Tag: "KTAR-FM"

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

| May 13, 2020

Dimick Promoted to VP, Programming Operations, Cumulus Radio Station Group. Programming pro John Dimick is upped from his VP, programming operations position with Cumulus Media to the newly created position of senior vice president, programming operations, Cumulus Radio Station Group. In his new role, Atlanta-based Dimick will lead Cumulus’ team of vice presidents, programming operations, and 11 format specialists across the company. He will continue to report to Cumulus EVP, Content and Audience Brian Philips, who says, “In my first year, John has proven himself to be an indispensable partner in the leadership of this programming group. He is gifted with the intuition, pragmatism, and patience to see us to greatness. This move validates the hard-earned trust and confidence John enjoys within our entire company.” Dimick comments, “Cumulus programming professionals are passionate about radio and understand the value of locally programmed and community involved stations. I am honored to assist Brian Philips in leading our team in this new position while continuing to learn from the best minds in our industry. I’m pleased to work with Mary Berner, Dave Milner, Bob Walker, and especially Brian Philips as Cumulus continues to reinvent the audio entertainment landscape.” Dimick joined the company in 2016.

WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago’s Felicia Middlebrooks to Leave All-News Outlet; Will Launch New Multimedia Platform. Morning drive news co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks announces via a Facebook post that she is leaving Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago on May 29 after almost 36 years in the morning drive position. She says she’s “not retiring, I’m rewiring” and will focus full time on her Saltshaker Productions company developing a multimedia platform that will include “documentaries and feature films, audiobooks and other projects.” Her first project is a podcast titled, “She Matters,” that focuses on empowering women. She says her exit from WBBM is completely her decision and, in fact, is something she’s been planning for “nearly a decade.” She concludes her post saying, “I also could not have imagined announcing this life change in the midst of a global pandemic. That said, I can tell you that I believe newsradio will always be relevant, dependable and necessary as we all navigate what’s next. Those in medicine are at the forefront of battling COVID-19 and journalists are on the frontlines, disseminating vital information to the public. In a constantly changing world, I can promise you I’ll still be telling stories — stories that heal, elevate, enlighten and connect us. Truth matters. Always has, always will.”

Round Two of April PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to more listening for news/talk – both commercial and non-commercial – and all-news stations and that trend continued during the April survey. In Washington, DC, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM rockets to #1 on the strength of a 2.2 share increase giving it a 10 share. It bested Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, which backslid to a 7.7 share and the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston adds 2.5 shares for a 5.3 share finish and the #5 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM, Boston dips one-tenth to a 6.3 share and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle adds nine-tenths to rise to a 6.9 share and repeating at #1. In Detroit, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR-AM jumps 1.9 shares for a 4.8 share and the #4 rank and Entercom’s all-news WWJ-AM tacks on six-tenths to remain at #1 with a 6.4 share. Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix moves to #3 on the strength of a 1.5 share increase that gives it a 6.1 share. And in Baltimore, Hearst’s WBAL-AM rises to #3 after a nine-tenths jump to a 6.0 share. You can see all of TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways from the April PPM survey here.

Winners of Regional Murrow Awards Named. Yesterday, TALKERS featured some of the stations that won honors in the Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. Here are some more stations that were recognized: Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle won three regional Murrow awards including: Best Newscast (Morning Drive) with Gregg Hersholt & Manda Factor; Breaking News (Lake City Shooting, Afternoon Drive) with Rick Van Cise & Elisa Jaffe; and Best Continuing Coverage (Boeing, Year of Crisis). KOMO-AM/FM program director Rick Van Cise says, “KOMO Newsradio has once again been honored with one of the most prestigious prizes in journalism which is a testament to our news team’s great work every day.” Entercom all-news and news/talk stations won 23 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in nine markets: WBEN-AM, Buffalo wins for Overall Excellence, Multimedia, and Newscast (September 5, 2019); WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago wins for Breaking News Coverage (Chicago Teachers Strike), and Newscast (July 16, 2019); KRLD-AM, Dallas wins for Overall Excellence and Newscast; KNX-AM, Los Angeles wins Overall Excellence; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis wins Excellence in Sound (The Power of Music); WCBS-AM, New York wins Overall Excellence and Excellence in Video (The Sweet Spot: Carmine Street Guitars); WINS-AM wins Breaking News Coverage (Jersey City Shootout), Excellence in Social Media (PRIDE), and Newscast; KYW-AM, Philadelphia wins Excellence in Sound (Gone Cold: Jennifer Tong), Multimedia, and Sports Reporting (Living with epilepsy doesn’t slow down Temple lacrosse star Maddie Gebert); KCBS-AM, San Franciso wins Hard News (The High Price Of Housing) and Newscast (9am, 10/24/19); and KMOX, St. Louis wins Excellence in Sound (It’s Your Birthday!), Hard News (Xavier Usanga Has a Name) and Newscast (8:00 am 4/30/19). Hearst Radio’s WBAL, Baltimore wins Breaking News and Excellence in Writing (Josh Spiegel).

EMF Launches Podcast Initiative. Religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation – parent of K-LOVE, Air1, and WTA Media – is preparing to launch a new podcasting platform called Accessmore that features a growing library of on-demand, faith-based podcasts. It will feature nationally known Christian teachers, authors, speakers, and entertainers sharing content designed to inform and inspire. Some of the podcasts include: “Dare to Be” with Grammy-nominated singer Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill; “Equip and Empower” from Christine Caine; “Hey, It’s the Luskos with Levi and Jennie Lusko”; Rebecca St. James Family & Friends; and “Into the Portal” from Elevation eKids. EMF CEO Bill Reeves says, “Since joining EMF last year, we’ve been developing opportunities in new media to reach more people with quality, faith-based content. We were already among the top 10 U.S.-based audio streaming companies. Accessmore is the next major step into that burgeoning segment.”

Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening Controversy/Fauci Warning, $3 Trillion House Aid Bill, Michael Flynn Case, SCOTUS Trump Taxes Arguments, U.S.-China Relations, and MLB Play Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; concerns about the gradual re-openings taking place in some states and Dr. Tony Fauci’s warning that cases will likely spike; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi files a $3 trillion air bill; a Superior Court judge mulls whether the DOJ can drop the Michael Flynn charges plus allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the Supreme Court arguments over President Trump’s efforts to block disclosure of his tax returns; accusations by China and the U.S. that the other is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic; and Major League Baseball announces plans to start season in July were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

45th Annual Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 45th annual Gracie Awards. The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Our leadership is proud to honor the best of the best who embody the spirit and intention of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s Gracie Awards. We want to thank those on the front lines telling the important stories still impacting our world. It is our distinguished honor to recognize the reporters, hosts, producers and media executives who are working to ensure the public is informed. We know everyone in media has been impacted in some way, and we continue to salute this outstanding list of honorees for their award-winning passion, energy and perseverance.” Radio National Honorees from commercial outlets include: Carla Ferrell, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” Premiere Networks; Elaina Smith, “Nights with Elaina” Westwood One; Jayde Donovan, “The Jayde Donovan Show” Westwood One; Liana Huth, “I’m Listening” Entercom Communications; Michelle Collins, “The Michelle Collins Show” SiriusXM; and Michelle Franzen, “The NICU Cuddler” ABC News.  Radio Local Honorees from commercial outlets include: Angela Martinez, “The Angie Martinez Show” WWPR, New York; Brigitte Quinn, WINS, New York; Carla Rea, “The Mike and Carla Morning Show” Beasley Media Group; Chris Rollins, WPST, Trenton, New Jersey; Cooper Lawrence, “WOR Tonight,” WOR, New York; Deborah Honeycutt, “Jim, Deb & Kevin” Cumulus Media; Heather Hunter, “Mornings on the Mall,” WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; Jenn Hobby, “Jenn & Friends,” WSTR, Atlanta; Katie Neal, WNSH, New York; Mary Walter, WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; Meghan Lane, “The Big Ape Morning Mess,” WAPE, Jacksonville; Nancy Wilson, WHKO-FM, Dayton; Rebekah Maroun, “Matty In The Morning,” WXKS-FM, Boston; and Shannon Farren, “Gary and Shannon Show,” KFI, Los Angeles.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio broadcasters Cox Media Group, Alpha Media, Beasley Media Group, Hubbard Radio, Neuhoff Media, and Townsquare Media are joining BMI and some of country music’s top songwriters to present, “A Salute to Songwriters,” a radio concert to benefit the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief fund this Saturday, May 16, at 7:00 pm. The three-hour, commercial free benefit concert will be co-hosted by country superstar Luke Bryan and feature some of the songwriters behind country music’s biggest hits straight from their living rooms and home studios. The lineup includes Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins, Jon Randall and Jessi Alexander, Luke Dick and Jeff Hyde, Brandon Kinney and Clint Daniels, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby as well as Dylan Altman and Wynn Varble. Proceeds will benefit songwriters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The concert will be broadcast on more than 100 country radio stations across the six media groups…..The SupeRadio syndicated “Most Requested Live with Romeo” program celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Saturday evening live program is hosted by Tim “Romeo” Herbster. SupeRadio president Eric Faison says, “From the very beginning, ‘MRL’ has been one of SupeRadio’s elite programs, and we’re excited to continue to partner with the most interactive and social media-driven radio show in the world for the next 10 years.”

Monday, February 17, 2020

| February 17, 2020

Mike Broomhead Takes Over Morning Daypart on KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Phoenix media personality Mike Broomhead begins hosting the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix, effective next Monday (2/24).  Broomhead, who was longtime morning host at iHeartMedia’s crosstown KFYI-AM, replaces “The Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes Show.”  Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “We are extremely excited to add one of the most talented talk show hosts in the country to our powerful lineup.  Mike is a values-driven, influential thought leader who is committed to making a positive impact in our community, which is core to the KTAR mission.”  Broomhead comments, “I can’t wait to be on FM talking to a massive and diverse audience about important issues on the most historic radio station in Phoenix.  KTAR is Arizona and so am I.  I’m so excited to go to work with the talented news, talk, and digital teams.”  Broomhead also hosts a weekly show on cable’s AZTV.

Monday Memo: Crash For Cash!  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke says, “Rip-off this spot…I did!” Read it here.

