Tag: "Key Networks"

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

| April 10, 2019

Salem Radio Network and Larry Elder Sign New Deal. Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Elder and Salem Radio Network announce they have agreed to extend their relationship through 2022.  Elder’s show airs live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and is heard on more than 350 affiliate stations.  As SRN notes in a press release, Elder “built a loyal local following in Los Angeles over 20 years with KABC.”  He says, “I can’t think of a better fit for ‘The Larry Elder Show’ than Salem Radio Network. Our national show has grown astronomically in the last three years, and I’m both thrilled and honored to continue broadcasting with the Salem Radio family.”  Salem SVP Phil Boyce states, “Larry has been a huge hit for the Salem Radio Network.  He is a leader in conservative thought and listeners all across the country have made an appointment with him every day to hear a voice of reason to cut through the noise of a world gone mad.  It has been an honor and privilege to work with a talk radio legend like Larry these last three years and we’re thrilled to continue our relationship.”

Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks Name Jennifer Newman Senior AE. Radio executive Jennifer Newman joins Sun & Fun Media and its affiliated radio syndication company Key Networks as senior account executive.  Newman was most recently market president for iHeartMedia’s Columbus and Albany, Georgia markets. Sun & Fun Media is a network radio company that offers radio stations a unique suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter. Key Networks recently announced it is syndicating Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Update” to the radio industry.   Sun & Fun and Key Networks CEO and co-founder Rob Koblasz says, “As we continue to grow, we are delighted to add a sales professional who understands our business like Jennifer.  Her experience and knowledge of the value of our service to stations is the recipe for success.”

2019 NAB Crystal Radio Awards Announced; KFOR-AM/FM Honored with Crystal Heritage Award. Yesterday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, the National Association of Broadcasters announced the 10 winners of the 32nd annual NAB Crystal Radio Awards.  The Crystal Awards recognize stations for outstanding year-round commitment to community service.  This year’s recipients were chosen from among 50 finalists.  This year’s winners include: KBHP-FM Bemidji, MN; KCVM-FM Cedar Falls, IA; KNDE-FM College Station, TX; KWBG-AM Boone, IA; WMBX-FM West Palm Beach; WMGK-FM Philadelphia; WRLT-FM Nashville; WTAM-AM Cleveland; WWPR-FM New York; and WYCT-FM Pensacola, FL.  Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Crystal Heritage Award, given to radio stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards for exceptional year-round community service efforts.  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade says, “KFOR-AM/FM has proudly served the Lincoln, Nebraska region for over 94 years and our commitment to the community has never wavered.  We are so proud of our team’s accomplishments both on and off the air and are honored that this dedication is being rewarded with a coveted NAB Crystal Heritage Award.” Pictured below at the NAB Show in Las Vegas are (from l-r): Gade, director of sales Joy Patten, and OM/content director Rob Kelley.

Cumulus Dallas RVP Dan Bennett Featured in D Magazine Piece. Radio programmer-turned-executive Dan Bennett is the focus of a profile piece in Dallas’ D Magazine.  Bennett is the regional vice president for Cumulus Media’s Dallas and Houston markets.  According to the piece, Dallas is the company’s “biggest, strongest market” and Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says of Bennett, “He brings his A-game every day.”  Bennett was the program director at KFLI-AM, Dallas when he flipped it to news/talk in 1987.  He also was put in charge of sports talk KTCK-AM “The Ticket” when Cumulus bought it in 1996 and was instrumental in turning it into a money maker for the company.  Read the piece here.

Alpha Media Promotes Walton to Director of Sales. General sales manager Cressy Walton is promoted to director of sales at the Alpha Media Portland cluster that includes news/talk KXL-FM, sports talk KXTG-AM, and several music-formatted stations. Walton replaces Amy Leimbach, who leaves for a similar position with iHeartMedia Phoenix (see next story).  Alpha Media Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “We have worked hard to create a strategic succession plan.  Elevating the talented Cressy Walton will make this transition seamless and poise us for continued success and revenue growth.  Cressy is creative, competitive, and has a drive to succeed – all qualities that correlate with Alpha’s core values.”

