Tag: "John Catsimatidis"

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

| April 8, 2020

Cumulus Announces Furlough and Pay Cut Plans. It was the last of the large radio companies to take drastic measures, but Tuesday (4/7) Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner made her employees aware of the company’s plans via a video message.  Berner told her workforce that the Covid-19 plan was temporary and will be implemented in the coming days.  As part of the plan, Cumulus’ salaried staffers will take three non-consecutive weeks of furlough over the course of 15 weeks that begins on April 20.  For the group of employees who don’t have supervisors or don’t have anyone else who can cover for them, they will work for 90-days without pay, beginning April 16.  For those employees whose duties have been reduced or eliminated, they are on a 90-day furlough, starting April 16.  Berner said the company intends to bring all furloughed employees back when full-scale business operations resume.  She is taking a 50% pay cut during this period and says the executive leadership team is taking a 25% cut and is giving up incentive compensation for the year.  She said, “Even though these are intended to be temporary actions, I know they are going to land hard – really hard – and that is in the emotional and financial toll that a furlough or salary cut will take on each of you, but also in terms of the increased workload the vast majority of you will have to take on during your co-workers’ furlough weeks.  I am truly sorry and sad about this announcement.  None of you deserves this.”  It’s unclear how the company is dealing with its union-represented air staffers.

‘The Mighty 990’ in Memphis Offering Week of Free Advertising. Memphis news/talk KWAM-AM/W300DE “The Mighty 990” is offering small businesses in the Memphis market a free week of advertising.  Starnes Media Group says, “It’s just one significant way the news/talk radio station is lending a helping hand to the community during the global pandemic.”  Company CEO Dalton Glasscock adds, “We’ve covered the stories of neighbors and small businesses in this community sacrificing to help in this fight against our invisible enemy.  These people, their businesses, and their stories have inspired us to do what we can to help them and other businesses that need an extra hand during this time.”  The company adds that Glasscock and president Todd Starnes are not taking their salaries during the pandemic and are committed to their staffers.

‘Cats Roundtable’ to Air on WABC, New York. The nationally syndicated “Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” begins airing on “TALK RADIO 77 WABC” in New York at 9:00 am this Sunday (4/12).  Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media recently closed on its purchase of the radio station and assumed operations.  Catsimatidis’ show features “A-list guests from politics, business, science, and more.”  Guests on the program have included: Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Rand Paul, Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and more.  Catsimatidis says, “It’s exciting for me to have my show on the legendary 77 WABC.  WABC is a staple in talk radio and a vital part of New York City.  I love New York, and I’m looking forward to welcoming all the new listeners from 77 WABC.”  Red Apple Media and WABC Radio president Chad Lopez says, “John’s personal relationships give him unprecedented access to world leaders and newsmakers.  We’re delighted to welcome ‘The Cats Roundtable’ to our lineup of great talk shows and to give our advertisers the opportunity to connect with John’s engaged listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. The content creation deal between iHeartMedia and Aaron Mahnke is extended and includes two more years of new content for the popular “Cabinet of Curiosities” podcast, two new seasons of “Unobscured,” as well as an executive producer role for the newly launched hit “Strange Arrivals,” additional seasons of “Noble Blood” and a new scripted series set to launch this fall.  Additionally, the partnership will add a slate of five new podcasts to feature groundbreaking talent including Rabia Chaudry – attorney, advocate, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Adnan’s Story…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM evening host Justin Kaufmann is returning to his public radio roots at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM to host a two-hour, Saturday afternoon call-in show on the coronavirus pandemic.  Before joining WGN five years ago, Kaufmann worked for WBEZ for 21 years…..Entercom sports talk WFAN, New York announces the second season of the Travelers Insurance-sponsored Sunday morning program, “Talkin’ Golf with Ann Liguori,” is airing on the station through June 28.  Entercom programming SVP Mark Chenoff comments, “Ann is a WFAN original and continues to serve as our premier golf reporter, also covering the U.S. Open Tennis Championship and other special events for the station.  No one is more dialed into the sport than Ann and we’re looking forward to the return of her show, giving listeners an inside look at movers and shakers in the game, including players, celebrities, authors, broadcasters and other newsmakers in the world of golf.”…..iHeartMedia Cleveland’s news/talk WTAM and rock WMMS-FM and three local TV outlets joined together last Saturday for a broadcast fundraising effort to help raise more than $150,000 for United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to assist families in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Wisconsin Primary, Acting Navy Secretary Resigns, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the debate over prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization and his threat to withhold U.S. funds from the organization; the decision to go ahead with Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Wisconsin; acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigns from his post after his controversial badmouthing of the USS Theodore Roosevelt captain; and the state of 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. International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the World Health Organization are presenting “One World: Together At Home” a program that will be globally televised and streamed in support of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.  It’s taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm EDT on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, iHeartMedia, and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada.  “The virtual broadcast will show unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19 and will also celebrate and support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines.  At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts as part of the organization’s Give While You Live effort. Investors, changemakers and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts like stronger health systems and vaccine development.”…..A casualty of the coronavirus-related programming changes at Entercom includes the end of “The TJ Show” on CHR WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio.”  The program, hosted by TJ Taormina with co-hosts Loren and Producer Matt, has aired on the station since 2013.  Taormina served with iHeartMedia’s WHTZ, New York on the Elvis Duran program prior to joining WODS…..The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” program adds new affiliate stations: WLGZ, Rochester “105.5 The Beat,” KFXZ-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana; KJMP-AM,  Ft. Collins; KJMZ-FM, Woodward, Oklahoma; and KKST-FM, Alexandria, Louisiana.  DeDe McGuire states, “Our show is a family.  We share our laughs and reveal our personal stories about how we are coping with this pandemic and the new normal it’s creating in our lives.  We are all in this together.  Connecting to family, friends, and community is more important than ever.”…..Programming pro John Shomby exits his NASH director of programming position and WKDF, Nashville PD role with Cumulus Media.  He joined Cumulus in 2016 after serving as director of programming for Max Media’s Norfolk station group for 13 years.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

| April 7, 2020

FCC Shoots Down Request for Investigation into Broadcasters Airing Presidential Press Conferences. Last week, the activist organization Free Press filed an emergency petition with the FCC calling on it to “investigate the spread of false Covid-19 information via broadcast outlets across the United States.”  Free Press co-CEO Jessica J. González and senior policy counsel Gaurav Laroia state, “The FCC possesses both the authority and the responsibility to ensure the public airwaves are utilized in the public interest.  This duty is heightened in times of crisis.  Specifically, broadcasters are prohibited from knowingly airing false information about a catastrophe that causes ‘substantial public harm.’”  Yesterday (4/6), the Commission’s Office of General Counsel and Media Bureau wholly rejected the petition saying it “seeks remedies that would dangerously curtail the freedom of the press embodied in the First Amendment and misconstrues the Commission’s rules.  The decision also makes clear that the FCC will neither act as a roving arbiter of broadcasters’ editorial judgments nor discourage them from airing breaking news events involving government officials in the midst of the current global pandemic.”  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is quoted saying, “Under my leadership, the FCC has always stood firmly in defense of Americans’ First Amendment freedoms, including freedom of the press.  And so long as I am chairman of this agency, we always will.  The federal government will not—and never should—investigate broadcasters for their editorial judgments simply because a special interest group is angry at the views being expressed on the air as well as those expressing them.  In short, we will not censor the news.  Instead, consistent with the First Amendment, we leave it to broadcasters to determine for themselves how to cover this national emergency, including live events involving our nation’s leaders.”

SportsGrid Shows to Air Across SB Nation Radio Network. Two of SportsGrid’s national talk shows – “Ferrall Coast to Coast” with Scott Ferrall and “Game Time Decisions” with Gabe Morency – will air on the SB Nation Radio schedule beginning April 14.  “Ferrall Coast to Coast” will air weekdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and “Game Time Decisions” will air from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  Ferrall comments, “This new opportunity allows me to reconnect with my long-time loyal listeners all over the country across the SB Nation network of radio stations. I’m looking forward to changing sportscasting by including the sports betting perspective and commentary to the millions of engaged fans.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Emergency Grants. The Broadcasters Foundation of America’s executive committee of the board of directors held an emergency meeting recently to respond to broadcasters in financial need due to the coronavirus pandemic. The criteria for emergency grant qualifications has been revised to provide aid to broadcasters who meet the requirements and have been infected.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Never in our history as broadcasters have we experienced an event that has caused this much hardship.  Thus, we have revised provisions to our emergency grant eligibility guidelines.”  For more information, broadcasters in need can email grants@thebfoa.org or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org/coronavirus.

