Tag: "Jon Grayson"

Friday, April 14, 2017

| April 14, 2017

Cumulus Media Promotes Three to Executive Vice President. Three current Cumulus Media executives are promoted to newly created EVP positions: Mike McVay rises from senior vice president, content & programming to executive vice president, content & programming; Dave Milner, moves up from senior vice president, operations to executive vice president, operations; and Bob Walker is elevated from senior vice president, operations to executive vice president, operations.  Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner states, “These promotions recognize the strong performance of these key members of our senior leadership team.  Mike, Dave and Bob are terrific executives and have each been instrumental to the success we’ve achieved during the first year of executing our turnaround plan for the company.”

Ryan Wrecker Joins KMOX, St. Louis as ‘Overnight America’ Host. Talk radio pro Ryan Wrecker moves from his most recent gig as PD at Pathfinder Communications’ WOWO, Fort Wayne to CBS RADIO’s heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX to host the station’s late-night program, “Overnight America,” beginning Monday (4/17).   The program airs from 10:00 pm to 3:00 am.  KMOX program director Steve Moore comments, “Ryan is a passionate advocate of local radio who comes to us from a legacy station and brings a great appreciation for KMOX and its role in the community.  In addition, Ryan understands how creating unique digital and social media content can quickly expand his reach in the market and grow his listener base.”  Speaking about his new gig, Wrecker states, “We’re going to have fun on ‘Overnight America.’  It’s a show that’s inclusive to new voices and topics.  Every night we will present fresh and unique ideas to the audience and explore them in a way that’s different from any other radio show.”  The “Overnight America” show had been hosted by Jon Grayson, who exited KMOX in February to host the midday show at crosstown news/talk KTRS.

Kaplan Promoted to Marketing Director for Cumulus Media Dallas. For the past two years, Rebecca Kaplan has been promotions director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas country signals KSCS and KPLX “99.5 The Wolf.”  Now, she is promoted to marketing director for the seven-station cluster that includes news/talk WBAP, news/talk KLIF-AM, sports talker KTCK-AM and KESN-FM, and CHR KLIF-FM “HOT 93.3.”  Cumulus regional vice president Dan Bennett states, “Rebecca has proven herself with outstanding event execution for our country stations KPLX and KSCS. Our seven-station cluster will benefit greatly from her involvement in the future with all our stations.”

TALKERS News Notes. The NBA Playoffs begin this weekend and ESPN Radio is presenting its coverage starting with the Cavaliers versus the Pacers Saturday at 2:00 pm ET.  Marc Kestecher and Jon Barry will call the action.  Sunday’s contest will be the Warriors vs Trailblazers with Adam Amin and P.J. Carlesimo on the call…..When the NHL’s new franchise the Vegas Golden Knights takes to the ice next fall, Lotus Communications’ KRLV, Las Vegas “FOX Sports 1340” will serve as the flagship station for radio.  Lotus plans to begin simulcasting the station on FM translator K255CT, Henderson, Nevada.  As part of the deal, some of the games will also be broadcast in Spanish on Lotus’ KENO-AM “1460 ESPN Deportes.”…..In podcasting news, Apple is changing the name of its podcast platform from “iTunes Podcasts” to “Apple Podcasts.”…..TALKERS magazine sends condolences to the family and friends of longtime Cleveland sports media personality Kendall Lewis, a.k.a. The BSK — the Big Sports Kahuna, who died on April 11 at the age of 56.  Lewis’ most recent work was on digital platforms, but for years he was a host on sports talk WKNR, Cleveland “ESPN 850.”  He also was a fixture at FOX Sports Net Ohio and served with WOIO-TV, Cleveland.

U.S.-Russia Relations/Syria Gas Attack Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The tense relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Syria sarin attack and the U.S.’s airstrikes in Syria were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of April 10-14.  At #2 this week was the North Korea nuclear missile threats.  Coming in at #3 was the United Airlines passenger removal case and the resulting PR blowback, followed by the FBI’s monitoring of Trump adviser Carter Page at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.

