Tag: "Kevin Kietzman"

Monday, July 1, 2019

| July 1, 2019

Emmis and Standard General Form New Company to Buy New York’s WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM. This new company will be called Mediaco Holding and it will buy urban radio stations WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM “Hot 97” for $91.5 million in cash, a $5 million note receivable, and 23.72% of the common equity of Mediaco.  Emmis will distribute this common equity of Mediaco pro rata to its shareholders in a taxable dividend.  Mediaco will be a public company expected to be listed on NASDAQ, and Emmis will remain a separate public company, as well.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan will serve as CEO of Mediaco and Emmis will remain active in the management of WBLS and WQHT and provide certain corporate services to Mediaco pursuant to a management agreement between the parties.  Investment firm Standard General will appoint a majority of the board of directors of Mediaco and Soohyung Kim, CEO, managing partner and chief investment officer of Standard General L.P., will be chairman of Mediaco.  After this deal gets regulatory approval, Emmis Communications will still operate New York’s WLIB and WEPN (through an LMA with ESPN Radio), four radio stations in Indianapolis, Indianapolis Monthly, and Digonex, a dynamic pricing company.  Emmis recently announced it is selling its 50.1% ownership stake in eight Austin, Texas stations to Sinclair Telecable for $39.3 million.   Smulyan says of this latest deal, “This is a landmark day in the 40-year history of Emmis. We look forward to continuing to manage two of the world’s most iconic radio brands in ‘HOT 97’ and WBLS and employ our award-winning New York team as we partner with Soo Kim and Standard General to form a new public company to invest in media opportunities.  The transaction provides Emmis significant capital to aggressively pursue new business opportunities that align with our entrepreneurial spirit and management skills.  We are also excited to work with Soo and Standard General to grow Mediaco Holding.  We have already been evaluating great investment opportunities and I’m incredibly excited about the future. Today is a great day for the future of Emmis.” Emmis says that no personnel changes are planned, and all New York employees will continue to be Emmis employees with Emmis benefits as part of an Employee Leasing Agreement with Mediaco.

Kietzman Exits WHB-AM, Kansas City in Aftermath of Andy Reid Comments. Kansas City sports talk personality Kevin Kietzman has exited Union Broadcasting’s sports talk WHB-AM “Sports Radio 810” where he’s been hosting “Between the Lines” for the past 22 years.  Last week, Kietzman was suspended from the station after he referenced Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s two sons Britt and Garrett – both of whom battled drug issues and Garrett died of an overdose in 2012 – during a monologue about Reid’s ability to fix players with personal problems.  In an apology issued last week, Kietzman said his intent was not to blame Andy Reid for Garrett’s death, but he understood how his comments could have been interpreted as such.  Union Broadcasting president Chad Boeger issued a statement saying Kietzman’s departure was mutual, but it’s likely Kietzman would have preferred to return to his job. Kietzman was allowed to issue a final statement: “It’s been my honor and privilege to host ‘Between the Lines’ for the past 22 years and I’m proud of being a founding partner of this great local company that is so committed to our community.”

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Begin Posting Today with Erica Farber and Cousin Brucie Receiving AwardsTALKERS has begun posting key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention today (7/1).  The first two videos being posted today are RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award.  The convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story – took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Nielsen Releases Total Audience Report for Q1 2019. The latest Total Audience Report from Nielsen has been published and although the time spent with radio relative to other media options shrank from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, in the audio universe it is still the most popular platform with 92% of the 18+ U.S. population.  Looking at the daily hours and minutes spent with each platform, among adults 35-49 radio listening dipped from 1:50 minutes per day to 1:45 minutes.  In the Millennial group – adults 18-39 – listening time went from 1:25 in Q1 of 2018 to 1:20 in Q1 of 2019.  Which platform is seeing the largest growth? It’s the use of an app or the web on a smart phone.  That category is up across the board, even with upper demos.  In the adults 50-64 demographic, for example, use of an app or the web on a smartphone rose from 2:24 minutes per day to 2:47 minutes from Q1 of 2018 to Q1 of 2019.  See more about the report here.

Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. Too much commercial and promo copy is…typical.  In-one-ear-out-the-other.  In this week’s Monday Memo column, consultant Holland Cooke offers examples of effective messages, most of which include “The Two Magic Words.”  Read his column here.

Chris Williams Signs Four-Year Extension to Remain with iHeartRadio. Digital executive Chris Williams will continue as chief product officer for iHeartRadio as he signs a four-year contract extension.  In this role he oversees digital programming initiatives, product marketing, UXD, and product strategies.  He joined the company in 2013 and rose to his current post in 2014. The company says that during his tenure as CPO, he has “expanded the iHeartRadio footprint to over 280 platforms and 2,000 devices and more than tripled its audience to where it currently stands with a registered user base of 130MM.  He also led the product initiative to launch two on-demand services, iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access.”

