Tag: "Heather Cohen"

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Friday, November 22, 2019

| November 22, 2019

Steve Bannon’s ‘War Room: Impeachment’ Airing on Newsmax TV. The one-hour, daily talk program, “War Room: Impeachment,” hosted by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, is now airing on Newsmax TV at 9:00 am ET.  Bannon’s co-hosts on the program are former Trump campaign senior communications strategist Jason Miller and Raheem Kassam, former chief adviser to Brexit leader Nigel Farage.  They provide up-to-the-second analysis and commentary on the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump.  Bannon says, “We will deliver information and analysis on the impeachment of President Trump to hard-working Americans as they get on with their busy lives.  The citizens of this country will be the real jury in this case, and it is vital they get the facts.”  The program is also being distributed as a radio program via Salem Radio Network.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/22).  The new episode titled, “Poll Dancing with the Stars!,” looks back at this past week of November 18-22, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Jeffrey Kuhner, talk show host, WRKO, Boston; Dr. Dana Cheng, senior China news reporter, The Epoch Times; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media NetworkRich Zeoli, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Tony Katz, talk show host, WIBC, Indianapolis; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Six Honored at Gracies Leadership Awards Ceremony. At the annual Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon in New York City yesterday (11/21), the Alliance for Women in Media honored six female media leaders.  Honorees included: Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner, Entercom COO Weezie Kramer, Univision chief communications officer Rosemary Mercedes, TV One general manager Michelle Rice, Crown Media Family Networks EVP programming and network publicity Michelle Vicary, and E.W. Scripps VP employment & labor law and chief diversity officer Danyelle WrightKatz Direct president Chickie Bucco was honored with the inaugural AWM Legacy Leadership award.  Elizabeth Smart delivered the keynote address, sharing her captivating story of overcoming the trauma of her nine-month abduction, at the age of fourteen.  Smart said, “I don’t think that you are made by what happens to you.  I think you are made by the choices you make after things happen to you.”  She ended the speech, saying, “As I move forward with my life, I am dedicated to preventing what happened to me from happening to anyone else and continuing to empower women, and girls of all ages, as much as I can.”  Pictured here is Alliance for Women in Media treasurer and The Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen (at right) with Mary Berner and (at left) with Weezie Kramer.

The Impeachment Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22. The week’s testimony at the impeachment inquiry against President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and Wednesday’s Democratic debate.  Coming in at #3 was the Hong Kong Human Rights Act and U.S.-China trade relations, followed by the Prince AndrewJeffrey Epstein connection 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.  See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. WFNI, Indianapolis “The Fan” program director and morning drive co-host Jeff Rickard is recovering after suffering a heart attack last weekend.  Rickard updated listeners via a tweet yesterday, saying, “I’m feeling a little better but have been missing here and on air after suffering a major heart attack last Saturday.  THANKS to all who have reached out and hopefully I’ll be back to work soon.  I’m going to go back to being quiet for a few days.”…..iHeartMedia news/talk WILM-AM, Wilmington, Delaware signs a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers’ NBA G League affiliate the Delaware Blue Coats to air play-by-play of all of the team’s regular season and post season games for the 2019-2020 season.  Blue Coats president Larry Meli says, “We are thrilled to bring Delaware Blue Coats basketball to the Delaware airwaves.  iHeartMedia Wilmington is a terrific partner for our program both in the broadcast sense and also from a community engagement perspective.  We’re proud of the commitment both organizations have to bettering the city of Wilmington.”…..SiriusXM is participating in WhyHunger’s Hungerthon 2019.  The online auction takes place now through Wednesday, December 11.  WhyHunger is a non-profit organization founded by the late Harry Chapin and led by executive director Noreen Springstead.  Hungerthon auction items include a trip to meet and see Billie Eilish in Los Angeles; a trip to meet and see Kenny Chesney in Arlington, Texas; tickets to see all four nights of Phish’s New Year’s Eve shows or their exclusive concert for SiriusXM in Philadelphia on 12/3; tickets to attend SiriusXM’s exclusive event with Billy Joel in Miami on 12/5; signed guitars from Taylor Swift, 5 Seconds of Summer, Alabama ShakesBrittany Howard, and more; autographed items that include a signed Rolling Stone cover from Camila Cabello; framed lyrics of “Too Good at Goodbyes” signed by Sam Smith; a helmet signed by Marshmello; tickets to the 2020 Daytona 500; tickets to the 2020 PGA Championship and much more.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Jason Howard is named co-host of “The River Morning Show” on iHeartMedia’s hot AC WRVE, Albany “99.5 The River” alongside current WRVE personality Tracy.  Howard – a graduate of SUNY Brockport – joins WRVE from Hurley’s Media in the Cayman Islands where he was OM and morning host.  iHeartMedia Albany SVP of programming Randy McCarten says, “Jason’s experience as an entertaining morning host along with his commitment to community involvement will be a great asset to ‘The River.’  Tracy and Jason have a chemistry that is just a lot of fun to hear every morning.”…..Westwood One appoints Nick Fox country program director for Westwood One’s 24/7 formats.  In this role, Fox will oversee day-to-day operations of delivering 24/7 programming to Westwood One country affiliates.  He’ll manage on-air talent while supervising music databases and support current and potential 24/7 affiliates.  Fox was most recently the program director and midday personality at Cumulus Media’s country WXBM, Pensacola…..Programming pro Nick Cash is named operations manager at Townsquare Media’s Killeen-Temple, Texas station group that includes country KUSJ, hip hop KOOC, urban contemporary KSSM, and classic rock KLTD.  Cash was most recently program director and afternoon host at iHeartMedia’s country KHGE, Fresno “102.7 The Wolf.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

| November 13, 2019

Salem Third Quarter Revenue Down 2.2%. Total revenue for the third quarter of 2019 for Salem Media Group, Inc. was $64.1 million, down 2.2% from the same period in 2018.  It also posted an operating loss of $14.5 million in Q3 compared to operating income of $6.3 million a year ago.  Salem is reporting a net loss of $20 million, or $0.75 net loss per share, “impacted by a $17.5 million loss on the disposition of assets and a $1.9 million impairment of indefinite-lived long-term assets other than goodwill, compared to net income of $1.2 million, or $0.05 net income per diluted share in Q3 of 2018.  Salem breaks its divisions down into three segments: Broadcast, Digital and Publishing.  In the third quarter, net broadcast revenue decreased 2.3% to $47.7 million from $48.8 million.  Same station net broadcast revenue decreased 1.4% to $46.5 million from $47.2 million and same station SOI decreased 11.4% to $10.6 million from $12.0 million.  Digital was also down 12% for Salem to $9.1 million.   However, publishing revenue increased 15.3% to $7.3 million from $6.3 million.  Salem also reports a $17.5 million ($13.0 million, net of tax, or $0.49 per share) net loss on the disposition of assets which includes a $9.9 million estimated pre-tax loss for the pending sale of radio stations WAFS-AM in Atlanta, Georgia, WWDJ-AM in Boston, Massachusetts, WHKZ-AM in Cleveland, Ohio, KEXB-AM (formerly KTNO-AM) in Dallas, Texas, KDMT-AM in Denver, Colorado, KTEK-AM in Houston, Texas, KRDY-AM in San Antonio, Texas and KXFN-AM and WSDZ-AM in St. Louis, Missouri, a $4.7 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio stations WWMI-AM and WLCC-AM in Tampa, Florida and WZAB-AM and WOCN-AM (formerly WKAT-AM) in Miami, Florida, a $1.6 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio station WDYZ-AM (formerly WORL-AM) in Orlando, Florida and a $1.3 million pre-tax loss on the exchange of radio station KKOL-AM in Seattle, Washington for KPAM-AM in Portland, Oregon.