Austin American-Statesman Launches New Streaming Talk Station. Former KLBJ-AM, Austin personality Jeff Ward is one of the Austin market radio pros to join the newest streaming venture from the Austin American-Statesman.  The new station – called the Statesman News Network – joins the news organization’s streaming music station Austin360 Radio as the paper’s next audio venture.  Ward will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “There will be plenty of common-sense rants.  But the goal of the show is always the same: I want you to find it compelling, and I want you to feel forced to think.”  The paper says that other shows lined up for the stream include: “From the Newsroom” featuring interviews from the staff of the newspaper; “512 Tech and Business Report,” a daily update on local business and technology news from Amy Edwards; “Longhorn Confidential,” breaking news, interviews and updates on the Texas Longhorns; “Austin Found,” in which Statesman reporter and Austin history buff Michael Barnes and radio personality JB Hager share the stories behind the making of the Texas capital; plus more.

PPM Analysis: February 2020 Extra. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents and “extra” look at Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey.  In this report, he presents a rank of the PPM markets based on weekly, 6+ AQH share for all spoken-word stations; a rank of the highest market-wide gains in spoken-word listening; a rank of the markets that lost the most 6+ share; and more.  See it all here.

Radio Pros, ‘Sterling On Sunday’ Keeps You on the Air.  The national radio show “Sterling On Sunday” invites laid off radio performers to participate in their on-air comedy routines and dramas.  “We have had a stunning array of top talent in our sketches such as Charlie Van Dyke, JJ Wilson, but mostly people who wish to remain anonymous due to their alimony situation.  If you can cut an mp3, we can write a part for you.”  “Sterling On Sunday” is aired (10:00 pm to 1:00 am) on major stations live such as KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; WPHT, Philadelphia; KFBK, Sacramento; plus about 100 more.  “Broadcasting from home is nothing new to us.  It’s the right way.  We will give you credit, script approval, and generally talk you up. Hear past shows at www.waltermsterling.com so you know what you’re getting into. No broadcaster should be off the air, it’s unnatural.  C’mon let’s make a show.  We also have a plan to pay you for helping our team clear the show…cash!”  Contact waltermsterling@gmail.com.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Trump Fires Whistleblower, Financial Markets Activity, Boris Johnson in ICU, Wisconsin Primary, 5G-Coronavirus Conspiracy, USS Theodore Roosevelt Controversy, Chinese Journalist at WH Presser, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the medical and political debate over the effectiveness of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus; the aftermath of President Trump’s firing of intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson; the world’s financial markets react to coronavirus news; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moves to the ICU for Covid-19 treatment; the battle between Wisconsin’s governor and the state Supreme Court over the primary elections; the conspiracy theory that 5G is exacerbating coronavirus symptoms; the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt is removed for pleading for help for his coronavirus-infected crew; a Chinese journalist is admitted to the White House press briefing; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Former KRBZ-FM, Kansas City Morning Host Sues Entercom for Discrimination.  Former KRBZ-FM, Kansas City “96.5 The Buzz” morning host Afentra Bandokoudis has filed suit against Entercom Kansas City for “discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Equal Pay Act.”  She’s seeking back pay, benefits, bonuses, and more.  Bandokoudis’ complaint alleges that she was paid less than her male counterparts despite outperforming their shows.  She was paid a base salary of $100,000 and her PD/afternoon host Scott Geiger, a.k.a. Lazlo, made $185,000.  (Bandokoudis and Geiger were married from 2005 through July of 2018, a month before Bandokoudis was fired from the station.)  She alleges Johnny Dare, morning host on sister rock station KQRC, made more than $185,000 despite her show outperforming his.  Bandokoudis goes on to claim that after she complained about the par disparity, she was subject to retaliatory actions before ultimately being let go in 2018.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At iHeartMedia’s Chicago hip hop WGCI, Zach Boog is named the new evening host, taking over for DJ MoonDawg, who exited during the company’s January restructuring.  He’d been filling in on the daypart along with other WGCI staffers.  Station PD Johnnie D. Glover says, “It is an honor to promote Zach to nights on 107.5 WGCI.  He is extremely entertaining, works hard to produce compelling content, and has a very organic way of connecting with Chicago listeners.  Zach has a bright future and I look forward to working with him to create many exciting memories with 107.5 WGCI’s audience.”…..Griffin Communications CHR KHTT, Tulsa “106.9 K-Hits” brings Kacy Termini aboard as co-host of the new “Chubbs & Kacy Show” to debut on Monday (4/13).  She comments, “I’ve been so impressed with what ‘K-Hits’ and the Griffin brands have been able to do in our community.  Every time something happens, they step up to help their neighbors and keep them safe and informed.  Especially at such a trying time for many.  I’m excited to work with Chubbs and do our part to make Green Country even more special.  We still need to laugh – in both the hard times and the good ones!”…..Condolences to the family and friends of programming pro John Roberts, who passed away recently after a esophageal cancer.  He’d been serving as regional operations manager for Townsquare Media in Tyler, Texas.  Townsquare SVP of programming Kurt Johnson says, “John was a true pro, one of the best our business has ever seen.  But more importantly he was a great friend to everyone, and he made a huge impact on his family, his staff, his community, and basically with everyone he met.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

| March 24, 2020

CLARIFICATION: WABC, New York Adds Bannon’s ‘War Room: Pandemic’ Show TFN; Local Expert Guests Throughout Week.  Clearing up some confusion from an earlier press release sent out by Red Apple Media, news/talk WABC, New York announces it is adding Stephen K. Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” syndicated program to its daily lineup at 5:00 pm until further notice.  The station is also bringing in a series of expert guests for special local coronavirus programs between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  On Monday (3/23), former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani hosted with Tony Carbonetti for an hour. Today (3/24), famed attorney Arthur Aidala hosts at 3:00 pm and Bill O’Reilly does a customized hour for WABC at 4:00 pm.  Tomorrow (3/25), “Curtis & Juliet” extend their show until 4:00 pm, when FOX NewsBrian Kilmeade hosts a customized hour for WABC.  Thursday, its former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm and New York Governor George Pataki hosts from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

iHeartMedia Announces KFMB-AM, San Diego Lineup.  Six days after taking over operation of San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM under an LMA from Local Media San Diego, iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the talk station that it intends to buy for $1.2 million.  Local talk hosts Mark Larson and Mike Slater have been hired to continue their programs on the station as the station retains most of its programming.  The KSTE, Sacramento-based “Armstrong & Getty” show will hold down morning drive, followed by Larson from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Slater from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Premiere NetworksBuck Sexton in PM drive, followed by Westwood One’s Mark Levin in evenings, “Red Eye Radio” in overnights, and “America in the Morning” in early mornings.  Local host Brett Winterble left KFMB-AM and recently was named afternoon personality at Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are proud to add this iconic talk station to iHeartMedia San Diego’s portfolio of market-leading brands.  We look forward to working with AM 760’s talented, well-respected hosts and their listeners.”

WTZA, Atlanta Talk Station Folds Under Weight of Coronavirus Pandemic. According to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, entrepreneur Will Regan has ended the talk format on WTZA-AM/W271CV, Atlanta “Talk of Atlanta” because interested investors pulled out due to the coronavirus and advertisers putting a halt to campaigns.  Regan was building the station around afternoon drive host Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson – formerly with Cumulus’ crosstown WYAY-FM – prior to its sale to Educational Media Foundation – and a longtime host at iHeartMedia’s WGST – now airing all syndicated programming.  Also let go from WTZA are Peterson’s co-host Pete Davis, Mike Brooks, Shannon Burke, and Kara Stockton.

