Tag: "John Caracciolo"

Thursday, April 9, 2020

| April 9, 2020

JVC Media Giving Away Free Airtime. The company that operates stations in New York and Florida is announcing it is opening the airwaves of all of its stations to help promote local essential businesses and services that are still open and still serving the community.  JVC Media’s Florida stations include talk outlet WDYZ-AM/W288CJ “Florida Man Radio.”  Its Long Island group includes news/talk WRCN “LI News Radio 103.9.”  The company says the message is simple: “In Florida call the Quarantine Speed Advertising line at 407-647-5332, in NY call 631-542-5441, and leave a 30 second voicemail showcasing your business.  The JVC team will produce your message and play it on the appropriate radio station free of charge.”  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “This is the time for radio to shine.  We are not closed, we are not automated, we are live, local, and serving our local communities.  I don’t see the streaming or satellite services offering something like that.”

Neuhoff Media Using Radio to Connect Teachers and Students. In an effort to ameliorate the disconnect between teachers and students in Central Illinois, Neuhoff Media announces the Louise Neuhoff Educational Access Project initiative.  The project is named in honor of the Neuhoff Media co-founder.  The company will make available specific periods of time each day for public school teachers to present lessons, read books, and review specific material on air.  These programs will ensure educators are readily accessible to all students and their parents while under stay-at-home orders.  Neuhoff Media president and CEO Beth Neuhoff comments, “We have the ability for teachers to talk directly to students each day regardless of technology.  We wanted to find some small way to help bridge the gap between teachers and primary students.  We are simply providing local educational leadership the opportunity to use our most popular radio stations to connect with students and their parents.”

Bonneville Outlines Coronavirus Initiatives. Company president Darrell Brown issued a press release outlining Bonneville International’s plans to ramp up its coronavirus crisis efforts.  Brown says, “Bonneville has always prioritized our purpose above our profits.  Our mission and the reason our company was created was to be a trusted voice that builds up, informs, connects and celebrates the families and communities we serve, and there is a great need right now for all of those things.”  Some of the company’s initiatives include: News/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix is providing statewide newscasts for other radio groups and supporting local businesses through an “Open for Business” campaign; in Salt Lake City, the cluster is operating the “Stronger Together Utah” campaign to promote local businesses while “Newsradio” KSL-AM/FM is hosting a daily coronavirus call-in show and a related podcast; and Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM is producing the podcast “COVID-19: Seattle” as the station’s “Gee and Ursula Show” started a “Letters of Hope” project to send messages of encouragement to the elderly.

TALKERS News Notes. Pittsburgh talk show host Wendy Bell is trending on Twitter for stating on the air that she’s “on the fence” about the conundrum of saving lives versus protecting people’s livelihoods.  According to a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the KDKA-AM personality said, “We’re told that we need to shut down the economy.  There’s a cost.  Everything shuts down, but to what end?  Yes, every life lost is one too many.  Yes, that’s the talking point.  That’s what we’re going to say.  But ultimately dollars and cents boil down to, ‘Are you going to bankrupt America and the future for less than 1% of our population?’ Many of whom are already ill or aged.  I’m on a fence.”…..The nationally syndicated “Small Business Advocate” program hosted by Jim Blasingame adds new affiliate stations KFAQ, Tulsa and KSHP, North Las Vegas, Nevada.  The program is syndicated by Skip Joeckel’s Talk Shows USA.  Joeckel says, “Small businesses need all the help they can get and Jim’s program has been dedicated to helping them since 1997!”…..This year’s National Headliner Awards – bestowed since 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City – have been announced and in the radio division, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News wins first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for coverage of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio last year.  Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco took home the first-place honor for “Radio Stations Newscast (all markets)” category for its morning news coverage of the Kincade Fire on October 24, 2019.  Hearst’s WBAL-AM, Baltimore won first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for “FBI Raids Mayor Pugh’s Home” by reporter Scott Wykoff and the station’s news staff.  Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington won first place in the “Radio Stations Feature and Human Interest Story” category for “Rock Creek Rescue” in which reporter Megan Cloherty recounted the “riveting and fascinating story about a WTOP staffer who becomes a hero after saving a woman who had fallen into an icy, life-threatening Rock Creek.”  See all awards here…..Entercom reports that according to data from Podtrac, Triton, and Apple Podcast Top Charts, it is experiencing “blockbuster audience growth across its Podcast Network, which includes Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, outperforming recent softness in listening reported among other leading podcasters.”  Entercom says it hit new record listenership of 28 million listeners worldwide during the month of March.

WCCO, Minneapolis Meteorologist Mike Lynch Retires. After a 40-year career with Entercom’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis, meteorologist Mike Lynch is retiring from the station.  In a Facebook post, Lynch says, “It’s been an incredible run that I have been so blessed to have the privilege of doing.  I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and WCCO Radio has been part of my life from the get-go.  I can picture in my mind my parent’s kitchen radio on corner shelf at 6617 Lakeshore Dr.  I remember hearing greats like big Bob De Haven, Howard Viken, Joyce Lamont, Randy Merriman, and others.  When I was delivering morning newspapers, I loved to listen with a transistor radio and laugh out loud at 5:00 am with Roger Erickson and Maynard Speece.  When I came home every day from Holy Angels High School the ‘Cannon Mess’ was on in our kitchen… It was Steve Cannon though who took me under his wing and launched my career.  I couldn’t have done it without his kind heart.  I’ve had so many wonderful experiences at WCCO Radio.”

Glenn Beck Publishes New Book, Arguing with Socialists. Nationally syndicated talk host Glenn Beck releases his latest book, Arguing with Socialists (2020, Threshold Editions).  According to the publisher, the Premiere Networks personality’s new book “arms readers to the teeth with information necessary to debunk the socialist arguments that have once again become popular and proves that the free market is the only way to go.”

U.S. Coronavirus Infections/Deaths/Projection, Sanders Drops Out, Vote-By-Mail Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Linda Tripp Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8). The tally of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases, the death toll, and the death projection; Bernie Sanders drops out of the Democratic race for the nomination; the debate over the potential for the November election to be handled by mail; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization, claiming it acquiesced to China in downplaying Covid-19 early on; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; and Clinton whistleblower Linda Tripp dies among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Red Apple Media President Chad Lopez Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The president of Red Apple Media, the New York City-based firm that recently acquired heritage radio outlet 77WABC from Cumulus MediaChad Lopez, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Red Apple Media is a division of the Red Apple Group – a multi-billion-dollar company in the energy and supermarket businesses owned by its CEO and founder, John Catsimatidis.  Catsimatidis, in addition to being a self-made business mogul and a former top-tier NYC Republican mayoral candidate, is a talk show host in his own right with a syndicated weekly show, “The Cats’ Roundtable,” that emanates from friendly cross-town talk rival WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”.  He is also a lover of radio and has an extremely warm spot in his heart for WABC and its legacy.  Chad Lopez comes to the position of president of this new endeavor with an extraordinary background in New York City radio management and sales.  He was a kid from Queens who grew up listening to NYC radio and, after attending college in the area and serving four years in the Navy as a petty officer on the aircraft carrier USS Independence, worked his way up through the ranks of Big Apple radio that included 16 years in sales managing at CBS Radio – including such giant outlets as WFAN, WINS, WCBS AM/FM and the New York Yankees Radio Network.  He stepped up the corporate ladder after his time with CBS and became VP/market manager for the New York cluster of Cumulus Media which involved overseeing hot AC WPLJ, urban WNBM, country WNSH “NASH-FM” and news/talker 77WABC.  When Red Apple Media acquired 77WABC, Lopez was promoted to president of the company.  Commenting on the purchase of WABC by Catsimatidis, Michael Harrison recently stated, “This is quite possibly the most important radio ownership transaction of the past several years. A local businessperson with significant assets who has demonstrated a lifetime love for radio acquires a major market heritage station with the promise of strengthening its service. This could be just the model that sets the stage for radio’s next renaissance! The industry’s eyes and ears will be on this one.”  Harrison and Lopez discuss Red Apple’s plans for 77WABC along with the state of radio in this extraordinarily transitional year for New York City, the nation, the world and the American broadcasting industry.  This is a deep-dive conversation about the business that professional radio broadcasters should not miss!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” names Kevin Sucher executive director.  Milwaukee native Sucher worked as a professional musician for several years, teaching himself recording and sound engineering skills that eventually led to a career as a music producer.  Through his producing work, he built relationships with artists and influential professionals in the entertainment industry and that led to a national career in artist management in which he worked with artists, including: Eric Benét, David Foster, Train, The Tenors, and Michelle Branch.  Radio Milwaukee board president Juli Kaufmann comments, “While rooted in Milwaukee, Kevin brings connections and innovative ideas drawn from his national music industry experience.  He is an inclusive leader who brings fresh perspective to enhance our already exceptional team.  We are thrilled to advance our mission under Kevin’s leadership.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