TALKERS News Notes. Newsday’s Neil Best writes that Entercom New York regional president Susan Larkin “would love” for WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa to continue hosting his radio show “forever.”  Best’s column speculates about Francesa’s future with the station, addressing both Francesa’s own musings about the challenges of hosting his radio show and doing his digital content for his app as well as the fact that the company is paying eight personalities to host four shows.  Larkin tells Best the company is pleased with the ratings and revenue from Francesa’s show.  Read it here…..WREX-TV, Rockford, Illinois reports that Midwest Family Broadcasting’s sports talk WNTA-AM is canceling its live and local sports talk shows and replacing them with syndicated fare.  Gone from the station are “Randy & Co.,” a two-hour morning show hosted by Randy Ruef and featuring a rotating cast of co-hosts as well as producer Jordan Goethe, and “Full Court Press,” the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm show co-hosted by Jake Logli and Jackson Schwartz…..Pictured at left is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon as Santa Claus bringing Christmas in June to kids at the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.

G20 Summit/Trump Meets with Kim Jon Un and Xi Jinping, Hong Kong-China Tensions, Immigration Reform, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Stonewall Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan and President Trump’s meetings with China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the protests in Hong Kong against Chinese rule; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform policies; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Iran’s production of weapons grade uranium; and the anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Riots 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. Hartford hot AC WTIC-FM names Ryan “Salt” MacMillan the new morning drive host, taking over for Gary Craig, who recently announced his retirement.  Salt began hosting the Entercom station’s morning program with incumbent morning personality Christine Lee today (7/1).  Salt comes to Hartford from the company’s Boston hot AC WWBX-FM “Mix 104.1” where he was part of the “Karson & Kennedy” morning program. He says, “Boston has given me so much over the past seven years both on and off the air and I will forever be thankful, but it’s time for a new adventure in Hartford.  Gary Craig is a Hartford radio legend and with his long-time partner, Christine Lee, I am honored to try and continue his legacy.”…..Award-winning CMT host and radio personality Cody Alan just celebrated his 2,000th episode as host of “CMT After MidNite.”  Alan was surprised with in-studio appearances by Garth Brooks and Keith Urban, as well as a phone call from Thomas Rhett.  In addition to this major milestone for “CMT After MidNite,” Alan is also celebrating the 100th episode of his “Cody Cast” podcast and the 10th anniversary of the Premiere Networks-syndicated program “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.”…..Programmer Kat San Andres adds music director duties for Local Media San Diego’s rhythmic AC XHRM “Magic 92.5” to her responsibilities that also include serving as music director and APD for sister CHR XHTZ “Z90.”  She joined “Z90” in 2004 as a morning program intern and has worked her way up through the programming department…..Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation announces its new venture in which Radio Disney has agreed to license Radio Disney video content to SBC. SBC will “telestream” the Radio Disney video content: the audio will be broadcast on SBC’s radio station WIGO-AM, Atlanta and simultaneously the video will be streamed at wigoam.com. Sheridan has a patent which covers telestreaming.  SBC says it will launch a one-hour daily program featuring Radio Disney video content in the near future that will tentatively be called “The Radio Disney Hour.”  SBC COO Ron Davenport, Jr. says, “We are honored and extremely flattered to be the first radio broadcaster licensed by Disney to use Radio Disney video content. The Radio Disney team has been incredible to work with, and we are very excited about the possibilities going forward.”…..Sun Broadcast Group and “The Michael Baisden Show” announce a renewal of the show’s distribution deal through December 31, 2020.  Baisden says, “Now that the show is hitting on all cylinders it’s time to do what I do best…engage with people.  I began my career hosting relationship seminars and producing upscale events, it’s time to get back out there and connect with my listeners face-to-face and have some fun!”…..SiriusXM is launching a limited-run music channel called “Madonna’s Madame X Radio” that will be available during the month of July.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

| June 26, 2019

WHB-AM, Kansas City Suspends Host Kevin Kietzman Over Controversial Comments. Sports talk WHB-AM, Kansas City owner Union Broadcasting is suspending longtime station talk host Kevin Kietzman indefinitely after comments he made on his show were deemed by some to be inappropriate.  During a discussion about the Kansas City Chiefs’ suspension of Tyreek Hill due to an incident involving his fiancé and three-year-old son that led to a child abuse investigation, Kietzman criticized head coach Andy Reid’s abilities “fixing [troubled] players.”  In doing so, Kietzman said Reid had the same troubles dealing with his sons Britt and Garrett.  Garrett died of a heroin overdose in 2012.  Awful Announcing first called Kietzman out on his comments and Kietzman replied to clarify his statements saying, “I never once mentioned anything about Andy Reid’s son’s death and never once had it on my mind.  A caller called in later and said something about the death and I quickly corrected him and pointed out that I was referencing two sons that were convicted drug dealers and drug addicts that he chose to try to fix by hiring them to work for his football teams.”  You can see that here.  But, Kietzman has issued a lengthy apology to the Reid family that you can read here. He maintains his intent was not to tie Reid’s son’s death to the team’s issues but says in his apology, “This is on me.  I’m paid as a broadcaster to be concise in what I say.  My words on Monday’s show left open way too many interpretations and I’m the only person responsible for that, and the only person to blame.  I’ll learn from this mistake and I’ll work hard to do better, and I hope to one day regain the trust of Coach Reid and the Chiefs organization.”