TALKERS News Notes. WABC, New York personality and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa is front and center in a New York Post piece about the work the Guardian Angels are doing to assist the city’s homeless.  The story says that Guardian Angels have been working at Penn Station and in the subways giving the homeless care packages that include a sandwich, fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, and hand wipes.  Sliwa is quoted saying that the homeless population is especially at risk because they are not following the advisories. “It’s the only way you are going to get them to follow the guidelines and no one is doing it.  The city acts like they don’t exist, the homeless and emotionally disturbed.”…..Hulk Hogan, a.k.a. Terry Bollea, has agreed to a settlement with Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa and various individuals involved in the release of a sex tape that shows Bollea having sex with Bubba The Love Sponge’s then-wife Heather Clem.  The settlement terms have not been disclosed.  Bollea first sued digital gossip sheet Gawker and won a $141 million judgement (he settled for $31 million) that put Gawker out of business.  This most recent suit named defendants: Cox Media Group, WHPT morning host Mike Calta, former Bubba the Love Sponge cast member Matt “Spice Boy” Loyd, Loyd’s ex-wife Tasha Nicole Caraga, Lori Burbridge, Don Buchwald and Associates, Buchwald agent Tony Burton, and attorney Keith Davidson…..Entercom announces that as part of its annual, yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health awareness initiative it is presenting, “I’m Listening: Stay Connected,” a multiplatform, live daily show focused on mental health in the midst of the global health pandemic.  The program is hosted by licensed therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue, who will offer resources and tips and answer questions from listeners to keep overwhelm at bay.  It airs Monday through Thursday from 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm ET.

Coronavirus Status, Stimulus Package Debate, Trump Considers ‘Reopening’ Economy Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23).  The spread of the coronavirus, the death toll, and predictions about overwhelmed emergency rooms; the debate in congress over the components of an economic stimulus package; and President Trump’s concerns about the “cure” being worse than the virus and his considering “reopening the economy” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Mayo Clinic and Radio America Offer COVID-19 Info. As syndication partner for Mayo Clinic, Radio America is helping the health organization responding to the coronavirus pandemic clinically and with the latest public information by adding resources for stations.  Mayo Clinic’s News Network is providing free information that stations are welcome to use.  Find it here.  Mayo Clinic offers a daily radio feature called “Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minutes,” as well as an hour-long weekend radio show, both of these are available from Radio America Network.  Stations interested in interviewing a Mayo physician about COVID-19 can request an interview with Dr. Tom Shives (host of Mayo Clinic Radio) by reaching out to Radio America at affiliates@radioamerica.com.

RAB Launches “Business Unusual.”  The Radio Advertising Bureau announces a new section on its RAB.com website to assist radio salespeople during the coronavirus pandemic.  Titled, “Business Unusual: Best Practices for When It’s Not Business As Usual,” the section “includes a newly released white paper titled ‘Advertising During Difficult Times,’ pertinent articles and blogs, Radio It’s On social media campaign, relevant research studies, creative resources, and other marketing and training tools that RAB members can use and share with their advertising clients.”  The section is being updated regularly with new materials posted for RAB members as they become available.  The RAB is also offering a professional development webinar series called Business Unusual featuring three distinct webinars free to RAB members.  The three in the series are: Business Unusual Requires Exceptional Communication – How To Talk To Your Advertisers Now; How To Craft Your Messaging In Times of Uncertainty; and Work From Home (WFH) Strategies To Maximize Productivity In Your New Office.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In order to help entertain and soothe Americans whose daily lives have been upended by COVID-19, Entercom’s RADIO.COM is launching “RADIO.COM Live: And the Beat Goes On,” a new 24/7 channel that will stream and broadcast live epic events for 30 straight days, including new and never-before-seen archived performances from some of the biggest artists in the world.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo states, “As we practice social distancing, music fans everywhere can stay connected with ‘RADIO.COM Live: And the Beat Goes On’ for live, exclusive performances right in their homes.  We have opened up our archives from a variety of genres and also partnered with new artists to bring fans some of our biggest shows all in one place.  We hope everyone enjoys a nightly couch tour with us.”  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Music soothes the soul and as we navigate these unchartered waters our souls have never needed to be soothed more.  Our stations nationwide have partnered with incredible artists for one-of-a-kind performances. We have always wanted to dig deep into our archive and this seems like the absolute best time to do so.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

| March 11, 2020

WABC PD David LaBrozzi Added to Bold “Super Panel” Designed to Address Existential Industry Question at TALKERS Convention. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to announce the addition of WABC, New York/Red Apple Media, Inc. director of programming, content & branding David LaBrozzi to what is being described as a “bold super panel” to tackle the existential industry question, “Can Radio Be Saved and, If So, How?” at the forthcoming TALKERS Convention in New York on Friday June 5. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This 90-minute session will feature an extraordinary lineup of seven individuals reflecting a wide perspective on the past, present and potential future of radio’s role in society.” In addition to LaBrozzi, the panel consists of (in alphabetical order): MediaVision CEO, Lee Abrams; RAB president and CEO, Erica Farber; Radio Hall of Fame chairman and Soundmind LLC partner, Kraig Kitchin; SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, Joe Madison; and former CBS Radio/Entercom executive VP of programming, Chris Oliviero. One more panelist will be named shortly along with an introducer. Michael Harrison will serve as moderator. For more information about the forthcoming TALKERS Convention see story below.

Sean Hannity to Head All Star Lineup of Speakers at 23rd Annual TALKERS Convention Set for NYC on Friday June 5. In what has become an annual tradition, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his role as one of the key speakers at the forthcoming TALKERS Convention. He will also again host the morning networking event, “Breakfast with Hannity.” Hannity will engage in the popular presentation, “A Fireside Chat with Sean Hannity” hosted by Michael Harrison.” VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This year’s 23rd annual convention is a celebration of TALKERS magazine’s 30th anniversary and we are pleased to report that we’ve lined up an extraordinary roster of about 60 speakers and a powerful agenda to make it a truly meaningful life changing and career enhancing event for each and every one of our attendees. Details about the agenda and sponsorship opportunities will continue to be posted here on Talkers.com daily. This year the event is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. Speakers are being recruited from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry — including talent, programmers, managers and owners and the agenda focuses on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age including fundamental changes in the platforms upon which it is carried and distributed. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. Attendance is only open to members of the media industry and communications students and an advance sellout is expected. Non-refundable registrations can only be obtained via telephone with credit card. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To make reservations at the “official” hotel of the event, the Hilton New York Fashion District (located across the street from the venue) and receive a discount (while rooms last) please click here.

Unique Trophy: Red Apple Launch Party for WABC at NYC Opening of ‘Cats.’  The 77WABC launch party to celebrate the much-anticipated closing on the former Cumulus Media-owned station by John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media took place Monday evening (3/9) at the legendary outlet’s studio in New York City.  During the packed event that included 77WABC air personalities and executives as well as representatives from the ad buying community, Catsimatidis was welcomed into radio industry ownership with the presentation of the “Beacon” – a recently replaced 77WABC tower obstruction light.  During a brief speech, Catsimatidis reassuringly told the gathering, “We only buy companies, we do not sell them.  We are here to stay!”  Pictured above are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis Jr., John Catsimatidis, the “Beacon,” Red Apple Media/77WABC president Chad Lopez, and Margo Catsimatidis. Photo: Jillian Nelson

iHeartMedia Issues Coronavirus Memo to Staff. Company CEO Bob Pittman and COO Rich Bressler sent a memo to the entire iHeartMedia staff regarding the coronavirus epidemic.  Here’s what it said: Team, at iHeart, our two most important priorities are serving the communities across America in which we live and work and protecting the health and safety of our employees. iHeart reaches nine out of 10 Americans – more than any other media company — and our reach comes with the responsibility to be a voice for information, context and trusted companionship.  Like you and like our listeners nationwide, we see increasing daily media coverage about the coronavirus (COVID-19), and as a company we want to make sure we do the right thing.  In addition to the work we do around the specific health risk, as media industry leaders we are also concerned that anxiety and excessive worry over the virus can have its own negative impact.  We also know that some of you and your family members are feeling this anxiety personally.  The latest information suggests that coronavirus can be very serious if you’re older or sick, just as the flu can.  But, like the flu, its effects seem to be relatively mild for the majority of people who catch it, with the exception of older people, those with respiratory ailments or those with compromised immune systems.  To put the coronavirus into some perspective, the country did not experience the same anxiety-fueled reaction around diseases like measles, Zika, SARS, West Nile, Ebola or Bird Flu, to name a few examples, and health professionals say those were all likely more dangerous than the coronavirus although maybe not as widespread.  For your own personal health and the health of those around you, if you’re sick, please stay home and don’t expose yourself to others; that’s the same request we have if you have the flu or a bad cold or any other contagious disease – plus wash your hands often and follow CDC recommendations about disease prevention and guidelines about when to stay at home after travel to any “hot spot” countries or contact with anyone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus.  Right now, the potential for panic is an additional concern we need to address.  We know that for people to remain calm they need information on a continuing basis about what’s going on.  We also need to make sure we disseminate accurate and timely information to help the health professionals manage this outbreak, and to that end we will also be airing daily coronavirus updates on our stations to help supply that necessary information to our communities.  At iHeart, we will continue to operate with our usual business practices, and we will adjust them as needed.  Because we want to make our workplaces as safe as possible, we ask that you quickly contact HR4U@iheartmedia.com or (855) 722-4748 if you or anyone in your offices has contracted, or come into direct contact with, coronavirus and we will deal with each situation individually and appropriately.  As a company we adapt and react quickly, and in this situation, that’s never been more critical.  Our focus is on serving our communities, our listeners and our employees, and we are dedicated to using our assets for the public good in every single community we serve.  As leaders in our communities and in media we have a responsibility to help put the coronavirus in perspective by disseminating information and context for our listeners, and we feel this will have the additional benefit of calming anxiety and the ill effects on society that could result from that.  We’re monitoring the situation closely, and as we learn more, we’ll keep you informed.  Thanks for your strong commitment to serving our communities, our listeners and our partners at a time when they need us more than ever.

Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication. The nationally syndicated weekly program “Gun Talk,” hosted by Tom Gresham, is celebrating its 25th year on the air.  Gresham says of his guns and shooting sports program, “‘Gun Talk’ radio is perhaps more important today than when it started 25 years ago.  Whether it’s helping the first-time gun buyer sort out what she needs to buy or exposing politicians who claim to be supporters of the Second Amendment while putting restrictions on this right, there’s plenty to talk about.  Responsible gun ownership is strong, and I’m glad to be part of the movement.”  “Gun Talk” airs live each Sunday from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET.  In addition to his radio show, Gresham has created and hosted “Personal Defense TV” and “Gun Talk TV” and has written magazine articles and books about firearms safety and training.

PPM Analysis: Ratings ‘Extra.’ TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this “extra” look at radio station performances based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey.  Which stations gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share compared to the Holiday 2019 survey and which stations lost the most shares?  See it all here.

The Coronavirus Epidemic, the Democratic Primary, Financial Markets React to the Coronavirus, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10). The status of the COVID-19 epidemic and the debate over the best policies to contain it; Tuesday’s primary elections and Joe Biden’s lead in the Democratic primary race; the world’s financial markets’ reactions to the coronavirus epidemic; and Vladimir Putin’s move to secure his role as leader of Russia through 2036 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The “Jalen & Jacoby” podcast from ESPN Audio, starring Jalen Rose and David Jacoby, is planning another live recording of the program at the historic Gramercy Theatre in New York City on Tuesday, April 21.  ESPN says the “Jalen & Jacoby” podcast first began as a passion project for the guys under ESPN’s Grantland banner.  As the podcast developed into a hit in the summer of 2011, it grew to include a YouTube show, then to a national ESPN radio show.  From the radio show, “Jalen & Jacoby” grew – yet again – into a late-night TV show before landing in the afternoon on ESPN2 and, where it airs currently at 4:00 pm ET on ESPN.…..The University of Washington athletics department and exclusive multimedia rightsholder Huskies Sports Properties, announces today a new, five-year broadcast agreement with iHeartMedia sports talk KJR-AM, Seattle to run through the 2024-2025 athletic season.  The deal means KJR will provide comprehensive coverage for all Huskies sports including men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football game broadcasts.  Promotional support will happen on KJR-AM and sister stations classic hits KJR-FM, adult hits KJAQ-FM “96.5 JACK-FM,” and sports talk KFNQ-AM…..The “Joy on Paper” radio show hosted by Patzi Gil and dedicated to the world of books, celebrates its 5th anniversary on March 17.  Last year, on the program’s fourth anniversary, Gil’s guests were the writing couple Andrew Grant and Tasha Alexander, both popular authors.  This year they’ll return with breaking news that Andrew Grant is now two writers in one – the talented author of the Paul McGarth series will join his brother Lee Grant (a.k.a. Lee Child) to carry on the Jack Reacher series.  Gil says, “I don’t know how I will introduce him now.  But, whether he is Andrew Grant or Andrew Child, he is a fabulous writer and I am proud that he and Tasha will be joining me.  Tasha is the New York Times best-selling author of the ‘Lady Emily’ mystery series.”

Emmis Communications Announces Non-Broadcasting Acquisition. The acquisition of Lencore Acoustics Corporation – a Long Island-based business in the sound masking industry – gives Emmis Communications Corporation a foothold in a non-broadcasting business.  According to the press release, “Sound masking technology introduces barely perceptible background sound into a space to make environments more comfortable, ensure speech privacy, and increase workplace productivity.”  It adds that Lenore does business in nearly every U.S. state, and Europe (London).  Lencore’s 33 employees become Emmis staffers immediately.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “Today’s announcement is the product of a long process, looking for the right place to infuse the Emmis hallmarks of sales and marketing excellence.  Emmis’ experience in building best-in-class operations, coupled with its unique people-first culture is the perfect fit to complement the talented Lencore team, and will give them the resources and support necessary to grow the business.  We believe that the continued move toward open-concept offices makes effective sound masking solutions more and more important.  We’re excited about where this business can go.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Multimedia pro Joey Fortman is named morning drive personality and digital media specialist for Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOIT, San Francisco.  In addition to her past experience as a radio personality, Fortman is the founder of “Reality Moms,” a multimedia digital influencer agency.  Bonneville Bay Area director of programming operations Brian Figula says, “Joey Fortman is a very unique talent who excels at both on-air and digital content creation.  She is the perfect fit to connect our listeners to our advertisers and sell their products on-air and via our fast-growing digital channels.”…..The husband-and-wife duo of Robby Bridges and Rochelle Gagnon are joining MacDonald Garber Broadcasting’s CHR WKHQ, Traverse City, Michigan to host the morning show. Additionally, Bridges will serve as station program director and Gagnon will take on promotions director duties.  The duo recently served at iHeartMedia’s WDVD, Detroit.  Bridges says, “We’d like to thank Trish and Peter Garber, Diane Hansell and Gary Berkowitz for this awesome opportunity to join their team to create big, fun, live and local radio in one of America’s premiere vacation cities.”…..Central Florida Educational Foundation promotes Dean O’Neal to vice president of operations in which he’ll oversee the organization’s seven Christian radio stations.  O’Neal was most recently program director for non-commercial Christian contemporary WPOZ-FM, Orlando “Z88.3.”  As the same time, Therese Romano is named PD for WPOZ.

Monday, March 2, 2020

| March 2, 2020

JVC Media’s ‘Florida Man Radio’ Makes Lineup Changes. The Orlando simulcast of WDYZ-AM and W288CJ – ‘Florida Man Radio’ – makes some changes to its daily lineup.  Scott Ledger exits the midday slot and the station moves Attorney Justin Clark’s “You Have Power Radio” to 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and adds an hour to “The Ed Tyll Show” (now airing 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) to fill the daypart.  “The Shannon Burke Show” is now heard in PM drive from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  JVC Media Florida director of programming Stevie Demann says, “As this unique radio station continues to grow across the state, we will continue to find new ways to ensure we’re delivering the most off-the-wall, creative, and exciting ways to discuss today’s most relevant and relatable topics.  Moving Justin to middays, giving Ed Tyll an extra hour, and Shannon Burke moving to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm to super serve the busy afternoon commute, ‘Florida Man Radio’ will be better positioned to make our listeners laugh, cringe, think – and of course be ‘Unfiltered and Unafraid’!”  ‘Florida Man Radio’ is also heard on WYGC-FM, High Springs in the Gainesville market.

Connoisseur Media Expands Digital Business. The expansion of Connoisseur Media’s digital business comes as the company acquires the digital marketing staff, a substantial portfolio of accounts, and key management platforms from Scorpion.  Connoisseur says the combined digital operations will be known as Ferocious Media going forward.  The assets purchased by Connoisseur are a portion of Scorpion’s 2017 acquisition of Driven Local, a nationally recognized, award-winning digital marketing agency and Google Ads Premier Partner.  Kevin Szypula, Driven Local’s co-founder and most recently chief advertising officer of Scorpion, joins Connoisseur as COO of Ferocious Media.  Connoisseur CEO Jeff Warshaw states, “This is a significant step for our company, it allows us to bring a crackerjack operating team and hundreds of additional accounts into Connoisseur.  We started a digital marketing services company 10 years ago, then merged with Driven Local.  We are so happy to welcome Kevin back to the family.”  Connoisseur says Ferocious Media is a full-service marketing company that provides “cutting edge website design, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, media buying, display, video and audio advertising, social media content and more.”

