Tag: "Kelly Ford"

Friday, July 31, 2020

| July 31, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of 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, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Postpone, Opt Out, and Cancel!” looks back at this past week of July 27-31, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSLarry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network / executive producer, “Uncle Tom”; Herman Cain (deceased) / talk show host, Newsmax TVShadoe Stevens, host / producer, “Mental Radio”; Steve Trevelise, talk show host, “New Jersey 101.5” / WIP, Philadelphia; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Remembering Herman Cain. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a piece on Herman Cain – the radio talk host and business executive who died yesterday (7/30) at the age of 74 — that was originally run in Inside Radio in 2008 when Kinosian served there as special features editor. It ran three years before Cain would begin his campaign for president for the 2012 election and in addition to revealing facts about his personal history, it provides insight into his political philosophy at the time.  Read it here.

Legal Battle Between Jackson, Tennessee News/Talk Stations Resolved. According to a story in the Jackson Sun, a legal dispute between Grace Broadcasting and Wireless Group over a non-compete issue has been settled, with one company buying the other’s news/talk station. Wireless Group – owner of news/talk WNWS-FM – was suing Grace Broadcasting – owner of news/talk WTJS-FM – after former WNWS host Dan Reaves left and began working for WTJS. Wireless Group claimed Reaves was in violation of his contract while Reaves argued the deal was never a legal contract. The Sun reports that as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the Jackson, Tennessee advertising market, the two sides became more amenable to a settlement that culminated with Grace acquiring WNWS for an undisclosed sum. The future of WNWS’ programming is reportedly uncertain at this time.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Down; Business Has Been ‘Resilient.’ Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, SiriusXM says revenue was $1.9 billion, down 5% compared to the same period a year ago. Net income was reported to be $243 million in Q2 of 2020, down 7.9% from Q2 2019 net income of $263 million. Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter remained roughly unchanged at $615 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “Sirius XM’s business during this challenging period has been resilient, and with improving results and visibility into the remainder of the year, I’m pleased to resume offering subscriber and financial guidance.  Despite the incredible economic stresses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, our self-pay net subscriber additions grew by nearly 200,000 over the first quarter of the year, and we reported improved churn of just 1.6% per month with rising ARPU. Although advertising revenue fell 34% in the quarter, substantial expense savings in SAC and other areas provided a complete offset, and we generated over half a billion dollars of free cash flow.  We are investing in our business, our people, and external opportunities to position ourselves for future growth.”

Jim Meyer on Howard Stern’s Future. During yesterday’s earnings call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer addressed the negotiations underway with Howard Stern and he said, in part, “Howard is performing at the top of his game right now. And he has been for pretty consistently some time. I couldn’t be happier with the status of Howard’s show. In particular, given the transition he’s made from doing everything at our studio at 1221 in New York to now doing it remotely and doing it flawlessly. I’ve been clear. I want Howard Stern to work at SiriusXM for as long as Howard Stern wants to work. And I’ve engaged with Howard’s team… I know what Howard wants and we’re trying to figure out a way to make all those things work together.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Subscribers can read the whole earnings call transcript here.

TALKERS News Notes. WDBJ-TV, Lynchburg, Virginia reports that news/talk WLNI-AM, Lynchburg morning drive talk host Larry Dowdy is retiring from his role with the station after a 47-year career in radio. Dowdy is not retiring completely; he plans to do some commercial voiceover work and some podcasting. WLNI PD Kenny Shelton says of Dowdy, “When I started working with him, I just realized what a great talent he is, what a great person he is. The way he goes about doing this job is a great lesson to anybody in the business as far as show prep that he does and just his knowledge of things.”…..Beginning with tonight’s Oakland A’s game against the Mariners in Seattle, Oakland fans will be able to hear their team play on iHeartMedia’s business news KNEW-AM, Oakland. Back in February, the team announced that it had no local radio deal and the way to hear games would be via streaming. Yesterday (7/30), the team announced the deal to air the remainder of this season on KNEW…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM morning drive traffic reporter Mary VanDeVelde is moving to the afternoon drive daypart, working from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm on air. Traffic reports in the mornings and late mornings are being provided by Nexstar’s WGN-TV…..The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s releases the latest episode of the AWM Gracie Interview Series titled, “Medicine and The Media – Leadership in Historic Times,” with American Medical Association president Susan R. Bailey, M.D.. The session is moderated by Entercom media personality Kelly Ford.  AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Dr. Bailey shared meaningful insight into the important partnership between media and the medical community. This is a critical time for media to understand its role and for all of us to know our roles as individuals. We look forward to hosting more virtual gatherings to share the wisdom of experienced leaders.” Listen here.

The Presidential Race, Politics, and the Federal Agents Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 27-31. The November presidential election, politics, and the debate over the Trump administration’s dispatching of federal troops to cities where Black Lives Matter protests are taking place tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rising cases of COVID-19 in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was health care, medications for treating COVID-19 and the race to create a vaccine, followed by the debate over opening schools this fall 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 complete chart here.

Salem Seeks Chief Engineer for NYC. This chief engineer position is in Salem Media Group’s New York City operations for news/talk WNYM “AM 570 The Answer” and Christian teaching WMCA (plus translator W272DX). See the list of position duties and qualifications necessary to be considered – and how to apply – here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show at Entercom’s Los Angeles CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP” is “The Morning Mess,” featuring Joey Boy, Aneesh Ratan, Jeana Shepard, and Karla Hernandez. The company says, “The show, currently on sister station “Live 101.5” (KALV-FM) in Phoenix, will feature curated local content for Los Angeles listeners, including lifestyle, news, daily traffic and weather updates, as well as city-specific COVID updates. Listeners in L.A. will also hear popular segments like “Nachoo’s Revenge,” featuring Joey Boy’s alter ego prank calling unsuspecting listeners. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Joey Boy and ‘The Morning Mess’ are a true reflection of Southern California. They are diverse, dynamic, socially responsible and completely transparent.”…..Radio pro Frank Ski returns to Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR-FM, Washington, DC for afternoon drive hosting “The Frank Ski Show with Nina Brown,” beginning Monday (8/3). This comes after Ski’s exit from Entercom’s WVEE, Atlanta “V103” late last month.  WHUR program director Al Payne says, “Frank Ski has dominated ratings and has an incredible legacy of community enrichment wherever he is on the air. He is a media icon and adding his name to WHUR once again completes our DMV Dream Team.”.….Salem Media Group announces that radio pro Amanda Carroll joins the Nashville-based Salem Music Network to produce a five-hour show for daily syndication, effective Monday (8/3). The company says, “Throughout her career, she has worked at major market Christian radio stations, including 89.3 KSBJ-FM in Houston, 91.9 WGTS in Washington, D.C. and K-LOVE national network. Most recently, Carroll worked at Sacramento’s adult contemporary station, KYMX-FM Mix 96.1.”

