Tag: "Joseph Bilotta"

Monday, June 4, 2018

| June 4, 2018

Former Buckley Broadcasting President and CEO Joseph Bilotta Dead at 69.  Former Buckley Broadcasting president and CEO Joseph Bilotta died on Friday (6/1) at Connecticut Hospice.  Bilotta served as chief of Buckley Broadcasting when it operated venerable New York talk station WOR and the WOR Radio Network.  TALKERS magazine learned of Bilotta’s passing via New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella, who issued the following statement to his organization: “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that Joe Bilotta passed away this afternoon.  As you know, Joe was a great friend and supporter of our association and he, along with Bob McCallan, Andy Santoro, and Elizabeth Christopherson comprised the search committee that ultimately offered me the privilege of representing this wonderful association. Joe was a constant source of support, advice, and guidance.  His wise counsel and friendship meant a lot to all of us on the Board, but most especially me. He was always available to help.”

Premiere Networks to Distribute Nancy Grace Daily Feature. Legal media figure and former HLN personality Nancy Grace and iHeartMedia’s Premiere
Networks 
are partnering to syndicate a new, daily feature focusing on current crime news.  The 60-second program launches July 23.  This show is called “Crime Alert with Nancy Grace.”  She says, “I’m thrilled to join iHeartMedia and Premiere Networks where I will continue my lifelong mission to fight crime and speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves.  This new platform expands my ability to shine a light on heinous crimes, help find missing people — particularly children — arm listeners with need-to-know information and catch the bad guys.”

Mike Morgan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Raleigh.  At its Raleigh station group, iHeartMedia names Mike Morgan senior vice president of sales.  The Raleigh cluster includes news/talk WTKK-FM “106.1 FM Talk,” plus four music-formatted stations.  Raleigh market president Alan Kirshbom says, “Mike is the total package.  He brings extensive radio experience, subject matter expertise in digital, and a stellar track record of serving and developing business in key categories.  With Mike joining the Raleigh team, we are stronger than ever.”  Morgan joins iHeartMedia Raleigh after previously serving as director of new business development and account manager at Sokal Media Group.  He also previously served as general manager for Capital Broadcasting in Raleigh.

Dan Mason Joins VSiN as Strategic Advisor and Investor. Most industry pros are aware of VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network), founded by Brian and Todd Musberger and home to brother Brent Musberger’s daily program “The Brent Musberger Action Update.”  Now, former CBS RADIO chief Dan Mason is joining the media network dedicated to sports gambling information.  The company is announcing a partnership with Mason in which he’ll join the company as strategic advisor and investor participating in all aspects of the company’s operations.  Brian Musberger says, “With decades of experience in the media industry, Dan brings a wealth of knowledge to our team. We are excited to leverage his expertise to drive continued growth at VSiN, capitalizing on the incredible opportunity presented by the burgeoning sports gambling industry.  His overall enthusiasm for our product brings an energy level to the room that is contagious.”  Mason is currently chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America and serves as a senior advisor to iHeartMedia.  The press release from VSiN says it “broadcasts as many as 13 hours of live programming a day from a showcase studio in the middle of the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.”

Beasley Radio Talent Institute Begins Today at Emerson College in Boston. Getting underway today at Emerson College in Boston and running through June 13 is the Beasley Radio Talent Institute. Conducting the opening session are Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley and EVP/COO Brian Beasley.  They follow opening comments from the president of Emerson College, Dr. Lee Pelton.  Sessions taking place over the next 10 days will be taught by working radio pros from Beasley and other radio groups, including EntercomiHeartMedia, Hall Communications, and more, as well as play-by- play announcers for the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox.   National Radio Talent System president and founder Dan Vallie comments, “From the beginning, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley grasped the vision and immediately stepped up.  They are a company that does the right thing in our industry.  We are proud to be working together to continue growing the farm system, discovering, coaching and incubating young talent with a passion for radio.  It’s a privilege to be able to do this with Emerson College and to be working with forward thinking companies like Xperi, Marketron, Benztown, and Vcreative to help make it happen.”  Jack Casey, general manager of WERS-FM and adjunct professor at Emerson College, says, “The Beasley Radio Talent Institute builds upon the quality education students are already receiving at their academic institutions and through working at their college radio stations.  We are grateful to Beasley Media Group for providing this incredible opportunity for future broadcasters.”