| April 1, 2020

More Radio Company Furloughs and Job Cuts: Beasley Media Group, Townsquare Media, and JVC Media. Seeing their advertising revenue hit drastically by the COVID-19 pandemic, more radio companies are taking the desperate measures of cutting jobs and instituting furloughs.  Beasley Media Group just announced that it has eliminated 67 positions within the company, it has furloughed almost 20 staffers and is cutting full-time hours for the rest of its employees from 40 hours to 36 hours per week.  CEO Caroline Beasley is taking a 20% pay cut.  The company states, “These are very difficult decisions.  We are confident that the steps we take today will allow us to continue to serve our clients, communities and ensure our company will emerge stronger once the crisis abates.”  Townsquare Media is reporting that is has cut 65 positions – 26 of those at the corporate level.  CEO Bill Wilson and other corporate officers are taking a 10% pay cut.  The company is also warning that other measures will need to be taken if the effects of the pandemic continue to affect its business.  Long Island-based JVC Media is furloughing an unspecified number of staffers and hopes to be able to call them back to work when the crisis abates.  JVC CEO John Caracciolo has eliminated his own position as paid CEO and will operate his company on a voluntary, unpaid basis.

Tra Thomas Exits WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Tra Thomas announced via Twitter yesterday (3/31) that he’s one of the victims of cuts being made by Beasley Media Group.  Thomas was co-host of the morning show at sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” alongside Marc Farzetta.  He tweeted, “Welp guys it’s been real!  I was just notified that due to cutbacks, I’ve been released from @975Mornings. I want to thank @MarcFarzetta @jelynchjr @BobCooney76 and @samwils18 and our listeners for an amazing ride.  I’ll see you guys on the other SIDE, SIDe, SIde, side.”

Entercom Backs Off 2020 Guidance. Not surprisingly, Entercom Communications follows several other media companies in filing with the Securities Exchange Commission to withdraw its 2020 guidance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic   At the same time, the company reports that it is drawing $96.5 million in cash from a revolver loan that is in addition to the $50 million that it drew earlier in March and marks “substantially all” of the cash available in the revolver.  The company says, “The amounts drawn under the revolver were borrowed as a precautionary measure to preserve financial flexibility and may be used for working capital, general corporate or other purposes as permitted by the Credit Facility.”  Entercom reports it currently has $180 million in cash on hand.

TALKERS News Notes. WOR, New York news anchor and reporter Alice Stockton-Rossini is one of the focal points of a Philadelphia Inquirer story about a party thrown for her mother’s 90th birthday and the fallout from that get-together after two guests later died from the coronavirus, including her mother’s best friend.  Stockton-Rossini was in New Rochelle, New York in early March, reporting on the containment zone.  But she was also planning her mother’s party later that week.  Now, she wonders, “did I bring this down there?”  Read the piece here…..According to its own research, iHeartMedia says that new statistics “provide insight into how Americans are consuming a vast array of podcasts as they stay home and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition to seeing increased podcast listenership, especially in markets with stay-at-home orders, Americans are specifically turning to podcasts covering business, finance, education and entertainment, including shows from several leading iHeartRadio personalities – versus true crime podcast listening, which has seen a slight decline.”  iHM says that across its more than 350 podcasts, listenership for the iHeartPodcast Network is up 6% month-over-month as more Americans began staying at home.  That number is even higher in markets where governors announced shelter-in-place orders, with listening up 13% in California and 8% percent in New York state in just one week…..Bonneville reports that in the Seattle market where it operates the digital news destination MyNorthwest in conjunction with its radio stations – including news/talk KIRO-FM – MyNorthwest saw a more than 200% increase in user growth during the month of March.  Director of digital Tina Sorensen says, “With such a large audience trusting Bonneville Seattle, our social engagement team and the MyNorthwest team have demonstrated their dedication and determination to provide our users with what they need during this unprecedented time.”…..SiriusXM launches “She’s So Funny,” a new hand-curated, full-time comedy channel showcasing a spectrum of female comedic talent.  The channel features artists such as: Tiffany Haddish, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, Tig Notaro, Maria Bamford, Whoopi Goldberg, Ali Wong, Kathleen Madigan, as well as legends such as Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, and Moms Mabley.

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths Data, Trump’s Tuesday Evening Press Conference, Financial Markets Activity, Churches Violating Social Distancing Directives/Constitutional Rights Debate, Stimulus Package, Recession Fears, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/ Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). The growing number of U.S. cases of COVID-19 and the death toll; President Trump’s two-hour, Tuesday evening press conference addressing the pandemic; the world’s financial markets again turn bearish; the church pastors in several communities refusing to suspend in-person services and the related debate over constitutional rights; the stimulus package enacted in the U.S.; economists’ fears about a severe recession as a result of the coronavirus; and the presidential race 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 New Orleans, iHeartMedia brings Bailey Coleman south from the company’s Milwaukee station group to serve as the new VP of programming for the eight-station NOLA cluster.  Coleman has been serving as program director and air personality at urban contemporary WKKV, Milwaukee “V100.7” as well as on iHeartMedia’s innovation team that uses technology to create community-based multi-platform listening experiences.  Coleman assumes the position recently held by Uptown Angela Watson-Charles, who was elevated to an executive vice president of programming role within the company’s new Community Division…..Entravision Communications debuts its new CHR KKPS, Brownsville-McAllen-Harlingen, Texas “Fuego 99.5 FM Hot Hits.”  The station will feature core artists such as: Cardi B, Ozuna, Billie Eilish, Daddy Yankee, and Bad BunnyDJ Marky Mark will host the afternoon drive show from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Entravision VP of Audio Nestor Rocha comments, “We are thrilled to heat up the South Texas music scene on Fuego 99.5 FM with the hottest and newest talent across the board.  DJ Marky Mark has a huge presence in the Rio Grande Valley region, and we’re excited to have him anchor our new station.  This is another great opportunity for us to connect and relate to our audience with the music they want.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

| December 17, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a second look at the performances of sports talk stations in Nielsen Audio’s PPM markets during the November 2019 survey.  This report ranks sports talk listening by market and details the increases and decreases in 6+ ratings by market.  Which PPM markets registered the most sports talk listening during the November survey?  The top three are all East Coast markets: Philadelphia (11.2 share), Boston (11.1 share), and Long Island (9.3 share).  See how the rest of the markets stack up here.