Thursday, August 10, 2017

| August 10, 2017

Bennett Helps WCBS-AM Note Its All-News Golden Anniversary. A special interview and performance this past Tuesday (8/8) by iconic singer Tony Bennett at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square highlighted a celebration of 50 years of news as CBS Radio New York’s WCBS-AM observed its 50th birthday as an all-news outlet. Wayne Cabot (29 years at WCBS-AM, the station’s longest-tenured anchor) and fellow news anchor Alex Silverman (who joined WCBS-AM in April 2011) hosted the event, which included a plethora of stories from WCBS-AM personalities and guests. Senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio New York Marc Rayfield states that WCBS-AM “is a trusted New York City news outlet with a rich history and legacy of delivering up-to-the-minute news. We will continue to tell the stories of the people, places, and happenings from all around this great city. This special night gathered listeners, station personalities, and prominent figures to celebrate what the station has meant for the past 50 years and will continue to mean into the future.” In addition to Cabot and Silverman, other WCBS-AM personalities there Tuesday night included Craig Allen, Joe Connolly, Pat Farnack, Brad Heller, Tom Kaminski, Paul Murnane, Steve Scott, and Michael Wallace. Among those sharing their New York stories were Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes,” “Late Show with David Letterman” bandleader (“The World’s Most Dangerous Band” and “CBS Orchestra”) Paul Shaffer, and former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine. CBS News’ Anthony Mason conducted the Tony Bennett interview. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales (which ranged from $55 to $150 per person) was donated to Exploring the Arts Foundation, Bennett’s charity organization dedicated to transforming lives of young people through arts education. Following back-to-back 2.4 showings (6+) in Nielsen Audio’s April and May PPM reports, WCBS-AM has registered a 2.7 (6+) in June and July, moving up from #13 in June to #12. Entercom will continue to use the CBS Radio News brand for at least one year after it closes on all of CBS Radio’s AM and FM properties.

KIRO-FM Teams with Seattle Police to Provide “Beds for Kids.” The goal of a joint effort between Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM and the Seattle Police Department is to provide 600 needy local children with mattresses, bedframes, sheet sets, comforters, pillows and a Teddy bear. KIRO-FM afternoon drive (3:00 – 7:00 pm) hosts “Ron (Upshaw) & Don (O’Neill)” have been dedicated advocates for the “Beds for Kids” project since its inception, with O’Neill emphasizing, “Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that every child that needs a bed – gets a bed. When a child gets a good night sleep and something to eat, it is proven they stay in school and they do better in school. Help us help police help kids – it’s another way to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.” The “Beds for Kids” cofounder Jeremy Wade notes, “Over the last three years, we have been amazed to see how many kids in our community sleep on the floor. Through the ‘Beds for Kids’ program, we have provided over 500 local kids with a brand-new bed. This year’s goal of 600 beds is our most ambitious yet, but with the support of our partners and the public, we know it can be done.” The project was created in 2014 by Wade and fellow officer Ryan Gallagher, who responded to a 9-1-1 call and discovered two young girls had been sleeping on the floor. Wade and Gallagher returned to that home with new beds purchased with their own money. Since then, hundreds of people have stepped up to assist the two officers in providing beds for children in need. Elsewhere inside that Bonneville cluster, Seattle Seahawks coverage on sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” will include John Clayton (formerly with ESPN-TV), who will serve as a sideline reporter. In addition, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who called Seahawks pre-season games and was part of Westwood One’s NFL coverage the last two seasons, returns as radio analyst, a role he held for 13 seasons prior to 2015. Back as well for his 36th year on play-by-play is Steve Raible; Jen Mueller is in her ninth season doing sideline reporting.

Stigall Featured on “The Fox News Specialists.” Pictured above at the far right as he made his point yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 8/9) on “The Fox News Specialists” is CBS Radio-owned WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Philadelphia 5:30 am – 9:00 am talent Chris Stigall. Intently looking on (left to right) are another guest specialist Mike Baker, co-host Eboni Williams, guest-host Mark Steyn, and co-host Katherine Timpf.

PPM Data – Part Three. July 2017 ratings information has been released for Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19. View all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Gottlieb Kicks Off Training Camp Tour. Gearing up for the start of football season, Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb hits the road for on-location coverage from several NFL training sites. The journey began this past Monday (8/7) with a broadcast from the Los Angeles Rams facility at UC Irvine. Still in Southern California (Oxnard-Ventura), Gottlieb is with the Dallas Cowboys today (Thursday, 8/10), and he will visit the Los Angeles Chargers’ camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa next Wednesday (8/16). Pictured left to right are Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay.

LG To Activate FM Chips in its Smartphones. The announcement that LG phones in North America and Latin America will have FM chips activated moving forward comes from NextRadio parent TagStation, whose president Paul Brenner states, “We are proud and excited to partner with one of the world’s leading Smartphone providers to continue our mission of connecting and exposing users to a fully immersive radio experience. This alliance will give millions of consumers the opportunity to receive real over-the-air FM radio through their phone.” NextRadio will be pre-loaded on some models.

