM Rule Changes. Patting FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn on the back for work beginning the process of “AM revitalization” while acting chairman, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler writes in a blog post that he’s “committed to taking action in this proceeding so that AM radio will flourish while also preserving the values of competition, diversity, and localism that have long been the heart and soul of broadcasting.” Speaking about AM technical issues, Wheeler says, “In the coming weeks, I intend to conclude this open item with a Report and Order that will buttress AM broadcast service and ease regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters. The proposed Order would adopt specific measures to address practical problems and interference-related issues that have long plagued AM stations across the country. If adopted, these measures will enable AM stations to operate more efficiently in today’s spectrum environment. For example, the proposed Order would give stations more flexibility in choosing site locations, complying with local zoning requirements, obtaining power increases, and incorporating energy-efficient technologies. These actions will help to ease some of the technical limitations that have hindered AM stations in serving their listeners.” In response to Wheeler’s announcement, the NAB’s EVP of communications Dennis Wharton comments, “NAB is grateful Chairman Wheeler has announced plans to circulate an item to his FCC colleagues designed to revitalize AM radio. AM broadcasters have uniquely served local communities for nearly 100 years. The time is ripe for the FCC to follow through on the tremendous efforts of Commissioners Clyburn and Pai so that AM broadcasters can continue to play a vital role in the fabric of our nation. We look forward to working with the chairman and the commissioners to help ensure the item ultimately adopted serves the American public in the best manner possible.”
Cooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 2. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo from not one, but three conferences going on there. Today’s report is from the NAB Show – a convention that Cooke points out is often thought of more as a TV gathering than a radio conference – but there’s still plenty of talk about audio. And, you guessed it, podcasting is one of the show’s darlings. Cooke writes that Edison Research’s Tom Webster showcased the importance of the success of the “Serial” podcast. “HOW impactful is podcasting? ‘Serial’ – a 12-episode true story podcast about a teen murder – has caused The Maryland Court of Appeals to revisit the conviction of Adnan Syed, imprisoned for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend. To date, it’s been downloaded 68 million+ times. Webster calls this a watershed for podcasting, ‘a watercooler moment, like what ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ did for Netflix. People are talking to each other about listening to a podcast.’” The integration of social media with legacy media is also a hot topic. Read more from Holland Cooke in Las Vegas here.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Premiere Networks and Futuri Media Announce Long-Term Deal. The two companies release the news of a new, exclusive, long-term national sales representation agreement between iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks and Futuri Media. The partnership includes all of Futuri’s interactive radio programming platform brands: LDR (Listener Driven Radio), Futuri Mobile Apps, and TopicPulse – a social media monitoring system for broadcast stations across the U.S. Additionally, Premiere’s international division will offer Futuri’s systems and services to Canada and, later this year, to the UK and continental European markets. Premiere president Julie Talbott comments, “We love working with forward-thinking companies whose teams are focused on success for local affiliates, and Futuri Media delivers every time. This new agreement testifies to the great working relationship we’ve had for years as Futuri has evolved from LDR. Daniel Anstandig and the Futuri team exemplify Premiere’s ongoing commitment to supporting broadcasters around the world with solutions that drive ratings, revenue, and digital engagement growth.”
Envision Networks and Focus 360 Partner on ‘Powered by Jelli’ Networks. Affiliate sales for Focus 360’s “Powered by Jelli” networks will be handled by Envision Networks as the two firms have entered into a new relationship. Jelli is a cloud-based programmatic advertising platform for broadcast radio, enabling the selling and serving of advertising on behalf of radio station groups and show producers. Focus 360 provides programming, syndication and national advertising sales to thousands of radio stations nationwide. Its “Powered by Jelli” ad networks traffic, serve and report all ad campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot platform. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff comments, “We are excited to bring this proven revenue generating opportunity to radio stations. Jelli is offering national advertisers a powerful vehicle to deliver and monitor commercials as they are broadcast while relieving stress on traffic departments to schedule and report those spots every day.”