NYPost: Benigno and Roberts for WFAN, New York Afternoons. Sportswriter Andrew Marchand says in his December 16 New York Post column that the new, permanent program schedule for Entercom’s sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” will indeed be Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno in afternoon drive (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis in the midday slot (10:00 am to 2:00 pm).  It’s already public knowledge that current WFAN midday personality Bart Scott is heading across town to work at ESPN and its radio outlet WEPN-FM “ESPN New York.”  These changes come after Mike Francesa’s transition from afternoons to a daily 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show.

Programmer Buzz Knight Leaving Beasley for Consultancy Venture. Programming pro Buzz Knight is leaving his post with Beasley Media Group as executive vice president of strategy and innovation to launch his consultancy, Buzz Knight Media.  Beasley says, “In his new role, Knight will continue to advise Beasley Media Group’s various brands on multiple projects and initiatives as well as focus on enhancing brand health for other media companies, with an eye on maximizing audience and revenue.”  Knight says, “I’m very grateful to Caroline Beasley, Bruce Beasley, Brian Beasley, and Justin Chase for providing me with the incredible opportunity to join the company three years ago.  The great teams in the markets continue to perform at the highest level and I’m very proud to be able to continue to be associated with them. Special thanks to Caroline for providing me with the privilege of extending my relationship with Beasley Media Group as I fulfill a lifelong dream of launching my own consultancy firm.”

WABC, New York Raises $200,000-plus for Children’s Hospital. Pictured above at the recent “Radiothon for the Kids” broadcast from TALKRADIO 77 WABC are (from l-r): WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi, talk host Curtis Sliwa, Joshua Berg, and talk host Juliet Huddy.  During the radiothon broadcast live from Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York on Friday (12/13), a total of $205,213 was raised for the Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

TALKERS News Notes. The final round judging panel for the 29th Annual Radio Mercury Awards is announced.  The Radio Mercury Awards are governed by the Radio Creative Fund and produced by the RAB.  The RAB says the panel of top-level agency creative leaders represents radio’s top advertising categories, including automotive, communications, financial services, OTC, packaged goods, quick-serve restaurants, retail and spirits.  Robin Fitzgerald, chief creative officer at BBDO Atlanta is 2020 chief judge.  On the panel are: Justine Armour, chief creative officer, Grey NY; Nathalie Brown, executive creative director, VMLY&R New York; Gary Du Toit, VP creative director, BBDO New York; Kevin Jones, creative director, Wieden & Kennedy Portland; John Matejczyk, chief creative officer and co-founder, M/H VCCP San Francisco; Andrés Ordóñez, chief creative officer, FCB Chicago; Alejandro Ortiz, vice president and creative director, Casanova//McCann; and Sherman Winfield, vice president and creative director, Fitzco//McCann…..There are a number of end-of-year programs being made available to affiliates from ABC Audio, including four longform programs featuring top news stories, interviews and major events from the past year and eight short-form series looking at the year in politics, entertainment, health, sports and more.  The longform shows include: “Playback 2019” in which ABC News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky look at the biggest stories of the year; the three-hour “2019: The Year in Review” told through highlights of ABC News Radio’s live breaking news coverage; a special, decade-end edition of “Perspective,” ABC News Radio’s weekly newsmagazine exploring the biggest stories of the 2010s; and “World News This Year” – a special edition of the “World News This Week” program…..SiriusXM announces year-end and decade specialty programming across its music, talk, and entertainment channels.  SiriusXM chief entertainment anchor Jess Cagle will host “Top 100 Interviews of 2019” – a limited-run channel that will launch on Thursday, December 19 and run through Tuesday, December 31.  “Top 100 Interviews of 2019” will feature interviews by SiriusXM hosts including Andy Cohen, Jenny McCarthy, Hoda Kotb, Jess Cagle, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, and more…..iHeartRadio is introducing iHeartRadio Family in time for the holiday season, now available on RokuAndroid TV (set to launch later this year) and Facebook Portal’s latest device, Portal TV, with support for new Portal tablets coming this January.  iHeartRadio says, “Some of the cool features included are customized parental controls, artist radio – with the family-friendly versions of their favorite artist songs, animations like a disco ball and a ‘slime drip’ to complement certain audio experiences, and now a variety of fun kid-friendly podcasts to listen to and more.  In addition, iHeartRadio Family fans who use Amazon Fire TV will also be able to enjoy an upgraded experience with the addition of podcasts that are kid-friendly added to the platform.”

JVC Media’s Long Island News/Talk Station Vandalized with Anti-Trump Graffiti. Pictured above is the remote studio for JVC Media’s news/talk WRCN, Riverhead, Long Island “LI NEWS RADIO 103.9,” located at the Long Island MacArthur Airport.  In the inset is an image of the anti-Trump graffiti that staffers found on large stickers affixed to the glass windows of the studio.  JVC uses the studio for live shows during the day and it is not occupied overnight.  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “It is unfortunate that someone took out their expression of anger against our president on our broadcast studio.  We pride ourselves on fair and balanced news reporting.  I understand people are angry, but maybe next time the culprit can call in to our afternoon show and express his or her feelings in a more civilized way.”  Long Island MacArthur Airport police are investigating the incident and are reviewing the many video cameras in and around the radio broadcast center. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discussed the incident with John Caracciolo.  To listen, click here.

Impeachment, Ukraine Controversy, 2020 Presidential Race, FBI Report Aftermath, Boeing 737 Production Halt, and Record Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). The House’s impeachment against President Trump; Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani’s explanation about why Marie Yovanovich was removed as Ambassador to Ukraine; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the aftermath of the inspector general’s report critical of the FBI’s surveillance operations; Boeing’s decision to suspend production on the 737 Max; and Monday’s record-setting Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Second in the Series of Talk Media Forums on US-China Relations Now Posted!   The second installment of the Talk Media Forums on US-China Relations co-presented by TALKERS and The Epoch Times Tuesday morning (12/10) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC is now posted here on Talkers.com as well as other online platforms.  The conversation again focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. The 90-minute event featured a panel of three experts on the state of US-Chinese relations including Nan Su of NTDTV, and Joshua Philipp and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times, plus four leading talk radio hosts – John Fredericks of the John Fredericks Radio NetworkDr. Sebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio NetworkLarry O’ Connor of WMAL, Washington, DC; and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who again moderated the discussion, “The numerous pressing issues that exist under the umbrella of US-China relations promise to be a major component of talk media conversation for years to come and it is important that its practitioners stay on top of these complex concerns free of the spin and propaganda constantly manufactured by the Communist regime in Beijing.  Our colleagues at The Epoch Times are firmly situated on the leading edge of the Chinese resistance to the Communist grasp on their homeland and serve the culture’s diaspora in the United States and around the world with bold, truthful reporting of the facts.” The Epoch Times was formed in 2000 by Chinese Americans and is now published in multiple languages around the world.  To view the video in its entirety, please click here. Photo: Samira Bouaou/Epic Times