DeMann Named Director of Programming for JVC’s Florida Stations. Programming pro Stevie DeMann joins JVC Broadcasting as director of programming for the company’s Florida radio station group that includes talk WDYZ-AM, Orlando and WYGC-FM, Gainesville “Florida Man Radio 660AM/105.5FM” and five music brands.  DeMann was most recently operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster.  DeMann says, “I wanted to find the right situation before getting back into the business.  The team at JVC Florida is the best.  From management to programming, sales and promotions, they are all pros that love working together to create successful local content, events, and promotions.  I am thrilled and thankful to CEO John Caracciolo and EVP Shane Reeve for trusting me to ensure our on-air product is the best.”  Caracciolo comments, “Our company is in rapid-growth mode and we require someone with a significant and successful programming background to show that live and local radio is what listeners and clients want and can be done well.  Stevie’s history and background in Orlando allows JVC such a leg up on the competition in that market.  His experience in big markets like Boston, Orlando, and others will lend a tremendous hand with our already successful team in Gainesville-Ocala.  I am very excited about the future of JVC in Florida and across the country!”

TALKERS News Notes. In Miami, sports radio personality Brian “The Beast” London exits his position with Entercom’s sports talk WAXY-AM, Miami “790 The Ticket” where he was a cast member on the “Tobin & Leroy” morning show and assistant program director for the station…..Today, Lexington, Kentucky news talk WVLK “97.3FM/590 AM” is airing a nine-hour broadcast dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis and how it impacts Central Kentucky and the Commonwealth.  Titled, “Enough: Opioid Awareness Day,” the Cumulus Media station is partnering with Lexington city government, local organizations, and businesses to present the personal stories of addiction and recovery, city and state programs designed to help, the physical and physiological effects that lead to addiction, and alternatives to pain medications…..Envision Networks’ “GeekOut” celebrated the airing of its 500th episode this past weekend.  The daily audio and video vignettes are hosted by Peter Welpton, formerly managing director and resident technology “guru” for longtime, syndicated hosts “Lex and Terry.”  Envision says, “‘GeekOut’ is a daily vignette highlighting everything techies love.  Each episode covers a variety of topics including technology, movies, video games and all things geeky.”…..Lemonada is announcing its third original podcast, “Good Kids: How Not to Raise an A**hole,” is premiering on November 26 with five episodes.   Lemonada co-founders Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs say the new series “is a podcast for anyone in the trenches of parenting or anyone with an opinion on parenting (see: everyone).  For 15 minutes each week, a diverse set of parents, teachers, policy makers, and world shapers grab the mic and offer relevant advice, rants, and reflections on child-rearing today. It’s funny, touching, helpful, and exactly what the world needs right now.”  Earlier this year, Lemonada Media partnered with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to distribute, sell, and build audiences across the Lemonada network…..There’s a new iHeartRadio Original podcast launching titled, “The Women.”  It’s hosted by Rose Reid and features “personal and candid interviews with some of today’s female changemakers – including artists, politicians, amateur kickboxers, mothers, and lovers – who didn’t back down in the face of resistance.”  Episode one features former CIA agent and current New Mexico congressional candidate Valerie Plame.  Plame revisits the year 2003, when she says the Bush administration blew her cover in retaliation for a critical op-ed written by her husband…..PodcastOne announces the debut of the “Adulting Like A Mother Father” podcast in partnership with The Direct Message Network.  New episodes each Tuesday feature actress and entrepreneur Daniella Monet and her fiancé Andrew Gardner navigating parenthood and defining what it truly means to “adult.”

Impeachment Process/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, SCOTUS Hears DACA Arguments, Trump-Erdogan Meeting, Bitter Cold U.S. Weather, Hong Kong Violence, and the NFL’s Kaepernick Workout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The impeachment process against President Trump and allegations against him in the Ukraine affair; the Supreme Court hears arguments about the status of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act; the controversy surrounding President Trump’s scheduled meeting today (11/13) with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the unseasonably cold weather affecting the U.S. north and east; the violent protests in Hong Kong; and the NFL-organized workout for quarterback Colin Kaepernick were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: AM/FM Radio Gets Out the Vote. The latest installment of the Westwood One blog uses Nielsen Scarborough data and Nielsen Media Impact to show that AM/FM radio is a consistently effective tool “for political campaigns needing to cut through the clutter.”  Some of the conclusions drawn include: AM/FM radio has mass reach: according to Nielsen Scarborough data, AM/FM radio reaches 88% of likely voters, more than the Internet (85%), TV (83%), and Facebook (62%). AM/FM radio also has significantly greater reach among likely voters than SiriusXM(18%), Pandora (17%), and Spotify (10%); AM/FM radio reaches Twitter users: with the recent announcement that Twitter will no longer take political ads leading up to the 2020 election, AM/FM radio steps in to fill the void. According to Scarborough, AM/FM radio (88%) outreaches Twitter (18%) among likely voters. Among likely voters, 90% of Twitter users are reached by AM/FM radio. By investing in AM/FM radio, political campaigns get virtually the entire Twitter audience for free; AM/FM radio reaches every key voting segment: 88% of Democrats, Republicans, and swing voters are reached weekly by AM/FM radio; and AM/FM radio makes your TV better: according to an actual U.S. Senate campaign run in Nielsen Media Impact for an October 2018 media buy, a TV-only media plan achieves a 79% reach. Reallocating 20% of the media budget to AM/FM radio boosts reach to 90%, a +14% increase in incremental reach versus just TV alone for the same budget.  Read the blog here.

NPR and Edison Research: Spoken-Word Audio Consumption Up 20% in the Last Five Years. During yesterday’s webinar, NPR and Edison Research revealed data from The Spoken Word Audio Report that examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio – podcasts, news, sports, talk radio, and audiobooks – and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study.  Among the findings of the report are: The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%.  This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken-word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34.  Other findings include: 121 million Americans listen to spoken-word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years; growth in spoken-word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken-word audio (up 58% from 2014); mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken-word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken-word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago; and spoken-word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken-word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.  See the study here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG, Colorado Springs “98.9 MAGIC FM.”  He moves west from the company’s Indianapolis CHR WZPL where he was serving as assistant PD and music director…..Envision Networks’ “Full Metal Jackie Radio” starring Jackie Kajzer adds Beasley Media Group’s rock WRXK-FM, Ft. Myers “96K-Rock” to its affiliate list as the station adds the program to its Saturday night program schedule. Kajzer is the KILPOP 2018 Metal Programmer of the Year and a four-time FMQB “Metal Host of the Year” recipient for her work on “Full Metal Jackie Radio.”…..Another round of on-air staff reductions at an Entercom cluster, this time in Miami as on-air pro Todd Durkin exits the morning show at country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country,” classic hits WMXJ “102.7 The Beach” midday host Jade Alexander Mia leaves, and adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 LITE-FM” afternoon personality and APD Kimba is out…..In Madison, three on-air personalities are gone from the airwaves at Midwest Communications stations.  Julie Jacobs is gone from the midday gig at adult contemporary WMGN “Magic 98.”  Dave Ogden exits the middays/APD role at country WWQM “Q106,” and Jason Ryan loses his evening host/traffic reporter gig on “Q106.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One offers a four-hour, Thanksgiving country radio special hosted by CMA and ACM award-winning, multi-platinum artist Luke Combs.  Luke and his friends are going to talk food and traditions with a side of gratitude and a lot of music. Guests joining Combs on the show include: Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Old Dominion, and Kelsea Ballerini.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