WQBA Named Dolphins’ Spanish-Language Radio Flagship. As part of the multi-year agreement, Univision Radio Miami Spanish news/talk WQBA will air all Miami Dolphins pre-season, regular season, and playoff games. Raul Striker Jr. will handle play-by-play duties, while Eduardo Martell will provide color analysis. WQBA will produce pregame and postgame shows, as well as a weekly show covering Dolphins-related news/events. Sports programming falls under the recently-launched Univision Deportes Radio sports network. WQBA senior vice president and general manager Claudia Puig comments, “We are excited to once again partner with the Miami Dolphins, offering them a terrific opportunity to reach their Spanish-speaking fans through Univision Deportes Radio. Our listeners will now be able to cheer their favorite football team ‘en español.’ The Dolphins broadcasts will be a perfect complement to Univision Deportes Radio’s outstanding sports programming lineup.” Miami Dolphins senior vice president and chief commercial officer Todd Kline adds, “We are proud to partner with Univision Deportes Radio WQBA 1140 AM and are confident they will deliver the most complete and up-to-date coverage of the Miami Dolphins to fans. The Dolphins have a 36-year commitment to broadcast games in Spanish in the South Florida market – this partnership delivers on our strong tradition.” Spanish-language broadcasts of Dolphins games were previously heard on crosstown Deportes Media Spanish Sports WNMA “ESPN Deportes Miami.” The team’s English-language flagships are CBS Radio Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560” and co-owned WKIS “Kiss 99.9 New Country.”

TALKERS News Notes. Citing other media sources, The Tennessean reports that former Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck will leave his “Wake-Up Zone” morning show co-hosting duties on Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” in the next few weeks. Earlier, Wycheck announced he is stepping away from his role as analyst for Titans’ radio broadcasts for a year, owing to cognitive issues related to concussions from his playing days. It is reported, however, that Wycheck will remain with “The Zone” for swing duty ….. In other football-related news, iHeartMedia Tucson’s KTZR “Fox Sports 1450” joins the Arizona Cardinals radio network. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tucson David Adams comments, “As the new home for Fox Sports in Tucson; the future home of Dan Patrick; and the official broadcast partner of the Tucson Roadrunners, we couldn’t be more excited to solidify our position as ‘Tucson’s Sports Station’ by adding the Cardinals.” The team’s previous Tucson affiliate was Cumulus Media’s KCUB “Sports Radio 1290.”

Checkpoint Radio Adds Houston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis Affiliates. The latest to join Checkpoint Radio – the first nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to the world of e-sports and gaming – are GOW Media’s KFNC “ESPN 97.5 FM,” Houston; Beasley Media Group’s WPEN “97.5 FM The Fanatic, Philadelphia”; and Hubbard’s WXOS “101 ESPN, St Louis.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “Checkpoint Radio is the only national show that connects radio stations and listeners to the explosive energy around e-sports. According to Newzoo, e-sports will grow to $696 million in revenue this year, a year-over-year increase of 41%. Brand investment is predicted to grow to $1.5 billion by 2020. This is a space you want to be in. Westwood One is the undeniable leader in sports programming – we know e-sports is an important sector for affiliates and advertisers.” Checkpoint Radio managing partner Rick Scott notes, “We are excited at the rapid growth of Checkpoint Radio in so many quality and big markets. It is a testament to the quality and appeal of the show and the passionate crew working to put it together.” Hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard, and Joe Sloan, two-hour weekly Checkpoint Radio features insights, news, interviews, and updates designed specifically for the video game and e-sports fan. In addition to the weekly show, Checkpoint also produces a podcast featuring content not heard on the radio program.

WKLB Elevates Santolucito to Director/Music and Marketing. Over and above continuing her oversight of the marketing/promotions department of WKLB “Country 102.5,” Dawn Santolucito is promoted to music and marketing director at the Beasley Media Group Boston property. Program director David Corey states, “Dawn’s passion, dedication, and organizational skills – plus a great ear for music – made her the ideal candidate for the position. We are proud to have Dawn in our ‘Country 102.5’ family.” Santolucito comments, “It truly has been a privilege being a part of the ‘Country 102.5’ family for the past seven years in my role within the marketing/promotions department. I am thrilled to begin this new chapter.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s just-released July 2017 PPM report, WKLB is flat at 4.5, but climbs from seventh in June 2017 to sixth, while cross-town format competitor – iHeartMedia-owned WBWL “101.7 The Bull – Boston’s New Hit Country” is up (modestly) for the third straight time (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+) and inches up from #17 to #16. With a 7.7 (6+), WKLB classic hits-oldies sibling WROR “Boston’s Classic Hits” remains at #1 for the seventh successive sweep.

iHR, Understood.org Align to Help Kids Facing Learning/Attention Issues. One of every five children have a learning and attention challenge such as ADHD or dyslexia. A partnership between iHeartMedia and Understood.org explores and raises awareness of learning and attention issues, and breaks stereotypes about these often-misunderstood children. The partnership includes public service announcements voiced by iHeartMedia personalities Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Mario Lopez, and Bobby Bones, as well as a long-form public affairs show. Commenting about Understood.org, its executive leader/corporate partnerships & alliances Nancy Smith states, “This whole team is deeply committed to helping the millions of children with learning and attention issues get the support they need – support that can help them reverse any downward spiral in school.” From prior experience, Smith felt that iHeartRadio “has a strong belief in win-win partnerships and in helping the world be a better place. I knew collaboration with the iHeart team could take us to new levels of support for kids with learning and attention issues.” Aided by 15 nonprofit organizations, Understood.org launched nearly three years ago. “Today, it supports and empowers millions of parents through personalized resources, daily access to experts, a community of other parents and experts, and interactive tools,” Smith explains. “Many accomplished musicians including Justin Timberlake [ADHD], Lindsey Stirling [dyslexia], and Jewel [dyslexia] have learning and attention issues. Understood is happy to call iHeartRadio a partner in our mission to raise awareness of learning and attention issues. Having the support of a community of musical artists and fans who embrace differences can help build widespread acceptance for kids who are so often misunderstood. Together with iHeartRadio, we want to help even more children with learning and attention issues.”