Michael Harrison Interviews Judy Collins on this Week’s Podcast. Folk singing/pop music legend Judy Collins is this week’s special guest on the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” In the words of Harrison, “Although she sings like an angel and performed on a number of hits and concert stages across the nation, creating a total of more than 50 albums along the way – not to mention authoring books, painting, and even directing a film – she lived a deeply troubled existence. We’re talking about severe depression and emotional disturbance that nearly drove her to suicide. We’re talking about substance abuse and eating disorders…and on top of everything, coping with the suicide of her son in 1992.” The TALKERS founder continues, “This amazing woman has survived to not only overcome these challenges but to be of great service and help to others, as well. She is a tireless advocate of those who suffer from similar emotional afflictions and has made significant contributions in bringing public awareness of mental illness out of the shadows and into the open.” On April 27, in recognition of her service to others, Collins will receive the 2017 Beatrice Stern Media Award at a major gathering in Los Angeles – The Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards. It is an annual event thrown by Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a leading non-profit provider of free community mental health and substance abuse services for children and adults for over 75 years. Harrison and Collins engage in a remarkably candid and informative discussion about the state of mental illness in our healthcare system and culture. They also talk about the early days of her career, her relationship with rock legend Stephen Stills and her storied connection to his Crosby, Stills and Nash masterpiece, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Audio content syndicator Westwood One is partnering with dick clark productions to help promote the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and offer its broadcast partners branded, long-form and short-form content and promotions.  Westwood One will welcome more than 20 radio stations to its Westwood One Backstage at the BBMAs event with live performances and celebrity interviews during rehearsals the day before the 2017 Billboard Music Awards (Saturday, May 20) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  Talent taking part in the Saturday event include WPLJ, New York personality Jayde Donovan; WPLJ and WPRO-FM, Providence host Ralphie Aversa; and syndicated personalities Adam Bomb and Zach Sang…..The three urban-formatted Philadelphia stations owned by iHeartMedia – urban contemporary WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B & Throwbacks,” hip hop WUSL “Power 99,” and smooth jazz WDAS-AM “Smooth Jazz ‘JJZ 1480” – are organizing the inaugural “Sista Strut 3K Breast Cancer Walk” taking place on Saturday, June 17 at Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia.  Proceeds will benefit The American Association for Cancer Research.  The stations note that the walk aims to raise breast cancer awareness among African American women, who are 41% more likely to die from the disease than white women, making screenings and early detection crucial.  WDAS-FM personality Frankie Darcell comments, “As one of the founders of Detroit’s ‘Sista Strut,’ I’m ecstatic that nearly 20 years later the event will be held in our Philadelphia community.”…..Country KNIX, Phoenix and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire are cooperating on a “Rise From The Fire” Concert Flyaway Sweepstakes.  Consumers ages 21+ can enter for a chance to win a trip for two to New York for a benefit concert featuring a top music act.  The event concludes an 11-city iHeartRadio concert series to benefit firefighters and communities affected by fire. The Phoenix stop in the concert series will feature national recording artist, Brett Young, and will take place on April 19 at the Hall of Flame Fire Museum.  The sweepstakes and concert series are part of an effort by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire to raise funds in support of the Fire Family Foundation, an organization that offers immediate assistance to firefighters and their families, fire victims, fire departments and charities. The Foundation believes that by coming together as a “Fire Family,” assistance can be provided by those impacted by fire.

Monday, February 20, 2017

| February 20, 2017

It’s Official: Grayson to Host Midday Show at KTRS, St. Louis.  Last week, TALKERS reported that St. Louis talk show host Jon Grayson had exited CBS RADIO’s KMOX and was rumored to be headed across the street to news/talk KTRS “The Big 550.”  That has been confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Holleman.  He reports that Grayson will indeed assume hosting duties for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at the station.  Grayson had been with KMOX for the past 16 years.  He’d been handling the overnight show.  That program had also been syndicated nationally via Westwood One but the syndicator ended the national program deal in December of last year.  KTRS general manager Mark Dorsey tells the Post-Dispatch, “We’re excited to have a talent of Jon’s caliber joining our on-air team at KTRS.  His personality and wit are a great fit for what our listeners have come to expect.”  Previously heard in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at KTRS were Martin Kilcoyne and Randi Naughton.  Kilcoyne recently jumped to market sports talker KFNS.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of sports talk radio stations based on the Nielsen Audio Holiday 2016 PPM survey.  Although the ratings period (December 1 through January 4) is one in which much of the industry attention is given to the stations that go all-Christmas music, it’s a time when the NFL season is in its final month as the playoffs approach, college football fans are looking forward to the playoffs and the NBA and NHL seasons are in full swing.  In this report, you can see how subscribing stations performed (6+) compared to the December survey, how they fared comparing Holiday 2015 to Holiday 2016, plus see how stations ranked in their respective markets.  See it all here.