| July 25, 2019

Dan Le Batard Off Air Again Today.  According to a story in The Washington Post, ESPN sports personality Dan Le Batard is off his radio program, “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” and his cable TV show, “Highly Questionable,” today (7/25) because he’s meeting in New York with ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro.  Le Batard was off the air on Monday after he addressed the “Send her back!” chants directed toward Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar by Trump supporters at a recent Trump political rally.  Le Batard was reminded by ESPN brass of the company’s mandate that politics are off limits on the sports network unless there’s a sports connection.  Le Batard criticized that policy as well.  He was, however, back on the air on Tuesday and Wednesday.  FOX News coverage quotes former ESPN staffer and Le Batard friend Bill Simmons saying on his podcast that he doesn’t think Le Batard will remain with ESPN much longer.  He calls him “a really proud guy, who I feel like at some point looked at it and said, ‘I have a platform, I’m on live radio right now and I’m just gonna use the platform for this and I know there is going to be repercussions.’”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk.TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Summer listening trends may be having an effect on public talk stations as 61% of those in PPM markets saw their weekly AQH share dip, led by KCFR, Denver and KUT, Austin – both declining 1.6 shares from the May survey to the June survey.  Comparing June of 2018 to this year, just 38% of public radio news talkers are up – including KNPR, Las Vegas with an impressive 2.8 share gain – but 58% of stations see a ratings dip, including WBUR, Boston (-2.5), WFAE, Charlotte (-2.0), and KUT, Austin (-2.0).  Just two public news/talk stations – KQED, San Francisco and KPBS, San Diego – ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets during the June survey.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Wraps Up Posting Today with the Panel Discussion, “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019.”  Today (7/25), TALKERS concludes the posting of videos of key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  This final post is the panel discussion, “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019,” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Danielle Lin, host, “The Art of Living & the Science of Life”; and Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York.  The panel was moderated by Andrew Kalb, then-executive director of programming, ABC News Radio and introduced by Dr. Daliah Wachs, host, Genesis Communications Network.    This concludes the posting of all the key panels, speeches and presentations that took place at the annual event.  All will remain posted for viewing/listening at Talkers.com for the rest of 2019.  Thank you to Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video for the excellent job of capturing these historic recordings.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Bert Baron Exits WCTC-AM, New Brunswick for Public Service Gig. Central New Jersey morning personality Bert Baron is exiting his position as host on Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WCTC-AM, New Brunswick after tomorrow’s program to take a position outside of the radio business.  In a press release, Mayor Jim Cahill says, “Bert is a well-known and admired member of our community.  His vast experience in communications, messaging, social media, community engagement, advocacy, and community work and education initiatives will serve as key assets in his daily responsibilities as PIO.  We are excited to welcome him to the team.”

Premiere’s George Noory Profiled in Boca Magazine.  Nationally syndicated late-night radio star George Noory was recently profiled in the Florida publication, Boca magazine.  The host of “Coast to Coast AM” promoted his live stage show that’s taking place at the Miramar Cultural Center on Saturday (7/27), and discussed his 17-year tenure as host of the Premiere Networks radio program.  Noory’s stage show will feature live interviews with Billy Carson, an expert in forbidden archaeology; James L. Paris, a motivational speaker and lecturer on the power of prayer; and Chip Coffey, a renowned psychic medium. Check out the Boca piece here.

Max Media Norfolk Back with Nielsen.  Three years after deciding to do without Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings service for its Norfolk, Virginia cluster that includes sports talk WVSP-FM “ESPN 94.1,” urban talk/music hybrid WGH-AM and three music radio brands, Max Media signs a multi-year deal to use PPM data and a number of other services from Nielsen. Max Media VP and general manager Keith Barton says, “We are delighted to be working again with Nielsen. The comprehensive capabilities of Nielsen’s tools, including Nielsen Scarborough, Polk by IHS Markit, Nielsen Rhiza and Tapscan, are integral to our ability to facilitate success for the advertisers and agencies that we work with.  We are now armed with the tools necessary to provide valuable marketing and advertising expertise to our clients and ultimately increase ROI.”

WWO: Smart Speaker Bringing AM/FM Back into the Home. The radio industry is hopeful that the rapid adoption of the smart speaker among American households will heighten listening to AM/FM stations in the home.  Westwood One presents some data to indicate the smart speaker is beginning to do just that.  Some of the conclusions drawn from recent research are published in this week’s Westwood One blog post.  They include: according to Nielsen, 28% of U.S. households own a smart speaker; 19% of streaming listening to AM/FM radio stations occurred via smart speaker at the start of this year, up from 9% in January 2018; streaming audiences skew female: 68% of the total music streaming audience is female, compared to 50% of the on-air audience to the same AM/FM radio stations; smart speaker AM/FM radio streamers listen to 7:55 hours and 6.3 sessions per month, higher than the average streaming listener; and a higher proportion of smart speaker streaming occurs on Saturdays and Sundays where smart speaker listening peaks between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Mueller Testimony, Immigration/Asylum Policy, Epstein Injured in Jail, North Korea Missile Test, Puerto Rico Governor Resigns, and Boris Johnson Becomes Prime Minister Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). Wednesday’s testimony before the House judiciary and intelligence committees by special counsel Robert Mueller; the Trump administration’s immigration and asylum policies and the conditions at detention centers; accused sex traffickerJeffrey Epstein is found in jail cell injured; North Korea tests new short-range missile; Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello resigns over leaked chat message controversy; and Boris Johnson assumes the role as Great Britain’s prime minister 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. The rumored arrival of Jason Pullman as host of the new morning drive show on Entercom’s country WUSN-FM, Chicago “US99” is confirmed as the company announces the new show launches on August 8.  Pullman was most recently morning host at iHeartMedia’s country WUBL, Atlanta “94.9 The Bull.”  Joining him on the air for the new morning show is Chicago native Katie Bright.  She returns to WUSN after serving as national director of promotion for Warner Music Nashville. Prior to that, she’d worked with WUSN in the sales department.  Also contributing to the show is current WUSN lead promotions coordinator Erin – known to WUSN listeners as the station’s “Batchelor” expert.   Entercom Chicago president and market manager Jimmy de Castro says, “We are thrilled to welcome this talented team to ‘US99.’  The team will bring country music fans an entertaining and informative live, local show that is built for Chicagoland.”

Thursday, November 15, 2018

| November 15, 2018

Alpha Officially Files to Sell West Palm Beach Cluster to Hubbard for $88 Million.  When the Agreement in Principle was announced back in late September, Alpha Media said it was divesting of some of its stations to lower its debt leverage.  Today we learn that it has filed to sell the West Palm Beach cluster to Hubbard Radio for $88 million.  The station group includes news/talk WFTL-AM, sports talk WMEN-AM/WIRK-HD2; adult contemporary WEAT-FM; hot AC WRMF; country WIRK-FM; and urban contemporary WMBX-FM. Alpha Media’s Bob Proffitt states, “While we are sad to see these great stations leave the Alpha family, we are equally happy for Elizabeth Hamma and her excellent and dedicated team to join Hubbard Radio.”  Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris adds, “This is an exciting opportunity for Hubbard Radio.  West Palm Beach is a terrific market and the Alpha Media radio stations set the standard for excellence in south Florida.  We feel honored to welcome these great radio stations into the Hubbard Radio family.”  KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Minihane Remains with Entercom for RADIO.COM Presence; Callahan and Mut Continue in WEEI, Boston Mornings. Sports media personality Kirk Minihane has been off the “Kirk & Callahan” morning drive show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston since taking a medical leave back in early September.  Recent social media posts by Minihane hinted there may have been problems between he and the company but that no longer appears to be the case as Entercom announces Minihane will launch a new digital radio show, podcast, and column on the company’s RADIO.COM platform.  A press release states, “The new platform will expand Kirk’s reach to a national audience and explore wide-ranging topics in addition to sports.  Kirk’s podcast and column are expected to launch in January 2019 and his new, daily, weekday radio show, which will include a co-host to be named at a later date, is expected to launch in early 2019.”  Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton comments, “As an industry leader in compelling, proprietary content, Entercom is making sure RADIO.COM is populated with the very best programming available. Kirk Minihane fits this model perfectly.  His ability to entertain and engage is second to none, and there is no question Kirk will become a highly successful national audio personality.  He already conquered Boston.  Now on to the rest of the world!”  In Minihane’s absence from the morning drive program, Mike “Mut” Mutnansky has been co-hosting with Gerry Callahan and the two will continue to host the morning program with “with a rotating cast of Boston’s most charismatic and intriguing sports personalities.”  And it sounds as though there will be less talk of politics on the program as the press release adds, “The WEEI morning show is being re-envisioned as a more sports-centric show consistent with the station’s brand and position as Boston’s sports leader. For more than 25 years, WEEI has entertained and informed Boston sports fans with engaging, must-listen sports content and analysis in the country’s greatest sports city. Going forward, the morning show will focus predominantly on sports.”  For his part, Minihane states, “I’m extremely excited to return to the air and reach a national audience, with greater autonomy to focus on a variety of topics, and even more digital platforms to connect with my fans.  It’s been awesome to be part of WEEI and I know Gerry and Mut will continue to put on a great show.  I want to thank the listeners for their patience and loyalty over the past several weeks, and I can’t wait to get started on RADIO.COM.”

