Tag: "Jeff Sottolano"

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

| August 25, 2020

KKFN-FM, Denver’s Darren McKee Status Uncertain After Racist Twitter Typo. Denver alternative publication Westword reports that KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” afternoon personality Darren “D-Mac” McKee was off the air yesterday (8/24) after Sunday’s tweet in which he posted the “N-word” instead of “Nuggets.” McKee quickly deleted the tweet and apologized. How the “N-word” got there instead of “Nuggets” is unclear but it comes a week after Charlotte Hornets announcer John Focke was suspended for the same instance – tweeting the “N-word” in place of “Nuggets.” It’s unknown when McKee will return to the air. Here’s what he said in the aftermath. “Last night while watching the Nuggets I sent out a tweet commenting on the game. I was horrified when it was brought to my attention that instead of Nuggets I had accidentally posted the N word. I instantly took it down. I despise this word. I find it abhorrent. I am stunned and devastated that I made this sickening mistake. I am deeply and profoundly sorry.” Station PD Raj Sharan tells Westword that Bonneville policy is not to discuss personnel issues publicly.

Bill Smee Named Vice President of News for Entercom. Back in early July, Entercom CEO David Field announced to staff that news pro Bill Smee is joining the company in the newly created position of vice president of news. Now, Entercom makes the announcement public. It says that in this position Smee will have strategic oversight of the company’s “best-in-class multiplatform local news brands, including eight all-news and 18 news/talk radio stations in 23 markets across the country, and nationwide via the RADIO.COM platform. Smee will spearhead linear audio, podcast and on-demand audio, written editorial, and video news content produced both centrally and at market level, while collaborating with digital product teams on the design of new features to serve news listeners.” Smee has led video strategy for multiple leading news outlets, including CNN, where he supervised editorial content and managed rapid deployment teams on breaking news specials as senior supervising producer for the outlet’s documentary unit “CNN Presents.” Smee also previously served as director of digital video for NBC News, where he launched, built and led a news team to produce original video for all digital platforms. He also served as an executive producer for Slate Magazine. Smee previously served as a strategic consultant for Entercom’s news radio, podcasting and digital platforms. Entercom EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “Bill is a highly respected, award-winning news professional with over 30 years of experience leading and growing high-profile news brands. As the #1 local news platform, we remain committed to providing our audiences with quality local content via our collection of iconic news brands. Bill’s expertise will help us enhance and expand our position as an unparalleled leading news platform to better serve our communities.”

NRRC Recommends National Buys Be Based on Fall 2019 Ratings. On the heels of Nielsen’s statement that future media buying and planning decisions should not be made using COVID-19 impacted audience estimates (including the upcoming Spring 2020 Nationwide survey) the Network Radio Research Council is recommending that all network/national buying and selling be based on the Fall 2019 Nationwide survey – the latest data available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NRRC says, “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented divergence of traditional patterns of media consumption, including AM/FM listening and the streaming of audio. Listening behaviors were significantly altered starting in mid-March 2020, as the public adjusted to remote work environments and shelter-at-home mandates across the United States. The broadcast month of April represents the first month of Nielsen’s Spring 2020 (April-May-June) Nationwide survey. Each month subsequent to April has demonstrated consistent increases in listening, and there is confidence listenership will continue to stabilize and approach pre-COVID-19 levels. It is, therefore, the NRRC’s position that the Fall 2019 Nationwide book represents the best solution for the upcoming 2021 network radio upfront and Q4 scatter buys.” The Network Radio Research Council was created in 2001 “to promote valid, reliable, and effective national radio audience measurement research.” Its current member roster includes: AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, Sun Broadcast Group, United Stations Radio Networks, and Westwood One.

PPM Analysis: Ongoing Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a deep dive into Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings in this report. Although some people in portions of the country have returned to commuting, the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting radio listening patterns. In today’s report, you can see which markets put up the strongest PPM numbers for spoken-word stations; which markets gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share for spoken-word stations (and which markets lost the most); as well as which stations gained the most shares and which lost the most. See it all here.