Michael Harrison and Christopher Ruddy Discuss Politics, Journalism, Commercialism and the Nature of Truth in New ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in a candid and revealing conversation with Newsmax president/CEO Christopher Ruddy in the sixth and latest installment of his PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out.” Ruddy is the mega-successful founder of a conservative-tilting news organization that began as a website in the late-1990s (Newsmax.com) and has grown into a multi-million dollar empire consisting of, among numerous assets, a dynamic website, monthly print publication (Newsmax Magazine), and most recently, a full-service television news network (Newsmax TV) that holds the potential to give Fox News Channel a run for its money. In the podcast, they discuss what Harrison describes as the tendency of today’s media (and society in general) to “seek victory at the expense of truth.” Harrison praises Ruddy as being somewhat of an exception to that rule – especially in today’s popular political media in which most news publications, websites and electronic media channels cater to the predisposition of their target audiences in an attempt to gain “more eyeballs and eardrums” even if it means distorting or suppressing the facts to conform to the expectations of the target consumer. Harrison points out several significant instances in which Ruddy has actually committed what so many of today’s opinion practitioners consider a sin – he actually changed his mind and renounced formerly held opinions in the face of new evidence and facts. The fascinating discussion delves into Ruddy’s role as a major Republican Party influencer (but not registered member) and his colorful relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Ruddy talks about the coming presidential election and explains the mechanisms often referred to as the Clinton and Bush “machines.” In the “Far Out” section of the podcast following the Ruddy interview, Harrison delves deeper into what he describes as the coming “Quantum Era” that will be marked by the rise of quantum computing that he predicts will relegate the current digital era to “primitive” status. To access the podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
Robin Quivers to Receive ‘Woman of the Year’ Honors at Talkers New York 2015. Longtime Howard Stern show cast member Robin Quivers will be honored at the June 12 Talkers New York 2015 conference where she will be presented with the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman – known informally as the ‘Woman of the Year’ award. Robin Quivers is legendary in the radio business – an industry she entered in the late 1970s on a daytime AM station in tiny Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A couple of upward moves later she was cast in the news anchor role at WWDC, Washington “DC 101” when Howard Stern began as morning host there in March of 1981. Thirty-four years later, she’s still holding her own as the “voice of reason” on Stern’s SiriusXM program. Though successful on the radio, Quivers has had to navigate challenging waters in her personal life. A series of health issues forced her to reexamine her approach to healthy living and she is now one of the leaders of the movement to require full disclosure of where our food comes from and what’s in it. Quivers has become a dedicated philanthropist, working hands on with numerous charitable causes both at home and abroad. She does all this while maintaining a rigorous work schedule on the Stern program and on various other media projects. Upon making the announcement of the editorial board’s decision to honor Quivers, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This recognition of Robin Quivers is long overdue and can hardly even come close to serving as an accurate reflection of the magnitude of her achievements. She has established a unique place for herself, not just as a talk show personality in the modern era, but as one of the most skilled, accomplished and important radio personalities of all time. It is almost impossible to describe her unique sense of timing and elegance as she practices her skills and artistry every morning within the iconic Stern universe and the indispensable contributions she has made to this amazing show’s ongoing empire in the American pop culture landscape.” Quivers will receive the award, which will be presented by the 2014 recipient Julie Talbott, president of Premiere Networks at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District. The conference is for working media industry people only. Registration for the conference, which is on the verge of a sellout, and sponsorship inquiries can be made by calling 413-565-5413. For more information, click here.
Odds & Sods. The deal between Alpha Media Group and Access.1 Communications for the former to acquire stations in Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas has closed. It gives Alpha ownership of: hip hop KBTT, gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview…..Salem Communications reports is has expanded its partnership with Clip Interactive to roll out the latter’s Total Audience Solution platform to all 109 Salem stations in 29 markets nationwide. Salem says it initially implemented Clip Interactive apps for their four Portland stations in 2013, expanding to San Antonio and Atlanta in 2014. After seeing significant revenue gains and user engagement in 2014, Salem chose to expand its partnership and propagate Clip Interactive’s solution nationally…..At the New York operations of iHeartMedia, Anthony Molaee is promoted to director of digital programming and operations for the cluster. SVP of programming Thea Mitchem notes that Molaee has been with iHeartMedia since 2007 and joined the New York operations in December of 2013. Molaee’s promotion comes as Colby Hall joins iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises team.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman Attend Mets Home Opener. The New York Mets took the field for their home opener on Monday (4/13), and in attendance at Citi Field were WOR, New York morning personalities Todd Schnitt and Len Berman. WOR serves as the flagship station for the Mets radio network. Pictured here in the broadcast booth are (from l-r): Berman, Wayne Randazzo, Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, and Schnitt.