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  Almost 70% of sports talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share improve from the Holiday 2019 survey.  Big gainers included iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis, which shot up 1.6 shares to post an 8.4 share and the #1 rank in the market; and Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh, rising 1.5 shares to finish the survey with a 7.9 share good for the #4 rank.  Comparing year-over-year, 53% of sports talkers were up while 35% were down and 12% were flat.  KXFN, Minneapolis gained 3.5 shares from January 2019 to January 2020, rising from #8 to #1 in the market.  Meanwhile, Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco added 1.9 shares to finish January 2020 with a 4.8 share; and Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh also added 1.9 shares to finish January 2020 with a 3.9 share.  KFXN was one of three sports talkers to rank #1 in its market in January.  The other two were Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia and WFAN in the Long Island market.  See the entire report here.

Supporting the Prez at CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network syndicated talk radio host Sebastian Gorka with the social media stars “Diamond & Silk” – outspoken supporters of President Trump – at CPAC 2020 in National Harbor, Maryland.  The sisters – Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson – have close to 2 million Facebook followers and more than 250,000 YouTube subscribers.

Monday Memo: “On YOUR One Day…?”  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke outlines a call-in topic that has never failed to explode the phone lines.  Warn your screener.  Read about it here.

Coronavirus, Presidential Race/Buttigieg Drops Out, Financial Markets Activity, Selma March Anniversary, the Israeli Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the coronavirus pandemic and how nations are dealing with it; Joe Biden’s win in Saturday’s South Carolina primary and Pete Buttigieg’s exit from the race for the Democratic nomination; the coronavirus’ effect on the world’s financial markets after the Dow loses almost 11% of its value in a week; Sunday’s anniversary march commemorating the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” Selma, Alabama march; and the latest Israel election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing  research from TALKERS magazine.

Premiere Networks and Dan Patrick Renew. Sports media personality Dan Patrick and Premiere Networks announce they have signed a renewed and expanded long-term agreement for Premiere to serve as the exclusive, global audio distribution partner for the Marconi Award-winning program.  “The Dan Patrick Show” – heard on some 360 affiliate stations – will continue as part of FOX Sports Radio and is also available on FOX Sports Radio’s channel on the iHeartRadio platform, FOXSportsRadio.com, and other platforms.  Patrick says, “I’m thrilled to extend my partnership with Premiere Networks, FOX Sports Radio and iHeartRadio.  This really isn’t a job for me, it’s a passion and I love working with the Danettes and the rest of my team to create a great experience for our fans.  We never take for granted the loyalty our fans have shown us over the years, and I’m honored to keep at it for many years to come. I want to thank Julie Talbott, Bob Pittman and Darren Davis for their continued belief in the show, and a special thank you to my agent, Paul Anderson of Workhouse Media for doing his job to get this deal done while I focused on doing mine for our fans.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WEEI, Boston morning drive personality Kirk Minihane announces he’s taking time off from his Barstool Sports podcast to enter a treatment program for depression.  On Saturday, he tweeted, “The last month or so I’ve really been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.  I’m going to enter a treatment program to fight this, so the show will be on hiatus.  I’m scared that these thoughts and feelings are back, but this is life with depression.  It’s a hard fight.”  Minihane took leave from his WEEI show on two occasions in 2018 to seek mental health treatment…..Broadcasting executive Mitch Dolan, currently chief operating officer of Great Lakes Media Corp., is being honored with induction into the Rhode Island Radio & TV Hall of Fame at a ceremony that will take place in Providence on April 30.  Dolan is well known for his time as president of the ABC Radio Station Group.  Earlier in his career, he rose through the ranks at then-ABC-owned WPRO-AM and WPRO-FM in Providence to become general manager.  Dolan was the general manager as WPRO-AM flipped from hit radio to news/talk…..SiriusXM announces that its Doctor Radio channel and NYU Langone Health’s medical experts will launch 24/7 programming, live and on demand, dedicated to the latest news and updates surrounding the coronavirus.  All programming will be presented by NYU Langone’s team of world-class infectious disease and medical authorities and curated by SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio channel programmers.  The channel and NYU Langone Health have created a special informative guide titled, “Coronavirus: Everything You Need To Know,” that is available as a podcast on Pandora and an On Demand selection through SiriusXM’s app and streaming platform.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Lynn Barstow is adding programming duties for Waterloo Media’s Austin City Limits Radio to his responsibilities.  The format airs in the Austin market on KGSR-HD2.  Barstow serves as program director for Waterloo’s alternative KROX “101X.”  Barstow takes over for Emily Parker, who exited the role for a position outside of the radio business…..Air personality and programmer Nathan Fast joins Iliad Media Group to lead the digital content and distribution efforts for its seven-station Boise cluster that includes country KQBL “101.9 The Bull,” CHR KWYD “Wild 101,” hot ACT KZMG “My 102.7,” and adult hits KSRV “96.1 BOB-FM.”  Fast was most recently morning host at Cumulus Media’s country KPLX, Dallas “99.5 The Wolf.”…..Cox Media Group promotes Angelina Rosario director of sales for its Miami station group.  Rosario was most recently general sales manager.

Friday, January 10, 2020

| January 10, 2020

Starnes Media Group to Purchase KWAM, Memphis. Conservative talk media personality and author Todd Starnes, via his Starnes Media Group, is acquiring historic radio station KWAM-AM, Memphis and translator W300DE, Memphis (107.9 FM) from Legacy Media for $685,000.  Starnes produces his daily talk radio show – currently heard on some 60 affiliate stations – and commentary feature that is distributed by Hamilton Strategies.  Starnes tells TALKERS magazine KWAM will be the flagship for his radio show.  “Memphis is my hometown.  And I’m glad to be coming back to the Mid-South.  Memphis deserves a locally owned and locally run talk radio station.  Our news, traffic and weather will be produced in Memphis by Memphians.  And I can promise that all-new ‘The Mighty 990’ is going to be a blowtorch for freedom across the Mid-South.”  Starnes parted ways with FOX News in October of 2019 after his contract expired and shortly thereafter launched his new radio programs and podcast.

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. The new episode titled, “Wag the Tongue!” looks back at this past week of January 6-10, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston; Bill Brady, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Lee Elci, talk show host, 94.9 News Now WJJF, Southeast Connecticut; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Christopher Ruddy, president/CEO, Newsmax Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on: WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Cumulus EVP/CFO John Abbot to Exit in March. An executive-level change takes place at Cumulus Media as executive vice president and chief financial officer John Abbot announces he’ll leave the company in the beginning of March, after the company reports its full-year 2019 financial results.  Meanwhile, the company is conducting a search for his successor.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “On behalf of the board and the entire company, I would like to thank John for his many contributions to Cumulus and for the strong finance and accounting organization he has helped build.  After nearly four years of commuting to Atlanta from Connecticut, it’s understandable that John has decided to pursue new opportunities at a company based closer to his home.  We appreciate his continued support through the transition and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”  Abbot says, “It has been a privilege and tremendously rewarding to work with Mary and the rest of the Cumulus team and I am truly proud of our many accomplishments over these past several years.  I am confident in the company’s ongoing ability to achieve its objectives and I look forward to following Cumulus’ continued success in the years ahead.”

WABC, New York Renews Clint Arthur’s Sunday Night Talk Show. New York City news/talk WABC announces it has “extended its commitment” with “The Greatest Show of All Time,” the Sunday evening program that stars celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur, to continue to air at 9:30 pm through the end of 2020.  Arthur says, “The mission of this show is personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more.  As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”  Arthur is the author of best-selling books: What They Teach You at The Wharton Business School; Speaking Game: 7-Figure Speaker Secrets; and The Greatest Book of All Time.  WABC is currently owned by Cumulus Media and is in the process of being sold to John CatsimatidisRed Apple Media for $12.5 million.