Hammerschmidt Named News Director at KYW, Philadelphia. All-news KYW, Philadelphia announces Kristina Hammerschmidt is the new news director, effective November 19.  Last year, the Philly native joined the station as an editor and writer from KYW-TV where she was a producer and writer.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “Kristina is a talented and dynamic leader with expertise that will take the KYW Newsradio team to the next level.  Her strong track record producing live newscasts will help us deliver on our mission of telling compelling stories and setting the agenda for news coverage in the Delaware Valley.”  Hammerschmidt says, “I am excited to lead such a talented and dedicated team of journalists.  KYW Newsradio has a rich history and plays an important role in the lives of nearly a million listeners in the Delaware Valley each week.  I look forward to helping KYW continue to serve our community with the news, weather, sports and traffic information they depend on.”

AWF Honors Seven at Gracies Leadership Awards Luncheon. On Tuesday (11/13), the Alliance for Women in Media hosted the inaugural Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon, formerly called Women Who Lead, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  The program featured keynote speaker FOX Sports television sideline reporter Pam Oliver and honored seven female leaders in media. Oliver (right) is pictured here with honoree Beth Neuhoff, owner of radio company Neuhoff Communications. AWMF board member and Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen states, “Now more than ever before, we have a responsibility to create conversation and shine the spotlight on the success and progress of women in media.  We not only want to honor those deserving recognition but show the next generation what is possible.  Our purpose at AWM is to bring intelligent, accomplished, dedicated women (and men) together to share ideas, experiences and some ‘you go, girls!’”

Hofstra University Communications Students Produce Multi-Platform Election Coverage. Pictured above are some of the 200-plus Hofstra University students who played a role in the midterm election coverage, dubbed “Hofstra Votes Live,” that operated from two studios, three control rooms and six remote sites to gain “unprecedented reach” on the school’s radio station WRHU-FM, Hofstra TV, and Facebook (via Livestream).  The programming was led by students in the journalism master’s program at the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, a Hofstra alumnus and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the work being done at Hofstra to provide a fully prepared next generation of media professionals.  The school is a role model for what academia must do to be a vital link in the chain of American broadcasting greatness from generation to generation into the 21st century.”

All in the Family.  Legendary New York City rock personality Jim Kerr – heard in mornings on iHeartMedia classic rock WAXQ “Q104.3” – visited the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” program on sister news/talk WOR to talk about his induction (taking place this evening 11/15) into the Radio Hall of Fame.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Riedel, iHeartMedia chairman Bob Pittman, Kerr, and Berman.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago talk radio host William J. Kelly – heard nightly on WCGO, Evanston on “The Citizen Kelly Show” – is embarking on a multi-city live event called the “Listen to Me (Listening to You) Listening Tour” taking place this month through March 2019.  He’s scheduled 16 stops in cities around Chicagoland and Southern Wisconsin.  He says, “I’m very excited to bring the Citizen Kelly listening tour to cities and towns throughout Illinois and the Midwest.  America is at a crossroads and we need new leadership more than ever.  My fellow citizens deserve to have their voices heard and that is exactly what the Citizen Kelly revolution is all about.”…..Sun & Fun Media inks a deal to represent Digital Sound & Video in offering its radio imaging, commercial production, and video production services to stations across the country via barter.  Sun & Fun chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Sun & Fun Media prides itself on associating with top-notch companies that provide superior products and services to stations. Digital Sound & Video checks all the boxes and we are proud to be working with Ed and his team to give stations the option to obtain DSV’s first rate imaging and production services on a barter basis.”

CNN-White House Suit, House Democratic Leadership Battle, FLA Recounts/GA Gov. Race, Melania Ousts Ricardel, Trump-Russia Investigation, Deadly California Wildfire, Homeless GoFundMe Scam, Avenatti Domestic Violence Arrest, Brexit Chaos, Dow Dips, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The suit against the White House by CNN seeking the return of reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press credentials; the battle within the Democratic party for the next Speaker of the House; the election recounts in Florida and the yet-to-be-decided Georgia governors contest; First Lady Melania Trump fires deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible Trump campaign-Russian agent connections and talk of a bill to protect Mueller from being fired; the California wildfire that has claimed 56 lives; the allegation by authorities that the homeless man and couple who started a GoFundMe campaign that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars was a scam from the start; Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti is arrested on domestic violence charge; the political chaos surrounding British Prime Minister Theresa May; the stock selloff continues as the Dow drops another 200 points; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio station owner Steel City Media files a Plan of Reorganization in Federal Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis as the next step in its exit from Chapter 11.  Steel City owns hot AC WLTJ “Q 92.9” and adult hits WRRK “BOB FM 96.9” in Pittsburgh and country KBEQ “Q104” and KFKF “Country 94.1,” hot AC KMXV “Mix 93.3” and adult contemporary “KCKC” KC 102.1” in Kansas City.  The Plan has been approved by a majority of the company’s creditors and leaves the Frischling family in control of the company.  Steel City vice president Michael Frischling states, “In an environment where equity in radio companies is being wiped out, we are gratified that we have reached a consensual agreement with our creditors that enables us to maintain equity and operational control that sets the stage for future growth and profitability.  We look forward to emerging from Chapter 11early next year and we want to thank our employees and advertisers for their continued support.”…..Westwood One is offering country stations a four-hour, holiday weekend program called “A Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration with Brett Young,” featuring Young and his friends, including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, and many more. The program is available for airing any time between Thursday, November 22 and Sunday, November 25.

Monday, October 22, 2018

| October 22, 2018

Jim Villanucci Returns to Albuquerque Air on ‘ESPN 101.7 The Team.’ Former longtime KKOB-AM, Albuquerque talk show host Jim Villanucci returns to the air in the market on Team Broadcasting’s sports talk KQTM-FM “ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team” today from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Villanucci left KKOB in 2013 after 14 years on the air there.  After exiting KKOB, he hosted shows at KXNT, Las Vegas and KXL, Portland.  Team Broadcasting president Joe O’Neill says, “The range of this show is as unlimited as Jim’s talent.  Of course, there will be sports but Jim will jump into current events, pop culture, and anything a listener – or Jim – wants to talk about.”  Villanucci’s show fills the slot left by the recent retirement of Bob Brown, host of “The Locker Room.”  O’Neill adds, “This is an exciting and dynamic addition to our station.  We are fortunate to have a person with Jim’s talent, intellect, and humor who also is familiar with the Albuquerque and New Mexico culture.  I’m certain that Jim’s thousands of fans share our excitement.” Villanucci says, “It’s great to be back in New Mexico.  I’m humbled by this opportunity.  I’m excited to catch up with the audience I gained over my 14 years of radio here.  Trust me, the best is yet to come.”

Hofstra University Communications Students Spend Day at iHeartMedia New York. On Friday (10/19), a group of students from The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University spent the day with industry professionals at iHeartMedia’s New York station group.  The group included members of the two-time NAB Marconi Radio Award-winning college station WRHU “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” as well as students enrolled in the Department of Radio, TV, Film’s “Radio Industry in the Digital Age” course. The students toured the iHeartMedia studios and met with vice president of digital operations Tony Molaee, digital content coordinator Allie Gold, WLTW local sales manager Hetal Raythattha, senior account manager Jody Berger Wenig, WAXQ program director Eric Wellman, WKTU program director Rob Miller, iHeartRadio associate producer Mark Wiener; WHTZ “Z100” personalities Maxwell, Brady, and Shelly Rome, WWPR jock DJ Whutever, WOR talk host Mark Simone, promotions director Danielle Dellilo, The Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen, and iHeartMedia Markets Group division president Scott Hopeck.  (Berger Wenig, Wiener, DJ Whutever, Dellilo, and Cohen are all Hofstra alumni.)  The visit also included a performance by current Herbert School student Jenna Rose at the iHeartRadio Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee Lounge.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Adria Marlowe, associate dean, The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; Wiener; Hopeck; Cohen; Mark Lukasiewicz, Dean, The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; John Mullen, Director of Operations, and Dellilo.