Sun Broadcast Group Enters the “Country Fried Mix.” A sales and affiliation partnership with Sun Broadcast Group will bring “Country Fried Mix” with national touring artist and producer DJ Sinister to the network in three weeks (9/1). Sun chief executive officer Jason Bailey remarks, “One of the things we have always tried to do at Sun is find exciting and unique programs for our listeners and clients. When I heard ‘Country Fried Mix’ for the first time, I knew we had to have it in our lineup. There is simply nothing [else] like it on the radio – that’s why it is perfect for us. We are honored to represent this incredible product to the industry and the clients who support it.” According to DJ Sinister, “This new opportunity really takes us to the next level with partners that are willing to take risks,” while the program’s producer Charlie Pennachio adds, “Focus created this expansion; this opportunity gives us the ability to become a laser beam with a team.” The weekend show of mashed up/remixed country hits has aired since 2014 and has affiliates in (among other markets) Philadelphia, Miami, Detroit, Phoenix, and Nashville.

Opening “The Vault” Again in Montgomery. Jettisoning its top 40 format in order to return to rock as “107.1 The Vault” is Bluewater Broadcasting Montgomery, Alabama’s WQKS-HD3 W296AI. It abandoned “The Vault” four years ago in favor of classic jams “Yo! 107.1,” but as program director Rick Peters writes on his Facebook page, “The market has spoken and –  contrary to popular belief – we do listen. ‘The Vault’ will try to recreate album and progressive rock stations from the 1970s, such as [Los Angeles’] KMET and KLOS; [Chicago’s] WLUP [‘The Loop’]; [Philadelphia’s] WMMR; [Miami’s] WSHE; and [St. Louis’] KSHE. The format is freeform – the [on-air talent] can program what they like. Every day will be different – it’s a throwback. At the same time, it’s evolutionary for the day [but] it’s not designed to be mass-appeal. For those that ‘lived’ the music the first time, we will try to be worthy. For the rest of you, listen up [because] you might find something you love.” Among persons 12+ in Montgomery’s most recent Nielsen Audio book (spring 2017), WQKS-HD3 checks in at #16 with a .8, while iHeartMedia urban contemporary WZHT “Hot 105.7” is on top with an 11.2 (12+).

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Earlier this week, midday host Danny Dwyer of Alpha Media Portland country outlet KUPL “98.7 The Bull” raised $10,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in his inaugural golf invitational at Salem Oregon’s Creekside Country Club ….. A variety of tomato-themed activities will be included next Saturday (8/19) when Beasley Media Group Philadelphia classic rock WMGK morning personality John DeBella holds his three-hour (11:00 am – 2:00 pm) “Tomato Fest” in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Among the highlights are a biggest-tomato contest; a dunk tank manned by the show’s “Super Steve”; and bobbing for tomatoes. In addition, WMGK’s house band Kategory Five will perform, and there will be a classic car display. Donations of canned goods and fresh produce will be collected to benefit the South Jersey Food Bank. DeBella is said to have thought up the “Tomato Fest” concept while seeing a vast number of farm stands and pondering why the tomato wasn’t being celebrated ….. Three (four-hour) Westwood One Labor Day weekend music specials are in the pipeline. Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds will host rock’s “Summer Wrap Up”; Louis Tomlinson does the same for the pop format’s “Last Big Summer Weekend”; and ACM-award winner Kelsea Ballerini has the honors for “Workin’ Hard Country.”

Ell Talks Up Her Latest “Project.” During her visit to Westwood One’s syndicated “Ty, Kelly, & Chuck” morning show, Lindsay Ell discussed touring with Brad Paisley and creating her new album “The Project” with producer Kristian Bush. Shown left to right are Ty Bentli, Kelly Ford, Lindsay Ell, and Chuck Wicks.

Friday, June 9, 2017

| June 9, 2017

WECK, Buffalo Announces Live and Local Lineup. The new Buffalo full-service radio station operated by Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo announces its new, live and local personality lineup.  Previously, TALKERS magazine reported the station hired Buffalo news radio pro John Zach to anchor mornings and serve as news director.  Now, WECK says it will officially shift its format to become a live and local, full-service station on July 10, with 24-hour news, well-known local personalities and locally programmed music.  The station has been airing a syndicated adult standards format.  Soon it will move to “adult favorites,” centered primary on the 70s and 80s (with some earlier and some more recent music mixed in).  Veteran Buffalo personality Gail Ann Huber will pair with WECK’s Tom Donahue as morning co-host.  Jon Summers, a longtime Buffalo radio and TV personality joins the station to host 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.   Buffalo Broadcasting Hall-of-Famer Harv Moore will host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart  Moore handled wake-up duties for many years as part of the well-known “Taylor & Moore Breakfast Flakes” show on WYSL and WPHD.  Moore’s former on-air partner, Robert W. Taylor, joins as WECK’s imaging voice.  Afternoon drive will be hosted by Mike Jacobs.  Evenings will be hosted by WECK owner and president Buddy Shula.

WGN named Chicago’s Station of the Year. This actually marks the tenth year in a row that Tribune Media news/talk WGN, Chicago has nabbed such Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome honors. This year’s event was held last night (6/8) in Champaign. In addition, Tribune Media president of broadcasting Larry Wert was cited as IBA’s “Broadcaster of the Year.” The station took away first place awards in “Best Radio Local Broadcast Team” (“The Nick Digilio Show”); “Best Radio Station Use of New Media” (“Honoring Our Marines” by Shanae Paulus and Jackie Paulus); “Best Radio News Reporter” (Andrea Darlas); “Best Radio Series or Documentary” (“National Parks at 100: Our Midwest Treasures” by Dave Schwan); and “Best Radio Play-by-Play” (Blackhawks force game seven versus [St. Louis] Blues (John Wiedeman and Troy Murray). WGN Radio vice president of programming & content Todd Manley states, “We are so proud to share Chicago stories every day with personalities who are authentic and passionate. I know our entire staff is grateful for these honors.” Out-of-state broadcasters did the judging for the Illinois competition.