Leimbach to Lead Sales at iHeartMedia Phoenix.  Former Alpha Media Portland vice president of sales Amy Leimbach is assuming the SVP of sales position at iHeartMedia’s Phoenix cluster that includes news/talk KFYI, sports talk KGME and six music-formatted stations.  iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little states, “I am thrilled to have Amy lead our sales organization in Phoenix where she began her career.  After working with Amy here in the market, I know she will bring her incredible passion, energy, creativity and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and partnerships.”

Mueller Report Aftermath/William Barr Testimony, Waters-Mnuchin Exchange, 2020 Democratic Candidates, U.S.-Mexico Border Policy/DHS Shakeup, Trump Tax Returns Issue, Netanyahu Re-Election Bid, Brexit, Magic Johnson Leaves Lakers, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The aftermath of the Mueller Report and Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before a congressional subcommittee; the highly charged exchange between Rep. Maxine Waters and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the political battle over immigration and refugee policies at the U.S.-Mexico border and the related shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security; Democrats’ efforts to get Trump’s tax returns; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins re-election; the political chaos in England over Brexit; Magic Johnson leaves the Lakers; and NBA and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS Magazine Publishes 2019 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  The annual list from the editors of TALKERS magazine officially titled, “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America,” has been published.  The 2019 edition of the “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” is the seventh edition of this companion list to TALKERS’ long-running Heavy Hundred that ranks news/talk radio hosts.  Both lists are the work of TALKERS magazine editors and inclusion on the list is based on a number of objective and subjective factors, including ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent, potential, and uniqueness.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey says, “The Heavy Hundred of Sports talk – like its older sibling ranking news/talk radio hosts – is one of the most difficult tasks the TALKERS editors face each year.  The sheer number of qualified sports talk radio personalities in America, combined with the intense competition among them – especially in markets with two or more sports talk radio stations – makes this a challenging job for the editors.  We at TALKERS salute the hard-working sports talkers who made this year’s list.”  TALKERS magazine will publish the 2019 edition of the “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” in the coming weeks. See the 2019 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Danni Bruns will continue her run with Cumulus Media’s Memphis cluster after signing a new, multi-year agreement.  Bruns is the operations manager for the station group and PD and PM drive co-host (with Chris “The Jar” Jarman) for rock WXMX “98.1 The Max.”  She’s been with the cluster since 2007.  Cumulus Memphis VP and market manager Morgan Bohannon comments, “I’ll go to battle any day with Danni Bruns on my team.  Energetic, passionate, and talented are just a few of the words I would use in describing Danni.  She’s a fighter and has proven to be a great leader for our programming team.  I’m excited to know we have her committed for years to come.”…..Radio pro Tammy Ragusa returns to Premiere Networks to serve as a writer and producer for its country radio prep team. Ragusa will be based in Nashville and report to Ira Robbins, VP/editorial director for Premiere.  She’ll be responsible for creating and developing show news prep, music, and special event coverage, and holiday programming for 200 country radio affiliate stations across the U.S.  She held a similar position with Premiere from 2006-2012. Most recently, Ragusa was a senior correspondent and community manager for Rare Country…..SummitMedia Knoxville names Loyd Ford program director and afternoon drive personality for country WCYQ “Q100.3,” effective April 15.

Monday, March 25, 2019

| March 25, 2019

Monday Memo: Welcome to the Spring Book. Consultant Holland Cooke offers some tips for radio stations in this week’s Monday Memo as the Nielsen Audio spring survey begins on Thursday (3/28). Cooke reminds programmers that the most important listeners are your P1s because research shows that less than 25% of a station’s cume contributes more than 50% of its Average Quarter Hours. The most efficient way to boost AQH share is to get more listening out of your P1s and he offers some ideas on how to do that.  Read it here.