Presidential Election, Impeachment Aftermath/Roger Stone Sentencing, Coronavirus, Dennis Smacks Britain, and Trump at Daytona Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and next weekend’s Nevada caucuses; the president’s post-impeachment temperament and the controversy over changes in Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic; winter storm Dennis ravages Britain with high winds and flooding rains; and President Trump serves as grand marshal for the Daytona 500 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that CBS is the target of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed in New York.  The suit seeks $10 million and class action status as complainant Jacquelyn Musiello – a former payroll staffer in the human resources department at CBS RADIO – alleges that she was forced to quit her position because of “physical and emotional distress” after being sexually harassed by talent.  She also states that she was witness to numerous other situations in which others were the victims of harassment.  Additionally, she describes uncomfortable incidents with former WCBS-FM, New York personality Dan Taylor.  He left the company last July after it came to light that New York Attorney General Letitia James initiated an investigation into the former CBS RADIO properties…..DMR/Interactive names Tony Bannon VP/marketing strategy.  He most recently served in the sales department at Cumulus Media’s Cincinnati station group.  He’ll serve with DMR/Interactive at its Covington, Kentucky offices.  President/COO Andrew Curran says, “Tony is passionate and knowledgeable about radio.  His experience in both Diary and PPM markets is truly an asset. Clients will benefit from his creative and analytical approach.”…..At the Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles last week, it was announced that new organization called The Podcast Academy is being created and will produce a “Golden Mics” award ceremony that will debut in early 2021.  The announcement was made by Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez.  The industry non-profit organization will be overseen by a 10-member board of governors.  Lopez says, “Film, television, music – all other major forms of art have long-ago established a member-based academy with the goal of fostering and celebrating creative excellence.  It’s time for podcasts to establish their own.  I am delighted to be joined by a diverse group of people who really care about excellence, from across the country, representing all kinds of podcasts, from public radio to independents and networks.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Chi is the new afternoon drive personality on NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5,” effective today (2/17).  She’ll also serve as music director for NRG’s hip hop KOPW “Power 106.9.”  She was most recently an air personality and music director for SummitMedia’s crosstown CHR KQCH.  NRG general manager Mark Shecterle says, “We could not be more pleased with the addition of Chi to the NRG family.  Chi has a great reputation in the market with both listeners and clients.  She will be a great addition to our team, and we are blessed to have her.”…..Saga Communications brings Riley Reed aboard the Q Crew at CHR WQPO, Harrisonburg, Virginia  “Q101.”  He was most recently with Connoisseur Media at former alternative WWYY, Lehigh, Pennsylvania “Spin Radio 107.1.”  Saga Harrisonburg operations manager Paul “Uncle Pauly” McDaniel says, “I’ve known of Riley for 10-plus years and watched him on social media grow from an intern to a morning show host over the years.  He’s a digital machine and will complement the already-fantastic job HRG is doing with our station socials.”

Thursday, January 9, 2020

| January 9, 2020

Chad Benson to Join KTAR-FM, Phoenix for Afternoons.  Nationally syndicated talk radio host Chad Benson is not giving up his Radio America-syndicated show – he’ll continue to host it at its new live feed time of 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET (beginning January 20) – but he’s joining air personality Larry Gaydos on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix “News 92.3 FM” as co-host of the station’s 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show, effective January 21.  Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “Chad is one of the most talented and energetic talk show hosts that I’ve ever seen.  I can’t wait for he and Larry to inform and entertain the KTAR audience on their way home each day.”  Mac Watson had been hosting the KTAR afternoon show with Gaydos, but he exited the station in October.  Speaking about his new gig, Benson says, “I am beyond excited to be partnering with Larry Gaydos – one of the most talented men in radio – on one of the most iconic stations in the country.  Here we come Phoenix.”  At the same time, Bonneville says KTAR-FM is adding “Arizona’s Evening News” to its daily lineup – a full hour of news, traffic, and weather starting each weeknight at 6:00 pm.

Report: 60 Million U.S. Adults Own Smart Speakers. According to the latest edition of The Smart Audio Report Winter 2019 from Edison Research and NPR, 24% of U.S. adults own a smart speaker device.  That’s about 60 million people 18+.  That’s up from 21 million at the end of 2018 and 7 million at the closing of 2017.  The report includes video interviews with study panelists who explain how they acquire new smart speaker skills and from where they get recommendations about new content.  As far as discovery is concerned, 45% of those surveyed say they get new skills or actions for their smart speaker from family and friends.  Many panelists said that after the initial ownership period passed, they stopped trying to see what else the smart speaker could do and now rely on it for a handful of the same tasks.  The report found that 69% of smart speaker owners agree they don’t know enough about them to use all of their features.  See more about the study here.

Emmis Communications 2019 Fiscal Q3 Net Revenue Flat.  Issuing financial data for its 2019 fiscal third quarter, Emmis Communications reports net revenue of $10.7 million, flat compared to the same figure in the fiscal third quarter of 2018.  Net revenue for the first three quarters of fiscal 2019 was down 5.3% to $29.3 million, compared to the same period in 2018.  For the fiscal 2019 Q3, Emmis posted an operating loss of $6 million, up 61% from the $3.2 operating loss posted in Q3 of fiscal 2018.  During fiscal 2019, Emmis closed on its sale of its 50.1% interest in Emmis Austin Radio Broadcasting Company, L.P. to Sinclair Telecable for $39.3 million and the sale of its controlling interest in New York’s WQHT-FM and WBLS-FM that netted $91.5 million in cash, a $5 million note, and a 23.72% stake in Standard General’s Mediaco Holdings – the new controlling owner of the stations.