Trump Press Conference, Travel Ban Redux, U.S.-Russia Relations, Pence Attends Munich Security Conference, ‘Day without Immigrants’ Protest, Maher Hosts Milo Yiannopoulos, Poll Indicates Americans Bullish on the Economy, Threats to Cut Federal Arts Funding, and NBA All-Star Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  President Donald Trump’s Thursday press conference; the Trump Administration’s plans to issue a second, revamped travel order affecting seven predominantly Muslim nations; the relations between the U.S. and Russia in the aftermath of allegations the Trump campaign had been in contact with Russian officials and businessmen; Vice President Mike Pence attends the weekend conference in Munich assuring Europe the U.S. supports NATO; Thursday’s “Day without Immigrants” protest and its aftermath; the flap over Bill Maher’s hosting Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos on his HBO “Real Time” show; the results of a Harvard-Harris poll indicating a majority of Americans are very positive about the American economy; the threats by the Trump Administration to cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts and others from the federal budget; and the NBA All-Star game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At the Long Island operations of Connoisseur Media, there are three personnel moves to report.  First, Christina Kay is promoted to the afternoon drive show on hot AC WALK.  Kay has been with the company the past six years, most recently as production assistant and “go-to” fill-in host for the company’s five Long Island signals.  Program director Tommy Conway says, “Christina’s commitment to the WALK brand has been stamped and certified a hundred times over.  She brings loads of star power, hard work and an infectious smile.  Our audience loves her and so do we.”  Second, the company promotes Joe Varecha to marketing director, in which he’ll oversee marketing strategy for Connoisseur Media Long Island.  He’s an eight-year company staffer who began as an intern.  Finally, Michael Keeney – who also started as an intern in the promotions department eight years ago – is promoted to promotions director…..Adams Radio Group promotes Kevin Musselman to vice president and general manager for its Fort Wayne, Indiana station group, consisting of classic rock WXKE, country WBTU “US 93.3,” CHR WJFX “HOT 107.9,” adult contemporary WWFW “Sunny 103.9,” sports talk WGL-AM, news/talk W277AK “The Patriot,” and oldies WLYV-AM.  Adams president and CEO Ron Stone states, “Kevin is a perfect fit for the GM role.  He has been with Adams from the day we acquired the market and has built an amazing sales organization.  It’s a big job overseeing nine frequencies in one market and I am confident Kevin is the leader we need.”…..Townsquare Media brings Bill Fox aboard country WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire to co-host the morning drive show with Kira Lew.  The move allows operations manager and brand manager JC Coffey to move back to the afternoon drive daypart.  Fox was most recently host of adult contemporary WYJB, Albany’s “The B95.5 Breakfast Club.”…..Station personality Chelsea Alayne is promoted to program director and afternoon drive host at Community Broadcasters’ CHR WECQ, Fort Walton Beach “Q92.”  She takes over for Sean Mack, who recently exited to join Entercom’s hot AC KAMX, Austin.

Friday, February 17, 2017

| February 17, 2017

KMOX, St. Louis Extends Calhoun and Ackerman.  St. Louis heritage news/talk KMOX announces it has signed staffers Michael Calhoun and Tom Ackerman to new, multi-year contracts that include some new duties for both.  Calhoun and Ackerman are part of the CBS RADIO station’s “Total Information AM” morning drive program – Calhoun as co-host and news reporter and Ackerman as a personality and the station’s sports director.  KMOX program director Steve Moore states, “Tom and Michael are talented personalities who play integral roles at the station. Tom was born and raised in St. Louis so reporting the news and sports in the city he loves is a natural progression for him.  Michael is an award-winning field reporter who brings a unique voice to KMOX that instantly connects with listeners.”  Ackerman expands his role to serve as co-host of “Total Information AM” alongside Debbie Monterrey and Calhoun.  Calhoun adds field and spot news reporting to his responsibilities.  Calhoun will also continue to serve as KMOX’s lead reporter on St. Louis’ “Start Up, Entrepreneurs and Innovation” initiatives and continue to host “Nothing Impossible,” a show that informs listeners about how innovators are transforming and revitalizing the St. Louis region.