2016 Presidential Prospects/ Marco Rubio Declares, ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, and MLB Action Among Top Stories Yesterday (4/13). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the declaration for candidacy by Marco Rubio; the ongoing violence being perpetrated by ISIS and other militant Islamic factions; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the weekend’s MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Talkers New York 2015. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named longtime radio news executive Harvey Nagler, VP of CBS Radio News, the recipient of the publication’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Nagler during the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 convention on Friday, June 12. Nagler, a native of Brooklyn, New York began his distinguished career in 1966 as a reporter for WCTC-AM, New Brunswick, NJ upon graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in American History. He was named Vice President, CBS Radio News in January, 1998. In this position, he is responsible for CBS News’ radio operations worldwide, including news gathering and programming and its relationship with its thousands of affiliated stations around the country. In his distinguished career, Nagler had served as general manager, CBS Radio News (1997-98). During his tenure at CBS Radio News, the network has won dozens of national and international awards. He was chosen Radio News Executive of the Year in 2006 and 2008 in a poll taken by Radio & Records magazine. In 2010, CBS Radio News won the coveted Edward R. Murrow “Overall Excellence Award” from the Radio Television News Directors Association for the fourth year in a row. In March, 2010, Nagler was honored with the RTNDA’s First Amendment Service Award, which is presented to a person of distinction who works in an off-air, management capacity. In 2014, he received the Radio Television Digital News John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual’s contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press. Prior to joining CBS Radio News, Nagler was director, news and programming for WCBS-AM, New York “Newsradio 88,” (1987-97). During that time, the station achieved record ratings and was honored with many national and local awards for excellence in reporting. Nagler developed and implemented several practices which have since been adopted or imitated by hundreds of stations across the country, including the slogan, “traffic and weather, together on the ‘eights’” and “guaranteed weather,” as well as the broadcast of the Standard & Poor’s future numbers in each morning’s business report. He joined WCBS-AM from the United Stations Radio Networks, where he had been VP, news and sports (1985-87) and director of news operations (1979-84, when it was the RKO Radio Networks). The network grew from a small group of stations to a news organization serving 500 affiliates. Before that, Nagler worked for the ABC Radio Network in a variety of capacities (1968-79). Upon making the announcement of the board’s decision, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “What a wonderful choice! Harvey is the face of and force behind one of the finest operations in all of radio. At a time when the very reputation of journalism is in jeopardy and its role as a distinguished, vital institution in a great nation is in flux, CBS Radio News has stood proudly and strong as a bastion of consistency, quality and dependability. We are all indebted to Harvey Nagler for being a champion of all that is good about our business, not to mention humanity in general. We are honored that he will be attending our event and receiving this award.” Former recipients of this award include Norm Pattiz, Jim Bohannon, Barry Farber and Don Barrett. The award will be presented at Talkers New York 2015 along with awards for Humanitarian of the Year, Woman of the Year and Freedom of Speech. WOLB, Baltimore host Larry Young has been named recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award. The recipients of the other two will be named in the coming days. Talkers New York 2015 is on the verge of a sell-out. For information, call 413-565-5413 or click here.
CBS’ Schieffer Calling it Quits. Speaking last night (Wednesday, 4/8) at the annual Schieffer Symposium at his alma mater (Texas Christian University), CBS News‘ “Face the Nation” anchor Bob Schieffer revealed a major career decision. “Because this is where my professional career began, this is where I wanted all of you to be the first to know: This summer I am going to retire,” states the 78-year-old Schieffer, who has interviewed every president since Richard Nixon. After Schieffer’s intentions were made public, CBS News president David Rhodes issued a memo to staff, which reads, in part, “[Bob] has been an inspiration and a mentor to so many colleagues – and frankly – to me [but] it is not over yet. He will be on the air this Sunday from the Washington, DC bureau – and for a number of Sundays to come. An important 2016 campaign season is beginning, but this is Bob’s night and I hope we can all celebrate with him the remarkable achievement which is his career here at CBS.” In his 46 years with CBS News, Schieffer has been the network’s chief Washington, DC correspondent since 1982 and has hosted “Face the Nation” (which has a radio edition) since 1991. Schieffer anchored the Saturday edition of “CBS Evening News” for 23 years and was interim anchor of the “CBS Evening News” from March 2005 to August 2006. He is one of the few reporters in Washington, DC to have covered the Pentagon, the White House, Congress, and the State Department.
Saga Acquires Harrisonburg Quintet. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed, but Saga Communications is purchasing five VerStandig Broadcasting outlets and one translator in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Saga Communications president and chief executive officer Ed Christian comments, “These stations fit very well into our model of owning heritage radio stations that are very tightly focused on serving their local communities. We look forward to working with the existing staff to continue the great heritage that these stations have established. Saga intends to continue building its business in both the radio and television markets by identifying and acquiring middle market stations.” Involved in the sale are WHBG “ESPN 1360″; adult contemporary WJDV “Fresh 96.1”; CHR WQPO “Q-101”; talk WSVA; and rock WTGD “105.1 Bob.” The translator is W221CF. Saga’s other two Virginia clusters are in Norfolk and Charlottesville. While subject to FCC approval, the deal is expected to be finalized in two months. VerStandig keeps its four Hagerstown, Maryland facilities.