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s country KMLE, Phoenix “Country 107.9,” Gunner Jackson and Cheyenne Davis (pictured below) are named hosts of the new “Gunner & Cheyenne” morning show, effective tomorrow (12/18).  They join KMLE from KDBL-FM, Yakima, Washington.  Entercom Phoenix SVP and market manager Dave Pugh says, “We are excited to introduce our audience to Gunner and Cheyenne.  Together, they will bring a ton of energy and positivity to the show and are the perfect hosts to help our listeners begin their mornings.”  The duo were recently honored with a 2019 Yakima Herald-Republic Readers’ Choice Award for Best Radio Personality…..iHeartMedia announces Trevor Morini joins the Raleigh station group as senior vice president of programming, effective January 21.  Morini will also serve as program director for CHR WDCG-FM “G105.”  He’s been serving the company as program director for KHFI “96.7 KISS FM” and alternative KASE-HD/W248CU “ALT 97.5” in Austin…..On-air pro Jeanne Ashley exits Entercom’s adult contemporary KSWD, Seattle “94.1 The Sound” where she was assistant program director and morning drive co-host with John Fisher.  Ashley posts on her LinkedIn account, “Thanks to budget cuts, I’m taking time to take stock while I take the long way from Seattle back to NJ.”…..Caldwell Media’s KERL, Caldwell, Arkansas flips from classic rock to adult hits using Envision Networks’ and Kroeger Media’s BOB FM format…..Spanish-language media company MLC Media is assuming management of XHLNC-FM, Tijuana, Mexico and is launching “Mas Flo” on the San Diego signal tomorrow (12/18).  The company says,”‘Mas Flo’ will feature a blend of the hottest and latest Spanish urban music from the top Latin artists in the industry.  The music genres will include reggaeton, trap, tropical, and urban from artists like: J Balvin, Maluma, Nicky Jam, Rosalia, Bad Bunny, and more…..ABC Audio is making the music special, “2019 Rewind: The Biggest Country Hits of the Year” – hosted by country star Morgan Wallen – available to affiliate stations for year-end programming.  The special rounds up all of the year’s hottest songs and includes interviews with Dan + Shay, Eric Church, Runaway June, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris, Old Dominion and more.

Friday, December 13, 2019

| December 13, 2019

Report: Liberty Media Seeks Control or Ownership of iHeartMedia.  According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Liberty Media is asking the Department of Justice for permission to up its stake in iHeartMedia.  Currently, Liberty owns 4.8% of iHM.  The WSJ’s sources say the deal that Liberty is seeking permission for would give it control or “outright ownership.”  One source says Liberty has not decided “what kind of transaction, if any, it would proceed with should it receive permission.”  Liberty Media currently owns 33% of Live Nation – the concert business that then-Clear Channel spun off in 2005 – and 71% of SiriusXM Holdings.  The WSJ piece notes that Justice Department officials are asking “interested parties” how they’d be affected by a major live events business and a leading radio company being co-owned.

Radzik to Program ’98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. At Boston sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Rick Radzik is named the station’s new program director, effective immediately.  Beasley Media Group announces Radzik is assuming the role being vacated by Mike Thomas, who heads to Chicago to become market manager for the ESPN-owned and Good Karma-managed WMVP “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik has been the station’s assistant program director since the station signed on in August of 2009.  Prior to that, he’d served for 15 years as a producer at all-news WBZ-AM, overseeing Boston Bruins broadcasts.  He began his career at crosstown WEEI-AM (when it was a news station) producing the Bruins and Boston Celtics broadcasts, as well as various talk shows.  Beasley Media Group Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “Rick has been a key member of the ‘Sports Hub’ programming team since the station’s inception.  The knowledge he has amassed over the past decade, coupled with his relationships and passion for continuing our winning history, make him uniquely qualified to lead the ‘Sports Hub’ into the 2020s and beyond!”

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 (12/13).  The new episode titled “Meddling and Muddling!” reviews the week of December 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City;  Joan Michelson; Executive producer/host, GreenConnectionsRadio.com; Bob Lonsberry, talk show host, WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Scott James Matheson, Mayor-elect, Valdosta, Georgia. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It then airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; 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.

‘Cats Roundtable’ Show Joins ‘Florida Man Radio.’ The weekly “Cats Roundtable” show hosted by Red Apple Group president and CEO John Catsimatidis is being added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WYGC-FM, High Springs (Gainesville market) “Florida Man Radio.”  Catsimatidis’ company Red Apple Media recently entered into a deal to acquire venerable WABC-AM, New York from Cumulus Media for $12.5 million.  That deal has not closed yet.  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “‘The Cats Roundtable’ radio show is perfect for ‘Florida Man Radio.’  John’s unique take on the news and his A-list celebrity interviews are fascinating conversations that keep listeners coming back for more.  We have been very successful with his show on our Long Island station and know this is a great fit for our growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ network.”

The Trump Impeachment Proceedings Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 9-13. The articles of impeachment against President Trump were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Tied at #2 this week was Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections and the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance practices.  At #3 was Time magazine’s selection of Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year and the greater topic of climate change, followed by the deadly Jersey City shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this 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.

TALKERS News Notes. The WGBH, Boston and PRI-produced program “Innovation Hub” takes a look at the rise of conservative talk radio and its influence on the America political scene on its most recent episode.  Joining host Kara Miller is author and University of Pennsylvania scholar-in-residence Brian Rosenwald.  His book, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States (2019, Harvard University Press) examines the theory.  The teaser of the radio show says, “When Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk radio program began in Sacramento in the 1980s, no one could have guessed that he would not only reinvigorate AM radio but also create a new format that would help remold the American political landscape.”  Check out the program here…..The WFAN watch continues as Newsday’s Neil Best writes that the odds-on replacement for Mike Francesa in afternoon drive on the Entercom sports talk station is midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno.  He also says that Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis are “favorites” to serve as the midday personalities.  Francesa left his regular full-time role with the station a couple of weeks ago but will contribute to The Fan’s on-air content with a nightly, half-hour show at 6:00 pm.  WFAN has made no announcements about its plans for the station as of today (12/13)…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder writes today about longtime Chicago radio personality Turi Ryder’s new podcast that takes its name from her fictionalized memoir, She Said What?  Ryder co-hosts the show with Kathryn Lake and she tells Feder she’ll drop two podcasts each week, no longer than 15 minutes in length.  You can check it out here…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime radio journalist Pete Combs, who died in Atlanta after a three-month battle with lung cancer at age 61.  Combs had been working at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta since May of 2018.  He previously worked for WSB from 2006 through 2015 but left for KOMO-AM, Seattle before returning last year.  During his career, he worked at stations including: WGST-AM, Atlanta; KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network, Dallas; USA Radio News, Dallas; WINK-AM Fort Myers; and WBT-AM, Charlotte.  He also reported for TV station in Charlotte and Tulsa during the early 1990s.  See the rest of WSB’s tribute to Combs here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales pro Dawn Girocco is named director of sales for Cumulus Media’s country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf,” and CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3” in Dallas.  She was most recently vice president/market manager for Cumulus Los Angeles.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett comments, “Being able to get someone of Dawn Girocco’s experience and success back in our company to join our Dallas team as a key sales management leader is a great plus for Dallas and our company.  Dawn’s past success in Los Angeles speaks for itself and we can’t wait for her to get started here in Texas.”…..Alpha Media promotes Danny Dwyer to assistant program director for country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” and inks him to a new, multi-year deal.  Dwyer will continue to host the midday show and continue his role as music director.  Alpha Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker states, “The energy and dedication Danny brings on and off the air to our ‘Bull Nation’ listeners, musicans, artists, labels, advertisers’ and community partners are an incredible asset to our station.  His leadership with station events and promotions including our St. Jude Radiothon and Countryfest concert are irreplaceable.”…..Seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, who is planning a 31-date North American tour next year, performed a special acoustic set of the album Jagged Little Pill in its entirety on December 2 at New York’s legendary The Apollo.  That show will be broadcast exclusively on SiriusXM today (12/13) through December 22…..Air personality Brittany Rose joins Townsquare Media’s CHR WJBQ, Portland as co-host alongside Lori Voornas and Jeff Parsons on the “Q Morning Show,” effective January 2.   She was most recently with Townsquare Media’s WEBB-FM, Augusta “B98.5.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.9 The Fox” announces the nationally syndicated “The Dave and Mahoney Morning Show” takes over the morning slot, effective Monday (12/16).