Grayson Exits KMOX; Headed for Crosstown KTRS?  A report by Joe Holleman in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Jon Grayson has exited CBS RADIO’s news/talk KMOX where he was hosting the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am show.  Grayson’s “Overnight America” show had been syndicated nationally in a deal with Westwood One but that was shut down at the end of 2016.  Now, after 16 years at KMOX, Grayson may be headed across the street to news/talker KTRS.  Holleman reports that’s the industry chatter.  KTRS reportedly has an opening for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show.  The station also recently hired former KMOX personality Doug McElvein.

Madison Talk Host Mitch Henck Moves Forward on Digital Platform.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes about Madison talk radio personality Mitch Henck – one of a number of personalities cut free with the demise of the progressive talk format on iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison last fall.  Henck has recently launched the web-based platform MadisonTalks.com, where his program and others continue to provide the market with “outside the box” digital content.  Though he was heard on WXXM for years, Henck says his political leanings are not so easily qualified.  “I am center-right on economics and more libertarian on social issues.  I like splitting hairs and challenging callers to make their argument.”  Read the whole story here.

11th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Scheduled for June 28-29.  This year’s 11th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire/Let’s Make America Great Again radio row broadcast will take place on June 28 and 29 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington.  The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is again producing the event at which talk hosts from across the country will broadcast live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, White House officials and those who live and work along the southern border.  FAIR executive director Bob Dane states, “This event has always been about holding our elected leaders accountable and educating the public.  In particular, this year, lawmakers must be reminded that Americans strongly support President Trump’s immigration policies.  Otherwise, the noise made by vocal special interests – which the mainstream media loves to amplify – will dominate.  Talk radio remains the bullhorn of the ‘silent’ majority.”  Reservations are required and hosts/producers should contact event manager Cassie Williams at 202-328-7004 or cawilliams@fairus.org to reserve their spot.  There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and expenses are taken care of by FAIR.  Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews with an expected crowd of 60 talk hosts.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Touts AM Revitalization at NABA Symposium.  The new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission addressed the attendees at yesterday’s “Future of Radio and Audio” symposium presented by the North American Broadcasters Association.  Among the topics he discussed was AM revitalization.  He kicked that off by stating, “It’s no secret that many stations in the AM band are struggling.  The band’s overall listenership has declined, and advertising revenues along with it.  This stems mainly from the band’s technical problems.  Every day, it seems harder to get a quality AM signal.”  Pai boiled his solution down to the two-pronged approach of making it easier for AM operators to acquire FM translators and encouraging the activation and use of FM chips in smartphones.  Regarding FM translators, Pai said AM station owners have complained that it can be difficult finding a location for translators.  “That’s why we’ve proposed a new reform that my fellow Commissioners and I will vote on next week.  This measure would give AM stations greater flexibility in siting their translators.  It’s a small step that would be a big help to AM broadcasters.  This year, we also plan to open two new windows in which AM stations that still don’t have an FM translator can apply directly to the FCC to get one authorized.  And we’ll keep working on ways to improve signal quality on the AM band and reduce AM broadcasters’ operating costs.”  As for FM chips in smartphones, Pai said he’s against mandating those chips be activated – he’s a free-market guy who doesn’t approve of such a heavy-handed approach, and he thinks it’s outside of the FCC’s purview.  He noted that in the U.S., “only about 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States have activated FM chips, and the percentage is lower in Canada.  By comparison, in Mexico that number is about 80%…[but] despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%.”