Witness List for Nielsen vs Bubba the Love Sponge Case Released. The $1 million suit brought against Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen for ratings tampering is expected to go to trial on Monday, June 18. On Friday, the court released the final witness lists from both parties.  Of course, Bubba himself is on both lists, as are a number of broadcasters, including Beasley’s Justin Chase and Brian Beasley.  On Bubba’s list is former Clear Channel and Tribune chief Randy Michaels.  Also, on both lists is PPM panelist Nicholas Tabachuck – with whom Bubba is alleged to have colluded to tamper with the ratings.

TALKERS News Notes.  Atlantic City talk radio personality Harry Hurley announces he’ll be filling in on the FOX News Radio Network, guest hosting the Todd Starnes show on June 12 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.  WPGG Talk Radio’s Hurley says, “I want to take this opportunity to thank Todd Starnes, who is literally one of the classiest and most generous broadcasters in our business.”……….San Francisco sports talker KNBR announces that as part of its new multi-year agreement with Major League Baseball’s Giants, the team is the first to offer free, in-market live streaming of its radio broadcasts.  The live stream is being delivered by TuneInCumulus Media San Francisco EVP of operations Dave Milner comments, “KNBR and Cumulus Media are proud to continue our 40-year partnership with the San Francisco Giants.  At the same time, we’re extremely excited to announce that KNBR, in partnership with TuneIn, will be the first radio station in Major League Baseball to offer Giants fans the ability to stream the games, live and free of charge in Northern California. Now every Giants game broadcast over the air on KNBR 680, will also be heard online at knbr.com, or the KNBR channel on TuneIn’s mobile app.”…..Sports radio pro Dan Graca is expanding his role WEPN “98.7 ESPN New York” as he joins the New York Jets game day radio team.  Graca will work this season alongside former Jets linebacker Greg Buttle during the pre-game, halftime, and post-game radio shows.  He’ll continue as regular contributor on ESPN Radio and SNY-TV, including “Loudmouths,” “Daily News Live,” and “Baseball Night in New York.”  Graca says, “You could say this is a job I’ve spent my whole life preparing for.  Growing up a New York Jets season ticket holder for 23 years, going from Section 302, Row 26 to now becoming a part of the game-day broadcast is nothing short of surreal.  It is impossible to fully express the gratitude and excitement that comes along with this opportunity.”…..At last weekend’s Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association Awards, WTOP-FM, Washington was presented with 12 honors, including for Outstanding News Operation and for Best Website for WTOP.com.  WTOP director of news and programming Mike McMearty says, “These awards are a testament to what an incredibly talented team we have here at WTOP.  Across a wide range of specialties from digital to sports, documentaries to feature stories our people are what set us apart.  We feel honored to be able to share in their success.”…..WDEL-FM/AM, Wilmington received seven awards from the Chesapeake AP Broadcasters Association on Saturday (6/2) in Ocean City, Maryland.  The awards in the Div. II classification (markets 51+) included the top award of News Operation of the Year, as well as Best Newscast, Best Website and Best Talk Show for Rick Jensen.  Pictured below at the ceremony are (from l-r): WDEL breaking news reporter Mike Phillips, director of news and programming Chris Carl, assistant news director Amy Cherry, talk show host Rick Jensen, and contributing correspondent Rob Petree.

Geoffrey Starks Nominated for FCC Seat.  We have a nomination for the Federal Communications Commission seat begin vacated by Mignon Clyburn.  Current FCC Enforcement Bureau assistant chief Geoffrey Starks gets the nod.  Democrat Starks had been supported for the seat by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.  Starks’ confirmation will take place in the next few months and will coincide with the vote on the reconfirmation of Republican commissioner Brendan Carr.