U.S.-Iran Relations/Soleimani Killing, Iran Plane Crash, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Megxit, Puerto Rico Earthquake Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8).  The relations between the U.S. and Iran after the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the deadly crash of a Ukrainian jet in Tehran and speculation about the cause; the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to “step back” from senior royal duties; and the conditions in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of recent earthquakes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The newest addition to the ESPN podcast lineup is Scott Van Pelt, who launches “SVPod” on January 14.  The late-night “SportsCenter” host’s weekly podcast will include long-form interviews, commentary, and expanded takes on his “One Big Thing” segment on SportsCenter.  Van Pelt says, “As much as I enjoy the ‘SportsCenter’ show we get to do at midnight, it doesn’t always provide the time and space for all I want to get to.  I look at interviews we had with Patrick Beverley, Matthew McConaughey, or Rakim as examples of times when the conversation was so interesting to me that it went on far beyond what we had room for on TV.”…..Compass Media Networks announces its slate of top-ranked, exclusive college basketball broadcasts that begin Sunday (1/12) with defending Big Ten Tournament champions Michigan State taking on Purdue.  Compass general manager for sports Michelle Salvatore says, “Our 2020 college basketball schedule continues Compass Media Networks’ decade-long reputation of excellence.  The teams, storylines, and rivalries cultivated and offered year in and year out are incomparable.  We are proud, once again, to offer our affiliates and corporate sponsors the best of college basketball and look forward to continuing this decade-long distinction.”  Find out more about the entire schedule of games here…..Two new episodes of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein” debut today (1/9).  They are hosted by ABC NewsMark Remillard and are available on numerous platforms.  Also, the two-hour primetime television special, “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” airs tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on ABC TV.

Newsmax President/CEO Christopher Ruddy Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The journalist and entrepreneur who launched Newsmax in 1998 and built it into one of America’s most successful and influential multi-media platforms, Christopher Ruddy, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Newsmax.com ranks consistently as one of the country’s most-trafficked news websites and Newsmax TV has enjoyed a rapid ascent to prominence in the cable news/talk TV arena with a current presence in 70 million cable homes across America. Harrison and Ruddy discuss today’s politics including the election, the state of cable news/talk television and insights drawn from his personal friendship with President Donald Trump. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The urban morning radio show “The Breakfast Club” (pictured below), syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks, adds 10 new affiliates in the New Year, including: WJXM-FM, Meridian, Mississippi; WIBB-FM, Macon, Georgia; and WMNX-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina.  The program — hosted by Angela Yee, Charlamagne Tha God, and DJ Envy — is now heard in 90 markets across the country…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is re-branding its evening country radio show, changing the “NASH Nights Live” show starring Shawn Parr and Elaina Smith to “Nights with Elaina,” hosted by Smith.  The program will launch on February 3.  Smith says, “I’ve been lucky enough to have spent the last six years of my life with the best country music fans in the nation every single weeknight, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to continue connecting with them with a new show, ‘Nights with Elaina.’  If there is one thing I’ve learned that listeners and stars have in common, it’s that we’re all just trying to figure out life and have fun while doing it.”  Shawn Parr is exiting the network…..The nationally syndicated urban show “DeDe in the Morning” adds eight new affiliate stations.  The program, starring DeDe McGuire, is a syndicated effort from Service Broadcasting Group’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and Compass Media Networks.  Service Broadcasting director of operations and GM and brand manager for the program Geo Cook says, “DeDe’s unique content and strong connection to culture and community are fueling a revolution of perception about how women can lead and dominate ratings in morning drive.  We are thrilled that DeDe’s show is growing rapidly and spreading more laughter and fun in new markets.”  The show is currently heard on 35 affiliate stations…..Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is now airing on oldies WHRY, Hurley, Wisconsin and oldies WVVE, Grand Marais, Minnesota – home of the “World’s Tallest Indian” – a 52-foot fiberglass statue of tribal leader Hiawatha.  Envision says, “Listeners to the stations are hearing the legendary Wolfman Jack’s famous antics, crazy characters, celebrity interviews, and comedy bits every Saturday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.”…..All Pro Broadcasting names Santiago Romero afternoon drive host at hot AC KHTI, Riverside “Hot 103.9.”  He was most recently with Entercom’s CHR KLUC, Las Vegas handling on-air, imaging and production duties…..On-air pro Eva Matteson is leaving her morning drive co-host role at Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” at the end of next month.  Matteson has been dealing with health issues and told listeners she wants to focus on those and spend more time traveling.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

| October 23, 2019

Steve Bannon Launches Impeachment-Focused Radio Show and Podcast. Politico is reporting that former Breitbart executive and former Donald Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon has launched a daily, one-hour radio show and podcast called, “War Room: Impeachment.”  The story indicates that show is airing on six conservative talk stations in Virginia and Florida, though no call letters are cited.  Bannon tells Politico that “the show will be about the impeachment process, specifically the witnesses and the evidence, and ‘is going to get very granular.’”  Bannon says he aims “to break news and make the show an outlet for people to leak information related to impeachment.”  The program includes two co-hosts – former Trump campaign communications director Jason Miller and former Breitbart London bureau chief Raheem Kassam.  Bannon hosted a daily morning political talk show on SiriusXM when he was with Breitbart.

Todd Starnes to Moderate SRN Political Event.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Starnes is moderating Salem Radio Network’s “Countdown 2020: The Race to the White House” on November 5 in San Antonio.  The panelists include SRN talk show hosts Dennis Prager and Dr. Sebastian Gorka.  Starnes – a best-selling author and syndicated political columnist who recently left FOX News – is launching his new, three-hour talk radio program via Hamilton Strategies on Monday, November 4.  Interested parties can contact media@hamiltonstrategies.com for more information.