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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

| November 6, 2019

Mike Francesa ‘Leaving Afternoon Drive’ on WFAN, New York. Newsday’s Neil Best broke the story after New York sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa told him he’ll be leaving his afternoon drive show on WFAN in December with “details to come.”  Entercom New York regional president Susan Larkin later issued the following statement, “Mike Francesa will continue to be part of WFAN, and will soon also have an expanded role on RADIO.COM.  While we are still finalizing details, this is an exciting move to bring more of Mike’s iconic sports talk content to fans across broadcast and digital in new, engaging ways wherever and however loyal sports fans want it.  Stay tuned as we will be sharing more details in the weeks to come.”  Francesa left his longtime afternoon drive slot on WFAN in December of 2017, only to return in April of 2018, bumping his replacement – the team of Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott – to middays.  Carlin exited WFAN in September with Gray and Scott continuing to host the midday show.  The New York media – especially the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand – has been reporting on the ratings battle between Francesa on WFAN and Michael Kay on ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York.  Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey saw Kay beat Francesa in the men 25-54 demographic with a 7.4 share to Francesa’s 6.0 share.

JVC Media Expands ‘Florida Man Radio’; Adds Ed Tyll Show in Middays. The “Florida Man Radio” format based at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM, Altamonte Springs/W288CJ, Oviedo in the Orlando market will be heard on the company’s WYGC, High Springs in the Gainesville market, effective November 11.  At the same time, the company announces that talk radio pro Ed Tyll is joining the lineup in middays.  The station’s programming consists of: Bubba the Love Sponge in AM drive, Scott Ledger (10:00 am to 12:00 noon), Ed Tyll (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm), Shannon Burke (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm), attorney Justin Clark (6:00 pm to 7:00 pm), plus Key Networks’ “Bill O’Reilly Update” and Westwood One’s syndicated Ben Shapiro and Michael Savage shows at night.   JVC CEO John Caracciolo comments, “This is exactly what radio needs right now – fresh, new, funny, and local – this is ‘Florida Man Radio.’  The vision of a locally based talk station that isn’t afraid to confront the big topics while not taking it too seriously, screams the mantra of JVC.  We aren’t afraid to buck the norms – keeping live and local radio working for our clients and listeners, providing great results for clients, and continuing to invest in great programming.  I’m thrilled for the future of our stations across the country and thrilled to be growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ all over the state.

KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City Names Lee Lonsberry New Midday Host. Longtime KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City early afternoon personality Doug Wright retired from his daily talk show earlier this year. Now, Bonneville announces that his former producer, Lee Lonsberry, will begin hosting the 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm program in December.  Also, the station is expanding the “Inside Sources” program hosted by Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson to a full hour, airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Lonsberry has also been serving as communications director for U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop for the last few years.   Lonsberry says, “Hosting this show will be a thrill and a privilege.  I’ve been preparing for this show my entire professional life, and arguably, well before that.”  Bonneville SVP and market manager Tanya Vea says of the changes, “These additions to the lineup are an exciting step forward for KSL NewsRadio.  Our commitment to local reporting, fairness, and coverage of the biggest breaking news is greater than ever.”

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on stations that serve as Major League Baseball flagships.  Since the October survey covered September 12 to October 9, the push to the playoffs and the first few games of the 2019 playoffs happened during that time.  Eventual World Series Champions the Washington Nationals’ Entercom-owned flagship WJFK-FM appeared to get a lift from its team, rising from a 3.5 share (6+) during the September survey to a 4.3 share in October.  Interestingly, the flagship for the American League Champion Houston Astros – iHeartMedia’s KBME “SportsTalk 790” – languished well below a 2.0 share (hitting its 1.4 share peak in August) for the entire season.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry created a controversy after tweeting, “‘Boomer’ is the n-word of ageism.  Being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new.”  The since-deleted tweet that addressed the “ok Boomer” meme went viral and raised a lot of criticism of Lonsberry’s reasoning, including from celebrities.  Check out Starr Rhett Rocque’s analysis at Fast Company here…..FOX News Channel is moving the Sunday evening “Life, Liberty and Levin” program, starring Mark Levin from its 10:00 pm start to 8:00 pm.  Levin, who also hosts a daily, three-hour radio talk show syndicated by Westwood One, has been a “top-performing program” for FNC, according to The Hill’s report.  The publication says Levin’s show “delivered more than 1.43 million viewers last weekend and was the most-watched program in cable news on Sunday night, topping rivals CNN and MSNBC.”…..ESPN Films’ “30 for 30” podcasts are returning for a sixth season with four all-new audio documentaries.  The first episode debuts on November 12, with the others premiering every Tuesday through December 3.  The season kicks off with a story about two of the most famous women in sports, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who talk openly about their stranger-than-fiction experience with Shabtai Kalmanovich, former owner of their Russian basketball team and possible double agent…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Lisa Labuz is moving from her current role as morning news anchor and local host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago to news anchor for the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart…..Pictured below are WAXY “790 The Ticket” and WQAM “560 The Joe” personalities Marc Hochman and Channing Crowder as they took their afternoon drive show to the University of Miami campus Tuesday afternoon (11/5) for the kickoff of the college basketball season. From left to right are: Miami athletic director Blake James, Crowder, Hochman, and 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta​.

Impeachment Process, Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Tuesday Election Results, Roger Stone Trial, Zervos’ Trump Allegations, Mormon Family Murdered in Mexico, and ABC News and the Epstein Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). The impeachment process against President Trump; EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland updates his testimony about Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine; the results of Tuesday’s elections that saw Democrats take control of Virginia’s legislature and the too-close-to-call Kentucky governor’s race; day one of Roger Stone’s trial on obstructing congress in the Russian election meddling case; the revelation of phone records in Summer Zervos’ allegations of sexual assault against President Trump; the murder of 9 members of a Mormon family by a drug cartel in northern Mexico; and ABC News’ defense of “quashing” Amy Robach’s interview with Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre 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 West Palm Beach market, Hubbard Radio names Garrett Phillips producer of the “Tim & Chelsea” morning show on WIRK “New Country 103.1.”  Operations manager and WIRK brand/content director Bruce Logan says, “Since 2015, Garrett has shown a high competence in many different roles for this cluster.  Rising quickly from intern to show producer to the lead producer for Paul Barsky’s show on WFTL.  No matter the role, Garrett has excelled.  I am sure his addition as producer for Tim & Chelsea on ‘New Country 103.1’ will produce excellent results as we add another important puzzle piece to what we are building on WIRK.”…..Beasley Media Group announces the official unveiling of “The History Of WRIF” podcast.  The station debuted in 1971 and is generally considered one of the longest running active rock stations in the country.  Beasley says, “With a rich history and an incredible roster of on air personalities known both in Detroit and nationwide, the podcast, hosted by former WRIF DJ Mike Staff and produced by current WRIF host Steve Black, will feature discussions with past and present personalities reflecting on the incredible moments and memories from their past and current time on the air.”  The first episode features Motor City radio legend Arthur Penhallow.  “Arthur P” was present for the launch of 101 WRIF and spent several decades on the air at WRIF.  During that time, he received many honors, including recognition from The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and a role in the movie, The Upside of Anger, that used WRIF as a setting for the movie and starred award-winning actor Kevin Costner.