Trump Self Pardon/Russia Investigation, North Korea Summit, Iran Nuclear Deal, Portland Antifa Violence, Parkland H.S. Graduation, Facebook Data Deals, Italian Populist Government, NBA Finals, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and Rudy Giuliani’s statement that President Trump could pardon himself; the status of the summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the repercussions of the U.S.’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal; the violence in Portland as Antifa forces clash with those at a Patriot Prayer rally; the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduation and Jimmy Fallon’s surprise appearance there; story reveals Facebook shared user data with many partners; unease in Europe as Italy swears in new, populist government; the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals; and Major League Baseball action 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 Cumulus Media’s country WKKO-FM, Toledo “K100,” 33-year program director Gary Shores hands the PD baton to Jerry Mac.  Shores, who has been with the station for total of 43 years, will continue his role as morning show host.  Mac comes to Toledo from Community Broadcasters’ operations in Elmira, New York where he was operations manager.  Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart says, “We celebrate and honor Gary Shore’s unprecedented and highly successful run as ‘K100’ program director.  Gary has been an essential part of the station’s continued growth and popularity and we are deeply grateful for his dedication and contributions over the past 43 years and counting.  We are thrilled Gary will stay on as host of ‘K100 Mornings!’”…..CMT and iHeartMedia are collaborating so that iHeartCountry will once again serve as the official radio partner of the 2018 CMT Music Awards and will simulcast the live show from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday (6/8) at 8:00 pm ET/PT.  The live radio broadcast will air across more than 120 iHeartCountry music radio stations. In addition, Premiere Networks will engage those stations and Premiere-syndicated affiliates at the exclusive radio remote broadcast in Nashville today and tomorrow to help kick off the “hottest night in country music.”  “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan,” “The Bobby Bones Show,” and “The Crook & Chase Countdown” are on-location to provide listeners with interviews with award nominees, performers and celebrity guests…..Pictured below is country artist Kane Brown with Beasley Media Group staffers at WKLB, Boston’s “Street Party” where more than 8,000 listeners showed up to party on Lansdowne Street adjacent to Fenway Park.  Performers included Brown, Cam, Lanco, Brown & GrayStephanie Quayle, and local performer Timmy Brown.  From left to right are: Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Ilana Goldstein, Kane Brown, Brian Beasley, Beasley Media Group VP/market manager Mary Menna, and Joel Banos Carranza.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

| December 31, 2014

Alpha Media, Buckley Communications Close Six-Station Purchase. The sextet of California properties Alpha Media officially acquires from Buckley Broadcasting of California are in Bakersfield (urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3,” CHR KLLY “Kelly 95.3,” and talk combo KNZR-AM & KNZR-FM) and Merced (rhythmic CHR KHTN “Hot 104.7” and KUBB “Country 96.3”). Alpha Media chairman Larry Wilson comments, “We are privileged to buy these stations from such great operators. The Buckley clusters are a great addition to our ‘live-and-local’ west coast footprint.” Buckley Broadcasting & Communications president and chief operating officer Joseph Bilotta remarks, “As we close this transaction with Alpha, Buckley Broadcasting is effectively void of broadcast assets for the first time in 58 years. To all who worked for our family-owned-and-operated business over these decades, we thank you again and wish Alpha great success in Bakersfield and Merced.” Portland-based Alpha Media now owns 86 stations in 16 markets.

 

Monday, August 13, 2012

| August 13, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Clear Channel to Buy Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announced today that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “WOR is an iconic New York City brand with a rich history and an exciting future,” states John Hogan, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  “Clear Channel is excited to add WOR as a powerful, high potential complement to our New York brands.  We believe WOR makes our already incredible platform even more interesting for listeners, advertisers, and strategic partners and we look forward to the tremendous potential WOR adds to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment New York.”  Joseph Bilotta, president and CEO of Buckley Radio tells TALKERS, “For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio.”  He continues, “By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company.  We have had a great run with WOR and could not be more confident that it is poised for another great run as part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment team.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment currently owns five stations in the New York market including 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, Z100, 106.7 Lite fm and Power 105.1.