Inaugural iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Takes Place on January 18. This first-ever iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will take place on Friday, January 18 at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles and will be hosted by “Stuff You Missed in History Class” co-host Holly Frey, “Breakfast Club” cast member Charlamagne Tha God, morning personality Bobby Bones, and syndicated host Mario Lopez.  The panel of judges will include industry leaders from Gimlet, iHeartMedia, NPR, Parcast, PRX, Tenderfoot TV, Wondery, and others.  iHeartMedia podcasting division president Conal Byrne states, “Podcasting has roared onto the audio scene creating the most excitement since the advent of streaming music services.  The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will provide a forum to celebrate the high-caliber, creative content that has made podcasting a major new audio category – and that truly reflects America’s favorite podcasts, voted by the listeners themselves.  We look forward to hosting this transformative, annual event and encouraging everyone in the podcasting industry to push the envelope and inspire even more creators in this space.”  Voting by listeners will decide 17 of the 22 categories with the panel of judges to select the winners in the following five categories: Podcast of the Year, Breakout Podcast, Best Branded Podcast, Best Social Impact from Podcast/Host and Podcast Innovator Award.

Sean Spicer-Katie Pavlich Podcast Launches Today on Radio.com. This podcast is a continuation of the pilot episodes launched by the duo in June.  Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and political commentator Katie Pavlich are debuting the “Everything’s Going to be All Right” podcast today on Entercom’s Radio.com platform.  The 12-episode weekly podcast will feature Spicer and Pavlich discussing the latest political news and issues surrounding the country as Americans prepare to head to the polls in three weeks. The program is being produced by Entercom program director Joe Zarbano.  Entercom SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “We are excited to welcome Sean and Katie back to Radio.com and hear their informative take on current events.  Their intimate knowledge of today’s political landscape and expertise will provide listeners with a timely and diverse perspective.”

TALKERS News Notes. When the 2018 World Series gets underway tomorrow night in Boston, ESPN Radio will be broadcasting the game between the AL champion Red Sox and the NL champion Dodgers with Dan Shulman and Chris Singleton calling every pitch and on-field reports coming from Buster OlneyMarc Kestecher will lead into each broadcast with 60-minutes of pre-game coverage that will include reports from Tim Kurkjian and Olney.  ESPN Deportes Radio is presenting coverage in Spanish with Orlando “El Duque” Hernández, Renato Bermudez, and José Francisco Rivera…..This Wednesday (10/24), Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with iHeartMedia, is hosting the unveiling of the modernization project of iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati “NewsRadio 700.”  WLW is one of 77 stations across the country that serve as National Public Warning System (NPWS) Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after incidents and disasters.  As directed by Congress in the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Modernization Act of 2015, FEMA, which manages IPAWS, launched an effort to upgrade PEP stations.  These stations are designed and hardened to withstand various natural and man-made events to ensure continuity of operations.  WLW-AM is the second station in the country to complete the upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.

BFoA’s 2019 Golden Mike Award Goes to Perry A. Sook.  The president and chief executive officer of Nexstar, Perry A. Sook, will receive the 2019 Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America at a ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.  Upon learning of this honor, Sook said, “There is no greater testament to broadcasters’ commitment to public service than in times of emergency.  From hurricanes to wildfires, news teams across the country consistently brave extremely dangerous conditions to deliver lifesaving news coverage and information to local communities.  Many of us at Nexstar have experienced firsthand the devastating effects and extensive damage caused by severe weather and other unforeseen events.  That is why we are proud to support the important work of the Broadcasters Foundation in providing both one-time emergency aid and ongoing monthly grants to help our colleagues most in need.  I would like to thank Dan Mason and the Broadcasters Foundation for this prestigious Golden Mike Award and the more than 9,000 Nexstar employees who share in this great honor for the work they do each day to make a positive difference in their local communities.”  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Perry has led the growth of Nexstar with vision and resolve that has benefited the entire television industry.  As a member of our Board, he has championed our mission of helping broadcasters in acute need and spread the word about the assistance we can provide. He is admired among his colleagues, and it is a privilege to honor him.”

Legal Gender Definition Issue, U.S. to Exit Nukes Treaty, Trump-Russia Investigation, Migrant Caravan, the Khashoggi Death Case, Midterm Elections, New Halloween Film, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs-World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Trump Administration’s plan to create a legal gender definition based on a person’s genitalia at birth; the U.S. plan to leave the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation probes Roger Stone’s Wikileaks contacts; the growing Honduran migrant caravan enters Mexico; the aftermath of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; the November midterm elections and the battle to control the House and Senate; the latest Halloween installment rules the weekend box office; the weekend’s NFL action; and the MLB playoffs and the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Twin Cities CHR KDWB, owner iHeartMedia extends its deal with morning show host Dave Ryan (center) and co-hosts Steve-O (right) and Falen (left). Ryan celebrated his 25th anniversary as morning host of the station back in June and iHeartMedia says this deal will keep the “Dave Ryan in the Morning Show” on air as “one of the most popular shows in the Twin Cities.” Ryan will also continue his role as a talent mentor for iHeartMedia where he is “helping to develop the next generation of on-air talent and personalities.”  KDWB program director Rich Davis adds, “Dave Ryan is a Twin Cities institution and I’m so glad he will continue to anchor mornings for KDWB.  He’s a true talent whose hard work, entertaining topics, and views on pop culture have kept him beloved by listeners and fans and at the top of the ratings for so many years.”…..At Townsquare Media’s country KAWO-FM, Boise, brand manager Rich Summers exits the station after four years.  Operations manager Jeff Connell is handling programming duties while Summers’ replacement is sought.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

| July 5, 2018

Talk Media Personality Ed Schultz Dead at 64.  Details are few at this time but Fargo-based InForum.com is reporting that progressive talk media personality Ed Schultz has died of natural causes at his home in Washington, DC.  Schultz began his media career working as a radio and television host in the Fargo market.  Schultz started his broadcast career working in sports on TV.  He served as the sports director at WDAY-TV, Fargo during the 1980s. He was a conservative when he launched his talk radio career but a life-changing encounter with the woman who would become his wife turned his politics around.  He originally started on radio on WDAY-AM, Fargo in 1992 and moved to KFGO, Fargo in 1996.  His radio show went into syndication via Jones Radio Network and Dial Global.  He began hosting “The Ed Show” on MSNBC in 2009.  Various forms of the show aired on the cable network until 2015.  Most recently, he had hosted a program on RT America.  In a statement, the network said, “We at RT America are sad to announce the passing of Edward Andrew Schultz.  Ed Schultz passed quietly early morning on July 5 at his home in Washington, D.C.  This announcement comes as a shock to all of us here at RT America.”  Upon learning of Schultz’s untimely death, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement:  “The passing of Ed Schultz is a terrible loss to the talk media community and industry.  He was a powerful media presence known for his independent thinking and courage in the face of both ideological and corporate obstacles.  In addition, his entrepreneurship was an inspiration to literally hundreds of broadcasters who followed his example of taking one’s career into one’s own hands in the dawn of the digital era.  I am stunned and deeply saddened by this news.”