Pandora – SiriusXM Update. As a follow-up to what we reported yesterday (TALKERS, 6/8), on the heels of Pandora Media extending the countdown of a possible sale, SiriusXM marches in with a $480 million strategic cash investment in Pandora. The infusion will help Pandora make targeted investments and capitalize on opportunities to build on its business. Last month, the private equity firm KKR & Co LP agreed to invest $150 million in Pandora, which reportedly lost $132 million on revenues of $315 million in the quarter that ended on March 31.

WBUR Readies “Circle Round.” Produced by Boston University-owned WBUR, Boston in conjunction with Sheir & Shim founders Rebecca Sheir and Eric Shimelonis, “Circle Round” is a storytelling podcast for youngsters aged three to ten. “Circle Round” features folktales with an eye toward inclusivity. Stories are adapted into five- to 20-minute episodes that deal with topics such as kindness, persistence, and generosity. WBUR general manager Charlie Kravetz comments, “We are excited to be launching WBUR’s first-ever child-focused program. Public radio has a rich and recognized tradition of narrative storytelling. With ‘Circle Round,’ we want to inspire a young audience to cultivate a love of storytelling.” The station’s managing producer for program development Jessica Alpert remarks, “Like so many parents, I am always trying to find alternatives to screen time. As we know, nothing grabs a child’s attention like a really great story – especially one you can listen to anywhere, anytime, like in a podcast. We are hoping that ‘Circle Round’ fills a void for parents, while at the same time provides a thrilling experience for their kids.” Sheir will serve as the podcast’s narrator, while award-winning composer Shimelonis will create the accompanying soundtrack and production. The podcast series begins this fall with weekly episodes.

Phoenix Trombo Taps Trimmer as PD. Former WRVA “Newsradio 1140,” Richmond; WRNL “Fox Sports 910,” Richmond; and Virginia News Network program director Aaron Trimmer will transfer in a similar capacity to iHeartMedia Phoenix siblings KFYI “The Most Trusted News in Phoenix”; KGME “Fox Sports 910”; and KFYI 2, “The Next Generation of Talk Radio.” Executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s west division Steve Geofferies comments, “We are excited to have Aaron bring his experiences out west; his track record speaks for itself. From brand execution to talent coaching, he is a tremendous resource for our stations in the Arizona region.” Trimmer – who begins his new duties in a little over three weeks (7/5) – notes, “I am beyond excited to work with the iHeartMedia team in Phoenix. There is a tremendous amount of talent with their spoken-word brands. I look forward to leading the team and community to new heights.” His previous programming credits include four other iHeartMedia clusters: WHAM “NewsRadio 1180,” Rochester; FM news/talk WERC, Birmingham and the Alabama Radio Network; news/talk WSYR, Syracuse; and WLAP “NewsRadio 630,” Lexington, Kentucky.

College Radio Providing Vital Farm System for Professional Talk Media Talent.  At a time when many industry participants and observers ask the question, “Where will the future talent in radio come from now that consolidation has wiped out the old farm system?” – it is becoming evident that to a significant degree the answer lies on the college radio level.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “We are hearing more and more from outstanding college radio and media communications departments – students and faculty alike – around the country. These communication departments are really stepping up to the plate in becoming an effective breeding ground for new, dedicated and extremely bright talent – especially in the areas of journalism, commentary, talk and sports.  I am personally gratified by the number of superb young people gaining the skills and developing the styles that will clearly propel talent-driven radio and TV deeper into the 21st century.”  Each year the TALKERS annual seminar is attended by an increasing number of college radio students interested in making broadcasting their careers as well as a growing percentage of already-professional practitioners under the age of 35.  Talkers 2017: A New Era was attended by delegations of student broadcasters from Hofstra University on Long Island and Hillsdale College in Michigan, among others.   According to Harrison, who sits on the executive committee of the advisory board of Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, “The future of radio lies in developing young audiences – but before we can even think about doing that effectively, we must develop young broadcasters.” Pictured (below) are the students attending the TALKERS conference from Hofstra University’s Marconi Award winning WRHU-FM (front row l-r): Jazmine Gonzalez, Joy Jones, and Yenny Sanchez; (back row l-r) operations manager John Mullen, Alexi Cohan, TALKERS “Student of the Year” Maria Santana, Sean Bates, Juliana Spano, and Joe Sibilia.

Stand By for Exciting Video Coverage of Talkers 2017: A New Era.  As the magic of Talkers 2017: A New Era recedes into the broadcast industry history books, the TALKERS editorial and technical staffs are busily readying the hours and hours of valuable video footage recorded at the event by rising young New York videography star Zach Feldman into a presentable form for posting here on Talkers.com and for posterity.  TALKERS subscribers can expect the first of these to be posted sometime next week.  Stand by!  Meantime, scroll down this page for earlier photo and story coverage of the event.

Syndicated star Doug Stephan (l) interviews KTRS, St Louis personality McGraw Milhaven (r) on the American Family Farmer program at Talkers 2017: A New Era about the local relationship between St. Louis and mega-corporation Monsanto Company that is headquartered in that market.  Both broadcasters are members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

WOR, New York, assistant program director Scott Lakefield facilitating one of the major “one-on-one” sessions at Talkers 2017: A New Era.  Photo by Don Hurley.

Beasley Broadcast Group Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. The amount is $0.045 per share for Beasley Broadcast Group’s Class A and Class B common stock and is payable next month (7/7) to shareholders of record on the final day of this month (6/30). All subsequent Beasley Broadcast Group dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board of directors at its discretion. Meanwhile, at the annual New Jersey Ad Club “Jersey Awards,” Beasley Broadcast Group news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick won “Best Podcast” for The State Theatre (program & creative director/air talent Bert Baron, host and producer). Senior vice president and regional market manager Dan Finn remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled our team was recognized for their work with this incredible award.  This is the night where all the best advertising agencies in the state of New Jersey gather and announce winners across all media platforms. We were honored to be among the winners.” The event took place this past Wednesday (6/7) in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.