CBS Sports Radio Brings Two ‘Eye On’ Shows to Roster. Returning to the CBS Sports Radio Network program schedule are two of the network’s “Eye On” programs. “Eye On Baseball,” begins this Saturday, April 11, with CBS Sports Radio’s Adam Gerstenhaber and baseball analyst CJ Nitkowski co-hosting. It will air every Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET through the World Series. The first show will feature former Colorado Rockies general manager and current MLB Network analyst, Dan O’Dowd. “Eye On Basketball” will focus on everything basketball and features CBS Sports Radio’s Jody McDonald and CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger. That show debuts Saturday, April 25 and will air every Saturday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET through the end of the NBA playoffs.
Odds & Sods. A familiar voice to Boston news junkies will be gone after June when 36-year station news personality Anthony Silva retires from CBS RADIO-owned all-news WBZ, Boston. Silva turns 65 and station director of news and programming Peter Casey says in a memo to staff: “While I’m happy that Anthony is able to determine his own fate and announce his retirement, I’m also thinking that the loss of his voice, experience, and his gentlemanly manner will be a challenge for us to replace. We could not be happier for him to be able to plan the next phase of his life on his own terms.”…..The weekly sports talk show “Talk of Fame” begins airing on Dickey Broadcasting-owned WCNN, Atlanta this Saturday (4/11). The two-hour show is hosted by award-winning sports journalists and Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge. Dickey Broadcasting president David Dickey says, “Dickey Broadcasting Company is thrilled to team up with Skyview Networks to carry ‘Talk of Fame’ on WCNN. The content is compelling, and we look forward to making it available to our many loyal listeners.”…..CBS RADIO’s WCCO, Minneapolis will receive the 2015 Service to America Award from the National Association of Broadcasters’ Education Foundation (NABEF).
Salem Radio News Investigates Hollywood and Christianity. Pictured here with Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) is Argentina-born actor Juan Pablo DiPace (right) who is currently seen in the role of Jesus Christ in the NBC series, “A.D.: The Bible Continues.” DiPace sat for an interview with Tradup in Dallas as SRN is producing a series of reports on how Hollywood depicts scriptural passages in films and on TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations, South Carolina Black Motorist Slaying, Rand Paul Bid/2016 Presidential Prospects, Russian Hack of White House, Tsarnaev Verdict, Yemen Military Action, Clinton White House Years, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8). The negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program; the case of the shooting death of a black motorist by a South Carolina police officer; Rand Paul’s bid for president and other 2016 prospects; allegations the Russians hacked the White House computers; the guilty verdicts for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; the Saudi-led military action in Yemen; Kate Andersen Brower’s book about the White House behind the scenes; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS ‘2015 Heavy Hundred’ Published — Annual Feature Ranks 100 ‘Most Important’ Talk Radio Hosts. Today (3/25) marks the publication of the annual feature from TALKERS magazine titled, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – known informally as the “Heavy Hundred.” This edition marks the 20th consecutive year that this talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “As people can see by perusing this year’s list, it includes a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers, plus several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015. The task of compiling this annual feature 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.” View the 2015 Heavy Hundred here.
FCC Issues Biggest Fine Ever. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the landmark FCC fine levied against WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, Virginia. Though the fine is for a violation of indecency standards by a television outlet, this story gives a glimpse into the mindset of today’s FCC. The station was hit with the maximum $325,000 allowed by law. Weisman writes, “Many are questioning the size of the WDBJ fine particularly when it was an obvious mistake rather than an intentional exercise of pushing the indecency envelope as has been the case with indecency fines from years past when hosts such as Howard Stern were often singled out for indecency charges. WDBJ has indicated that it will oppose the proposed fine.” Read Weisman’s entire story here.