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post:  Special Presentation About Smart Speakers and Radio by Amplifi Media CEO, Steven Goldstein.  Today (7/5), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each business day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place.  Today’s eighth installment features the special presentation by Amplifi Media CEO, Steven Goldstein titled “Radio Broadcasters and Smart Speakers with an introduction by GCN personality Dr. Daliah Wachs.   Videos already posted include a special presentation by PodcastOne Chairman and CEO, Norm Pattiz titled “Radio Broadcasters and Podcasting” with an introduction by Voice of America and National Public Radio anchor/reporter, Lori Lundin;  a special presentation by WFAN personality Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer Bernadette Duncan;  Salem SVP Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?”; the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s Fireside Chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman.  Also posted: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

Hyper-Local Pioneer Valley Radio Personality Brad Shepard Emcees Huge Western Mass July 4th Parade.  For over a decade, Springfield, MA-based online media station, Pioneer Valley Radio’s morning host and GM Brad Shepard has been the master of ceremonies/announcer from the reviewing stand for the East Longmeadow Fourth of July Parade.  This parade has become the signature Fourth of July Parade for the entire region featuring the participation of most of its cities and towns.   Shepard tells TALKERS, “I’ve just realized that I’ve been doing this long enough – first as morning man on WHYN radio and now as a personality with Pioneer Valley Radio – to be able to recognize folks marching in the parade and to do first name ‘shout-outs’ from the stage!  It’s tremendously gratifying to hear them returned!”  The excessive 94-degree heat did not deter thousands of all ages from coming out and lining the parade route and cheering on many service organizations, groups and dignitaries in Western Massachusetts.  “I look forward to this every year; it’s an honor to be their choice and it is fantastic exposure and community-connection for our exciting 21st century platform.”

Illegal Immigration Policy/Abolish ICE Movement, Open Supreme Court Seat, Trump-Putin Meeting, Fourth of July Holiday, Rising Gas Prices, Summer Heatwave, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/4).  The Trump administration’s illegal immigration policy and the related movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau; the open Supreme Court seat; President Trump’s impending meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the rising cost of gas at the pump; the Fourth of July holiday; the summer heatwave affecting much of the U.S.; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Randy Fox joins American General Media to serve as program director for rhythmic CHR KKSS “Kiss 97.3” and hot AC KKRG “Mix 105.1” in Albuquerque, effective July 23.  Fox was most recently program director at hip hop KSFM, Sacramento before its transfer from CBS RADIO to Entercom.  AMG Albuquerque general manager Larry Lemanski says, “I am very happy to welcome Randy to the AGM cluster in Albuquerque.  We actually competed with each other in California.  It’s nice to now have such a pro on our team here.”…..Air personality Justin Pierce is named afternoon drive jock at Riverbend Communications’ country KTHK, Idaho Falls “105.5/105.9 The Hawk.”  He takes over for Cory Daniels, who exited the station in April…..Nationally syndicated rock radio morning show “Free Beer and Hot Wings” is pictured below in Green Bay entertaining a sold-out house as part of its “Morning Show at Night” summer tour.  The tour started in Nashville at the world-famous Wildhorse Saloon, hit home market Grand Rapids, went on to Albany and Portland, Maine before stopping in Green Bay.  The next tour stop is at the Jersey Shore on July 13.  The program is syndicated by Compass Media Networks.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

| July 3, 2018

Report: Morning Show Change Coming at WSCR, Chicago. This report comes from Chicago media writer Robert Feder.  He says Entercom’s sports talker WSCR “The Score” is not renewing Brian Hanley’s contract as co-host of the morning show with partner Mike Mulligan.  Hanley will work through July and then transition to a part-time/fill-in role on the station.  Feder says Mulligan will stay and the odds-on favorite to replace Hanley is Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh.  Back in March, the station removed Matt Spiegel and Jason Goff from their co-host roles and named Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins afternoon co-host and Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight co-hosts of the midday program.  “Mully & Hanley” have been the morning show hosts at “The Score” since 2008.

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post:  Special Presentation by PodcastOne Chairman and CEO, Norm Pattiz.  Today (7/3), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each business day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place.  Today’s seventh installment features the special presentation by PodcastOne Chairman and CEO, Norm Pattiz titled “Radio Broadcasters and Podcasting.”  Pattiz is introduced by Voice of America and National Public Radio anchor/reporter, Lori Lundin.   Videos already posted include a special presentation by WFAN personality Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer Bernadette Duncan;  Salem SVP Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?”; the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s Fireside Chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman.  Also posted: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

PodcastOne Announces New Programs.  More new podcast shows are being unveiled by PodcastOne this summer.  They include a new program titled, “Baseball and Chill” hosted by MLB Network’s Scott Braun and Kelly Nash covering “big storylines and trending topics on and off of the diamond.” Another program launching on the PodcastOne Sportsnet is “Revenge of the Jocks” with host Martellus Bennett.  The former NFL tight end is also a musician, producer, filmmaker, sketch artist, children’s author and social media influencer.  A new political show that just debuted is “Ground Game,” produced in a partnership with the Associated Press to deliver a “weekly conversation about the top issues in American politics,” hosted by AP digital editor Magan Crane.

TALKERS News Notes. From its most recent filing with the SEC comes information about Jeff Smulyan’s new contract as CEO of Emmis Communications.  First, his new deal runs through February of 2022; he’ll make a base salary of $1,025,000 that will increase by $25,000 each February.  He’s also getting a $1 million signing bonus…..Thirty-three-year-old California resident Markara Man has been charged with threatening to murder a family member of a U.S. official after sending a series of emails to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai over his disagreement with Pai on the net neutrality issue.  According to prosecutors, Markara sent three emails to Pai back in December. One of the emails listed a number of pre-schools in Arlington, Virginia with the message, “I will find your children and I will kill them.”  Man has sent a letter of apology to Pai admitting he went “over the line.”…..Former Howard Stern cast member “Stuttering” John Melendez has hired attorney Michael Avenatti to represent him as authorities investigate his prank call to President Trump aboard Air Force One.  If you’re not familiar with the story, Melendez – who is a comic and podcaster – called the White House as a prank for his podcast pretending to be Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. Melendez was eventually patched through to Air Force One and had a conversation with the president that was used on Melendez’s podcast.  Avenatti – who also represents Stormy Daniels tells the Washington Post he is concerned the president will try to “make an example” out of Melendez.”

Illegal Immigration Policy/Abolish ICE Movement, Open Supreme Court Seat, Trump-Russia Investigation/Cohen Loyalty Statement/FBI Surveillance Allegation, AMLO Wins Mexican Presidency, Trapped Teen Soccer Team, Cleveland Terror Plot, Rising Gas Prices, Fourth of July Holiday, Summer Heatwave, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/2). The Trump administration’s illegal immigration policy and the related movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau; the open Supreme Court seat; the Trump campaign-Russia investigation, former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s “loyalty” statement, and Congressman Devin Nunes’ call to broaden the scope of the investigation into allegations the Obama-era FBI surveilled the Trump campaign; leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wins Mexican presidential election; the teen soccer team trapped in an underwater cave in Thailand; the foiled terror plot planned for Cleveland on the Fourth of July; the rising cost of gas at the pump; the Fourth of July holiday; the summer heatwave affecting much of the U.S.; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Tampa market, evening personality and mixer Joey Franchize inks a new, multi-year contract to continue his position with Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WLLD “WiLD 94.1.”  Franchize says, “It’s been a blast! is the man and I am hyped about continuing to learn more from the GOAT.  The whole ‘WiLD’ staff has been amazing to work with since joining the squad two years ago.”…..Brian Fisher exits Curtis Media’s country WMMY, Boone, North Carolina after a 14-year stint with the company.  On his Facebook page, Fisher says, “I am so thankful to have had such a great opportunity there and to have worked with so many awesome people.  I’ll begin a new chapter at The Light and I couldn’t thank my friends and family enough for all of their support.”

Thursday, June 28, 2018

| June 28, 2018

Dan Le Batard and Stugotz Sign Contract Extensions with ESPN. The inking of these new multi-year deals means the ESPN Radio-syndicated “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and the television show “Highly Questionable” will continue for the foreseeable future.  Le Batard (left) and Jon “Stugotz” Weiner (right) are cleared on 258 affiliate radio stations across the country. Le Batard’s father Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard appears with Dan Le Batard on the television program.  As part of this deal, Le Batard will conduct six longform interviews each year that will live across multiple ESPN platforms, including TV and digital.  Weiner will make appearances on “SportsCenter” and continue hosting and guesting on other ESPN Radio shows.  ESPN SVP, audio and talent, Traug Keller says, “Dan and Stugotz have a chemistry and a viewpoint that is among the most unique in the business.  They take what they do seriously, but not themselves, which bonds them with a growing group of loyal listeners.  Dan’s sensibilities and intelligence combined with Stugotz’s incredible lack of either quality is a winning combination.  I look forward to the stress of having to listen to the show in the years to come!”