TALKERS News Notes. As he did two weeks ago, Lou Pate will sit-in today (6/9) for Michael Savage on Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation” …..Nine-year iHeartMedia vice president of digital operations Joseph Bond departs. Bond previously spent six years overseeing web content and development for the company’s eight Cincinnati stations.

Grangenois Joins WEAA As Interim GM. The former publisher of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mireille Grangenois, is named interim general manager of Morgan State University‘s NPR-member public outlet WEAA. The Baltimore-based institution’s dean of the school of global journalism and communication DeWayne Wickham remarks, “Ms. Grangenois has an impressive record of media management. Our intention is to revitalize WEAA’s mission as a learning lab by providing our students with an exceptional, practical experience in the production of news and public affairs programming. We also want to do this by strengthening the station’s ability to offer listeners music programming that will grow WEAA’s audience and revenue. I have great confidence in Ms. Grangenois’ ability to lead this effort.” Grangenois began her news career in Baltimore and has marketing, sales, audience development, and leadership experience. Morgan State University is one of only five historically black higher education institutions with a school of journalism.

Comey Testimony Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 5-9.  The Senate Intelligence Committee testimony of former FBI Director James Comey was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the Trump-Russia investigation.  Coming in at #3 was the Tehran terror attack and the rejection of President Trump’s condolences, followed by the British general elections and the aftermath of the London terror attacks 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio Disney Country Los Angeles Debuts Today. KRDC, Los Angeles will officially begin broadcasting at 12:00 noon today (6/9) on 99.1 and 1110. Disney Channels Worldwide vice president of music strategy/Radio Disney Network general manager Phil Guerini states, “As country music continues to deliver some of the biggest artists in music today, we are broadening the reach of Radio Disney Country through both terrestrial and digital extensions of its brand.” In association with KRDC’s debut, Kelsea Ballerini, Hunter Hayes, Bailey Bryan, Scotty McCreery, Tegan Marie, and Temecula Road will join Radio Disney Country host Betsy Spina on the Radio Disney Country Stage at CMA Music Fest‘s Xfinity Fan Fair X at 11:45 am today for a countdown event streaming live on Radio Disney Country’s Facebook page. The first hour commercial-free playlist on Radio Disney Country’s KRDC will begin with Ballerini’s single “Legends,” which was released this week. The complete first hour will include: “Legends” (Ballerini); “Play It Again” (Luke Bryan); “God, Your Mama, and Me” (Florida Georgia Line featuring The Backstreet Boys); “Every Little Thing” (Carly Pearce); “Say” (RaeLynn featuring Dan + Shay); “Yours If You Want It” (Rascal Flatts); “Own It” (Bailey Bryan); “What Ifs” (Kane Brown featuring Lauren Alaina); “You Look Good” (Lady Antebellum); “No Such Thing As a Broken Heart” (Old Dominion); “Hoping” (Temecula Road); “I Could Use a Love Song” (Maren Morris); and “How Not To” (Dan + Shay). Radio Disney Country will also be available on iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and as curated playlists within Spotify, and Apple Music.

Brown Appointed iHeartMedia Norfolk Market President. Inbound from Cumulus Media Mobile, where she was vice president/market manager and vice president of sales, Angel Brown is named market president for iHeartMedia Norfolk. President of iHeartMedia’s Virginia/Carolina Region Dave Carwile comments, “We are thrilled to have Angel joining our Norfolk group of station brands. She combines a proven track record of sales leadership with an understanding of how to integrate client needs with our multimedia platforms. Angel will provide a great complement to our outstanding sales and programming leadership in the market.” Brown remarks, “I am elated to join the iHeartMedia family in Norfolk. The market and the company have had tremendous success over the years and are attributed to the company’s culture and its people. I look forward to working alongside the talented iHeartMedia Norfolk team and I look for forward to my future with the industry leader.” The company’s four-station Norfolk cluster consists of urban AC WHBT “92.1 The Beat”; rhythmic hot AC WMOV “MOViN 107.7”; CHR WNOH “NOW 105”; and urban contemporary WOWI “103 Jamz.”

KFRG Boosts Ward to APD/MD. With two-dozen years of service at CBS Radio Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario country outlet KFRG ‘K-Frog,” on-air talent Robin Ward is elevated to assistant program director and music director. According to program director Scott Ward (no relation), “Since she has been here for most of the station’s history, Robin is such a natural fit for this position. She knows the format and the artists like the back of her hand.” Robin Ward, who hosts mid-days using the on-air persona Heather Froglear, comments, “My patience has been rewarded with my dream job – being the APD/MD of the greatest station on earth.” She joined “K-Frog” in 1993 and has previously been the Inland Empire outlet’s promotions director and morning show host.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking home the 2017 Gracie Award as “Best Co-Host, Radio” is Kelly Ford, co-host of Cumulus Media and Westwood One‘s syndicated morning show, Ty, Kelly, & Chuck. Ford was among the honorees at a Wednesday night gala at Los Angeles’ Beverly Wilshire …..Having already worked at CBS Radio-owned CHRs in Chicago (WBBM-FM “B-96”) and Philadelphia (WZMP “Amp 96.5”), Jason Cage will debut on the company’s Houston hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5” next Monday (6/12)    in afternoon drive. “Mix 96.5” program director Chase Murphy has “been a fan of Jason’s work for years – winning is in his DNA. We are excited to add him to the KHMX team and cannot wait for the Houston community to meet him.” …..Nine-year iHeartMedia vice president of digital operations Joseph Bond departs. Bond previously spent six years overseeing web content and development for the company’s eight Cincinnati stations …..Several-dozen suits were collected as part of the recently concluded “Boots to Suits” campaign of Hubbard St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch.” In partnership with Equity Prime Mortgage, JCPenney, and Two Men & A Truck, the station’s campaign focused on collecting suits for local veterans entering the workforce after they return home from deployment …..Changes at Saga Springfield, Massachusetts alternative WLZX “Lazer 99.3 & 105.1” find morning host Leslie exiting at the end of this month to relocate to Sarasota and afternoon drive talent Pat Kelly segueing to mornings next month …..Along with partners United Supermarkets and Amarillo National Bank, Alpha Media Amarillo, Texas’ KGNC “Country 97.9” earlier this week raised more than $60,000 for the Amarillo Area Rotary Youth Baseball League. Alpha Media Amarillo market manager Robert Mueller notes, “It is truly awesome to see the community and our partners work together to support the local youth each and every year.”