Andy Pollin Joins WJFK-FM, Washington for Weekends and Fill-Ins.  Washington, DC sports talk personality Andy Pollin is no longer a free agent.  The market sports media figure was recently set free by Red Zebra’s WTEM “ESPN 908” after almost 25 years at the signal.  Now, he’s being heard on CBS RADIO’s crosstown WJFK-FM on weekends and in fill-in situations.  The Washington Post reports that Pollin will host a regular Saturday show with (also former WTEM) personality Thom Loverro from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon starting February 25.  WJFK-FM program director Chris Kinard tells the Post, “It just gives us more great talent.  You can never have enough good people, and to have someone the caliber of Andy Pollin available is a pretty rare thing.  He hasn’t been available for 25 years, because he’s done such a good job.  So to have someone like that available, we’d be crazy not to work something out with him.”

WQAM, Miami Re-Ups with the Miami Hurricanes.  Miami sports talker WQAM inks a new multi-year deal to continue serving as the flagship station for University of Miami football and men’s basketball.  Pictured at the contract signing in Coral Gables on Thursday (2/16) are (from l-r): WQAM program director Ryan Maguire, “The Voice of the Hurricanes” Joe Zagacki, WQAM host Curtis Stevenson, Miami football coach Mark Richt, Miami athletic director Blake James, and WQAM host Joe Rose.

Nielsen: 2016 Election Year Good for News Radio.  Ratings giant Nielsen issues data – illustrated in the graphic above – showing the rise in listenership to news radio during the 2016 election year.  Nielsen notes that just as in the previous election year of 2012, the number of people tuning in to all-news stations, news/talk stations and public radio NPR affiliates spiked, making it the most-listened-to radio format by persons 6+ in PPM markets during 2016.

Allegations of Trump Campaign’s Russia Connections and Michael T. Flynn’s Resignation Top News Talk Stories for Week of February 13-17.  The allegations that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian agents prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the Trump travel ban issue and the related Mexican wall matter.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s contentious relationship with the news media, followed by Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal as nominee for labor secretary at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Windy City radio programming pro Patty Martin is joining digital platform AccuRadio to program its world music and Celtic channels.  He says she’ll also be involved in programming adult rock and adult alternative formats.  Martin – who served in the market programming Hubbard’s classic hits WDRV and CBS RADIO’s triple A WXRT – tells Feder, “It’s all the fun of radio programming without the headaches!”…..KSWD, Los Angeles “100.3 The Sound” midday personality “Uncle Joe” Benson signs a new contract to continue with the Entercom classic rock station.  Program director Dave Beasing says, “Joe is the best-known and most-loved classic rock DJ in Los Angeles.  The reason is simple.  He’s literally written the book on classic rock, and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”…..A new Sunday night show dedicated to the women of alternative rock is launching on Cumulus Media’s alternative KCJK, Kansas City “X1015” featuring host Lauren O’Neil…..iHeartMedia Fort Myers announces media personalities Lulu and Lala are joining hot AC WZJZ “Y100.1, 90s to Now” as 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight hosts effective immediately.  The station says, “The ‘Y100.1’ night show with Lulu and Lala will feature the dynamic pair’s unique take on pop culture news and fun antics with listeners, along with special celebrity guest interviews and Y100.1’s unique blend of today’s hits and 90’s throwbacks.”

Thursday, August 2, 2012

| August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain.  The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story.  Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue.  The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain.  Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook.  Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store.  At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l)  – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich.  In the panoramic photo below.  The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.

Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store.  A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat.  Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business.  Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Kube states, “This was just the first.  We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”

Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year.  CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment.  Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.

Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show.  Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall.  Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there.  In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime.  He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience.  His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.”  Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs.  The network has not announced what time the show will air.

WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk.  The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D.  Programming consists of: Cumulus Media NetworksImus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.

California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme.  It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do.  The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California.  The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA.  Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust.  59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9.  Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today.  Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.

20 Gallons of Hat.  WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l).  Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.

Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1).  The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, April 16, 2012

| April 16, 2012

Heidi Harris Named Morning Drive Host at Salem’s Re-Branded KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino.  Salem Communications announces its Southern California news/talk outlets KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino are being re-branded “The Answer,” following the same plan recently instituted at the company’s WNYM, New York.  At the same time, rising talk media star Heidi Harris joins the stations to serve as AM drive host.  Harris, a Las Vegas native, most recently hosted the morning drive program at Beasley Broadcasting’s KDWN, Las Vegas.  Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says the new morning show and the new name and positioning will make both stations more competitive, with more attitude in the imaging and more opportunities to position the stations in their markets.  “We have been using the name ‘The Answer’ in New York since March 12, and could not be happier with the response.  The on-air attitude and positioning is much more positive and we decided we could do something similar for KRLA and KTIE.  The addition of Heidi Harris to the morning show is a major investment in the future of these stations, so the timing was perfect to combine the new show with the re-branding effort.”  Heidi Harris says of her new gig, “I am thrilled and excited to join Salem Communications, a company that has quickly become one of the most respected places to work in radio and a company with a huge commitment to what I do: the news/talk format.  I can’t wait to get back on the radio and to do my thing in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire – two great markets for talk – and two great stations.  With a teeny bit of talent, 13 years of busting my butt, and most importantly the Grace of God, I have landed my dream job.”

Florida’s Magic Broadcasting Buys Tallahassee Market WGWD-FM; Flips to News/Talk.  Panama City, Florida-based Magic Broadcasting II announces it has completed the purchase of classic country WGWD-FM, Gretna, Florida (Tallahassee market) and will flip the station to news/talk today as “Talk Radio 93.3 FM” WGWD.  CEO Don McCoy tells TALKERS magazine the station will feature state-syndicated talk hosts Burnie Thompson (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) and Derrell Day (7:00 am to 10:00 am).  Thompson’s guests on today’s program will include Governor Rick Scott, upcoming Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, Florida’s next Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Tallahassee).  McCoy says the company is bringing “Florida’s year-round Town Hall right to the Capital City.”  He calls the new format “live, local, fun and exciting!  We’re focused on state programming as well as national issues …and always for Floridians.”  The station will also air Talk Radio Network/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News,” TRN’s Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and Rusty Humphries, Cox Media’s Neal Boortz and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”

WNYM, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Featured in New York Post Story About Fiancé and Children.  Consummate New Yorker, Guardian Angels founder and talk media personality Curtis Sliwa is a local celebrity in New York but few knew of his home life until a piece in the New York Post this weekend shed light on that aspect of Sliwa’s life.  The short version is that Sliwa and fiancé Melinda Katz plan to marry soon and continue raising their two sons – Carter and Hunter – in their Forest Hills, Queens home.  Sixteen years ago Katz asked former boyfriend Sliwa for a sperm donation intending to raise any children she bore alone.  While pregnant with Hunter, Katz developed complications and called Sliwa – out of her life for years at this point – and he came to her aid and the relationship grew from there.  There’s far more to this human interest story featuring one of talk radio’s colorful characters.  Read it here.

KBME, Houston Brings N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch Aboard for Mid-Morning Show.  When former NFL players N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch left CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk KILT last month, it was rumored the two might reappear at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown sports talk KBME.  That has been confirmed.  The two will host the 10:00 am to 11:00 am “In the Trenches with Koch and Kalu” beginning today (4/16).  Koch and Kalu had been hosting a weekend program on KILT and served as commentators on other station programs.  Kalu works in real estate in the Houston area and Koch is an attorney.

KOMO, Seattle Morning News Anchor Bill Yeend Retires.  Pacific Northwest broadcaster Bill Yeend finished his last airshift at Fisher’s KOMO, Seattle on Friday and begins enjoying his retirement – and probably sleeping in for the first time in a long time – today.  For the past 10 years, Yeend has co-anchored the morning news at KOMO with Manda Factor.  Yeend began his career at rock KBBX-FM, Seattle in 1968 and moved to crosstown KIRO in 1970.  There, he won five Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic excellence.  Taking over at KOMO alongside Factor is KOMO sports reporter and Seattle Mariners public address announcer Tom Hutyler.

WLS, Chicago Changes Imaging Voices; Drops Jeff Davis and Brings Aboard Scott Fisher.  Chicago radio fans are well aware of Jeff Davis’ history with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS.  He started with the station in 1974 when it was the big hit music outlet in the city.  He remained with the station through the late 1980s.  Davis has been the voice of the station for most of the last 20 years but Cumulus has decided to change the station’s imaging and chooses not to renew Davis’ contract and signs on with Scott Fisher Productions.