Mike Francesa Hits Twitter in Response to NY Post Piece; Post’s Marchand Fires Back. Last week, TALKERS magazine alerted you to the New York Post story by Andrew Marchand alleging that Entercom’s WFAN, New York had been negotiating with sports personality Adam Schein to take over Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive slot on the station.  Over the weekend, Francesa took to Twitter to correct the “outrageous misinformation” and “outright lies” being spread about his status at the station.  Francesa reiterates he’s working without a contract right now, that Entercom has a long-term offer for him (he hasn’t signed it yet), and that he’s okay with adding a person to the show (in fact, it was his idea).  Francesa doesn’t mention Schein in his tweet but Marchand writes in his column that Francesa “essentially confirmed” last week’s story and asserts that Francesa knows his show needs help to avoid losing the now-tight ratings battle with crosstown WEPN-FM’s Michael Kay show.  Marchand speculates WFAN overnight host John Jastremski might be considered as a co-host.

Bill O’Reilly Returns to Radio with 15-Minute Program.  Titled, “The O’Reilly Update,” the new 15-minute radio program hosted by former, longtime FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly will launch on April 29.  The program is being syndicated by Key Networks for daily delivery at 11:30 am ET with all advertising included – no additional barter units – and two minutes of local avails in the feature.  In the press release, O’Reilly states, “More than ever before, Americans need accurate information and honest news analysis in order to make intelligent decisions.  It is all about protecting yourself and your family.  The daily ‘O’Reilly Update’ will arm you with facts and provide opinion based on those facts.  Can’t wait to get started.”  O’Reilly hosted the nationally syndicated program “The Radio Factor” from 2002-2009.  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green comments, “On the Mount Rushmore of spoken-word talent you must include Bill O’Reilly.  It’s an honor to bring Bill back to radio to deliver appointment listening and revenue opportunities for affiliate stations in a unique format.”

Hugh Hewitt Named New Head of Richard Nixon Foundation. Nationally syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt is returning to his roots at The Richard Nixon Foundation as he’ll become president and CEO of the organization on July 1.  Hewitt will continue to host his Salem Radio Network program, make appearances on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and write op-eds for the Washington Post.  He’ll split his time between Washington and Yorba Linda, California, the site of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.  Forty years ago, Nixon hired Hewitt as a researcher.  Nixon Foundation chairman Dr. James H. Cavanaugh says, “The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum recently underwent a complete renovation, and the new, interactive museum galleries enjoy increased attendance and positive reviews.  Hugh will lead the Nixon Foundation in its exciting next phase of growth, expanding its presence through national programming with an emphasis on articulating the Nixon legacy of pragmatic realism in domestic and foreign affairs.”  Hewitt says, “Richard Nixon was a grand strategist and master diplomat, and his vision is exactly what is needed today as America faces challenges and opportunities with China, North Korea, Russia, throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. The world needs to be reminded of President Nixon’s lasting foreign policies, the strategic methods by which he assessed conflict and disagreement, and how he crafted strategies for resolution — building a more peaceful world.”

Noted Media Figure Rick Ungar Launches Independently Syndicated Progressive Talk Radio Show. “The Rick Ungar Show” launched on March 4, 2019, airing in the 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET time slot, on the following stations:  WCPT 820 AM, Chicago; KKSF 910 AM, San Francisco; KTNF 950 AM, Minneapolis; KABQ 1350 AM, Albuquerque; and KTRC, 1260 AM/103.7 GM, Santa Fe.  According to Ungar, while the program airs on a charter lineup of progressive stations, The Rick Ungar Show seeks to bring a more open minded, fair approach to the progressive radio landscape by continuing in the tradition of “Rational Radio” established during his years in partnership with Michael Steele on the Sirius XM Satellite Radio program, “Steele & Ungar.” Ungar tells TALKERS, “While my ideology certainly leans to the left, I have never been one who seeks to talk for the left.  My role is to convey the facts – even when they may not favor the left point of view – along with my opinions on those facts. It is then up to the audience to decide where they stand based on the facts presented. I never care if you agree with me or not. But when you are hanging out with your friends over the weekend and the talk turns to politics, I want my listeners to be the smartest, best informed, people in the room.”  The new show is reportedly experiencing call-ins from Trump supporters who are not calling to yell at the host but rather to rationally discuss the issues put on the table.  Ungar continues, “The plans are to be the first nationally syndicated program to be carried by conservative stations in a long time looking to provide their listeners with a view from the other side-presented in a way that is fair, open and welcoming to all viewpoints on the political spectrum.”  Rick came to the world of political talk radio from the entertainment industry where he was a writer and producer. He also served many years as the president of the Marvel Character Group. He additionally serves as the editor-in-chief of www.TheDailyCentrist.com, an on-line news and opinion site dedicated to publishing rational arguments on the issues of the day from all sides of the political spectrum.  To get in touch with Ungar please email rickungar@gmail.com.  Meet Rick Ungar at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday June 7.