Management Changes at ESPN. After 15 years with the company, Traug Keller is retiring from his position as SVP of ESPN Audio.  He moved into that role in 2004 after having served as president of ABC Radio Networks.  He’ll officially exit the company next month.  Also retiring from ESPN Audio is vice president of national radio programming and production Marcia Keegan.  Assuming the leadership of the ESPN Audio division will be Dave Roberts, currently vice president of production, and Amanda Gifford, who holds the coordinating producer title.  At the same time, Tim McCarthy, who leads sports talk radio outlet WEPN-FM, New York as SVP and general manager for the company, is taking on the same responsibilities for ESPN’s sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN 710.”

Kachinske Named OM for Cumulus Media Providence. Programming pro Mary Ellen Kachinske comes to Cumulus Media’s Providence cluster after most recently serving as program director at Hubbard Radio’s high-performing hot AC WTMX, Chicago “The Mix” for the past 18-plus years.  In Providence, she’ll be program director for adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” and serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM and two other music brands.  Cumulus Providence vice president and market manager Holly Paras says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, I am pleased to have Mary Ellen Kachinske joining the Cumulus Providence programming team.  The breadth of Mary Ellen’s experience will no doubt be felt immediately throughout the cluster. We look forward to her leadership and her ability to think strategically, in order to allow these well-established brands to continue to grow into the next decade.”

SummitMedia Ups Brannigan to SVP of Programming; Johnson to Lead Wichita Cluster. Being promoted from president and general manager of SummitMedia’s Wichita operations to senior vice president of programming for the company is Beverlee Brannigan.  As she moves into the corporate role, Todd Johnson is upped from general sales manager to president/GM for the Wichita station group.  Brannigan served as president/GM of Wichita for nearly six years.  Her previous programming experience has earned her a place in Country Radio Hall of Fame and she programmed country KFDI to a CMA Station of the Year Award.  She says, “I am honored to join Bill Tanner and John Olsen on the SummitMedia programming team.  We all share a commitment to radio that strongly connects with our audience.”

Iran Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10. The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces and its diplomatic aftermath was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the impeachment articles against President Trump.  Coming in tied at #3 was the presidential race and the political speeches at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, followed by the Australian bush fires and climate change at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Radio Sales Opportunity. Religious broadcaster Pillar of Fire International is seeking a full-time ad salesperson. The company says: “Star 99.1 is looking for our next great radio salesperson! This full-time position includes work in the office and travel throughout the NY metropolitan area to meet with customers and prospects. Over-achievers strongly encouraged to apply! A proven track record in radio or media sales is a pre-requisite and high standards of business integrity are expected. We offer a positive working environment and the satisfaction of doing a job that ‘counts.'” Qualified candidates should send letter and resume to jobs@star991.com or mail to Jobs, Star 99.1, P.O. Box 9058, Zarephath, NJ 08890. No calls please. Star 99.1 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

PPM Analysis Extra: The ‘All Christmas’ Phenomenon. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a “bonus” PPM analysis based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 survey.  Kinosian says that the shift to all-Christmas music has been a ratings boon for stations that adopt the change.  “In our December 2019 ratings recap ‘extra,’ let’s see if playing wall-to-wall holiday hits is still growing strong or starting to wane.  The following breakouts reflect those stations in the 48 PPM-markets that either increased their 6+ stat by at least one full share or faltered by that margin in the December 2019 sweep (November 7 – December 4).  Hefty positive November 2019 – December 2019 movement is more often than not directly attributable to the all-Christmas music phenomenon.”  See the report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. New Haven urban AC WYBC-FM adds the “DeDe in the Morning” show to its program schedule, effective Monday (1/13).  WYBC is operated by Connoisseur Media.  The program is produced by Service Broadcasting’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and is syndicated by Compass Media NetworksDeDe McGuire says, “It is an absolute honor to be part of the legendary WYBC and we can’t wait to wake up New Haven. Thank you, [director of operations] Juan Castillo and the WYBC team for your support and confidence.  We are going to have some fun together.”  As part of this move, Castillo – who had been morning host – moves to the afternoon drive daypart…..In Nashville, air personality and program director Zigz, a.k.a. Chris Cox, is leaving one of his positions with Cromwell Media’s alternative WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.”  Zigz will continue to host the midday show but is relocating to Illinois as the result of his wife accepting a new gig.  In the interim, current afternoon drive host and digital/social media coordinator Hayley St. John is handling programming duties.  Station vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon says, “Naturally, a decision like this didn’t come easy for Zigz and we most certainly had to respect his decision to be supportive of his wife’s career and the needs of his family.  There’s no question Zigz will be missed but the good news is he will remain a key part of our team, anchoring the midday show.”…..Pictured below is Ultra Records recording artist Chelsea Cutler (right) appearing in front of a roomful of listeners as air personality Mikey V (left) interviews her on iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108.”

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).

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

| October 1, 2019

TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing.  A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1).  The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio NetworkJohn Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  The conversation 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, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more.  See the video of today’s event here.

Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid  traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”

NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.

TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCulloughRichard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”

Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”

Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on  programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations …..  Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.

Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

| September 11, 2019

‘970 The Answer’ Presents Special 9/11 Show. On the anniversary of 9/11, Salem Media Group news/talk WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” is presenting a special program today (9/11) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on location from the kitchen table of Red Apple Group chief John Catsimatidis (soon-to-be owner of WABC, New York) with host Kevin McCullough and former New York Governor George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  McCullough says, “The unique and intimate broadcast will take place on location around the Catsimatidis kitchen table and will bring the two leaders together in person in a way seldom seen since this fateful day.”

WHO, Des Moines Listeners Respond to Call for Flag Planting. Afternoon drive personality Simon Conway tells TALKERS magazine that WHO, Des Moines listeners planted almost 3,000 flags in a local park to commemorate those who died in the 9/11 attacks after the city decided to cancel the annual event.  Conway says, “About four months after I arrived in Des Moines, there was a meeting.  How were we going to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11?  Some people wanted to rent the big arena in town and have a solemn service. I pointed out that was a big risk. It was the first or second NFL Sunday and how terrible would it be if no one showed up.  Eventually, I came up with the idea of planting a flag in the ground for every person who was murdered that day.  We have done that ever since.  Yesterday morning my listeners started to contact me saying that the city had cancelled this year’s [event] due to lack of flags and volunteers (total garbage by the way – they want to move on!).  There was no way I was going to let that happen and so using social media and the opening of my show yesterday, I directed people to the park. All the nearly 3,000 flags were in the ground before 5:00 pm!  THAT’S the power of the very best audience in talk radio!”

Entercom Wrestling with ‘Technical Issues.’ The company has been pretty tight-lipped about the technical issues that may have been caused by a cyber-attack that occurred over the weekend.  Entercom’s email system has been compromised and those trying to email someone at the company receive a message saying it is dealing with technical issues and directs them to call the local market via phone.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the issue – again, the company won’t confirm it’s an “attack” – also has affected music scheduling, production, and billing.  Radio trade site RadioInsight is calling it a ransomware attack and reports the attacker(s) is asking for $500,000.  Whether it’s an actual ransomware attack or just the work of a devious hacker, the company has a lot of work to do.  Entercom’s public statement on the matter is that it is working around the clock to fix the problems.  An internal memo staffers received on Monday morning said they should not expect things to be back to normal for three or four days.

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Does Damage Control After Gay Slur Tweet.  Openly gay WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans evening sports talk host Seth Dunlap was the target of a tweet containing a gay slur that appears to have emanated from within the station.  According to a piece in The Advocate, many of Dunlap’s listeners may have learned of his sexuality after he wrote a personal essay questioning New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ affiliation with Focus on the Family, an organization that, among other goals, promotes gay conversion therapy.  Brees has recorded a video for the organization about the upcoming “Take Your Bible to School” day.  Entercom removed the offensive tweet and tweeted out the following: “We are aware of a tweet that went out today from the WWL account.  The content of the tweet is categorically offensive and abhorrent to the station.  We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred.”

Todd Schnitt and Fark.com Partner for New Podcast. On-air pro Todd Schnitt and FARK.com founder Drew Curtis are launching a new podcast called, “Fark and Schnitt,” “a humorous approach to some of the more unusual story lines in the news cycle.”  It’s being managed by Steve Lapa and Lapcom Communications and represented by Crossover Media Group. It’s being promoted as “an entertaining, irreverent look at the stories you may have missed.  The ‘Fark and Schnitt’ podcast blends entertaining content with polished production to bring the audience the famous and the forgettable in an engaging format.”  New episodes are posted each Tuesday.  Schnitt says, “The explosive growth of podcasts cannot be ignored, and this delivery method will continue to grow exponentially.  While I’ve been part of repurposing my radio shows for many years, ‘Fark and Schnitt’ is all new exclusive quality content just for the podcast universe.  Soon, I’ll be Adam Carolla’s golf caddy.”  FARK.com is a successful news aggregator site with more than 2,000 link submissions daily, 20 million page views per month with more than 1 million uniques.