Speculation Abounds About the Implications of WOR/CC Deal.  Information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. Insiders at the station report that the airstaff had no idea what was going to be announced at an emergency staff meeting called on Friday afternoon for this morning at 9:00 am.  Big news like this, however, travels fast once released in a small industry – the buzz being that Clear Channel has now gauranteed a number one market home for two of its major syndicated franchises, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – currently cleared on Cumulus Media’s WABC.  All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to that speculation.  Stay tuned.

Romney’s VP Selection of Paul Ryan on a Saturday Reminds Programmers: Are You Prepared to Cover Breaking News?  How your news/talk station handles a breaking news event on any day of the week – either in your market or outside of it – often determines how the people in your market perceive your value as a source of news and even opinion.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey reports programmers and hosts across the nation who are dedicated to being the source of news, information and hosting that community “backyard fence” have very similar approaches to covering events such as the recent tragedy in Aurora.  It’s all about planning ahead, using the staff you have creatively and being that place where listeners can turn to talk when they need to vent.  Read Kevin Casey’s piece here.

Cumulus Rolling Out Geraldo Nationally Today.  After recent launches on its O&Os in New York (WABC) and Los Angeles (KABC), Cumulus Media’s syndication division goes national today with the Geraldo Rivera Show. Emanating from New York, the program, titled “Geraldo,” airs between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon ET.  Cumulus is banking on Rivera’s middle ground political stance to further underscore its apparent course to modify what some consider news/talk radio’s predominantly conservative and confrontational style.  This follows the company’s recent high-profile rollout of former Arkansas Governor/Republican Presidential candidate (and Fox News Channel host) Mike Huckabee’s “more conversational” brand of syndicated news/talk radio.  Rivera will reportedly debut on 45 stations including KLIF, Dallas and WCFO, Atlanta with another half dozen expected in coming weeks.  Rivera tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled that just as the nation hurtles toward the highly charged and hard-fought 2012 presidential election, I’ll be coming on the air nationwide. Fasten your seat belts. With America divided along red/blue, right/left lines, I hope to occupy the militant middle and be a referee between ideologies. Everyone is welcome on the radio show, and the conversation is no holds barred.”

Rush Limbaugh Remains #1 on Top Talk Audiences Chart; Listening Dips Slightly in Spring 2012.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Rush Limbaugh keeps his long-held spot atop the TALKERS survey of the top talk radio hosts – based on audience data – for the spring 2012 period of March, April and May.  Listenership to many news/talk stations and hosts dipped to a small degree during the period in question, although that conclusion cannot be construed to be one that applies to all news/talk stations across the board nor all hosts.  The imperfect science of rating radio in and of itself provides caution to those wishing to come to concrete conclusions about the numbers.  Reasons for the “spring dip” are being attributed by some media observers to be the result of “political burnout” as the frenzy of the presidential primary season passes, as well as the easing into the traditionally different mindset listeners get into as summer approaches and schedules begin to change.  Regardless, news/talk stations typically enjoy a big bounce from presidential election years in the fall ratings periods illustrating the natural ebb and flow of talk radio listenership.  To view the entire Top Talk Radio Audiences chart for the spring 2012 period, click here.

Michael Harrison Receives 2012 Ethical Media Award.  TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison was honored Friday (8/10) by the California Coast Venture Forum with its 2012 “Ethical Media Award” at the organization’s Fourth Annual Clean Business Investment Summit on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara.  The award was presented to Harrison by Christie Communications CEO Gillian Christie who praised Harrison as displaying outstanding leadership in his 45 year career as a broadcaster and trade publisher in protecting and defending the principles of free speech in America.  In accepting the award, Harrison told the audience of approximately 250 socially responsible entrepreneurs and investors from around California that the precious opportunity in America to start a business or invent a product that bucks the establishment is akin to the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the First Amendment and should never be taken for granted.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Debuts Weekend Car Show.  Using in-house talent Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte, the CBS Radio news/talk station brings “Drivetime” to the air  on KDKA-AM Saturday mornings at 7:00 am.  Richichi (pictured here at right) is a midday personality on the company’s sports talk KDKA-FM – 93.7 The Fan – and Pratte ( at left) is a 30-year veteran of KDKA-AM where he’s a sports reporter and host of “Weekend Magazine.”  The station states, “‘Drivetime’ will be a weekly mix of ‘guy next door’ car reviews, interviews with interesting and informative guests from the automotive world and interactive calls from listeners.  Topics will range from selling a car, how to get the most out of your automotive experience and even include discussions on the best drive-in movies in Pennsylvania.  Richichi and Pratte approach the show with humor and the passion both feel about their wheels.”  Richichi has been reviewing cars for more than 25 years and produces a “Drivetime” radio feature that airs across America and Canada.  He says, “It’s a show that gives people who are into cars a place to talk about what they love with two guys who get grease under their fingernails before every show.”