Friday, August 23, 2019

| August 23, 2019

JVC Media Unveils New ‘Florida Man Radio’ Format. The new format on WDYZ-AM/W288CJ in the Orlando market (licensed to Altamonte Springs and Oviedo, respectively) will feature Shannon Burke and Bubba the Love Sponge, along with Scott Ledger and attorney Justin ClarkJVC Media says “Florida Man Radio” will formally launch in early September 2019 with a live press conference from the JVC Orlando studios hosted by the air staff.  JVC Orlando director of programming Len Shackelford says, “This will be a personality-driven talk station focused on Central Florida. There will be NO topics off limits, including topics specifically about our on-air staff.  Think sports, politics, pop culture… if you talk about it in your life or on social media, ‘Florida Man Radio 660 AM and 105.5 FM’ will talk about it.”  The lineup will be Bubba in morning drive, “Scott Ledger’s Dangerous Conversation” in middays, Shannon Burke in afternoon drive, and attorney Justin Clark’s “You Have Power” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  JVC CEO John Caracciolo adds, “This is exactly what radio needs right now – fresh, new, funny, and local – this is ‘Florida Man Radio.’  The vision of a locally based talk station that isn’t afraid to confront the big topics while not taking it too seriously, screams the mantra of JVC.  We aren’t afraid to buck the norms – keeping live and local radio working for our clients and listeners, providing great results for clients, and continuing to invest in great programming.  I’m thrilled for the future of our stations across the country.”

Bonneville Announces Management Restructuring and Promotions at Seattle Station Group. It was last Friday that Ryan Maguire exited his role as director of news and programming for news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Bonneville Seattle Media Group had been quiet about that change but now announces a number of management promotions and duty realignments that includes the elimination of Maguire’s old director of news and programming position.  Four new directors have been named: Mike Salk rises from program director of sports KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” to director of programming, overseeing KIRO-FM, KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” and news/talk KTTH-AM; Tina Sorensen is promoted from KIRO/KTTH sales manager to director of digital, managing both content and revenue for the Bonneville Seattle digital properties; Cathy Cangiano is upped from “710 ESPN” sales manager to director of sales for KIRO-FM, KIRO-AM, KTTH-AM, and Seattle Mariners Radio; Alison Lichtbach is promoted from controller to director of finance, managing the business and operations departments.  Current Bonneville Seattle managers whose duties are expanding are: Bryan Buckalew as the KIRO-FM program director; Colleen O’Brien as the KIRO-FM managing editor leading the news department; and Ethan Kelly as sales manager for the KIRO/KTTH sales staff.  Bonneville Seattle VP and market manager Dave Pridemore says, “These are proven leaders within our organization who are ready for their challenging assignments.  They are innovative and prepared to provide guidance as we look to the future of our dynamic and far reaching audio and digital products.  This new structure ensures our success in 2020 and beyond and elevates our daily focus on our digital business, which is imperative, as Bonneville Seattle is well positioned in this space to generate significant audience growth and to deliver solid ROI to our clients.”

iHeartMedia Launches New Philly Sports Talk Outlet.  The company is flipping WDAS-AM/W273DO from adult hits to sports talk as “FOX Sports – The Gambler” available on 1480 AM, 102.5 FM, 105.3 HD2 and online via iHeartRadio.  iHeartMedia says, “The Gambler will feature FOX Sports’ compelling and entertaining brand of sports talk programming including ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd,’ ‘The Dan Patrick Show,’ ‘Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis,’ ‘Straight Outta Vegas with RJ Bell,’ and others, as well as ‘The Daily Ticket’ hosted by Sean Brace, owner of phillyinfluencer.com, a well-known local sports website.  iHeartMedia Philly SVP of sales Jeff Moore adds, “Whether you’re heading to Atlantic City or one of our four local sports books, we’ll have what you need to keep you informed.  It’ll be a great mix of national sports talk icons with the local edge to inform and entertain the gambling audience in a groundbreaking way.”

Satire, Parody and Perspective in the Age of Political Correctness.  The co-founder and head writer of The Capitol Steps, the long-running Washington, DC-based political comedy troupe, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Elaina Newport joins the TALKERS founder in a provocative discussion about the changing nature of satire, parody, and the expression of political perspective in the current age of hyper-political correctness.  The Capitol Steps, formed in 1981 by a group of newly unemployed senate staffers whose bosses had lost re-election, is a non-partisan equal opportunity offender.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Talk Show Host Wayne Allyn Root Referenced in Four Presidential Tweets. Nationally syndicated, Las Vegas-based talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root played a role in the week’s national conversation when his statement that President Trump “is the best president for Israel in the history of the world. And the Jewish people love him like he is the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God. And then in America, American Jews don’t like him” was Tweeted by the president.  This was related to the larger story about the president’s “disloyalty” comment about Jews who vote Democrat.  Root’s talk program is syndicated by USA Radio Network and simulcast on Newsmax TV and he became an important facet of the viral story.  In another Tweet, Trump shared a segment of Root’s program. Root says of all the attention focused on him, “That was a 24-hours for the record books!”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, will be posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC at approximately 4:00 pm ET today (8/23).  The new episode titled, “The China Syndrome!” looks back at this past week of August 19-23, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Dana Cheng, senior editor China news, The Epoch TimesPhil Valentine, talk show host, WWTN, Nashville; Gerald Celente, publisher, Trends JournalDarlene Love, legendary singer/inductee Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; and Victoria Jones, executive director, the DC Radio Company.  The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio Podcast Network.  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.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast hosted by longtime ESPN commentator and award-winning sports columnist Woody Paige is debuting on PodcastOne.  “The Woody Paige Podcast” features the sports media personality, known for his trademarked “Around the Horn” chalkboard, as he welcomes sports and entertainment legends for in-depth and news-making conversations. The premiere episode spotlights ESPN’s Adam Schefter and EA Sports designer Clint Oldenburg…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that radio personality Kathy Hart – formerly of the “Eric & Kathy” morning show (with Eric Ferguson) on Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX – is re-locating to Bozeman, Montana for personal and family reasons.  Hart left WTMX in 2017 and has been doing fill-in talk host work for Tribune Media’s news/talk WGN-AM.  She says she’s open to working in radio in Montana but has nothing lined up…..SiriusXM is presenting 77 live college football games over the period of August 24 through September 2 as the 2019 season begins.  The opening week schedule features games with every team from the Associated Press Top 25 poll, including #1 Clemson vs. Georgia Tech, #2 Alabama vs. Duke, #3 Georgia vs. Vanderbilt, and the season’s first Top 25 matchup: #11 Oregon vs. #16 Auburn.