Sports KFNC-FM, Houston to Be Hawked at NAB.  Station trustee and broker Larry Patrick of Maryland-based Patrick Communications tells the Houston Chronicle he will be actively looking for potential buyers for sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston and its sister Triple A KHJK-FM at this week’s NAB in Las Vegas.  KFNC-FM is one of four Cumulus Media stations in the market that went through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy deal to eliminate its debt and make it more attractive to potential buyers.  The station is still operated by Cumulus Media but Patrick owns more than 75% of the station.  According to Patrick, KFNC-FM boasted $2.4 million in ad sales in 2011.  Patrick tells the paper, “The staff is aware of what is happening, and the former owner has every right to bid and buy the stations back.  I’ve had inquiries from five or six people and I think there will be real interest.”

Dave Graveline in Croatia.  That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and producer Rob Almanza (r) standing on the (usually) sunny Adriatic coastline of Croatia.  Graveline and Almanza are there producing the weekend consumer electronics show while Graveline serves as moderator of the Global Press Conference for IFA – that’s the big Consumer Electronics & Appliance show that he broadcasts from in Berlin every September.

Friday, February 24, 2012

| February 24, 2012

Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels.  In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet.  It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.”  Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here.  I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”

Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham.  Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas.  There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor.  Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him.  That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.

Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011.  On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%.  For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010.  While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years.  Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.

Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited.  Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network.  Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news.  Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.”  Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.

CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show.  “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay TimesTom Jones.  Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! SportsTim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show.  The station needs time to find the right show.  He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future.  Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him.  I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”

CCME Announces National Imaging Team.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group.  The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.”  Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format.  The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.”  Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.

Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling.  The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX.  Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him.  According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack.  Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees.  Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.

Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role.  Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com.  The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing.  He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.”  Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.

Opinion:  Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language.  Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way.  Read Phil’s column here.

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24.  The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week.  Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  See the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

| January 24, 2012

Merlin Media’s All-Newsers Making Headlines.  Although not for winning the radio news ratings wars – at least not yet.  First, from New York, Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels is not going quietly in his hand-to-hand combat with CBS Radio.  As you recall, CBS Radio lawyers sent Merlin a cease and desist for using permutations of WINS, New York’s “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan.  Merlin’s was, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world.”  That difference is important, according to Michaels, who responds that his station is not infringing or misleading consumers but accurately comparing WEMP-FM’s service to WINS’s.  Still, Merlin agrees to stop using the phrase saying it’s not really important to its marketing plans.  The biggie is Merlin is threatening action if CBS does not stop declaring that WINS is “New York’s One and Only News Station,” something Merlin states is “patently false” and comes under the category of a false advertising claim.  In other Merlin Media news, its Chicago operation – WIQI-FM – is quietly testing a news partnership with NBC TV O&O WMAQ-TV, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  CBS’ WBBM-TV and WBBM-AM/FM have a working news relationship and now Michaels may have created a partnership with another of CBS’ news competitors in Chicago – namely NBC.  Feder writes that the deal could mean FM News 101.1 would use NBC 5 audio on its newscasts, FM News 101.1 reporters could appear on NBC 5 newscasts or they could share assignments and online content.  Feder reports the NBC brass is downplaying it as “very informal” as this point and “more of a test to see if we both can benefit.”  Stay tuned.

Lionel Adds New York’s FM News to His Expanding Media Footprint.  Iconoclastic talk show host and personality Lionel has been added to the programming menu at Merlin Media’s all-news outlet in New York (FM News 101.9) as the station’s resident “News Decoder” and legal analyst.  The star of LionelMedia.com appears on the air 12 times-per-day with one-minute commentaries at :32 between 5:00 am to 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Lionel also performs a similar role at Tribune’s New York TV outlet WPIX Channel 11 with 13 nightly news commentaries per week as well as appearances on the station’s Monday morning news program.  Tribune has begun syndicating these Lionel features to its other television stations around the country.

Michele Tafoya to End PM Drive show on WCCO, Minneapolis.  Working for CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis and doing her sports work for NBC TV has been too much for Michele Tafoya so she’s giving up the radio talk show.  CBS Minneapolis market manager Mick Anselmo tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “She just runs out of gas.  She’s coming out of 20 consecutive weeks of working seven days a week.  We’ve had ongoing conversations about this.  We’d hoped to find kind of a natural break.  The Super Bowl is it.”  Tafoya will work the Super Bowl for NBC and then take on the Olympics this summer.  As for WCCO, the station moves late-morning host John Williams (who does the show from WGN studios in Chicago) to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and John Hines takes over the late-morning shift for now.