Beasley Broadcast Group Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. The amount is $0.045 per share for Beasley Broadcast Group’s Class A and Class B common stock and is payable next month (7/7) to shareholders of record on the final day of this month (6/30). All subsequent Beasley Broadcast Group dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board of directors at its discretion. Meanwhile, at the annual New Jersey Ad Club “Jersey Awards,” Beasley Broadcast Group’s WDHA “The Rock of New Jersey, ” Dover won “Best Radio Spot” for Oink and Moo BBQ (written, produced, and voiced by Mike Cocheo with additional voice-overs by Dannie Schade). Vice president and regional market manager Dan Finn remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled our team was recognized for their work with this incredible award. “This is the night where all the best advertising agencies in the state of New Jersey gather and announce winners across all media platforms. We were honored to be among the winners.” The event took place this past Wednesday (6/7) in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.

Eagle Communications Hutchinson Boosts James to Operations Manager. Three-month KHUT, Hutchinson, Kansas morning host Pat James is elevated to operations manager of Eagle Communications’ “Country 102.9,” as well as co-owned hot AC KHMY “My 93.1,” and news/talk combo KWBW-AM & KWBW-FM. Eagle Hutchinson market manager Mark Trotman states, “Since his first day at Eagle Communications, Pat has demonstrated the leadership we want in an employee-owned company – he is our type of people. We are looking forward to the places we can go in further service to keeping our community connected.” James, who will continue his morning drive duties on “Country 102.9,” adds, “I look forward to working with a talented staff that is committed to making great local radio every day for our community. This is a refreshing and exciting environment to work in every day. I can’t wait to help these stations and our company achieve even greater successes. I am grateful to market manager Mark Trotman and Eagle president/chief executive officer Gary Shorman for this amazing opportunity.” In addition to co-hosting “The Cornbread Morning Show” on WIL, St. Louis, James previously was program director/brand manager of Connoisseur Media Wichita’s adult hits KIBB “Bob-FM” and classic country KVWF “Hank-FM,” and he was the assistant program director/music director at Scripps-owned country KFDI, Wichita.

Trace Enters U.S. With Streaming Service. International urban media company Trace will launch a streaming service called Trace Play. The company will deliver subscribers urban music and content from the United States and worldwide, including 2,000 hours of on-demand programming, 30 digital radio stations, nine live television feeds, and the soon-to-be launched Trace Prime television network. The service will come from a Trace USA joint venture with John Pasmore, the former chief executive officer of Russell Simmons’ Oneworld Media, who declares, “Trace is the only media company that has successfully connected urban youth and communities of color around the world while respecting their identities.” It will be available online and to iOS and Android devices for $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year. Backers include actor-musician Wyclef Jean; producers Rob Marriott and Tonya Lewis Lee; Fubu co-founder J. Alexander Martin; and JKD Entertainment’s Karlie Lewis.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

| March 11, 2015

salemmediagroup logoSalem Media Group Reports Broadcast Sector Flat in Q4 2014; Net Revenue Up 2.3% for All of 2014.  The company’s net broadcast revenue was up 2.3% on revenue of $192.9 million for the entire year of 2014.  The fourth quarter of 2014, however, was flat on revenue of $48.8 million.  However, the company’s digital and publishing arms performed much better with the digital media sector’s revenue increasing 14.7% to $11.7 million from $10.2 million (compared to the same quarter a year ago).  Publishing revenue rose 47% to $5.4 million from $3.7 million (compared to Q4 of 2013).

ellisrobRob Ellis Exits WIP-FM, Philadelphia.  Telling listeners of his final evening show on CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia that he’s leaving the station, Rob Ellis lets on that he was not happy being moved from middays – where he was partnered with Anthony Gargano prior to Gargano’s exit from the station last December – to evenings as Josh Innes was moved up from nights to work with Tony Bruno on the new midday show.  He teases that he’ll be seen and heard in the market but was not specific.

TALKERS/RadioInfo Publisher Michael Harrison Joins Podcast One to Host Weekly Podcast. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison and Norm Pattiz have announced entering into an agreement harrisonUpCloseFarOutin which Harrison will host a weekly podcast on Pattiz’ PodcastOne, the leader in advertiser-supported, on-demand digital audio with more than 200 programs downloaded over 120 million times every month. Titled, Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison, the podcast, which officially debuted yesterday (3/10), delivers provocative insights into the digital era’s rapidly evolving technology and the effects of these changes on the human condition. In addition to conducting candid, probing conversations with top contemporary thinkers from the arts, science, business and pop culture worlds, Harrison will share personal experiences and perspectives culled from his long-standing career as one of the most influential media observers and analysts in the broadcasting realm for more than four-and-a-half decades. “Up Close and Far Out has found the perfect platform for distribution and promotion with the leading podcaster, PodcastOne, to deliver illuminating insights and stimulating information to the rapidly growing podcast audience in the most modern and timely way possible,” says Michael Harrison. “It will be a pleasure and valuable opportunity to once again be associated with this innovative company’s extraordinary founder, Norm Pattiz.” This marks the first time that Michael Harrison has agreed to take on a regularly scheduled performance role on a platform outside those under the TALKERS magazine umbrella in more than 20 years and he credits that largely to his confidence in Pattiz. Harrison and Pattiz worked together in the mid-1970s when Pattiz was launching Westwood One and Harrison hosted, wrote and produced one of that company’s earliest groundbreaking offerings, The Great American Radio Show with Michael Harrison. “Michael Harrison’s track record of success in predicting, defining and participating in media trends spans the digital divide and is nothing short of extraordinary — and we are excited to expand that from the newspaper, magazine, radio and television commentaries in which he has become a universally recognized resource to the intimate and unfiltered realm of his own regularly scheduled podcast,” says Norm Pattiz, chairman and CEO of PodcastOne. “Bringing his unique brand of articulate analysis and intelligent conversational skills to the table, Michael Harrison knows how to connect with both the professional media practitioner and educated pop culture consumer on a remarkably high and consistent level.” Harrison adds, “Whereas my work in the industry trades focuses primarily on information directly applicable to professionals in the radio, TV and digital realm, this project will be more aggressively speculative and theoretical — targeted to the hardcore ‘media freaks’ in and beyond the industry.” This unique podcast, Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison, will be available on www.PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app, www.talkers.com, www.RadioInfo.com, and iTunes. The podcast can be directly accessed at www.podcastone.com/up-close-and-far-out