Presidential Election/Republican National Convention, Kellyanne Conway to Exit White House, BLM Movement/Wisconsin Riot, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Openings/College Flareups, Navalny Poisoning, California Wildfires, and Tropical Storms Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The November presidential election and the first night of the Republican National Convention; Donald Trump’s White House adviser Kellyanne Conway announces she’ll leave her post at the end of the month; the Black Lives Matter movement and the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the shooting of a Black man by police; the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the outbreaks at several college campuses; officials in Germany say Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned; the California wildfires; and Tropical Storms Laura and Marco were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by Mac Engel looks at ESPN’s taking over of day-to-day operations of KESN-FM, Dallas on October 8. Cumulus Media has been operating the station since October of 2013. The two sides were unable to come to terms on a new deal and ESPN will resume operation of the station. It is expected that ESPN will air its entire lineup of national programs beginning in October…..Effective January 1, 2021,  The Weather Channel and Skyview Networks, will begin a multi-year partnership in which Skyview will handle radio network sales and distribution for The Weather Channel. TWC president Tom O’Brien says, “As one of the top five most trusted brands in America, The Weather Channel radio network’s goal for this new partnership is to further expand our reach to provide more listeners with the world’s most accurate weather information to manage their daily lives. We’re thrilled to partner with Skyview Networks as we continue to grow our radio network’s reach and increase our brand awareness among listeners, radio stations and advertisers alike.”…..VSiN announces an expanded lineup, new shows and additional talent heading into “the most anticipated sports betting season in years.” Beginning this fall, the 24/7 sports betting network will begin broadcasting nearly 100 live linear hours each week, adding several new shows and new talent. VSiN is adding Tim Murray, former host of NBC Sports’ “The Daily Line,” former professional football player and sports broadcaster Mike Pritchard, journalist and $1 Million Super Contest winner James Salinas, and the NFL Network’s Danielle Alvari. VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “VSiN has experienced incredible growth over the past 18 months, significantly expanding distribution, advertising sales, and industry partnerships, while enhancing our product across channels. We’re excited to build on that momentum by launching new shows and introducing new talent. This new programming will allow us to cover sportsbooks around the country and provide unique and valuable insights to our growing audience of sports bettors.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The WQHT, New York show “Ebro In the Morning with Laura Stylez and Rosenberg” is going into syndication via Superadio on September 8. The program features Ebro Darden and co-hostsLaura Stylez and Pete Rosenberg. Superadio Networks president Eric Faison says, “Ebro is the king of real talk and a reluctant influencer, but what you hear is what you get. We’re happy to be able to bring this show to the world via radio stations across the country.”…..Cumulus Media appoints Sal Palazzolo program director for classic rock WODE-FM, Allentown “99.9 The Hawk” Palazzolo previously programmed sister alternative WWYY-FM prior to it becoming a simulcast of country WCTO-FM. Cumulus Lehigh Valley VP and market manager Elizabeth Pembleton says, “It is exciting to welcome Sal to this new role with ‘99.9 The Hawk.’ The support from the entire Cumulus staff, especially WODE air talent and corporate programming, has been outstanding. This promotion is well deserved and earned through commitment and dedication. It is an honor to have an individual of Sal’s caliber guiding one of our flagships.” At the same time, the station promotes Glenn “Mitch” Mitchell from weekends to the afternoon drive position.

Wednesday, July 5, 2020

| August 5, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race/Tuesday Primaries, Trump Axios Interview, Portland Protests, TikTok Deal/U.S.-China Relations, Beirut Explosion, Tropical Storm Isaias, and Pro Sports Leagues’ Struggles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future cases; the November presidential election, the debate over vote-by-mail, and the results of Tuesday’s primary elections; the criticism of President Trump’s interview with Axios; the BLM protests taking place in Portland; the deal for Microsoft to acquire Chinese app TikTok and U.S.-Chinese relations; the explosion that rocked Beirut; the damage along the East Coast from Tropical Storm Isaias; and the positive COVID-19 cases affecting pro sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Non-commercial triple A WXPN, Philadelphia is airing a special series of broadcasts all next week, beginning on August 10. “Woodstock Week: Back to the Garden Again” will feature all 33 music sets from the 1969 Woodstock music festival. In August 2019, WXPN exclusively replayed every moment from the four-day Woodstock festival in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. Listeners from across the globe tuned in and WXPN’s special broadcast was picked as a “Who Won the Week?” winner on MSNBC. WXPN associate GM for programming Bruce Warren says, “Our four-day broadcast last year was a unique, one-time opportunity to bring the entire Woodstock festival to WXPN listeners in celebration of its 50th anniversary. This year, we’re looking forward to hearing the full music sets performed by all 33 Woodstock artists – from Joan Baez to Johnny Winter – that will really highlight what the music meant at that special point in music history.”