Report: Stephen A. Smith to Leave ESPN Radio as Part of New Contract.  The New York Post is reporting on the story broken by The Big Lead that ESPN and Stephen A. Smith are negotiating a contract extension that would pay him $40 million to $50 million over a five-year period.  According to the Post, Smith will continue his “First Take” duties, add more “SportsCenter” appearances, and host his own edition of “SportsCenter” on Wednesdays before NBA games.  He would, however, exit his daily midday show on ESPN Radio.  The story also says that ESPN talent who might take over the radio show include Max Kellerman or Mina Kimes.

KYW, Philadelphia’s Cherri Gregg Named Journalist of the Year. KYW, Philadelphia community affairs reporter and on-air host Cherri Gregg is named Journalist of the Year by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.  Gregg is recognized by the organization in the broadcast and online category and will be honored at the PABJ’s annual Awards and Scholarship Gala on November 2 in Philadelphia.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “Cherri is extremely deserving of this award.  She is a champion of the community who is constantly searching for and reporting on the stories and issues that matter most to KYW Newsradio listeners across the Philadelphia area.  I’m proud to call her a member of our team.”  Gregg joined KYW Newsradio as a reporter in 2010 and has served as the station’s community affairs reporter since 2013.  In addition to that role, Gregg hosts “Flashpoint with Cherri Gregg,” a weekly program that focuses on the most relevant issues affecting the Philadelphia area.  The program airs on five Entercom Philadelphia stations.  Earlier this year, Gregg was recognized with two National Association of Black Journalists Salute To Excellence Awards for radio investigative reporting and podcasting.

TALKERS News Notes. On November 15, the Black News Channel will debut in 30 million American homes and one of the personalities on the new network will be Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder.  BNC hasn’t specifically stated what program or daypart Elder will host, just that he’s a “show host/commentator.”  Vibe.com says, “Everyone loves a wildcard and BNC has found one in Larry Elder.  The radio staple and attorney has over 25 years in the industry from news programs on NBC and ABC News & Talk.  He also starred as a judge on ‘Moral Court,’ an early production by TMZ creator Harvey Levin in 2001.”…..Gone from the air on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix is afternoon drive personality Mac Watson – one half of the “Mac & Gaydos” show.  The station made no announcement about the change, but Larry Gaydos continues in the daypart as solo host of “Gaydos in the Afternoon.”  Watson had been partnered with Gaydos since 2008…..In Cleveland, Good Karma Brands announces two new staffers for its sports talk duo of WKNR-AM “ESPN 850” and WWGK-AM “ESPN 1540 KNR2.”  Brock Thompson joins from MAVTV where he was VP of media sales to become general sales manager for Good Karma.  At the same time, Amy Crossman is named marketing director for the stations.  She was most recently director of partnerships for the Pro Football Hall of Fame…..The Radio America nationally syndicated “Passport Mommy” program, hosted by veteran talk show host and mom Michelle Jerson, welcomes WGCH-AM, Greenwich, Connecticut to its growing list of affiliates.  “Passport Mommy” is heard on more than 50 radio stations nationwide.  On the show, Jerson covers the topics on everyone’s mind as a new parent.  This nationally syndicated lifestyle, interview format show for women, features interesting guests with cool products and advice for parents.

Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine ‘Quid Pro Quo,’ 2020 Presidential Race/Clinton-Gabbard Feud, A Warning Book to Be Published, U.S.-Syria Policy, Hong Kong Extradition Bill, and Brexit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The status of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the testimony from U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor regarding allegations President Trump would withhold military aid to Ukraine until it opened an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden; the Democrats hoping to challenge Trump in 2020, speculation Hillary Clinton will join the race, and Clinton’s feud with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; the anonymous Trump administration official announces November 15 for publication of tell-all book, A Warning; the U.S.’ military exit from Syria; Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announces extradition bill is dead; and the U.K.’s Brexit chaos 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. A surprise at Entercom’s country KMLE, Phoenix as Maria Knight and Chad Mitchell exit the morning show months after moving over from the company’s classic hits KOOL.  It’s not clear what the station’s plans are for replacing the duo but the show is now called “Country Music Mornings.”…..On-air pro Ryan Lacosse is exiting the Cumulus Media Peoria station group at the end of this month to pursue a career outside of the radio business.  Lacosse hosts the morning show on rhythmic CHR WZPW “Power 92.3” as Oryan and the midday show on sister rock WIXO “105.7 The X Rocks” as Ryan Black.….Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting “A Salute to Our Military Veterans,” the annual Veterans Day special that honors “generations of men and women who answered the call to serve in the U.S. armed forces.”  The show is hosted by Kix Brooks, host of “America’s Country Countdown,” and includes appearances from Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Chris Young, Chris Janson, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, and more.  The program can air any time on Saturday, November 9 through Monday, November 11, 2019, between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight…..Yesterday (10/22), WMMR, Philadelphia midday personality Pierre Robert was honored as one of the 2019 inductees into the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Annual Walk of Fame.  Other honorees included the Philadelphia Orchestra, The O’Jays, The Hooters, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Jody Gerson, and Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton.