Odds & Sods.  Another podcaster is added to the program lineup at Dupage Radio’s WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois (suburban Chicago) as “The Dolly McCarthy Show” joins for weekends.  WCKG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “We’re always working on new ways to live up to our mission to be the WGN of the suburbs.  Adding Dolly – a suburban mother who is involved in suburban organizations and hosts a show about suburban affairs – makes her show a win-win for everyone…and sure beats crazy, political shout-fests!”…..Mahindra USA and Yahoo Sports Radio are hitting the air with a comprehensive, nationwide marketing partnership to support the continued robust growth of the Mahindra brand and the company’s extensive dealer network.  As part of the Yahoo Sports Radio campaign and in appreciation of their service, Mahindra is offering First Responders across America an opportunity to win a Mahindra eMax 22 HST tractor with front-end loader.  Any active or retired law enforcement, firefighter or EMT is eligible to enter through Yahoo Sports Radio’s website or www.tributetothebrave.com between March 6 – April 4, 2015.

cosbyritaCumulus New York Talent to Be Honored with Gracie Awards.  Broadcasters from Cumulus Media’s New York stations will be honored with three Gracie Awards from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation during the awards presentation on June 22 at the New York Hilton Hotel.  Thefordkelly awards are about recognizing excellence in programming by, for or about women. Capturing Gracie Awards at Cumulus New York are: Rita Cosby, WABC for Outstanding Host-News/Non-Fiction, Local Market Radio; “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan & Rita Cosby,” WABC New York, for Outstanding Talk Show-News, Local Market Radio; and “NASH Matters with Kelly Ford” featuring the Grace Institute, WNSH “NASH-FM 94.7” for Outstanding Interview Program or Feature, Local Market Radio.

biggerpicture‘The Bigger Picture’ Celebrates Two Years on Los Angeles Airwaves This Month.  The idea for the radio program that would become “The Bigger Picture with Timothy Spangler” began when the host returned to the United States in 2012 after spending 10 years in London.  Spangler says that the experience gave him “a platform to learn the ways of the world outside the sterile partisan political debates so common in American media.”  He says the concept was simple: a live weekly radio show that would focus on international affairs and global events that would approach the stories and guests with ample amounts of humor, familiar to listeners who had grown up on “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report.”  By avoiding domestic political issues – too often talked to death during the week on traditional AM stations – he hoped to give listeners a refreshingly different radio experience.  “The world is a funny place,” according to Spangler, “and we just want to share that with as many people as we can.”  Joined by college buddies actor David C Fisher and musician Phillip Sparks, the three UCLA alumni decided to launch the show on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KRLA “AM870 The Answer.”  “We were drawn to the heritage of KRLA, which is a station anyone who grew up in LA is familiar with.”  Spangler says they kick off the Sunday 10:00 pm show with a news round-up featuring the strangest and most puzzling news stories from around the globe – German grandmothers thwarting bank robberies, Venezuelan grocery stores running out of toilet paper – all are fair game.  On a more serious note, each week the BIG story goes in depth on a topic or development that has not yet received the attention it deserves – important stories that mainstream media are unwilling to make time for, says Spangler.  He also books top-notch guests to talk about the world’s issues.  Some recent guests include: Edward Norton, Stevie Wonder, Jim Kerr from the rock band Simple MindsLesley Nicol, who plays “Mrs. Patmore” on PBS‘ “Downton Abbey,” Mathew Rhys, star of FX‘s hit drama, “The Americans,” and Jeff Perry, star of the ABC hit television series, “Scandal,” to name just a few.  As for the future of the program, Spangler observes that the content is not local market-specific and clearly lends itself to a national audience.  Conversations with syndicators and affiliates are ongoing, and the team hopes to bring “The Bigger Picture” to more and more listeners in the months ahead.

weeksdonLongtime Albany Talk Personality Don Weeks Dies at 76.  Four years after retiring from a 30-year stint as morning drive host at WGY, Albany in 2010, Don Weeks passed away at age 76.  The Daily Report of Schenectady wrote that Weeks had been in failing health.  He lost his wife Suzanne in December of 2014.  “Uncle Don” began hosting the morning show in December of 1980 and earned a Marconi Award in 2005.  He started in radio in the Capital Region in 1956.

Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Iran Nukes Deal Controversy, OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon Racism Case, Amnesty Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Blurred Lines’ Ruling, and Apple Unveils Watch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10).  The ongoing investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the battle between Congress and President Obama over the proposed Iran nukes deal; the racial tensions ignited at University of Oklahoma after a fraternity is recorded singing a song with racist lyrics; the GOP’s fight against President Obama’s amnesty orders; the potential candidates for president in 2016; a jury sides with the estate of Marvin Gaye in the “Blurred Lines” case; and Apple unveils its soon to be marketed Watch product were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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