TALKERS News Notes. Joining the meteorologist staff at EnvisionVirtualServices Weather is Tom Hauf, who will deliver custom daily weather forecasts and severe weather coverage for affiliated stations.  Hauf says, “I’ve been passionate about weather forecasting since childhood, delivering my first forecast at age 10.  Weather is one of a very few things in the world that affects every single person every day.”  Hauf has 30 years of experience as a radio weatherman and possesses a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist certification from the American Meteorological Society. EnvisionVirtualServices Weather Reports from Envision Networks offer a complete locally derived weather solution for radio stations. The team of major market meteorologists deliver multiple daily reports and are ready to spring into action whenever inclement weather hits…..PodcastOne announces that it is teaming with Kc Wayland Productions for production, marketing and sales for the “We’re Alive” podcast series that has more than 160 million downloads to date.  The new season, “We’re Alive: Goldrush,” features guest-star appearances from actors Danny Trejo and Christy Carlson Romano as well as former “Bachelorette,” Kaitlyn Bristowe.  PodcastOne says “‘Goldrush’ is a multi-layered story that fully utilizes the audio drama medium, employing a multitude of audio-focused comedic gags, plot devices that force visualization, and scenes that take advantage of the soundscape.”  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Coming on the heels of our huge success with ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare’ and the continuing strong showing of ‘Cold Case Files,’ our partnership with A&E Networks, the launch of ‘Goldrush’ not only gives us a strong, new entry into the scripted category, but also shows the strength of our content and promotional resources.”…..KPOJ-AM, Portland afternoon drive sports talk personality Travis Demers is named the new play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers.  Demers has been the substitute play-by-play voice recently, filling in for Brian Wheeler who has been dealing with health issues.  Wheeler recently retired, leaving the position open.  Demers says, “It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, it’s an absolute dream job.  I’m thrilled to be able to live out that dream in Rip City.”

Beasley Announces Esports Initiative at UNLV. Broadcaster Beasley Media Group is collaborating with the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies to launch Checkpoint XP On Campus.  Beasley XP is the company’s esports division that is leading this endeavor.  Under this initiative, the school will serve as the primary content creation and production hub for Checkpoint XP’s college-targeted brand extension.  Plans include a college-agnostic esports weekly video and podcast show, as well as extensive online content that will be featured under the Checkpoint XP On Campus section on CheckpointXP.com.  The weekly video and podcast will be officially launched tomorrow (9/12) on RADIO.com, as well as Twitch, YouTube, and via a podcast on bPod Studios.  It’s being hosted by Beasley XP’s Norris Howard, along with UNLV student anchors Daniel Agbuya and Jacob Brothers, with Kevin Kelly serving as the managing editor.  Additionally, UNLV will work closely with Checkpoint XP to recruit student correspondents from more than 30 of the country’s top journalism and esports colleges to provide additional coverage on the growing esports scene across many of the nation’s college campuses.  Beasley chief digital content officer Lori Burgess says, “The convergence of sports and entertainment has never been more real than with the esports academic curriculums, sports teams and arenas that are changing the face of campuses across the country.  Checkpoint XP On Campus intends to capture this lifestyle-based competitive sport as it continues to gain popularity and become a more serious part of the university experience.”  Pictured above at yesterday’s announcement are (from l-r): Dr. Kevin Stoker, director of the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at UNLV; Dr. Robert Ulmer, Dean of the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs; Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group; Norris Howard; and Leslie Fitzsimmons, director of underwriting and corporate sponsorship for UNLV’s public media outlets.

Trump Fires John Bolton, 2020 Presidential Race, NC Special Elections, U.S.-China Trade War, Immigration Policy, Antonio Brown Rape Allegation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10). National Security Advisor John Bolton is fired by President Trump; the Democrats and Republicans vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Republican Dan Bishop wins a North Carolina congressional special election; the war of tariffs between the U.S. and China; the Trump administration’s immigration and asylum policies; and the rape allegations leveled against Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cool Radio Opportunities in Phoenix. There are two positions that WestStar Multimedia Entertainment is seeking to fill. First, the Kim Komando show is looking for an on-air call screener and sidekick.  They ask: “Do you have an engaging personality?  Quick-witted? Funny?  And this is very important, have a passion for consumer electronics and all things digital?  We are looking for a superstar talent who’s hard working and wants to be part of national radio show and global TV show!”  See more about the position and to apply here.  Also, WestStar is seeking an affiliate relations manager with at least two years’ experience. The company says, “Kim Komando Multimedia is rapidly expanding in many divisions, as we are one of the fastest growing broadcast media companies in America!  For over 20-years, Kim Komando has led the industry in tech-lifestyle programming within the national radio category, reaching millions of people every week.”  For more on this position and to apply, click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales and management pro Donald St. Sauveur is upped to chief operating officer for Northeast Broadcasting and its stations triple A outlets WXRV, Boston “92.5 The River” and WNCS, Montpelier “The Point.”  St. Sauveur has been serving as general manager for WXRV for the past 11 years. Northeast Broadcasting CEO Ed Flanagan says, “Donald has shown an uncanny ability to integrate the sales and programming elements of the station, while simultaneously building brand and customer loyalty.  We are looking forward to seeing him succeed in this new role.”…..Programming pro Leigh McNabb joins Saga Communications’ classic hits KIOA, Des Moines as program director.  She comes to Saga from her most recent gig as PD and midday personality at Entercom’s hot AC KZPT, Kansas City “99.7 The Point.”  Saga Des Moines vice president and general manager Tom Nankival says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring someone with Leigh’s experience and qualifications back to her hometown.  Her passion for KIOA’s heritage is unparalleled and the fact that she is already so well respected in our building made her the obvious choice to rejuvenate the station and lead our terrific team.”…..Premiere Networks syndicated morning star Bobby Bones is offering his listeners the opportunity to put their personal twist on The General Insurance’s jingle for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas to see Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots perform.   Fans can enter the contest by creating their own video showcasing their spin on the jingle.  The winning video will receive a three-day, two-night trip to Las Vegas to meet Bobby Bones and attend the Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots performance on November 15 at Reynolds Hall at Smith Center.

Friday, June 28, 2019

| June 28, 2019

Cumulus Chief Memos Employees in Wake of WABC Sale. In tandem with yesterday’s surprise news that John Catsimatidis-led Red Apple Media is acquiring legendary New York station WABC for $12.5 million, Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner issued a memo to employees that explains the company’s policy on sales. Specifically, Berner says the company has no plan to exit large markets.  After the sale of WPLJ and now WABC, Cumulus has one station – urban music outlet WNBM – in the New York market, and she says the company will sell that station, as well.  But staffers should not interpret the New York move as one destined for all large market holdings.  She says the company will sell when it’s advantageous and buy when it’s a fit.  “In New York’s case, we’ll be exiting a market that has been tough for us, and through these deals we will be able to realize significant value for the company – over and above what we could have generated from continued operations.  And for anyone who is still listening to rumors out there, I will say again that there is absolutely no grand plan to exit our big markets.”  She concludes, “Always remember that any actions we take to strengthen our company help to assure a brighter future for FORCE CUMULUS.  So, let’s keep building on our strong momentum and being relentlessly HABU in all of our efforts and with every one of our assets.  I am incredibly proud of our progress and look forward to continuing to deliver on our strategic goals.”

iHeartMedia Shares to Trade on NASDAQ Global Select Market. The Class A common stock in iHeartMedia has been approved for listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. It will trade under the ticker “IHRT.” The company says in a press release, “As previously announced, iHeart had been evaluating all paths to achieve a listing of its Class A common stock on a recognized U.S. stock exchange following emergence from its restructuring process.  iHeartMedia has determined that a listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market is the optimal strategy for iHeartMedia and all of the company’s stakeholders.  As a result, the Company has requested the withdrawal of its previously filed registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. iHeartMedia’s management team will be meeting with investors the week of July 15 in advance of a listing date of July 18, 2019.”  Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman adds, “This is an exciting time for our company and an important step in the evolution of iHeartMedia.  Our listing on the NASDAQ will provide greater liquidity for existing shareholders, allow us to diversify our investor base, and give us improved access to public capital markets in the future.”