RTDNA/Hofstra University Newsroom Survey: Newsroom Diversity. Based on a survey of radio and television stations conducted during the fourth quarter of 2017, the 2018 RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey was authored by Hofstra University emeritus distinguished professor of journalism Bob Papper.  The radio portion includes valid responses from 415 radio news directors and general managers representing 1,110 radio stations.  Some of the findings include: the percentage of people of color working in radio news slipped slightly in 2017 (compared to 2016) now comprising 11.3% of radio newsroom staffs; the percentage of news directors who are people of color dipped slightly from 6.2% to 5.9%; the percentage of newsroom staffs with women dropped nearly four points in the past year to 48.2%, while women fell from 36.1% of the radio news workforce to 34.3%. See the study here.

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post:  Fireside Chat Between Michael Harrison and Caroline Beasley.  Today (6/28), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place.  Today’s fourth installment features the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley.   This segment includes Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley.  Yesterday’s post featured Harrison’s Fireside Chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity.  Prior posts present opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan.  In addition, KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivers the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduces Bearman.   Also posted earlier this week: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

The 43rdAnnual Gracies Luncheon Takes Place in NYC. On Wednesday (6/27), the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation presented the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards at a luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.  CNN’s Erica Hill led the program alongside presenters Pam Oliver of FOX Sports, WWPR, New York personality Angie Martinez, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks and CNN, and Larry Mullins from Entercom’s all-news WINS, New York.  Pictured at right are (from l-r): Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen, Angie Martinez, and WWPR program director Thea Mitchem.  In the photo below are some of the Cumulus Media talent who were honored with Gracies.  From left to right are: Westwood One president/Cumulus EVP Suzanne Grimes, WABC, New York personalityJoan Hamburg (honored for Outstanding Talk Show), WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning host Mary Walter (honored for Crisis Coverage), WABC host and political editor Rita Cosby (honored for Outstanding Talk Interview), WPLJ, New York personality Jayde Donovan (honored for Outstanding Co-Host), and Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner.

WOR’s Natalie Vacca Feted at Gracies.  Also honored at the Gracies Luncheon in New York on Wednesday was WOR, New York morning show producer Natalie Vacca (Outstanding Local Radio Producer).  Vacca is executive producer of the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” on the iHeartMedia news/talk station. Pictured above are (l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, morning drive news producer Terry Trahim, Berman, Vacca, news director and morning drive news anchor Joe Bartlett, and program director Tom Cuddy.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom Show” promotes John Kesler to chief operating officer for the program.  Kesler has been serving as general manager for the show that is distributed to more than 100 affiliates via Westwood One.  He joined the show in 2016 after serving with Emmis Communications’ WIBC, Indianapolis for almost 20 years…..Beginning today (6/28), Big 12 Conference fans have a new avenue of insight into all things Big 12 with the new “The Big 12 Podcast” on PodcastOne.  Sports radio pro Chuck Cooperstein hosts the weekly podcast and provides listeners with a unique perspective of the Big 12 and its personalities.  Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says, “We are excited to begin a partnership with PodcastOne as we continue to amplify the Conference brand.  There are a number of exciting things going on in the Big 12 and we look forward to sharing these with our followers on a regular basis.”…..Also from PodcastOne, “Don’t Be Tardy” reality star Kim Zolciak-Biermann debuts her own podcast. She says, “I am so excited to be able to share this podcast with my fans and followers!  It will be full of positivity, fun, life coaching, parenting struggles and advice, beauty and fashion advice, and so much more.  It’s me, unedited and unfiltered!  You definitely don’t want to miss this!”…..Westwood One launches a special podcast series hosted by publisher Judith Regan titled, “My Side of the Story With Judith Regan,” on the Westwood One Podcast Network.  The program “features today’s newsmakers, trendsetters, cultural influencers, and troublemakers telling their side of the story, offering new insight into the issues that are the backdrop of American culture in 2018.”  All 11 episodes of the show are available now…..Midnight Entertainment, LLC announces five new affiliates for the weekly, nationally syndicated program, “Geek Universe with Jim Yelton.”  The program delves into the world of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres across movies, television, games and more.  New affiliates include: KTRS, St. Louis; KCAA, Loma Linda, California; KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; KFRU, Columbia, Missouri; and KLIK, Jefferson City, Missouri.  The show launched into national radio syndication in 2015.

Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire, SCOTUS Public Unions Decision, Tuesday’s Primary Results, Illegal Immigration Policy, Putin-Trump Meeting, Harassment of Administration Officials, Joe Jackson Dies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement; the Supreme Court’s ruling against mandatory contributions to public sector unions; the results of Tuesday’s primary elections; the U.S.’s illegal immigration policies; the planned meeting between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin; U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for harassment of administration officials in public; Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson dies; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programmer Jacent Jackson is named program director for Cumulus Media’s heritage triple A KFOG, San Francisco and KFFG, San Jose.  Jackson was previously PD at crosstown alternative KITS-FM.   Speaking about his new gig, Jackson says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to continue my broadcasting career here in the Bay Area with Cumulus.  KFOG has some incredible talent between ‘The Woody Show’ in mornings and No Name in the afternoons.  I can’t wait to join the fun, or as Woody would say it, #joinfun. Much, much gratitude to Doug Harvill, Troy Hanson, Mike McVayDave Milner, and the team at Cumulus for this incredible opportunity.”…..In the Columbus market, air personality Bobby Mitchell (left) is named new co-host of the morning show on Saga Communications’ adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95.”  Mitchell will work alongside current morning personality Stacy McKay (right).  Mitchell says, “I feel like the guy who was offered a ride on a rocket ship!  I don’t care where it’s going – I’m just getting on!  To be a part of this heritage radio station, with its incredible staff, and to live and raise my family in Columbus is very exciting.”…..Entercom Portland names Gary Sommer general sales manager for the cluster that includes seven music radio brands and two sports talk outlets.  He was most recently with SagaCity Media in Portland…..SiriusXM is presenting an exclusive, invitation-only performance by The Killers on July 28 at The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, New York.  SiriusXM president and CCO Scott Greenstein says, “We’ve loved collaborating with The Killers in the past and couldn’t be more thrilled that during their summer tour filled with major music festivals, The Killers are teaming up with SiriusXM for an intimate event at The Stephen Talkhouse.  Our subscribers nationwide will hear a special show performed just for them from this wildly popular band.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

| February 14, 2018

WEEI, Boston to Suspend Programming on Friday; Holds Mandatory Sensitivity Training for Air Staff.  In the aftermath of two recent incidents in which WEEI, Boston air personalities made statements that offended some, Entercom is suspending the sports talk station’s Friday programming and all staff will complete mandatory sensitivity training.  As regular TALKERS readers are aware, WEEI has been dealing with blowback – including lost advertisers – after a bit in which midday personality Christian Fauria used a phony Asian accent while imitating sports agent Don Yee (who, incidentally, speaks English without an accent).  It’s being reported that Comcast, City of Boston Credit Union, the Massachusetts Lottery, and possibly others, have cancelled ad campaigns with the station.  Fauria has been suspended by Entercom for a week and both the station and Fauria have apologized for the incident.  The cancellations appear to have come on the heels of an op-ed piece by Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung.  This latest incident came almost two weeks after WEEI’s Alex Reimer referred to Tom Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant.”  Brady cut short a scheduled appearance on the “Kirk & Callahan” morning show because of Reimer’s comments.  The station posted the following on its website: “Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment.  WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners or our city.”  This suspension of live programming for mandatory sensitivity training is, as far back as TALKERS editors can remember, unprecedented in the radio industry.