FCC Investigating Political Ad Rate Complaint at Entercom Buffalo. The Buffalo News reports that the Federal Communications Commission investigating whether a politician in the 2018 congressional race got the lowest unit charge as required by law.  Entercom was sent a letter of inquiry for documentation on paid election advertising on news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talk WGR-AM, and five other Buffalo market stations.  Entercom admitted that it had not posted the required information from the 2018 campaigns until just this January but said it was the result of an internal error.  It also told the paper it is working with the FCC on the matter and doesn’t plan further public comment.  The FCC is requesting information about paid candidate ads and non-candidate issue ads that aired on all of Entercom’s Buffalo stations by April 4.

TALKERS News Notes. High-profile psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jordan B. Peterson joins the Westwood One Podcast Network with his new, eponymous podcast launching this week.  Peterson is joined by his daughter and co-host Mikhaila Peterson as the two break down the dichotomy of life and explain how individuals and culture are shaped by values, music, religion, and beyond…..Washington, DC AM signal WSPZ is being sold bySalem Communications Holding Corporation to Immaculate Heart Media for $750,000.  The 1260 AM signal has been simulcasting Salem’s Christian teaching format heard on WAVA-FM, Washington…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that sales pro Peter Bowen is exiting his role at Entercom’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago as director of sports sales after 10 months in the position.  Bowen wrote in an email to colleagues, “It was an honor and a pleasure to work with everyone over the past 10 months.  It was great to reunite with so many familiar faces and friends…and it was awesome to meet so many new people.”  Bowen had previously served in the market as Cumulus Media’s vice president and market manager…..Talk show host Bill Carroll – the Canadian who hosted a midday show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles for a number of years – is expanding the reach of his Bell Media program.  He’s currently based at news/talk CFRA, Ottawa and his 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program will now be syndicated across a number of Bell-owned news/talk stations every Friday afternoon…..Wisconsin radio personality Gary Douglas is retiring from the business and his current post with NRG Media as operations manager for the Fort Atkinson/Whitewater cluster and morning host for news/talk WFAW-AM. Douglas’ 46-year career has included stops at WIBA-AM, Madison and WDUZ-AM, Green Bay.  He’ll continue his role as play-by-play voice for University of Wisconsin-Whitewater sports broadcasts.

Tennessee’s Stonecom Radio Unveils New Facility.  Pictured above are two images from Stonecom Radio of its new, 10,000-plus square foot facility (left) in Cookeville, Tennessee that’s home to news/talk WUCT-AM/W231DG, country WKXD, rock WBXE, and AC WLQK.  At right is a news studio.  Stonecom unveiled the new building with a ceremony attended by state and local dignitaries.  Tennessee Association of Broadcasters executive director Whit Adamson was in attendance and stated, “Stonecom is led by a true team of broadcasters who are proud to serve the entire region they touch with their signal of each of the respective stations in the cluster.”