New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” for Week of June 24-28 Now Posted.  The recently launched, one-hour weekend radio show, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” analyzing the hot talk media topics of this past week (June 24-28) is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia‘s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  It currently airs on WONK-FM in the key position of Friday at 6:00 pm as a dynamic programming punctuation mark of the week’s conversation.  Hosted by TALKERS magazine’s iconic publisher, this week’s installment (titled “Three Ring Circus!”) features a lineup of guests that includes TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; radio talk show hosts Michael Savage of Westwood OneSean Hannity of Fox News Channel/Premiere Networks; and Charles Freedman of KSCO, Santa Cruz; political strategist and pundit Ethan Bearman; social/political observer Victoria Jones of the DC Radio Company and John Catsimatidis, CEO, Gristedes Foods/Red Apple Group. The non-partisan-but-hard-hitting program explores multiple opinions along the spectrum of contemporary American political and social thought.   According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, the program is now available on a market exclusive basis to news/talk stations around the nation.  Bernstein says, “We began this show as an on-air extension of TALKERS magazine research to be played on TalkersRadio and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  The show is nothing short of fantastic and provides a great image-setter for any news/talk outlet.  iHeartMedia picked it up for its new WONK-FM in DC where it fits that station’s mission perfectly and a number of stations have inquired about its availability.  We are in the process of figuring out where we want to go with it… whether we will put it into syndication or just make it available to a handful of stations.”   For more information about the program, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to it in its entirety, please click here.

Kantar Media: Radio to See 6.6% of $6 Billion Political Ad Spending. Media research and consulting firm Kantar Media has issued its projection for the ad spending during the 2019-2020 political cycle and believes $6 billion will be spread across cable TV, broadcast TV, digital, and radio.  Radio’s share of the pie is predicted to be $400,000,000 – 6.6% of the total.  Who gets the most?  Broadcast television is predicted to get $3.2 billion of that.  Cable TV and digital platforms are each to get $1.2 billion, according to Kantar’s estimates.  See more here.

Beebe Promoted to Regional SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia. Sales pro Kristy Beebe is named regional SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana region, effective August 1.  Beebe has been serving as general sales manager for the company’s Louisville cluster for the past two years.  She will remain based in Louisville.  She says, “I am so thankful to the iHeartMedia team for the confidence that they have shown in me.  My decades in radio have prepared me to contribute to the growth and success that has been building in these markets.  Our legendary radio brands combined with our ever expanding digital and event offerings create an unmatched marketing portfolio!  I can’t wait to dig in with our sales teams and use these amazing tools to drive success for our partners.”

Manetta Named Promotions Manager for Cumulus Des Moines. Moving from the company’s Topeka operations to its Des Moines cluster is Cassidy Manetta, who takes on the promotions manager position for the group that includes sports talk KBGG-AM “1700 The Champ” and four music-formatted stations.  Cumulus Des Moines vice president and market manager Jack Taddeo says, “Cassidy impressed me with her creativity, experience, and enthusiasm for all the things radio needs to be doing in an increasingly competitive world.  My thanks to Topeka VP/market manager Nic Merenda for graciously supporting this internal promotion to the benefit of Cumulus Des Moines.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Howie Carr Radio Network announces that Grace Curley is promoted from associate producer to executive producer of “The Howie Carr Show.”  Curley – who, like Carr, is also a columnist at the Boston Herald – has been with the network since its 2014 launch.  Howie Carr tells TALKERS, “Grace brings tremendous intelligence and communication skills to both our program and the Boston Herald and she does it with a fresh ‘millennial sensibility.’”  HCRN president Kathy Carr says, “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is discovering new talent and seeing them grow.  I’m very proud of Grace.”…..A new iHeartMedia Original Podcast launched yesterday (6/27) in partnership with Tenderfoot, titled “Monster Presents: Insomniac.”  It looks at the story of true-crime researcher Scott Benjamin, the show’s host and protagonist, and his retelling of serial killings and how it started to affect his everyday life – from tormenting him and consuming him to eventually turning him into an insomniac…..Podcaster Jessica Cordova Kramer and best-selling author Stephanie Wittels Wachs join forces to form a new podcast network, Lemonada Media, in partnership with Westwood One.  The network, launching in September, will “share an unfiltered version of the human experience, offering content that is raw and real, sorting through the ugliness, weirdness, awkwardness and darkness life can bring.”  Westwood One will distribute, sell, and market the shows to build audiences across the Lemonada network…..SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive live coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon 2019 from the opening day of play on Monday, July 1, through the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals on Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14.  The broadcasts will air courtesy of ESPN Audio, which is the exclusive live broadcaster of Wimbledon in the U.S., and The All England Lawn Tennis Club…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in front of Air Force 1 in Osaka, Japan.  Costantini is there covering President Trump’s participation in the G20 Summit.

Michael Savage Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the most famous, successful, and controversial talk radio stars of the modern era, Westwood One syndicated personality Michael Savage, is this week’s special guest on the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison and Savage candidly discuss the recent story about him that ran in The New York Times by Jeremy Peters (6/18) – a piece that displeased Savage, including a specific quote attributed to Harrison with which he took particular issue.  Harrison and Savage also take an unabashedly critical dive into the inner-workings and politics of talk radio that professional practitioners of the medium and listeners alike will find fascinating.  Do not miss this podcast!  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.

Immigration Reform/Southern Border Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 24-28. The Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and this week’s Democratic Party debates.  Coming in at #3 was the G20 Summit and the various trade wars, followed by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s July 17 testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. As had been rumored, Rickey Smiley is named the successor to legendary radio host Tom Joyner on the Reach Media nationally syndicated urban AC program.  Joyner himself made the announcement on his “Tom Joyner Morning Show.”  Joyner is retiring at the end of the year and Smiley will assume morning host duties in January of 2020 from the Dallas studios.  Joyner says that Smiley has established himself as a trusted leader on-air and in the community with his current show, captivating audiences with his authentic humor but also his unique perspective on topics important to his audience.  Smiley also announced that Eva Marcille and Gary Wit Da Tea would be among the on-air cast members joining Smiley next year…..Beasley Media Group makes changes at classic hits WROR, Boston as former WLTW, New York “106.7 Lite FM” morning host Bob Bronson takes over for Loren Owens, who has been hosting the “Loren & Wally” morning solo since the retirement of Wally Brine.  Bronson starts Monday (7/1).  Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “I’ve known Bob for over a decade and am excited for the ROR audience to get to know him as well.  He’s a battle-tested, hard-working winner who is a relatable storyteller and all-around wonderful person to be leading our talented morning team!”…..Across town at iHeartMedia Boston, the company re-brands urban AC WKAF-FM as “The New 97.7 The Beat of Boston.”  The station says it will broadcast pop and rhythmic hits from the 80s, 90s and 2000s, including songs from artists like Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, MadonnaPrince, TLC, and The Notorious B.I.G.  It plans to add new personalities to the station.  Sister CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” afternoon personality Romeo is also hosting middays on WKAF.  KJ will host the afternoon show…..iHeartMedia announces Ashley Wilson is named director of country programming for the Kentucky-Indiana region, effective July 22. She was most recently program director for the company’s WNOE-FM, New Orleans.  In this role, she’ll oversee the country programming for the region’s five country stations, including WAMZ-FM, Louisville and WBUL-FM, Lexington “98.1 The Bull.”  Regional SVP of programming Michael Jordan says, “Ashley is becoming a leader in her field and we are fortunate to bring her to our region.  She brings a lot to the table and will be a valuable asset to our team.”…..Meruelo Media announces that Cece Valencia is joining KDAY-FM/KDEY-FM, Los Angeles to co-host the “Cece and Romeo” morning show. She says, “KDAY is more than a home to me, it’s a dream come true.  I’m so lucky to be able to play the music that I love on such an iconic station.  Romeo is so talented and funny.  Waking L.A. up every morning with Romeo is gonna be fun.”…..Air personality Emily Wild and Entercom part ways as Wild exits the morning show at alternative WLKK, Buffalo after a three-plus year relationship…..Albany radio pro Kevin Rush is leaving his home of almost 18 years – iHeartMedia’s hot AC WRVE “99.5 The River” next month to re-locate to Florida with his family.  Rush’s co-host Tracy Villaume is expected to remain in mornings.