U.S. Trustee Has Issues with Cumulus Bonus Structure.  More accurately, U.S. Trustee William Harrington has issues with the information Cumulus has supplied regarding its bonus structure at both the station level and for corporate executives.  Harrington has filed an objection stating that, among other things, Cumulus has not identified the job titles of those at the station level slated for bonuses, has not identified all of the corporate executives scheduled to receive payouts, nor has Cumulus shown that its bonus plan is an actual incentive plan and not retentive in nature (i.e. solely designed to keep key employees on board during a time of uncertainty).  What Harrington is saying is that actual incentive plans are allowed but Cumulus hasn’t satisfied him in showing its bonus plans are exactly that and not mechanisms to “enrich insiders” at the “expense of the creditors.”  Cumulus issued the following statement regarding Harrington’s objection: “The objection filed last night has absolutely no impact on the authorizations the Court gave the company on February 8th to pay incentive compensation for employees who earned it in 2017, or will earn it in 2018.  We will be making our incentive compensation payments to those employees, beginning with this week’s normal payroll cycle.  The objection filed is common in these situations and applies only to a small number of senior executives whose compensation will be addressed at an upcoming hearing on March 12th.”

WGN, Chicago to Air White Sox Games.  After 75 years, the Chicago White Sox are returning to WGN’s airwaves.  As you’re probably aware, Cumulus asked the bankruptcy court to let it out of contracts that were onerous and the WLS-AM/White Sox deal was one of them.  Now, for the first time since 1943, White Sox games will return to Tribune’s WGN starting with a spring training game on Friday, February 23.   In the booth will be former Sox pitcher Ed Farmer handling play-by-play and former outfielder Darrin Jackson as analyst.  WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “What an honor it is to join the White Sox family.  Summer starts TODAY on WGN Radio.”

WOR Names Ray Martel to Executive Producer Role for Mets Broadcasts.  New York radio pro Ray Martel – currently the associate producer for WOR, New York’s “Len Berman in the Morning” show – is named executive producer for New York Mets radio broadcasts and “Sports Zone with Pete McCarthy,” effective March 1.  Martel says, “I am extremely honored to be the next producer of the Mets broadcasts on 710 WOR.  When I began in broadcasting 20 years ago, one of my first positions was as a board-op working on the Mets broadcasts.  It’s amazing to think it’s come full-circle two decades later…I can’t wait for the season to start!”  Prior to his arrival at WOR, Martel was a producer at crosstown sports talker WFAN for 13 years.  He produced for Mike Francesa, Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson.  He also produced for ESPN Radio.  Martel takes over for Joe Curci, who is leaving on February 28 for a position outside of radio.

Lauer Named Director of Sales for Entercom Milwaukee. Radio sales pro Eric Lauer is appointed to the director of sales position at Entercom’s Milwaukee station group that includes sports talk WSSP/W289CB “105.7 FM/AM 1250 The Fan,” CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” and hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix.”  Lauer was most recently general sales manager at Scripps’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI.   Entercom Milwaukee/Madison SVP and market manager Chuck Sullivan says, “I have known Eric since he first arrived in the market and his passion, intellect and leadership skills were apparent immediately.  We feel very fortunate to have him partner with us to lead the Milwaukee team.”  Lauer has also held sales management roles with Cox Media Group in Florida and Georgia.

TALKERS News Notes. KIRO-FM, Seattle adds Gee Scott to the evening “KIRO Nights” program with co-host Zak Burns.  Scott moves to the new position from Bonneville’s sister sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” where he hosted the evening program.  He fills the seat vacated by Jason Rantz, who exited last fall to assume the morning drive show on the company’s local news/talk KTTH-AM…..The popular podcast from The New York Times, “The Daily,” is being produced as a 30-minute evening radio program distributed by American Public MediaMichael Barbaro will also host the radio version…..Also in Seattle, iHeartMedia is signing with the Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders FC to serve as its flagship radio station for match play-by-play.  Games and related programming – that used to air on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM – will now air on KJR-AM.  Matt Johnson will call the matches along with rotating analysts Wade Webber, Danny Jackson, and Pete Fewing.

Cumulus Celebrates 40 Years of Steve Dahl with Billboard Campaign.  Radio personality Steve Dahl has been a part of Chicago radio for 40 years and Cumulus Media is honoring Dahl’s colorful career with a billboard campaign in Chicagoland.  Dahl is currently hosting afternoon drive on Cumulus’ news/talk WLS-AM.  The image above is part of the creative for the campaign and shows Dahl with the late John Belushi.

audioBoom and Triton Digital Merge.  This pairing is being termed a “reverse takeover” with Triton Digital merging with the UK-based audioBoom podcast network and technology provider.   audioBoom will acquire all of the stock of Triton Digital Canada for $185 million.  The new company will be called Triton Digital Group and will be publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange.  The executive structure will effectively remain in place with president/CEO Neal Schore, president/market development John Rosso, EVP/CFO Mark Rosenbaum, and SVP/ product and technology Alex FournierCurrent audioBoom CEO Rob Proctor becomes managing director of the audioBoom business unit.  He also remains an executive director.  Schore comments, “We’re proud of our position in the marketplace.  We feel an enormous sense of responsibility to continuously innovate and to drive monetization opportunities.  Our clients can expect us to not only maintain our leadership position, but to have the resources and the team to expand our technology and services meaningfully.”  audioboom currently hosts more than 12,000 content channels, with U.S. content partners including: Cumulus Media, Westwood One, and the Associated Press.  The transaction is expected to close in late March or early April.

Rob Porter White House Exit/John Kelly Status, Russia Election Interference, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Trump/Stormy Daniels Matter, U.S. Strikes in Syria, Netanyahu Criminal Allegations, PyeongChang Winter Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13).  The aftermath of Rob Porter’s exit from the White House after allegations of spousal abuse and questions about chief of staff John Kelly’s job security; U.S. intel concerns about Russian influence in 2018 mid-term elections; a judge refuses to allow DACA to be shut down and the related Trump Administration policy on immigration; Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen reveals he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket; U.S. military strikes in Syria allegedly kill Russian mercenaries; Israeli investigators say Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted on corruption charges; the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Deborah Norville to Host BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Ceremony.  Television’s Deborah Norville is hosting the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2018 Golden Mike Award honoring Graham Media president and CEO Emily Barr on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Also, at this event Pat McLaughlin will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband, Ed McLaughlin, who is credited with discovering Rush Limbaugh and was the founder of EFM Media Management.  Ed McLaughlin was chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation when he passed away last month.  This annual event is one of the biggest fundraisers in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to provide aid to broadcasters in acute need.

WIOV, Lancaster’s ‘Murph’ Dies Unexpectedly at 61. Sad news out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as Cumulus Media reports that WIOV-FM “I-105” morning personality Jerry Murphy – half of the “Murph & Casey” program with Casey Allyn – died unexpectedly at the age of 61.  The duo had worked together on “I-105” for the past 19 years.  Station PD Rich Creeger says, “Murph was not only one of the most charismatic personalities I had the pleasure of working with, but he was also a great friend.  I will miss him tremendously.”  The station has set up a tribute to Murph on the station website at wiov.com.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Appointed to take over management of Spanish Broadcasting System’s New York operations is Maire Mason.  She’s the new VP/GM for Spanish music outlets WSKQ-FM “Mega 97.9FM” and WPAT-FM “Amor 93.1FM.”  Mason, who most recently worked for Cumulus as ​VP/GM in New York, takes over for Eric Garcia who recently exited to join Univision…..Nate Reed is named operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa cluster.  CMG market VP Cathy Gunther comments, “Nate’s commitment to strong programming will continue to set our stations apart from our competitors.  He has been a natural leader at our radio properties and now, with all our platforms working together, he will be integral part of our new leadership team.”…..Yes, it happened on Valentine’s Day!  Cumulus Media appoints Chad Valentine program director for CHR WBHT, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  Valentine was most recently with iHeartMedia as air personality, APD, and music director for CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100.”  Valentine says, “I’m excited to be here and ready to make some great radio for Northeast PA.  I’m proud to be part of the next chapter of WBHT’s evolution.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting South Bend general manager Jim Roberts leaves the company after almost 22 years to become the national account manager at Cleveland-based Futuri Media.  Roberts had served as GM of the South Bend station group since 2011…..Pictured at right are Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (right) and Premiere’s SVP, talent and brand integration Rick Murray (left) chatting with country star Sara Evans (center) as she kicked off the “CMT Next Women of Country” tour at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City on February 12.

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