Mueller Report Delivered/Trump Claims Victory, Islamic State Victory, Border Wall Issue, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Brexit Redux, Us Film, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller delivers his report on the Trump-Russia investigation to the attorney general’s office and President Trump claims victory; U.S. troops’ taking of the last territory in Syria held by ISIS; the issue of the border wall and reports of another migrant caravan forming in Central America; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Prime Minister Theresa May’s last chance at getting her EU exit deal through Parliament; the box office success of Jordan Peele’s horror film Us; and the NBA and NCAA tournament 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. South Florida hot AC WMIA-FM announces the new “Mack in the Morning with Letty B” program will debut on April 1.   The show stars Miami on-air pro Mack, Los Angeles native co-host Letty B and producer Nick Pena.  Station PD Joey Brooks says, “I am excited to announce Mack, Letty B and Nick as 939 MIA’s morning team.  Not only is this group entertaining, but they are committed to the South Florida community. Individually, each of them brings a unique perspective to the show and I am confident that they will quickly earn listener loyalty.”…..On-air personality Kenny Walker re-ups with WMXJ-FM, Miami “102.7 The Beach” to continue hosting the morning show on the classic hits outlet.  Walker says, “The energy of this station stood out to me when I joined in 2016 and I am honored to continue being a part of our listeners’ daily routines.  I look forward to continue building our station’s brand and connecting with Miami-Ft. Lauderdale.”…..The world famous KROQ, Los Angeles us announcing the 11th annual “Kevin & Bean’s April Foolishness” event hosted by morning show duo Kevin and Bean.  The station says this special anniversary celebrates the prestigious legacy of April Foolishness that blends hysterical stars with the most talented up-and-coming names in all of comedy.  Special guests will include: Adam Ray, Felipe Esparza, Greg Fitzsimmons, Eddie Ifft, Jamie Lee, and Ray Romano.  The event will also feature “The Kevin & Bean Rap Battle” with beatboxer Joshua from “Drop the Mic.”…..Nationally syndicated urban morning radio star DeDe McGuire was in Milwaukee over the weekend appearing at “The Gathering” presented by affiliate station WJMR “Jammin’ 98.3.”  She’s pictured below (center) with listeners at the 17th annual event that gives fans the opportunity  to shop with local vendors, watch music, network,  and meet their favorite Jammin’ 98.3 hosts.  “DeDe in the Morning” is syndicated by Compass Media Networks.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

| March 6, 2019

Great Lakes Media Names Leadership Team. The new media firm Great Lakes Media Corp. – founded by radio executive Tom Langmyer last year – announces the first of several appointments to its board of advisors and senior leadership team.  At the same time, the company says it is shifting its focus toward larger market acquisition opportunities.  CEO Langmyer adds the following media professionals to his team: John Gehron, chairman of AccuRadio, joins as board advisor;Gabe Hobbs joins as SVP, broadcast in which he’ll contribute from his experience in the areas of audience acquisition, content creation, talent development; and leadership; Chris Petersen joins as SVP, business & corporate development; and Bill Zaccheo joins as SVP, digital.  Langmyer says, “In building our company, we’ve been fortunate to partner with some of the most successful, respected, and admired leaders in media.  John Gehron, Chris Petersen, Bill Zaccheo, and Gabe Hobbs represent the first announced in a stellar group of people that will build tomorrow’s LOCAL media platform model…The current media model we’ve seen has been ‘top-down’ and focused on national distribution of national and white-labelled content.  The Great Lakes difference is a media model built from the ‘bottom-up’ and focused on local people creating local content and driving local revenue, while benefitting from the efficiencies that technology provides us all.  Radio and digital complement each other, as it’s not an either/or proposition. There’s great open space in creating more personal local experiences by leveraging these platforms and expanding the emotional connection between local consumers and brands.”

Urban One Reports 2018 Q4 Net Revenue Up 4.1%. The parent company of Radio OneUrban One, Inc. – reports financial data for the fourth quarter of 2018 and for the full year of 2018.  In Q4, Urban One’s net revenue was $113.5 million, up 4.1% from $109 million during the same period in 2017.  The company reports, “Net revenues from our radio broadcasting segment increased 16.5% compared to the same period in 2017. We experienced net revenue growth most significantly in our Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Raleigh, St. Louis, and Washington DC markets, with our Richmond market experiencing a decline for the quarter.” Urban One president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins III says, “I was pleased that we came in slightly ahead of our Adjusted EBITDA guidance, led by extremely strong radio performance.  Our radio segment revenue was up by 16.5% including political advertising, and by 8.8% excluding political.  For the quarter, we outperformed the radio markets in which we operate by 850 bps.  Our Cable TV operation posted strong growth in advertising revenues, up 9.3%, driven by increased direct response rates, and additional ad units, which was offset by a modest decline in affiliate revenues (-2.0%).  Our digital revenues underperformed expectations, and we have taken significant steps to remediate.  I expect improved performance from the division in 2019.  In December, we substantially completed the refinancing of our 2020 Notes, which significantly extends the Company’s debt maturity profile.  On January 19, 2019 we successfully launched our new Women’s lifestyle channel, Cleo TV, which will further enhance our ability to entertain and inform our core consumers.”