What Radio Personalities Want and Need Most from a Coach. According to noted talk radio consultant Bill McMahon, it’s not easy being a radio personality. They work in relative isolation far from their listeners. They can’t see or hear them. Most radio studios don’t even have an outside window. The only immediate feedback personalities get on their performance is from those working with them in the studio. If they work alone, there is no feedback in the moment. McMahon, CEO of consulting firm The Authentic Personality, goes on to say, “Oh, radio personalities get plenty of delayed reaction to their work, but it often does more harm than good. The phone lines light up or they don’t. Texts, Tweets, Facebook posts, and emails deliver all kinds of mixed messages. Some are glowing with praise and love. Others state clearly and unequivocally, ‘you suck!’ After the show, the confusion continues. An enthusiastic PD might proclaim he loves a bit the personality hated, usually without offering specifics about what made it so good. Later, the GM weighs in saying, “I didn’t get that phone segment you did in the 8 o’clock hour and I don’t think it was relevant to our listeners.” Problem is the personality thinks it’s the best thing he did all morning and his followers on Twitter and Facebook seem to agree. This is the real world of a radio personality where everyone has an opinion on what they do and the opinions are anything but unanimous. It’s no wonder even the most successful radio personalities with consistently high ratings can be very insecure.” In a new article posted today (3/25) that is a must-read for PDs, McMahon details some of the things he has learned that radio personalities need from their talent coaches. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
Much Ado About Nothing? You Decide. When it comes to New Jersey politics and Governor Chris Christie, controversy is never far away. But recently, Townsquare Media-owned talk giant WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” found itself in the political spotlight – if only for a moment – after a spur-of-the-moment bit during the “Ask the Governor” show involving a “gift” for news director Eric Scott was picked up by the mainstream media. In summary, the International Business Times wrote about Christie’s spontaneous request to show sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group to get show host Eric Scott something for his work on the program. Christie is quoted saying, “How about a new car from the Lester Glenn Auto Group for Eric Scott? Right, can we do that? Are the Lester Glenn Auto people listening? Eric Scott is getting the shaft here, and what we need is a little love for Eric Scott. So maybe it could be coming from the Lester Glenn Auto Group.” Read the IBT piece here. After getting Scott the use of a Corvette from Lester Glenn Auto Group for a week, Townsquare EVP Alex Bekett sought to calm those crying ethical foul over the matter by issuing the following statement to PolitickerNJ.com to clarify: “Eric Scott was offered free use of a 2015 Corvette Stingray by ‘Ask The Governor’ sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group from March 17, 2015 – March 24, 2015 as a result of an unsolicited humorous comment made by Governor Christie on February’s award-winning monthly ‘Ask the Governor’ program on ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ Neither ‘New Jersey 101.5’ owner Townsquare Media, nor Mr. Scott, paid for use of the automobile. The car belongs to Lester Glenn Auto Group. Neither Townsquare nor Mr. Scott were given a car, but rather Mr. Scott was given brief use of a car. Neither Townsquare nor Mr. Scott have knowledge of the political contributions of the ownership of the Lester Glenn Auto Group. The Lester Glenn Auto Group is a valued Townsquare Media advertising partner. A portion of a conversation during February’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program on New Jersey 101.5 led to the unsolicited provision of free use of a car for Mr. Scott from Lester Glenn Auto Group. None of the parties involved believe anything that transpired was inappropriate. Nothing that transpired will affect continued objective coverage of the governor on ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ as was evidenced by last night’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program.”
Odds & Sods. A new, nightly lineup is unveiled at ESPN Radio, effective Monday, March 30. The sports content giant says “the new shows will be hosted by three distinct ESPN voices with disparate takes on the sports world – Jorge Sedano, Bomani Jones and Freddie Coleman. The new lineup will kick off at 7:00 pm ET with ‘The Sedano Show,’ followed by an evocative new program ‘The Right Time with Bomani Jones’ at 9:00 pm and continuing with the three-hour ‘Freddie Coleman Show’ at 11:00 pm.” VP, ESPN Audio network content David Roberts comments, “The new weeknight lineup underscores our commitment to serve sports fans by offering the most compelling, interesting, informative and entertaining content from an on-air team that is dynamic, distinctive and diverse all week long.”…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs tells TALKERS magazine she’s thrilled that Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval recently honored the request she made – along with Assemblyman Chris Edwards – to make a Proclamation that Nevada Blood Donation Day will this year be April 25. She says, “I am so ecstatic that Governor Sandoval and Assemblyman Chris Edwards were so quick to assist us in making a statewide day for blood donation! This will help save so many lives!”
Cool Job Opportunity. Saga Communications’ Portland, Maine radio group is seeking a brand manager and news director for news/talk WGAN. Saga reports it has an opening to lead its top news/talk outlet WGAN and its sister brands in the beautiful Portland market. Successful candidates will exhibit an ability to lead a five-person news department, develop and coach local talent, direct programming, develop and curate a contemporary sound for the entire station in delivery and production. Please send your resume and supporting material to Bob Adams, General Manager, Portland Radio Group: Badams@portlandradiogroup.com. EOE/MF.
The Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, Iran’s Nuclear Program, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Russian Military Aggression, the Crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, Scott Walker Voter ID Law Victory, Google-White House Relationship, and Angelina Jolie Cancer Prevention Surgery Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The political relationship between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. and Israel; the controversy over negotiating a nuclear policy with Iran; the growing list of potential candidates for president in 2016; increased military aggression by Russia and the West’s response; the mystery of the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s high court victory in that state’s voter ID law battle; suggestions of a cozy relationship between Google and the White House; and the flap over Angelina Jolie’s decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed for the purposes of cancer prevention were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — Earlier this week, the FCC announced that it intends to fine television station WDBJ of Roanoke, Virginia $325,000 for broadcasting an image of a penis in a corner of the television screen for three seconds in a story that WDBJ ran on its six o’clock news on July 12, 2012. The story was about a retired porn star, Harmony Rose, who was now working as an EMT. In the broadcast of the story, a visual image of a porn website for which the star had worked was shown in a corner of the screen. While putting the story together, no one who worked on the story noticed a penis was viewable on the image of the website. According to WDBJ, which has never been fined in the past, the image was not even viewable on the editing machines used to create the story. According to WDBJ president and general manager Jeff Marks, “We are surprised and disappointed that the FCC has decided to propose to fine WDBJ for a fleeting image on the very edge of some television screens during a news broadcast. The story had gone through a review before it aired. Inclusion of the image was purely unintentional.” This fine, if it stands, would be the highest fine the FCC has ever issued for a single incident broadcast on one station and ten times higher than previous single broadcast fines for indecent material.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
WASHINGTON — No one seems to be neutral over net neutrality. On February 26, the FCC approved new rules to classify and regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility by a vote of 3-2 strictly along party lines with the three Democratic commissioners voting in favor of the new rules and the two Republican commissioners voting against the proposal.
Not that any of the commissioners appeared to be against net neutrality. Net neutrality is the name for the principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally and that Internet Service Providers cannot charge more for higher-speed service and greater access which would limit the most effective use of the Internet to only those large companies that could afford the greater fees. Under net neutrality, the Internet Service Providers could not speed up, slow down or block delivery of any content or service. Those in favor of net neutrality fear giving Internet Service Providers too much power and control over how people surf the net. Internet Service Providers have opposed net neutrality for years, arguing that they should be able to charge higher fees to some companies, such as Netflix to receive faster service. However critics of the Internet Service providers’ proposals for tiered pricing say that it would stifle freedom of speech and equal access that is at the cornerstone of the Internet and, in effect, would result in only big companies that could afford larger fees having effective access to the Internet as a means of communication.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — For many years it has been a violation of both federal law and FCC regulations for radio stations to neglect to inform the listening audience when someone has provided payment, services or something else of value in return for getting something on the airwaves. This practice of paying for play has come to be known as “Payola” although the term does not specifically appear in any of the laws or regulations.
Payola has a rich and colorful history that includes both Congressional hearings and comments in 1960 by President Dwight Eisenhower who referred to Payola as an issue of public morality and called for laws to make Payola a crime.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness.
Even at the zenith of his popularity, Owens had an unrivaled flair to make anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact feel as though he or she were a genuinely important friend of his.
Dignity with which Owens carried himself make those having the privilege to work behind a microphone exude intense pride in saying they are in the same profession.
Legal Analysis: The FCC Properly Rules In Favor of Redskins. The Federal Communications Commission’s decision last week to grant license renewal to radio station WWXX-FM, Buckland, Virginia, despite objections filed with the commission centering around the team’s Redskins name, was greeted with approval from TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman. In a column posted today (12/22), Weisman writes that – whether one agrees that the team name is offensive or not – the FCC’s decision was the correct one. “The objection to the renewal tried to twist legal terms totally beyond their meaning. The objectors argued that the term ‘Redskins’ was obscene. Obscenity is not permitted on the public airwaves and continuing use of obscenity on a radio station would legitimately be a ground for denying a renewal of license. Obscenity may be in the eye of the beholder to some people, but not in the eyes of the established law, and the FCC rules and regulations which limit obscenity to the depiction or description of sexual conduct.” Read Weisman’s entire explanation of the decision here.
Alpha Media Enters Shreveport and Tyler-Longview with Access 1 Acquisition. The nine radio stations owned by Access 1 Communications in the Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas markets are being purchased by Alpha Media for an undisclosed sum. The stations – which Alpha will begin to operate under an LMA effective January 1, are: hip hop KBTT, gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview. Alpha notes that when all pending deals are complete, it will own and operate 83 stations. Alpha chairman Larry Wilson states, “I’ve known [Access 1 president and CEO] Chesley Maddox-Dorsey for a long time. She’s a great person with superb integrity and it’s a tremendous honor for us to be buying stations from Access 1. I’ve been continually impressed with the quality of people I’ve met and their passion for the industry; it fits right in our sweet spot for live and local radio and we are very much looking forward to the acquisition.”
Odds & Sods. The digital broadcast of “The Anthony Cumia Show” is being repped by AdLarge Media. Cumia – longtime partner of SiriusXM’s Gregg “Opie” Hughes – left the satcaster in August and recently debuted his digital video show…..WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo agrees to a new contract with iHeartMedia. He’s also heard on other iHeartMedia stations…..Oldies WVLZ-AM, Nashville will flip to sports talk on January 5 using programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio.