Monday, May 1, 2017

| May 1, 2017

Fox News Channel Announces Bill Shine’s Exit.  After a weekend of escalating rumors that Fox News Channel would soon replace Bill Shine as co-president of the cable news channel, that came true today as parent company 21st Century Fox, via a statement by executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, accepted Bill Shine’s resignation, although he clearly was asked to resign.  He’s been accused by some of the women involved in recent sexual harassment allegations against FNC management and talent, of enabling Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.  Earlier today, TALKERS reported that Rupert Murdoch and co-chairmen James and Lachlan Murdoch wanted to fill Shine’s position with a woman.  Today, Fox announces a number of promotions including the elevation of Suzanne Scott to president of programming, Jay Wallace as president of news, and Brian Jones to president Fox Business Network.  Rupert Murdoch is quoted saying, “This is a significant day for all at Fox News.  Bill has played a huge role in building Fox News to its present position as the nation’s biggest and most important cable channel in the history of the industry.  His contribution to our channel and our country will resonate for many years.”  Shine, like Scott and Wallace, have been with FNC since its launch in 1996.  Jack Abernethy, who served with Shine as co-president, remains in his position.  The company says it intends to fill Shine’s co-president position.

Ryan Seacrest to Join Kelly Ripa as Co-Host on ABC’s ‘Live.’  One of the busiest people in show business gets even busier as Ryan Seacrest will add co-host of ABC’s morning talk TV franchise ‘Live’ with Kelly Ripa.  According to a CNN report, Seacrest will not give up any of his other on-air gigs, including his KIIS, Los Angeles and Premiere Networks-syndicated morning radio show.  The story indicates Seacrest will re-locate from LA to New York and will host his radio show from there.  The decision to bring Seacrest aboard comes after about a year of live auditions of guest hosts to replace Michael Strahan.  Seacrest co-hosted with Ripa five times.  The show will now be called, “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”  CNN’s story is here.

Report: Cumulus Reduces Staff in Chicago.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media has cut a number of positions in the Chicago cluster, including four on-air traffic reporters.  Feder reports that traffic reporters Jen DeSalvo, Christina Filiaggi, JoAnn Genette and Marti Jones have all been let go.  He notes that most of them served as contributing personalities on the shows in which they appeared.   Other cuts at the cluster include: WLS-AM sports reporter Rachel Brady and WLUP-FM evening host Jeremy Peterson, a.k.a. Pyke, and production Scott Dirks, who’d been with WLS-AM for almost 20 years.  Read Feder’s account here.

Is Hugh Hewitt Going to Get a TV Show on MSNBC?  According to a report in New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer column, the Salem Radio Network star and NBC correspondent is in talks with NBC to do a weekend evening program on MSNBC.  The bulk of the NYmag piece addresses how the possibility of Hewitt getting a show, the arrival of Greta Van Susteren from Fox News Channel, and the exit of African American personality Tamron Hall from “Today” is affecting morale among the liberal staff at MSNBC.  Read it here.

Entercom Charlotte Extends Bo Thompson.  Morning show host Bo Thompson and Entercom Charlotte agree to terms on a new contract for him to continue serving as host of the “Charlotte’s Morning News” program on news/talk WBT-AM/FM.  Entercom Charlotte vice president and market manager Matt Hanlon states, “Bo builds on the incredible reputation of WBT as we take our news content to the next level.  He represents the next generation of great broadcasters and we’re happy to continue to work with him as we move WBT into an audio everywhere, multi-platform experience for our listeners.”  Thompson began his career at WBT in 1990 and worked in a variety of roles in radio before returning to WBT as the morning host in 2012.  He comments, “Five years in, I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with WBT’s ‘Morning News’ and I’m excited about where we are going.  I started my career here and look forward to building the reputation of this iconic institution.”

TALKERS News Notes. The WADK, Newport, Rhode Island-based John DePetro show adds a new affiliate for the daily 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm broadcast as WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island begins airing the program.  DePetro says, “WNRI is a perfect match since WADK covers southern Rhode Island and into parts of Connecticut, and WNRI covers Northern Rhode Island and into parts of Massachusetts.  The show is three months old and we have our first affiliate, so we are moving in the right direction.”…..Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, whose daily talk show is heard on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta “News 95.5 and AM750 WSB” is taking his show on the road on May 11 to Woodstock, Georgia where he’ll tape the program before a live audience by the Gazebo at The Park at City Center.  The event is free to attend and will include Cain’s popular “Rapid Fire” segment in which he takes questions and comments from the audience and says, “You get a minute…I get a minute.”…..WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is pictured at right in a screen shot from his phone while broadcasting his show from Berkeley, California while covering the controversial issue of whether conservative author and commentator Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak at UC Berkeley.  Coulter appeared on Zeoli’s program and suggested he cover the issue from Berkeley, so Zeoli hosted his show from sister station KCBS-AM, San Francisco all last week.  Zeoli says he attended protests and grabbed audio cuts from protesters on both sides of the issue for the show.  He also kept his social media followers updated on his coverage via live video on Facebook and Twitter.

Dave Ramsey’s Smart Conference Rolls into Phoenix.  On Saturday (4/29), nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey hosted his Smart Conference before a packed crowd at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix.  The day-long conference included appearances by Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, Dr. Henry Cloud, Christy Wright, Chris Brown and Anthony Oneal providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.  Local affiliate KTAR-FM “News 92.3 FM” helped promote the event.  Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “We’re always thrilled when Dave and his team bring their world class events to Phoenix.  Not only does Dave’s radio show continue to draw large audiences on KTAR, his popularity in Phoenix is also evidenced by this year’s Smart Conference selling out in record time.  The Ramsey team is fantastic to work with and we’re proud to call them partners and friends.”  Ramsey is pictured here with some of the KTAR staff: (front row, l-r): Jim Sharpe, Ashley Mannion, Ilene Thompson, (back row): Steve Giunta, Becky Kaiser, Ele Heubner, Ramsey, Gennifer Cartwright, and Linda Black.