U.S.-China Trade War Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 19-23. The ongoing tariff battle was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Hong Kong Protests.  Coming in at #3 were the fears of a recession, followed by the 2020 presidential race at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 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.

The Best of Beasley.  Pictured above are the 2019 winners of Beasley Media Group’s “Outstanding Achievement Awards.”  The presentations were made during a special dinner that took place at the company’s annual management meeting at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia on Wednesday (8/21).  From l-r are: BMG Philadelphia chief engineer Keith Smeal (Technology Award winner), BMG Philadelphia director of sales Paul Blake (DOS of the Year), BMG spoken word brand manager & WBZ-FM program director Mike Thomas (Program Director of the Year), BMG Boston VP/market manager Mary Menna (Market Manager of the Year), BMG CEO Caroline Beasley, BMG COO/EVP Brian Beasley, BMG president Bruce Beasley, BMG New Jersey RVP/market manager Dan Finn, BMG Tampa VP/market manager Steve Triplett, BMG Philadelphia VP/market manager Joe Bell, and WMMR-FM/WMGK-FM program director & BMG rock format brand manager Bill WestonPhoto: Chorus Photography

Cool News/On-Air OpportunityNRG Media – Lincoln is looking for a news anchor/reporter who can double as morning co-host for Lincoln’s #1 news/talk station.  KLIN says, “This is your chance to inform and entertain during morning drive in Nebraska’s Capital City and Home of the Cornhuskers! The show is loaded with personality, and we talk about today’s issues in a fun and entertaining environment.  If you are energetic, love radio, are passionate about local news, know how to enterprise, can connect with the community, are able to create compelling & award-winning content, we want to talk with you! You will share the mic with a talented group of professionals who all love radio and each of its digital platforms. We want someone who wants to be part of our amazing morning show, knows news and who can interact with our hosts and listeners.  Your daily work will include preparing, producing and editing news, delivering that news on-air, and posting it online, as well as general reporting duties and reporting live from the field as needed. In addition, you will co-host KLIN’s popular morning drive program.  The ideal candidate will have a degree from a four-year institution and at least one year of radio and/or other relevant media experience or and equivalent combination of education and experience.  If you have excellent announcing and production skills, excellent computer skills using Office products, Adobe Audition and WordPress, and radio systems like NexGen Digital Broadcast, send us your resume!  NRG Media is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.”

PPM Analysis: Adult HitsTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian turns his eye to the music radio world in this analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 PPM survey.  Just over half of the adult hits stations on our panel see their weekly, 6+ AQH share rise (52%), while 43% dip and 5% remain the same, compared to their numbers in the June 2019 survey.   Comparing July 2018 to July 2019, although 55% of the stations on our panel are down, winners include KBPA, Austin (+1.7); KJAQ, Seattle (+1.6); WLKO, Charlotte (+1.4); and WRRK, Pittsburgh (+1.3).  KBPA, Austin “103.5 Bob FM” was the only adult hits station to rank #1 (6+) in its respective market in July.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new morning drive show is launching on Cumulus Media’s CHR WHTS, Grand Rapids “105.3 HOT FM.”  “The Gray and Green Show” – starring Rachael Gray and Jackie Green (pictured here) debuts on Monday (8/26).  Cumulus calls it “the first and only morning radio show in West Michigan presented by two female hosts.”  Gray has been hosting the morning show on WHTS for the past seven years.  Green joins her from the station’s afternoon drive program.  Green previously served with crosstown alternative WGRD-FM and as a feature reporter for WXMI-TV “FOX 17.”  WHTS program director Lori Bennett comments, “We are so excited to present this one-of-a-kind show to the West Michigan audience!  Rachael and Jackie are two of the most dynamic personalities I’ve ever worked with and their emotional connection as part of the West Michigan community is unmatched.  Sure, they’re about ‘girl power,’ but actually, it’s ‘people power.’”…..Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5” announces that actor and musician Kiefer Sutherland will serve as the official celebrity host of the eleventh “Country 102.5 Street Party” featuring headliner Maren Morris with performances by Mitchell Tenpenny, Lindsay Ell, Ryan Hurd, Matt Stell, and Jordan Davis.  WKLB brand manager David Corey states, “This is our best lineup to date.  Maren is one of the hottest acts in the country format and beyond!  It’s a privilege to have her headline the show!”…..iHeartMedia names Jerry Houston program director for iHeartRadio’s “PRIDE Radio, the Pulse of LGBTQ America,” effective October 1.  iHeartMedia Northern California Region SVP and PRIDE Radio general manager Don Parker says, “Jerry has been an integral part of PRIDE Radio for many years as our assistant program director and I’m thrilled to elevate him to program director of this important brand.  With his dedicated focus on the PRIDE brand, we have the opportunity to grow this well-established network further, expanding our LBGTQ+ offerings with podcasting, community events and meaningful partnerships.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is offering two exclusive pop and rock Labor Day Weekend music specials hosted by singer/actress Sabrina Carpenter and Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd.  “Last Big Weekend of Summer,” hosted by Carpenter, is a four-hour CHR special.  “Last Official Weekend of Summer,” hosted by Boyd, is a four-hour rock special that looks back at the big summer festivals and provides a preview of upcoming fall concert tours.  Both are designed to air from Saturday, August 31 through Monday, September 2.

Monday, May 21, 2018

| May 21, 2018

Is There a Heavenly Hundred?  Today, as TALKERS magazine posts the 2018 edition of the Heavy Hundred, Paula Ryan, the wife of late radio personality Matt Patrick writes a piece for TALKERS in which she remembers her husband and his intense love of and dedication to the craft of performing on radio.  She writes, “Every year we looked forward to the Heavy Hundred being published by TALKERS magazine.  Many of Matt’s close friends in the business got the nod year after year.  Matt would celebrate his colleagues, singing their accolades, and then quickly got back to working on his own shows in order to take it all to the next level.  I knew it was only a matter of time before he would land on that list.  Unfortunately, time was not on his side.” Read Ryan’s piece here.

Dennis Green Named Chief Revenue Officer for Sun & Fun Media. Longtime Westwood One executive Dennis Green has joined Sun & Fun Media as chief revenue officer.  Sun & Fun Media creates products for radio stations, including: vacations, gift cards, vehicle wraps, branded station merchandise, and bill pay for NTR events, television and billboard advertising for radio stations, research, consultants, equipment, software and more, all available exclusively through barter.  In this newly created position, the company says that Green will lead the development of new products and services for radio stations and will manage a team of six affiliate sales professionals to grow the company’s affiliations across the U.S.  He’ll continue to be based in New York City.  Sun & Fun Media co-founder and CEO Rob Koblasz says, “Dennis Green is one of the most respected, experienced and trusted affiliate sales executives in the radio industry and we are thrilled that he is joining Sun & Fun Media as chief revenue officer.  With Dennis’ considerable expertise in radio operations and network radio sales, we will be able to offer our affiliates more and better solutions exclusively for barter than ever before.”