Remembering Bill Burton. Holiday festivities were dampened over the weekend by the news that the industry lost a genuine cheerleader. Particularly to those in Michigan radio sales circles, the name Bill Burton is legendary, as was his insistence that salespeople always “be fabulous.” Cause of death for the 85-year-old Burton was head injuries resulting from a fall at his home this past Tuesday (12/16); he passed away on Saturday (12/20). As president and chief operating officer of the Detroit Radio Advertising Group, Burton’s primary responsibility was to sell radio at the decision-making level. In fact, he preferred to be called a “radio cheerleader,” “professional product mover,” or “people builder,” rather than the aforementioned impressive title he held the past quarter of a century. “Why Radio” was the underlying theme to the countless presentations the Detroit native would make around the country. Credited with originating the line, “An automobile is a radio with four wheels,” Burton would stress 91% of drivers listen in their cars, making them a “captive audience” for advertisers. Radio is the “frequency medium,” he would insist and “frequency is paramount in selling.” Burton started his radio career as an AE at Eastman Radio, where he would eventually become president and chairman. A 2002 Michigan Broadcast Hall of Fame inductee, Burton entered the Adcraft Hall of Fame in 2005. He held a degree in business and economics from Michigan State University (MSU 10 years ago presented him the Lifetime Achievement Award from its Broad College of Business), and Burton attended law school at the University of Michigan, before joining the Army. Among Burton’s many non-industry accomplishments was successfully completing the Boston Marathon.
Nashville Broadcaster Teddy Bart Dies at 78. Nashville radio and TV legend Teddy Bart died on December 21 at age 78. According to his obit in The Tennessean, Bart’s shows were known for defining “the discussion of Nashville’s political and business heavyweights.” In addition to work on local television stations, Bart was part of the long-running “Waking Crew” on WSM-AM. He also hosted “Teddy Bart’s Round Table” with co-host Karlen Evins several stations in the market.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is currently looking for a passionate and innovative individual to join our team in the role of Web Developer. This is a big year for Greater Media technology where you can be part of rolling out all-new, state-of-the-art brand experiences for some of the best radio stations in Charlotte: News/Talk 1110 WBT, 107.9 The Link, and The Bob & Sheri Network. You must have a solid grasp of and demonstrated experience with modern web technologies and standards such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery. You must also be a proficient developer in PHP and MySQL. Experience with WordPress and WordPress plugin development along with a minimum of 2 years’ experience is required. The daily activities of this position include: Designing and developing new digital experiences, features and functionality for our programming and promotions departments across our radio stations’ web and mobile app properties; Collaborating with our sales department to create and traffic engaging advertising opportunities for our clients; Talking to people. Seriously, you’ll interact in some form or fashion with just about everyone in the company so you’ll need to have “people skills.” So, if you’ve got a great eye for digital design and terms like responsive design, Node.js, git, Bootstrap and API integration get you excited, please reach out to us! Please send your cover letter and resume to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. firstname.lastname@example.org 704-338-3079 (fax) No phone calls please. EOE.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — There has been much discussion in recent years about the use of the name “Redskins” for the NFL’s Washington franchise and I believe that such discussion is a healthy exercise of free speech. The propriety of the name “Redskins” was even determined last June to be inappropriate for continued trademark protection because the name disparages a group. That decision is presently under appeal.
However, one place that the discussion of the propriety of the name had absolutely no business being discussed was at the FCC during the course of an objection to the radio station license renewal application of Washington, DC radio station WWXX-FM. This radio station is owned by Dan Snyder, the owner of the NFL’s Redskins, and is part of the team’s radio network. An objection was filed by a law professor and others to the license renewal, as was his or anyone else’s right. However his reasoning was totally spurious as recognized by the FCC which showed a little political testosterone and rightfully rejected all of the professor’s objections and renewed the application of WWXX-FM.
Snyder Scores FCC Victory. Ruling that the name of the NFL‘s Washington, DC franchise does not fall under its definition of profanity and it is not equivalent to obscenity, the FCC on Thursday (12/18) refused to order radio and television stations to cease using the team’s Redskins moniker. George Washington University Law School professor of public interest law John Banzhaf is behind the challenge and he comments, “Virtually everyone seems to assume that no radio or television station which repeatedly and unnecessarily used racial slurs on the air would be allowed to continue broadcasting, much less have its valuable broadcasting license renewed. All we seek is that Native Americans be given the same protection as African Americans, Asians, and other racial and ethnic groups.” An appeal of Thursday’s decision within the agency and subsequently to the U.S. Court of Appeals is likely. Dan Snyder – who owns the Washington team as well as Red Zebra flagship WTEM – insists he will not change the franchise’s nickname.