NPR and Edison Research Smart Speaker Study Reveals Security Concerns Hamper Potential Future Adopters. The data from the new research in “The Smart Audio Report” series from NPR and Edison Research gives insights into “how smart speaker user behavior and perceptions are evolving as owners ‘settle in’ with their devices and the market matures out of its introductory phase.”  This Spring 2019 survey indicates seven-in-10 smart speaker owners use their device daily despite common concerns around security and privacy, while those same factors are leading reasons non-owners have not acquired a device.  Edison SVP Tom Webster says, “We are starting to see more pragmatic usage of these devices.  The longer people have these devices, the less experimentation they do with them — but the more ingrained into everyday life these devices become.”  The study found that smart speaker owners who have owned the device for 2-plus years use an average seven skills per week, compared to an average 12 skills per week among those who have owned the device for less than three months.  But the report also finds there is a slowing of interest among non-owners in getting one and the two most-cited reasons are: 1) 63% are concerned that hackers could use a smart speaker to gain access to their home or personal information; and 2) 55% are bothered that smart speakers are always listening.  See more from the study here

Duff Lindsey Retiring from Beasley Boca Raton. Programmer Duff Lindsey is retiring from his operations manager position with Beasley Media Group’s Boca Raton, Florida cluster that includes talk WWNN, financial talk WSBR, and foreign language WHSR.  Taking over as operations manager for the cluster is station staffer A.J. Gunn.  Lindsey – who turns 70 on July 1 – says he’s spent more than 30 years of his 50-year career with Beasley.  His last day is June 30.

TALKERS News Notes. At public media firm KQED, San Francisco, Lesley Grossblatt joins to serve in the newly created role of chief product officer.  She’ll be in charge of KQED’s digital activities – including product management, user experience and design, software engineering, and the KQED Lab, the station’s in-house innovation incubator.  During her career she’s led product and technology initiatives at companies including: Netflix, Intuit, CreativeLive and theBoardlist, among others…..Krantz Media Group Networks announces its new partnership with “Politicon” – the annual bipartisan “UnconventionalPolitical Convention” that’s taking place in Nashville October 26 and 27.  The partnership will bring a wide array of audio programming to listeners around the world in the lead-up to event, as well as live-programming on site at the event. KMG says “The fifth annual ‘Politicon’ brings Republicans, Democrats, and people of all political stripes together to banter and spar over the most topical issues in smart and entertaining ways that often poke fun at both sides of the aisle.  Last year, more than 10,000 fans flocked to the 4th annual Politicon at the Los Angeles Convention Center, enjoying participants such as Kathy Griffin, Michael Avenatti, the Baby Trump Balloon, Adam Carolla, Carter Page, Ann CoulterDennis Rodman, Alyssa Milano, Tucker Carlson, Ana Kasparian, Ben Shapiro, Eddie Izzard, James Carville, Tomi Lahren, Henry Winkler, and more.”…..WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware talk show host Dan Gaffney had the opportunity to assist a listener whom he helped do a good deed more than 20 years ago. He says, “Twenty-three years ago, Ann Cox called ‘The Dan Gaffney Show’ for help giving away a mobile home. I put her on the air and helped her give the home away to a needy local family.  On June 4 of this year, that same woman – now disabled and caring for her five-year-old grandson – lost her home and all belongings in a fire.”  Last Friday, Gaffney appealed to his listeners for aid and – with the assistance of WXDE advertiser Jim Weller who agreed to match donations up to $5,000 – raised more than $11,000 to assist Cox and her grandson.  Gaffney adds, “The power of radio, the power of talk radio, the power of a connected community.”…..Pictured below is FOX News Radio talk host and FOX News Channel star Brian Kilmeade posing for a photo at affiliate KDWN, Las Vegas from where he recently broadcast his nationally syndicated program.  From left to right are: KDWN program director John Shaffer, Kilmeade and Beasley VP and market manager Peter Burton.