Former FOX News Host Andrea Tantaros’ Suit Against Company and Individuals Dismissed.  The former FOX News Channel personality was suing FNC and a number of individuals, including former FOX executive Bill Shine and late FOX chief Roger Ailes, for $10 million.  Andrea Tantaros claimed that in response to her making allegations of sexual harassment against various FOX executives, she was put under illegal surveillance.  Tantaros was representing herself – pro se – and in a ruling highly critical of the merits of the suit, Judge George B. Daniels dismisses all of the claims, ruling that Tantaros failed at every level to provide factual support for the allegations.  Tantaros claimed, among other things, that she was being spied upon by one of Roger Ailes security personnel, that FOX tech persons installed malware on her personal computer in order to spy on her, and that she was illegally videotaped at work.

Kirshbom to Lead iHeartMedia Raleigh Cluster.  Radio management pro Alan Kirshbom joins iHeartMedia as market president for the company’s Raleigh cluster that includes news/talk outlet WTKK-FM.  Most recently, Kirshbom was vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media in Memphis.  Previously, he’d served as vice president and market manager for Entercom in Austin and Milwaukee.  As market president, Kirshbom will be responsible for “leveraging iHeartMedia Raleigh’s radio station brands and assets to provide quality programming and create new revenue opportunities.  He will spearhead all aspects of the market’s operations including sales, programming, digital, events and promotion initiatives.”  Kirshbom will report to Dave Carwile, president of iHeartMedia’s Virginia/Carolina Region.

Russel Robertson Appointed SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Tampa. Moving from the company’s Seattle station group to Tampa, Russell Robertson assumes the SVP of sales role for iHeartMedia’s cluster there. iHeartMedia’s Tampa cluster includes news/talk WFLA and sports talk WDAE.  iHM Tampa market president Chris Soechtig says, “I’m thrilled to have Russell join our team.  His 10-plus years of experience in iHeartMedia’s Pacific Northwest and San Diego Regions coupled with his passion for helping clients grow their business makes him the ideal choice for SVPS in Tampa Bay.”

Raising Money for Nevada GOP Candidates. Pictured above are Las Vegas-based talk show hosts Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) and Heidi Harris (left) at the Denim & Diamonds BBQ Fundraiser held in Las Vegas on Saturday night.  Wachs and Harris co-emceed the event sponsored by the Southern Nevada Republicans Women’s PAC and designed to raise funds for primary race GOP candidates. WSB-AM, Atlanta talk show host – and former presidential candidate – Herman Cain was a speaker at the event.

JVC Media’s John Caracciolo Delivers Commencement at Long Island’s Five Towns College.  Pictured above at the commencement at Five Towns College in Dix Hills, Long Island is JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo (left) with Chicago drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Danny Seraphine (center) and school president David Cohen (right).  Caracciolo was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony.  JVC Media owns and operates stations on Long Island – including news/talk WRCN-FM, Riverhead, New York “LI News Radio” – and in Florida.

TALKERS News Notes. Omaha native and Radio One founder Cathy Hughes (right) is pictured here with Nebraska media personality Tom Becka (left) – formerly of KFAB, Omaha and KCMO, Kansas City – after being honored by the Omaha Press Club.  The city of Omaha named a street in her honor, as well. Hughes joins the ranks of other famous Nebraskans including: Warren Buffett, Johnny Carson, and Larry the Cable Guy…..Indiana Radio Watch publisher Blaine Thompson reports that Daryl McIntire is exiting his role as director of sales for Sarkes Tarzian’s news/talk WGCL/W241CD and triple A WTTS in Bloomington, Indiana.  McIntire served with Sarkes Tarzian for 32 years in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne…..Pictured below broadcasting live from the Connecticut Democratic State Convention on May 18 is WTIC-AM, Hartford “Newstalk 1080” afternoon drive personality Todd Feinburg.  Feinburg broadcast his show from the Hartford Convention Center interviewing state political figures and taking listener calls.

Texas School Shooting, Trump Asks DOJ to Investigate FBI-CIA Surveillance of Campaign, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Royal Wedding, Iran Nuclear Plan ‘B,’ Deadpool 2 Film, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Santa Fe High School shooting on Friday that left 10 dead; President Trump asks the DOJ to investigate whether the Obama Administration asked the FBI or CIA to infiltrate the Trump campaign; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S. and China agree not to accelerate a trade war; Saturday’s royal wedding of Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to unveil “Plan B” for Iran nuclear deal; the film Deadpool 2 tops the weekend box office; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs 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. There’s a change in morning drive talent at iHeartMedia’s WLIT, Chicago “93.9 LITE FM” as Melissa Forman returns to the station to host AM drive, replacing Kristina Kage.  The company says Forman “will kick off the workday with two hours of commercial free music from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.  Melissa’s tradition of informing and entertaining listeners will continue through celebrity interviews, charity involvement, and the unique relationships that she’s built with the people of Chicago.”  iHeartMedia Chicago Region president Matt Scarano says, “I am so excited to welcome Melissa Forman back into the iHeartMedia Chicago family.  She has a rich history with Chicago and 93.9 LITE FM’s listeners, and we are looking forward to working with her again.”…..iHeartMedia’s KMRQ, Modesto, California “Rock 96.7” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Woody Show” to the program schedule for morning drive.

Friday, January 12, 2018

| January 12, 2018

Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm.  Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism.  This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable.  The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words.  This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it.  In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly.  Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.”   Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t.  My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.”  We want our shows to be safe for the whole family.  No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.”  Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'”  ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards.  Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’   We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities.   We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making.  If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage.   If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance.  But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.”  Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go.  Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.”  Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air.  Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!”  Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning.  My advice:  Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'”  TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.”  For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.

Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.”  TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term.  To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.

Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City.  The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention.  Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City.  This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue.  The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future.  There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities.  Good things happen at this convention.  We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!”  Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks.  As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.

WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.

TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Showwith former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.

British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.”  It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy.  Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.”  According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10)  breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it.  He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker.  In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air.  “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.”  Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected.  To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadioTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”

iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.

 

 

Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”

Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”

Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).

Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.

Monday, November 18, 2013

| November 18, 2013

milhaventornadocoverageTornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show.  The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis.  The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform.  Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format.  Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson.  In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”

wrcnlogoJVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas.  Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays.  But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives.  But as our lives change so does our soundtrack.  What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore.  That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information.  Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton?  What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale?  This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.”  Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.

thomaslindaLinda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.”  In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave.  That’s what family members do.  I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.”  Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993.  She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010.  She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business.  It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent.  I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers.  They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”

wrightmichelleMichelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.”  Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo.  The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim.  She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012.  She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.

pittmanbobCEOs Make the Grade.  Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and EmmisJeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in thesmulyanjeff Indianapolis Star.  In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose.  “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done.  It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.”  Read that piece here.  Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job.  If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.”  Read that story here.

millerchrisThe View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again.  We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now.  Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms.  And here’s what we think.”  In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset.  Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing.  He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.”  He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions.  Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should.  It doesn’t work like you wish it did.  It works like it works.  We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you.  Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views.  There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it.  Radio people know a lot about how people use radio.  Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter.  One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference.  We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work.  Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t.  What we do either works, or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

rhodesrandiPremiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014.  Premiere SVP of affiliate relationspremierenetworks logo Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show.  In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of.  We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.”  Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.

herskovitzalIt’s Pop-Up Time.  No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season.  Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year.  He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League.  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.

abcnewskennedyABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming.  As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.  It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates.  In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible.  The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.

ruthronRon Ruth Passes.  Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack.  The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months.  CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.”  Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him.  Ron was the midwife to Birch Research.  He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me.  I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.”  Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.”  Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber.  He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL).  Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992.  Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.

wmalbonginoA Man of His Word.  The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino.  Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.

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