Friday, January 3, 2020

| January 3, 2020

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey with a focus on all-news stations.  As the calendar inches closer to the holidays each year, listening to spoken-word radio usually dips to some extent and the end of 2019 was no different.  Fifty-three percent of all-news stations saw their 6+ weekly AQH share decline from the November survey to December, with 33% going up and 13% staying flat.  More concerning for all-news operators was the year-over-year decrease.  Seventy-three percent of all-news stations were down from December 2018 to December 2019 with just 27% improving.  The lone big gainer there was Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco in which it put together a 2.1 share increase.  KCBS-AM was also the only all-news station to rank #1 in its market in December.  WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago ranked #3, as did Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

 

 

 

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 (1/3).  The new episode titled, “Roaring Not Boring Twenties!” looks back at this past week of December 30, 2019 – January 3, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Curtis Sliwa, talk show host, WABC, New York; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; J.D. Hayworth, radio-TV talk host / former US Representative (R-AZ); Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax / Newsmax TV; Graham Mack, talk show host / program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; and Don Imus (1940 -2019), legendary talk show host.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing 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.

Entercom Announces New CBS Sports Radio Lineup; ‘The DA Show’ to Mornings. The CBS Sports Radio network has a new lineup for 2020, Entercom announces. Entercom SVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “Our new CBS Sports Radio lineup will provide enhanced programming for fans and further cement our place as a leader in national sports coverage.  Damon Amendolara – “DA” – has continued to demonstrate that he is a rising star in the format and will excel with his move to mornings.  We are thrilled to add the Westwood One-produced Pat McAfee program to the network lineup and happy to introduce our audience to Zach Gelb at night.”  Westwood One remains the exclusive sales and distribution partner for the network.  The daily lineup is as follows: “The DA Show” in AM drive; “The Pat McAfee Show” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; “The Jim Rome Show” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “Tiki and Tierney” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Zach Gelb from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm: “Ferrall on the Bench” from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am; and Amy Lawrence from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.

Mary Dixon Appointed WBEZ-FM, Chicago Morning Anchor. Former triple A WXRT-FM, Chicago morning drive co-host Mary Dixon – recently let go by the Entercom station as part of a number of air talent moves – is signing on with public outlet WBEZ-FM as morning news anchor and local “Morning Edition” host.  The Chicago Tribune says Dixon begins training next week and takes to the air in February.  She takes over for Lisa Labuz who is moving to the midday anchor position.  Dixon had co-hosted the morning show on WXRT with Lin Brehmer for the past 20-plus years.  Brehmer moves to the midday show on WXRT.

TALKERS News Notes. New York sports talk personality Bart Scott will not begin his radio show with Alan Hahn on ESPN’s WEPN “ESPN New York” until January 20.  According to Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, Entercom threatened legal action to keep Scott from starting on time – he was expected to start yesterday (1/2).  But an ESPN spokesperson says WEPN GM Tim McCarthy wanted to give Scott some time off since he finished his stint with WFAN by working right up until Christmas…..iHeartMedia Erie launches a new station airing podcasts available on the iHeartRadio platform.  The station WLTM-FM (just across the state line in Mina, New York) is branded “iHeartPodcast 95.9 FM” and showcases “today’s most popular podcasts,” allowing listeners to discover them through the radio. iHeartMedia Erie SVP of programming Joe Lang says, “We’re thrilled to welcome the iHeartPodcast Channel to the Erie community.  Now our local listeners have even more access to a variety of their favorite iHeart podcasts, while helping them discover new podcast content all through the power of radio.  From true crime to history, comedy to food, this station will offer a wide variety of topics every week.”…..iHeartMedia North Dakota launches the new “Dakota Farm and Ranch Report” – a three to four-minute report that airs five times on weekday mornings on news/talk KFYR and country KBMR in Bismarck, North Dakota; country KLTC-AM, Dickinson, North Dakota; and country KCJB-AM in Minot, North Dakota.  North Dakota rancher and broadcaster Scott Bachmeier joins iHeartMedia Bismarck as farm and ranch director and host of the “Dakota Farm and Ranch Report.”   iHeartMedia North Dakota market president Charlie Thomas says, “We realize farming and ranching in the Dakotas is unique and we wanted to offer a custom informational show that would focus on international, national, and state agricultural issues, but also dedicate a fair amount of time to the issues that affect farms and ranches a little closer to home.”…..Newsday’s Neil Best reports that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will return to call New York Yankees games on Entercom-owned radio flagship WFAN, New York for the 2020 season.  This will be the duo’s 16th season behind the mics together…..Condolences to the family and friends of former Montgomery, Alabama talk host Mark Montiel, who passed away recently.  Montiel, also a practicing attorney in the area, worked at Cumulus Media from 2011 through 2017, hosting his own program on news/talk WLWI-AM.  Cumulus Montgomery operations manager Rick Hendrick tells the Alabama News Network, “Working with Mark Montiel was awesome.  He was very outspoken.  He’s like me, just very outspoken and very opinionated which makes good radio for us here at Cumulus.  It was awesome to work with him.”