Sid Rosenberg Returns to Miami Airwaves Today.  Trouble-prone (but extremely talented) sports talk show host Sid Rosenberg returns to the airwaves today as morning drive host on WMEN 640, Royal Palm Beach, Florida after losing his job at WQAM 560, Miami shortly after being hit with a DUI charge in April.  According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that was only his most recent bout with drugs, alcohol and gambling, addictions that had sent him to rehab twice and cost him at least five jobs, by his count. “I don’t blame them. I fired myself. I’m accountable,” said Rosenberg, whose April case is pending. He said he hasn’t had a drink in four months and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. He also attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, going eight months since his last bet. (He lost $750 when Florida State didn’t cover the point spread in its 23-19 win over Miami on Nov. 12.) The report goes on to say that Rosenberg is “really trying” to be humble. That’s the first of AA’s 12 steps to a successful recovery.

Philadelphia Talk Host Dom Giordano Moderates Voter ID Law Panel.  WPHT, Philadelphia midday talk host Dom Giordano served as the moderator during yesterday’s “Winning in 2012: Maximizing the Vote and Minimizing the Fraud” panel discussion of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law sponsored by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association and held on Independence Mall.  The program was headlined by American Spectator senior editor John Fund and included: political analyst and election law expert, Rich Zeoli; Linda Kerns, Esquire; a GOTV workshop conducted by Martin Gillespie, NE Regional Director of American Majority, and attorney Matt Rooney of SaveJersey.com.

Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network morning drive host Bill Bennett has a special connection to newly-named Republican veep choice Rep. Paul Ryan.  Chairman Ryan once worked for Bennett years ago when he and Jack Kemp created the Washington think tank Empower America…..According to a report by The Press of Atlantic City the recent shooting death of New Jersey talk show host April Kauffman has sparked a marked increase in applications for gun permits in the city of Linwood.  Police there say the number of requests is on its way to doubling last year’s number – a trend they indicate has been prompted by the shooting. No arrests have been made in the case of 47-year-old Kauffman, a businesswoman and radio show host who was known widely as an advocate for military veterans.

Feliz Cumpleanos.  ESPN Deportes Dallas (KZMP-AM) celebrates its fifth anniversary as the first ESPN O&O to take the ESPN Deportes Spanish-language sports format.  To celebrate, the station broadcast live on August 9 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Ojos Locos in Dallas.  Pictured here are: Back Row — fifth from the left (blue shirt) Pete Dits, VP/general manager, ESPN Dallas; sixth from left Rafa Ramos, host of Deportes’ Raza Deportiva;  seventh from left Tato Noriega, former Mexican National team player and ESPN Deportes TV personality.  Front Row – fourth from left (black shirt) Jim Roberts, senior director/Deportes Local Radio Group and ESPN Deportes Dallas station manager.

There’s No Business Like Show Business. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher spent this past weekend appearing onstage in Los Angeles.  Gallagher, who—in addition to his daily SRN program and his duties as a regular contributor to the FOX News Channel—is a member of Actor’s Equity, was guest starring in the West Coast production of the Tony Award-winning “MEMPHIS: The Musical.”  As he was leaving his dressing room backstage at the historic Pantages Theatre, who walked up to greet Gallagher but legendary director and funnyman Mel Brooks. Brooks essayed the role of backstage theatre critic and gave Gallagher’s performance a big thumbs-up.

 

Coming Tomorrow.  Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke presents an informative and provocative piece exploring how you can tell a lot about a news/talk station from its weekend programming — or lack thereof.