Cumulus Media Expands Relationship with Dr. Drew. As part of a new, expanded relationship with Dr. Drew Pinsky and radio co-host Mike Catherwood, the “Dr. Drew Midday Live with Mike Catherwood” show will air on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles beginning in early January. At the same time, the company’s Westwood One syndication division also will begin syndicating “Loveline” starting January 1. “Loveline” will now be airing on a total of 35 Cumulus-owned stations. According to Cumulus, the new KABC midday show will “offer LA listeners unique access to Dr. Drew’s comprehensive advice on a broad range of topics. Listeners will be encouraged to call in Monday through Friday and enter the discussion with one of the country’s most trusted physicians and media personalities.” Westwood One currently handles ad sales for “Loveline” and beginning January 1 will also be responsible for syndicating the nightly show to local radio stations nationwide. “Loveline” will continue to be available digitally via PodcastOne. Drew Pinsky comments, “I’m really looking forward to becoming part of the Cumulus family and proud to be on the air at the legendary KABC in Los Angeles. It will be a great platform to connect with listeners during the daytime. And while ‘Loveline’ continues to be anchored at KROQ, I am thrilled that the show is expanding into new markets at night. This is a tremendous opportunity and I am grateful.”
Business Rockstars Welcomes Andy Schuon as Investor, New Board Member. The multi-platform network Business Rockstars LLC announces media heavyweight Andy Schuon has made an equity investment in the company and has joined the board of directors. Schuon rejoins longtime collaborator Steve Lehman, chairman of the Business Rockstars, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, who hosts “Business Rockstars,” the company’s flagship daily radio and television program. The company says Schuon brings decades of experience to Business Rockstars. He is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs. Schuon previously programmed KROQ, Los Angeles and served as EVP, programming and production at MTV, MTV2 and VH1. He also was CEO of pioneering Sony/Universal online music subscription service Pressplay (now Napster). He worked with the world’s top artists as executive vice president/general manager of Warner Bros. Records, was the head of digital and president, Artist Services at Live Nation/Ticketmaster, president of Infinity Broadcasting and has served on the boards of Premiere Networks, Hot Topic Stores, iLike.com, and Coinstar/Redbox’s new ventures. Lehman says, “Andy and I have a long history of success together, so his joining our board is a homecoming of sorts. With Andy on our board of directors, our already rapidly growing entrepreneurial media, mobile and social platform will be kicked into overdrive. Andy is a world class visionary when it comes to building networks, so we look forward to his contributions as we amplify the culture around entrepreneurial content and programming.”
Odds & Sods. Sports talker KXTG-AM, Portland “750 The Game” is now being heard on the FM dial on translator K274AR at 102.9. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “Adding the FM frequency to our sports station will not only help increase revenue and ratings but will play a key role in opening up new live and local opportunities.”…..Play-by-play for Houston Astros games will continue to air on iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston for the next four years as the two sides agree on a contract renewal. KBME is also the flagship for the NBA’s Houston Rockets…..ESPN Radio continues its coverage of college football with a 30-game postseason bowl schedule that will include all matchups from the inaugural College Football Playoff and the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented to take place on January 12. Veteran play-by-play voice Mike Tirico will call the final alongside analyst Todd Blackledge, with reporters Holly Rowe and Joe Schad…..SiriusXM is also on board for college football as the satcaster will offer broadcasts of 35 bowl games including all three games of the College Football Playoff.
Pavlina Returns ‘Most Interviews’ Crown to U.S. Teen talk host Pavlina Osta (pictured here with Sean Hannity at Talkers New York 2014) has returned the “most interviews” world record to the United States interviewing 347 people in 24 hours to claim the Guinness World Records title. The record was set at the Walmart in Port Orange, Florida. Each interview consisted of a minimum of five questions and every question was unique. The entire 24-hour period (on 11/22-23) was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365. For each interview conducted, Pavlina donated one can of pet food to Sophie’s Circle. The previous record holder, Claudio Siepi of Italy had 256 interviews and had held the record since 2012.
Walking the Walk. Media consultant Walter Sabo posted a timely sentiment on his Facebook page for holiday season shoppers. Sabo’s message shows a picture of a portable Sony radio and the caption reads: “To those of you who love radio and talk about radio all the time I hope you are in fact giving something like this to every single person you know.”
Alan Stock Emcees Menorah Lighting. KDWN, Las Vegas morning personality Alan Stock is pictured here in downtown Summerlin, Nevada at the community’s Menorah lighting ceremony on December 16. Stock says almost 300 people turned out for the ceremony braving chilly temperatures.
North Korea-Sony Pictures Hack Case Tops Talkers TenTM This Week. The hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system – possibly by North Korean operatives – and the threats against the release of the new film The Interview, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 15-19. Coming in at #2 was the renewed Cuba relations issue. At #3 was the Taliban school massacre in Pakistan tied with ISIS violence followed by the Sydney café siege at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.