U.S. Embassy in Iraq Protests and Middle East Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The violent protests at the U.S. embassy in Iraq and the subsequent killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. air strike was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 on this week’s chart is the impeachment of President Donald Trump.  Close behind at #3 is the 2020 presidential race, followed by the New York City Hanukkah attack and the related rise of anti-Semitism and race relations 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 entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Pennsylvania’s Lancaster-York-Harrisburg market, programming and on-air pro Ronnie Ramone is upped to program director for Hall Communications’ hot AC WROZ “Fun 101.3.”  He’ll continue hosting the evening show on the station.  Cluster VP/general manager Billy Baldwin says, “Ronnie has been instrumental in building the ‘Fun 101.3’ brand in Central Pennsylvania.  He has been our go-to guy on so many things for so long and we are excited to give him this opportunity.”…..At iHeartMedia’s Wichita cluster, senior vice president of programming Jim Dorman takes over the program director role for adult contemporary KRBB “B98.”  He also is PD for country KZSN.  Additionally, alternative KTHR, Wichita program director Manny Cowzinski adds PD duties for sister CHR KZCH “Channel 96-3.”  Dorman says, “Manny has shown he has the passion and skills to not only program alternative ‘ALT 107-3,’ but also program ‘Channel 96-3.’

Friday, May 25, 2018

| May 25, 2018

Gregg Henson Named WRVA and WRNL, Richmond Program Director.  Talk radio pro Gregg Henson is named program director for Richmond stations news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL “FOX Sports 910.” Entercom Virginia SVP Bennett Zier comments, “We are very excited about the addition of Gregg to the Richmond team.  Entercom is the leader in news and sports radio and we’re confident Gregg’s extensive industry experience will ensure that we continue to bring the most engaging content to our listeners.”  Henson has worked in sports talk in Detroit as well as in news/talk in markets including Dallas, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Townsquare Media Sells North American Midway Entertainment Back to Previous Owner.  Three years ago, Townsquare Media, Inc paid $75.5 million for North American Midway Entertainment and it was the lynchpin of the company’s Entertainment division.  Now, Townsquare is selling the mobile amusement company back to previous owner Danny Huston for $23.5 million. Townsquare has made no secret of the fact that the investment hasn’t panned out, so the sale is not surprising.  In addition to the cash sale price, Townsquare also stands to benefit if Huston sells the company within the next 10 years. It would get a 15% residual interest in any future proceeds of a sale.  Townsquare says it will hang on to the net proceeds from this sale, “pending future investment.”  For the year ended December 31, 2017, NAME generated net revenue of $92.2 million and a net loss of $33.7 million.