Former WLIB, New York Talk Host Kae Thompson Dies at 83. Former urban talk radio personality Kae Thompson died last Friday at age 83 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.  The New York Daily News reports that Thompson hosted the “Urban Notebook” and “Kae Thompson Payne Live” programs on WLIB-AM, New York during her 25-year career with the station.  WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM assistant program director Cynthia Smith tells the Daily News, “Kae Thompson was a true journalist [who] asked the hard questions but always with a smile.  Her guests couldn’t help but answer her.  Such a classy lady, teacher and true professional who I enjoyed working with on ‘The Kae Thompson Show’ on WLIB.  Her smile is permanently etched in my memory!  She will be missed tremendously.”

2020 Presidential Race/Democrat Debates, Iran Tensions, Southern Border Migrant Issues, Mueller to Testify, G20 Summit, and Trump-Kim Meeting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25).The Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 taking part in this week’s televised debates; the war of words between Tehran and Washington over the breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal and recent attacks on oil tankers and a U.S. drone; the conditions for detained migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and Trump administration policy; former special counsel Robert Mueller agrees to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee in July; this weekend’s G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan; and the progress toward more talks between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Training the Next Generation of Talk Media Broadcasters: Hofstra University’s WRHU Interviews Talk Media Stars at TALKERS ConventionTALKERS recruited a video team from Long Island-based Hofstra University’s multi-award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org to record select one-on-one conversations with a variety of the talk media stars from both sides of the microphone who were in attendance at the recent Talkers 2019: Telling the Story convention in New York City (6/7). The team consisted of student broadcasters Eliorah Finkelson and Jon SanelliTALKERS founder (and Hofstra alumnus) Michael Harrison, a charter inductee in the Hofstra Radio Hall of Fame and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the widely recognized accomplishments being made by Hofstra in the field of radio and communications.  It is one of the preeminent schools in the nation in this arena and the number of outstanding professionals that it continues to produce is nothing short of remarkable.”  Hofstra Radio operations director John T. Mullen adds, ““WRHU has one mission – professional development of students so they can become productive members of the radio / media industry. The foundation for most of the on-air personality content on radio is talk. Whether it’s a music air personality talking about artists and culture, a political talk show host breaking down the news of the day, a newscaster delivering timely info, a sportscaster discussing games, or a love show host talking about romance and relationship advice. Therefore it makes sense that the leading college radio station (WRHU) would team up with the world’s most informative and innovative talk media conference in New York City for Talkers 2019.  WRHU and Talkers 2019 are telling the story of students learning from icons in the talk media industry.”  To view the video interviews recorded by the Hofstra team please click here.  Pictured below (l-r): Key Networks commentator Bill O’ Reilly being interviewed by WRHU’s Eliorah Finkelson and Jon Sanelli at the TALKERS convention.

Music Radio News and Career MovesFour-year KRRL-FM, Los Angeles “REAL 92.3” air personality DJ Amen is promoted to music director at the iHeartMedia hip hop station. DJ Amen began working for iHeartMedia in 2006 on the turntables for the legendary 106 KMEL in San Francisco.  In 2015, he joined ‘REAL 92.3’ as a DJ, mixing daily for the newly launched station and in 2016, contributed to the launch of REAL 92.3’s top-rated show, “Young California Radio.”…..In Detroit, assistant program director Cheron Sanders is being promoted to PD for iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WMXD “Mix 92.3.”  Sanders joined iHeartMedia in 2001 and has held various positions at sister hip hop station WJLB AND WMXD over the years, including traffic reporter and midday host…..At Cumulus Media’s alternative KFOG, San Francisco, Alicia Tyler exits the midday host/music director position she’s held since 2016.  Station program director Jacent Jackson takes on the music director duties and evening personality Dayna Keyes is promoted to the midday show.  Also promoted is Danica Lopez who moves from part-timer to evening personality and social media director…..In the Springfield, Illinois market, Neuhoff Media teams Taylor Brown up with John Spalding for the “John and Taylor in the Morning” program on country WFMB. Brown has been handling the midday duties on sister hot AC WXAJ-FM in addition to her director of promotions position with the stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that classic hits WLS-FM morning personality Dave Fogel was off the air for a couple of days for treatment for an aneurysm.  Fogel was treated for the same issue while working the afternoon show at crosstown hot AC WTMX in 2003…..Adams Radio appoints Nathan James director of marketing partnerships and promotions for the company’s five-station operation in the Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland market. He was most recently director of marketing at iHeartMedia Philadelphia…..Pride Live and iHeartMedia New York announce the second annual Stonewall Day – a global campaign to elevate awareness and support for the Stonewall legacy and the continuing fight for full LGBTQ+ equality.  In observance of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, Pride Live and iHeartMedia New York are bringing “multi-generational LGBTQ+ communities and allies together through the power of music at Pride Live’s Stonewall Day concert, presented by United Airlines.”  Taking place on Friday (6/28), it will be hosted by Elvis Duran.