Dial Global Partners with CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis to Syndicate “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”  The number of quality nationally syndicated overnight talk radio programs grows by one as Dial Global works out a deal with CBS Radio and KMOX, St. Louis to make “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” available nationally.  Grayson’s program has been heard on CBS’ KDKA, Pittsburgh and WCCO, Minneapolis as well.  Dial Global SVP of news/talk Amy Bolton states, “Programmers across the country know that a solid overnight show is critical to strong morning drive ratings.  Overnight America brings strong audiences to daybreak.”  The overnight daypart is getting crowded with syndicated offerings that already include Premiere Network’s “Coast to Coast AM”; Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon; Cumulus Media Network’s “Red Eye Radio”; and Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney, to name a few.

Clear Channel Names Kevin Dorsey President of Traffic, Navigation and Mobility.  Kevin Dorsey has been with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment since September as SVP of national advertising platforms.  Now he’s upped to president of traffic, navigation and mobility where according to CC, he’ll “oversee the continued integration of Metro Networks with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Total Traffic Networks and will manage and further develop innovative programs including broadcast traffic reporting, online traffic mapping, custom routes and personalized mobile navigation.  His responsibilities will also include building integrated connections with ‘consumers on the go’ over the air, online and via mobile.”

Broadcaster’s Foundation of America Mourns Passing of James Delmonico.  It was James J. Delmonico who is credited with taking over the Broadcast Pioneers organization in 1991, changing its name and setting it on the course that would increase its treasury, profile and ability to assist those in need.  Delmonico passed away Saturday at age 91 in Syracuse.  BFoA chairman Philip J. Lombardo says, “Jim was a tireless leader for the organization, inspiring the appointment of many notables to the board of directors with new focus, determination, and purpose.  Jim was known for challenging his fellow board members to be supportive both financially and by encouraging others to do so.  Under his chairmanship, Jim brought new strengths to the organization in those early and important bedrock years.  He will be missed.”  The organization says that Delmonico “inherited an organization with a treasury of less than $30,000 and few grant recipients in 1991.  Through Delmonico’s leadership and inspiration, and that of his successors – Ward L. Quaal, Edward F. McLaughlin and chairman Philip J. Lombardo – the organization today has an outreach that will exceed $700,000 in grants this year.”

Gingrich Wins SC Primary, President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Iran Oil Embargo, Joe Paterno Passes Away and Super Bowl Matchup Set Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23).  Newt Gingrich’s South Carolina victory keeps GOP primary going; President Obama prepares to deliver the State of the Union address this evening; Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo; Joe Paterno dies and adds a twist to the Penn State sex abuse case; plus the Super Bowl is set for a rematch between the Patriots and Giants.  These were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Southern California Radio Host LaFern Cusack and Partners Take “Broad Topics” Program to TV.  LaFern Cusack is well known in Southern California for her weekly program on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles and Radio Disney’s “Playground.”  She and co-hosts Laura Nickerson and Lauren Kelley have also been producing and hosting the internet radio show “Broad Topics” since 2008.  Now, the trio is bringing the program to local television via cable TV in Santa Monica through a partnership that has been made possible by the Commission on the Status of Women in an effort to bring the woman’s voice to current issues.  The program was the brainchild of Nickerson who says she wanted “to create a forum for honest discussion of what’s going on in the world from an actual woman’s perspective.  Aren’t we all sick of the male media voice telling us all what to think?  Besides that, my kids were sick to death of hearing me go on about social policy during ‘Sesame Street.’”  Taping of the show will begin in late March.

Doc Ties the Knot.  WLW, Cincinnati late morning talk host Doc Thompson (r) is pictured here at his wedding with his lovely bride Yuna Lee (c) and WRVA, Richmond morning host and program director Jimmy Barrett (l).  Thompson and Lee met at WRVA where Thompson still hosts the PM drive show from Cincinnati.  Yuna Lee is a news anchor at WHIO-TV, Dayton.