Alex Jones Sued by Sandy Hook Families.  The anger in Newtown, Connecticut – and beyond – over talk show host and InfoWars chief Alex Jones’ assertions that the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax has boiled over into a new lawsuit against the broadcaster filed by four families of the slain children, two families of killed educators, and one FBI agent.  The suit also names Wolfgang Halbig and Cory Slanka – who assisted in video production and website management – as well as Jones radio syndicator Genesis Communications Network.  The suit – filed in state court in Connecticut – alleges that Jones does not believe that the massacre was a hoax but continued to promote the narrative on his program and on his website. “Jones is the chief amplifier for a group that has worked in concert to create and propagate loathsome, false narratives about the Sandy Hook shooting and its victims and promote their harassment and abuse…the Jones defendants concoct elaborate and false paranoia-tinged conspiracy theories because it moves product and they make money.  Not because they truly believe what they are saying, but rather because it increases profits.”  The five counts in the suit are: invasion of privacy by false light; defamation; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; and unfair trade practices.  Jones addressed the suit on his radio program this week saying the allegations in the suit are “out of context.”  Jones is also being sued in Texas state court by two other families of Sandy Hook victims.

Entercom Promotes Nine in Senior Management. President and CEO David Field says, “We are fortunate to have such a talented team of leaders at Entercom and it is a pleasure to be able to promote several of them today in recognition of their increasing roles and responsibilities.  These are exciting times at the company and as we roll ahead with our investments and execute our transformational plans, we will continue to offer meaningful professional growth opportunities for our top performers.” The promotions include the following: Fred Bennett, senior vice president, Traffic Weather Information Network; JD Crowley, chief digital officer; Mike Dash, senior vice president and deputy general counsel; Liana Huth, senior vice president, programming innovation; Jen Morelli, senior vice president, events and experiences; Jenny Nelson, senior vice president, ad sales marketing; John Pacino, senior vice president, product and engineering; Sam Rogers, senior vice president, national sales; and Jeff Sottolano, senior vice president, radio and Radio.com programming.  Chief operating officer Weezie Kramer adds, “This is a strategic move to position ourselves for success in the long-term.  We are making great progress and we are excited about where we are headed.  With this new, elevated leadership structure, we are poised to maximize our capabilities and scale as one of the best radio broadcast operators in the industry.”

Canceled North Korea Summit Top News/Talk Story This Week. The canceled summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia Investigation.  Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China trade and military relations, followed by the state of the Iran nucleal deal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. June 30 is the last publication day for most Cox Media Group’s sports verticals, including SECCountry.com, Landof10.com, and Diehards.com.  CMG has not explained the reason behind the move. Usually, lack of revenue is the reason for shutting down a business, but SEC Country’s Christopher Smith tweeted, “The Cox Media Group sports verticals grew traffic 36.9 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.  We were rocking it.  Even our Facebook traffic was up.”…..This morning (5/25), WFAN, New York morning team Boomer Esiason and Greg Gionnatti broadcast their show live from Headliner in Neptune, New Jersey for their “Boomer and Gio’s Kickoff to Summer” show. The program featured the live music of Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot. It also included a “Hairiest Back Contest” during the broadcast…..In conjunction with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One is presenting live play-by-play of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals. Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti are booth announcers for the series and former NHL center Ray Ferraro will serve as rinkside reporter with Florida Panthers announcer Steve Goldstein hosting the pre-game, intermission, and post-game reports.

Brian Kilmeade Scores Exclusive POTUS Interview.  When President Trump spoke at a forum in the Long Island community of Bethpage Wednesday (5/23) discussing the problem of violent MS-13 gang-related activity in that town and across the country, FOX radio and TV talk personality Brian Kilmeade was on hand to cover it.  In the process, Kilmeade scored an exclusive stand-up interview with the president that covered a variety of issues pertaining to gang violence and the broader topic of border security and immigration reform.  The president defended his recent comment describing gang criminals as “animals” by describing MS-13 members as being “stone cold killers…vicious killers.”  The extensive interview ran yesterday on the FOX News Channel’s morning show “Fox & Friends” co-hosted by Kilmeade along with Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.