Ben Shapiro Showing ‘Significant Growth’ for Westwood One. Conservative media star Ben Shapiro is “experiencing significant growth with a growing lineup of new station affiliates, major markets reporting ratings lifts, and an accumulation of engaged younger listeners – all coming out of the gate in his first PPM ratings report,” according to syndicator Westwood One.  The company says Shapiro’s shows are now heard on 200 stations, including in nine of the top 10 markets.   Cumulus Media EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “We knew that Ben was a hot commodity among millennials and younger demos, and now we have the numbers to prove it.  In less than 60 days Ben has amassed an impressive portfolio of more than 200 stations. We are excited to fuel this exponential growth as he continues to resonate with radio listeners and advertisers.” Shapiro is editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com.  His two-hour live radio show is preceded by a one-hour podcast broadcast, that airs at 3:00 pm ET.  Stations have the option to take the one-hour podcast broadcast, the two-hour live show, or the three-hour combination.

Bob Matthews Returns to Air After a Month Away from WHAM, Rochester. Sports talk host Bob Matthews was back on the air on iHeartMedia’s WHAM, Rochester hosting his show after more than a month away from the mic.  Matthews slipped on ice leaving the radio station on February 1 and broke his ankle in three places.  He tells the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that he’s still unable to put weight on it but is thankful to be able to return to hosting his show.  The story notes that in Matthews’ absence, the station has been using sister WHTK personality Carl Falk, former Democrat & Chronicle sports writers Kevin Oklobzija and Jeff DiVeronica, Democrat & Chronicle content editor Steve Bradley, Rochester Red Wings public relations director Nate Rowan, and Salvatore “Soccer Sam” Fantauzzo as fill-in hosts.

PPM Analysis: January’s Major Movers. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the stations that experienced “major moves” as a result of coming off the Holiday 2018 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio and returning to “normal” listening patterns reflected in the January 2019 survey.  As is usual, stations that went all-Christmas come down to earth in January.  But their loss is someone else’s gain to some degree or another.  In this report you can see which stations gained the most — and lost the most — from Holiday to January by format, by market and more.  See it all here.

Sun & Fun to Launch Key Networks Syndication Company. The press release from Sun & Fun Media gives no indication of the type of programming it intends to syndicated under the new Key Networks banner – whether it’s music, talk, or sports – but Sun & Fun co-founder Rob Koblasz says, “We have launched Key Networks with a limited exclusive roster that we look forward to begin rolling out shortly.  Key Networks will provide dedicated marketing and promotional opportunities for every show we partner with through Sun & Fun Media, enabling Key Networks’ affiliates to sell these promotions in their local markets.  This turnkey solution connects great programming to custom promotions – a first for radio, and one we are proud to introduce.”   Sun & Fun chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Key Networks is the answer to the radio industry’s increasing need for creative, engaging, and diverse programming to markets of all sizes.  I am excited to build Key Networks’ product offerings and grow the company’s affiliate base through Key Networks.  To all our current and future Key Networks partners and affiliates: Get ready for greatness!”