Radio Historian and Videographer Art Vuolo Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Noted radio historian and videographer Art Vuolo is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Vuolo has been chronicling radio conferences for nearly 30 years and archiving the very best radio personalities on video since 1979. He has recorded video of some of the greatest on-air legends in studio doing their shows. In many cases, these are the only recorded documents of these figures in existence. His entire library will be featured in a permanent exhibit soon to be unveiled at the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. Harrison describes Vuolo as “the biggest devotee of American radio that I have ever met.” He was aptly dubbed “Radio’s Best Friend” by legendary DJ (and current WCBS-FM, New York morning host) Scott Shannon in the early 1980’s… a moniker that has stuck over the years. On June 8, Vuolo will be the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Lifetime Achievement award at the annual TALKERS convention in New York City, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Harrison and Vuolo take a deep-dive conversation into the golden era of radio’s top 40/personality stations and then some. This interview is a radio freak’s delight. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS Magazine Posts the 2018 Heavy Hundred. The 2018 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” has been posted. This annual list – compiled by the editors of TALKERS and known informally as the Heavy Hundred – ranks American radio talk show hosts in importance from one to 100. Today, TALKERS presents the 24thedition of this prestigious list in which the editors use a number of hard and soft factors in creating the ranking, including: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Our editorial staff works very hard to consider all of the numerous personalities who qualify, and then whittle it down to just 100… a difficult task. This list is admittedly subjective to one degree or another but we at TALKERS take the task very seriously. Congratulations to all of the radio talk show hosts who made this year’s Heavy Hundred!” See the list here.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits-Oldies. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on classic hits-oldies.  Kinosian reports that 59% of qualifying classic hits-oldies stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ numbers go up from April 2017 to April 2018.  There were nine stations that ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets and 21 that ranked in the top three.  iHeartMedia’s WWSW, Pittsburgh “3WS” wears the April crown for the highest 6+ market share at 11.2%.  See the whole report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The campaign to get a Detroit street named after Bob Seger continues as Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX-FM promises to play 24 hours of Seger’s music on June 2 to drum up support for the effort.  The “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” challenged WCSX-FM program director Jerry Tarrants, saying they could get more than 9,470 likes on the brand new “Make Bob Seger Boulevard” Facebook page.  Within only a few days, Bob Seger fans from all over the world made their voices known with likes for the page going well over the 9,470 likes needed.  As a result, listeners will be able to enjoy 24 hours of Seger on the station…..In Rochester, Entercom’s classic rock WCMF is hosting the annual Roc City Rib Fest – a BBQ and music festival featuring nationwide and local food favorites. The four-day, family-friendly festival will feature live music from Sean Patrick McGraw, Branded, and Kid Kurry, among others…..iHeartRadio is presenting holiday weekend-themed content.  Today it launched a suite of playlists “perfect for kicking back and enjoying this weekend.  From playlists to enjoy the unofficial start of summer to patriotic anthems to reflect and honor those who give everything for our freedom, iHeartRadio has what you are looking for.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

| December 11, 2013

uptonfredCongressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’  In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking.  Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional.  Upton states, fccnew“Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.”  Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”  Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’  These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.”  Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10.  You can read the entire letter here.

sottolanojeffWIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio.  CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2.  Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistentlycbsradio logo and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO.  With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter.  Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.”  Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations.  The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities.  Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.”  Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester.  He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004.  In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008.  He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions.  In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”

clarketimCox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience.  Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group.  The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for coxmediagroupgrowing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.”  EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort.  We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.”  In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations.  His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island.  Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways.  I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”

mohrjayiHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel.  Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station.  “This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states.  “I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.'”  The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.

mcmullenjohnMcMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD.  Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria.  McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007.  During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.

wgnlogoSteve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays.  Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009.  Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.

wkzologoWKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager.  At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR.  In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor.  Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.

yacobushrickNew Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse.  Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster.  Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales.  SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse.  Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.”  Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities.  She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization.  She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.”  The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”

raytomTom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations.  Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations.  The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes.  Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules.  Why?  If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could beeas logo decoded by downstream EAS decoders.  This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist.  And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message.  It could, in fact, panic the public.  The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies.  In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news.  Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days.  Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot.  Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time.  In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations.  In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion.  To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible.  The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert.  The FCC takes it seriously.  The public takes it seriously.  And it shouldn’t happen.  For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at tomray@tomrayconsulting.com.

twitchy logoMalkin Sells Website to Salem Communications.  Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum.  Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets.  Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites.  Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting.  They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world.  With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”

localfocus logoLocal Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent.  Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm.  GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling.  In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager.  GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals.  We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers.  Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management.  With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth.  Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.”  Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.”  McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media.  I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.”  Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales.  In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media.  “Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes.  “She will add immense value to Genesis Media.”  Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.

iglesiasgabriel24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias.  Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias.   From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits.  Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10).  The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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