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly was victorious in federal court recently after a judge tossed a defamation suit filed against him by former FOX News Channel producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein.  O’Reilly, who exited FNC in 2017 after a series of sexual harassment allegations by former FNC staffers, was accused along with the network of disparaging her by saying no employees had taken advantage of a FOX human resources hotline for reporting improper behavior when that hotline didn’t exist at the time of her complaint and settlement back in 2002.  According to Variety’s report on the matter, the judge ruled Bernstein failed to prove she suffered any harm as a result of the comments by O’Reilly and the network…..SiriusXM is presenting play-by-play coverage of 27 NCAA Division I college basketball conference tournaments this postseason, totaling more than 140 men’s and women’s games.   Listeners will get every men’s tournament game from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, American Athletic, Ivy League, Missouri Valley and Mountain West conferences, and every game of the women’s ACC and SEC Tournaments…..iHeartMedia is launching a tornado relief effort for victims of the recent Alabama storms through its stations in Birmingham, Auburn, Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa.  It’s partnering with the Alabama Broadcasting Association for the iHeartRadio Lee County Tornado Relief fundraiser to benefit Community Foundation of East Alabama’s Long-Term Recovery Fund.  ABA president Sharon M. Tinsley says, “As residents of Alabama and members of the broadcast community, we are devastated by the loss of life and the many homes, businesses and churches destroyed by tornadoes this Sunday.  It’s always difficult to look at the images after a disaster but, when it’s your neighbors and so many of them are gone, it’s especially hard to accept.  Broadcasters are always there for the communities they serve and at times like these, we bring everyone together in a way like no other.”

House Trump Investigation/Cohen Testimony, Trump-Russia Probe, AOC Campaign Finance Allegations, Increased Illegal Border Activity, House Anti-Semitism Resolution, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, North Korea Rocket Program, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5).  The expansive U.S. House investigation into President Trump’s businesses, his campaign, and more and the related new testimony from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen; the status of the probe into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the allegations of campaign finance violations against Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez; the intense increase in illegal activity at the U.S.-Mexico border; the U.S. House’s anti-Semitism resolution being taken up on the heels of comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar; the list of Democratic candidates vying to take on President Trump in 2020; new evidence indicating North Korean is reigniting its rocket program; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Michael Killbrew moves from iHeartMedia’s Indianapolis cluster where he was SVP of programming to the company’s Washington, DC operations to take on the director of rock programming position for alternative WWDC “DC101” and classic rock WBIG “BIG 100.”  iHeartMedia region SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Washington and Baltimore Jeff Kapugi says, “I am excited to have Mike Killabrew join iHeartMedia Washington D.C. to lead our iconic rock brands, ‘BIG 100’ and ‘DC101.’  Along with his impressive tenure of experience with iHeartMedia, Mike has an unparalleled passion and energy for the rock formats that will elevate and impact our brands from day one.”…..Detroit radio personality Sandy Kovach is the new evening host on Entercom’s adult contemporary WDZH “98.7 The Breeze.”  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “‘The Breeze’ was launched to offer Detroit relaxing favorites to help the day breeze by.  We are pleased to introduce an equally relaxing evening show.  Sandy Kovach is already well-known to the Motor City community and we are excited to welcome her to the station.  Her show will be a unique blend of soft favorites and positive lifestyle content that our listeners will be able to unwind to.”  Kovach has served in on-air roles for Smooth Jazz Network, The eScapes Network, as well as Motor City stations WDVD WMGC.…..On-air pro Jon Kleeman, a.k.a. Jax, joins Radio FM Media’s CHR KLTA, Fargo “Big 98.7” as afternoon drive personality and music director, effective March 19.  He comes to Fargo from his most recent gig with Cumulus Media’s CHR KKCT, Bismarck, North Dakota…..Entravision Communications strikes a steaming audio distribution agreement with iHeartMedia to make its radio stations available via the iHeartRadio platform.  Under the agreement, Entravision’s 49 owned-and-operated stations will be available on iHeartRadio, effective immediately.

Cool Sales Position. WAWZ, Zarephath, New Jersey “Star 99.1” is seeing a full-time advertising sales person. This full-time position includes work in the office and travel throughout the NY metropolitan area to meet with customers and prospects.  Over-achievers strongly encouraged to apply!  A proven track record in radio or media sales is a pre-requisite, and high standards of business integrity are expected.  We offer a positive working environment, and the satisfaction of doing a job that “counts.”  Qualified candidates should send letter and resume to jobs@star991.com or mail to: Jobs, Star 99.1, P.O. Box 9058, Zarephath, NJ 08890. No calls please.  Star 99.1 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.