KFI, Los Angeles Morning Host Bill Handel Interviewed by Michael Harrison. Longtime KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel guests this week on PodcastOne’s award-winning program, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in a fast-paced conversation about political correctness, satire, news/talk radio, ego, social media, surrogate parenting and even Broadway musicals. According to Harrison, “Bill Handel is one of the quirkiest, original thinkers on the air in American radio today – a true, one-of-a-kind performer. His humor is so nuanced and subtle that it takes a keen ear to know when he is kidding and when he is serious – the two tracks run simultaneously. He often offends the people and the groups that he is actually defending. It’s amazing!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Trump’s First 100 Days, Government Shutdown Threat, North Korean Threats, Trump Spending Bill, Deadly Tornadoes, French Election, and MLB, MBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Assessing the first 100 days of the Trump Administration; the threat of a government shutdown and the passage of a temporary spending bill; the threats against the U.S. by North Korea and the American Naval presence in the region; President Donald Trump’s proposed spending bill; the deadly tornadoes that tore through parts of the South; the French presidential race between National Front party leader Marine Le Pen and En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Former WBEN-AM/FM, Buffalo Owner Larry Levite Dies at 77.  Longtime Buffalo station owner Larry Levite has died at the age of 77.  Levite owned Algonquin Broadcasting, the company that owned and operated WBEN-AM/FM in Buffalo in the 1980s and early 1990s.  Levite is credited with turning around the ratings of WBEN-AM when it was a music outlet and it was during his ownership that the station transitioned into a news/talk outlet.  Levite sold the stations to Keymarket Communications in 1994.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Morning show host Chadd Thomas is promoted to program director for Beasley Broadcast Group’s Tampa hot AC WPBB “b98.7”  He will continue in his role as co-host of the “Chadd & Kristi Morning Show.”  He states, “I’m thrilled to serve as program director for our family-fun morning show and our entirely new ‘b98.7!’  I’m looking forward to continue co-hosting with Kristi, my wife and morning show partner.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports that music director and midday personality JD Cannon exits Emmis country WLHK, Indianapolis “Hank.”  Prior to joining WLHK, Cannon had spent 32 years at Cumulus Media’s crosstown country WFMS.  Cannon will remain with the station emceeing some “Hank” events and is serving as a fill-in…..At Bell Media’s alternative CIMX, Windsor/Detroit, after a recent exodus of station personalities comes news that 10-year staffer Mark McKenzie is named music director and morning host for the station.  The rest of the on-air staff includes J Stevens in middays, Phat Matt in PM drive and Zak for evenings…..Air personality Lola Montgomery exits Bend Radio Group’s country KSJJ, Bend, Oregon, wrapping a 29-year career in radio.  Montgomery says she and her husband have a number of projects lined up to keep them busy…..At Cox Media Group’s classic rock KHPT, Houston “The Eagle,” morning show team – Dean Myers and Roger Beaty – were honored on Friday, April 28 as it was declared “Dean & Rog Day” in Houston by Mayor Sylvester Turner.  CMG Houston VP and market manager Mark Krieschen comments, “Looking around the country, there are only a handful of major market morning shows with a 20-year track record in the same city.  What Dean and Rog have accomplished today is quite remarkable.”…..Gwendolyn Records country artist Trisha Yearwood appeared at the CBS Radio Culinary Kitchen in Chicago to do a cooking demonstration.  Yearwood is also a Food Network star.  The event was hosted by WUSN “US99” midday personality Drew Walker and took place in front of a live studio audience of approximately 30 guests who won tickets listening to Walker’s program.   From her new line of Williams Sonoma products, Yearwood made “unfried chicken” with her Unfried Chicken Season Kit and her family’s signature cocktail with the Summer in a Cup cocktail mix.  Yearwood and Walker are pictured here on the set of the CBS Radio Culinary Kitchen.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits/Oldies.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of classic hits and oldies-formatted stations based on 6+ data from the March 2017 PPM survey by Nielsen Audio.  Although less than half of the qualifying stations saw their 6+ numbers go up from February to March, iHeartMedia’s WRIT, Milwaukee “95.7 BIG FM” bucks the trend with a whopping 2.5 share jump to an 11.2 share.  “Just about half the stations (49%) on our classic hits-oldies sample are down between February 2017 – March 2017 (6+) while 42.5% improve; the remaining 8.5% of the panel is flat (6+).”  WRIT also was ranked #1 in the market in the March survey, as were seven other classic hits/oldies stations.  See which ones they were in the full report here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

| November 21, 2016

Kevin Graham to Program WBAP and KLIF-AM in Dallas.  Current WBAP and KLIF-AM program director Tyler Cox is retiring at the end of this year and Cumulus Media is announcing that it has hired Kevin Graham to take over the PD role at the Dallas news/talk outlets.  Graham leaves his position as brand manager forgrahamkevinwbap Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston, the Red Sox Radio Networks, and his role as sports radio wbap_klif_vertformat captain for Entercom.  Cumulus Media Dallas-Houston regional vice president Dan Bennett comments, “Kevin Graham is one of the country’s brightest spoken-word PDs and is an innovative thinker who will take us into the next chapter of WBAP and KLIF’s on-air and digital growth.  His major market experience in Boston and New York has prepared him for this next step in his career.”  Prior to joining WEEI, Graham was program director and afternoon host for KFNZ, Salt Lake City.  He’s also programmed KTAR-AM/ArizonaSports.com in Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit; and WEPN, New York City.  Graham says, “I am very humbled and excited to join the Cumulus Dallas team.  I have long admired Dan Bennett’s and OM Jeff Catlin’s work.  I consider it a great honor to follow in Tyler Cox’s footsteps to assist in the continued growth of two of the most successful news/talk brands in the country – WBAP/KLIF.”

KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Launch Darin Damme Show on January 3.  Phoenix news/talker KTAR-FM is replacing its “Arizona’s Evening News” program with “Reality Check with Darin Damme,” effective January 3.dammedarin  Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch says of the former KZZP and KZON morning personality, “Darin is an exciting talent who will bring a conservative voice and strong opinions that will represent the values of so many in the Valley.  Born and raised in Arizona, he also has a passion to improve our community and deliver a voice for a better Phoenix.”  The evening news-driven show will air from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Trump Transition, Mike Pence-‘Hamilton’ Incident, Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, Facebook Fake News Policy, AMAs-Melania Trump Bit, Obama at APEC Summit, Arctic Sea Ice Levels/Global Warming, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The transition period for the Trump Administration including potential cabinet nominees; the flap over VP-Elect Mike Pence receiving a personal message from the cast of ‘Hamilton’ while attending the show in NYC; clashes take place between authorities and those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline; Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg addresses the social medium’s intent to root out fake news; Saturday’s American Music Awards and controversy over Gigi Hadid’s impersonation of Melania Trump; President Obama meets Russia’s Vladimir Putin and other world leaders at the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru; reports of historically low levels of Arctic Sea ice and the larger topic of global warming policies; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

herskovitzalHerskovitz: Another Race to Win.  Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today about sponsorable aspects of programming that some sales execs – and even a few sales managers – may have overlooked.  The beauty of the sports talk and news/talk formats is that their traditional programming is flush with elements that can be sponsored.  Some of these – traffic, weather, sports scores, etc. – are readily available via digital avenues, but don’t toss the baby out with the bathwater.  If consumers are listening to your station – especially in the car – they will be listening to the “service elements” that can be very profitable.  Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.

Odds & Sods.  Alaska radio pro Scott Smith is inducted into the Alaska Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  The 27-year broadcasting vet worked his way from an account executive to market manager and has served on the Alaska Broadcasters Association for 20 years.  The Alpha Media Alaska market manager says, “It is an enormous honor to be added to the list of pioneers in Alaskan broadcasting whose efforts brought live media to the 49th State.  I am humbled and thrilled to be a part of the greatest industry in our nation – one in which we protect, educate, inform, entertain, and engage with our listeners and clients.”…..NextRadio announces the launch of Newsfeed – a new feature designed to further strengthen the bond that radio listeners have with their favorite stations.  Newsfeed allows sharing of more radio station content and delivering it in an interactive way that consumers are used to experiencing with apps.  NextRadio says Newsfeed “enriches the in-app experience by serving up station-centric content, such as trending Tweets from the user’s favorite radio shows.  Other content pushed by NextRadio Newsfeed is specific to the user’s favorite formats and includes artist and song facts, the day’s hottest song, and which artists are coming to town with the ability to buy concert tickets through Vivid Seats.”  Additionally, NextRadio has partnered with Global Security Systems to provide ALERT FM emergency messages to users of Newsfeed in the app.  NextRadio app users can opt-in to emergency alerts that will show up in their Newsfeed…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds new affiliate station KGUM, Guam “Newstalk K57.”…..Alpha Media’s KFQD, Anchorage wins the Best Radio Newscast honors from the Alaska Broadcasters Association.  The award recognizes the station’s “KFQD Morning News” program featuring anchor Joe Campbell, producer Steve Moor and traffic anchor Colleen Bailey.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

| October 22, 2015

ktar-fmKTAR-FM, Phoenix Names Sharpe, West New ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ Hosts.  The Bonneville-owed news/talk station is bidding Ned Foster a happy retirement after a 27-year stint with the station.  News anchor Connie Weber recently left the morningsharpejim program after a 10-year term.  So, effective November 30, longtime Valley news personality Jim Sharpe and award-winning news anchor Jayme West will be the new hosts of KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News.”  Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “With more than 40 years of combined local news experience, Jim and Jayme are the perfect pair to move the ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ product westjaymeforward on air, online and on social media.  We think their natural chemistry, insatiable curiosity and passion for our community will be warmly received by our audience, which counts on ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ to keep them informed and connected.”  Bonneville notes that Sharpe is a 2006 Associated Press Arizona Reporter of the Year and a war correspondent who most recently hosted a nationally syndicated news talk program on USA Radio Networks.  He’s also hosted the “Sharpe in the Morning” program on crosstown news/talk KFYI.  West is a five-time Arizona Associated Press Reporter of the Year winner and 19-year KTAR veteran who will move to mornings after previously anchoring the news in afternoon drive and hosting “Arizona’s Evening News.”

kogo 15KOGO, San Diego Announces New Programming Lineup: Hannity Joins for Middays, DeMaio to PM Drive.  San Diego news/talk outlet KOGO “Newshannity Radio 600” adjusts its program schedule, “with extended news programming, a new timeslot for Carl DeMaio and the addition of top-rated, nationally syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity,” effective Monday, October 26.  iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are extremely excited about demaiocarlour new lineup and the addition of Sean Hannity to our team.  ‘News Radio 600’ has experienced tremendous ratings growth in the past year and we anticipate these new changes will help evolve our programming to the next level.”  A year ago, the station launched new programming with an emphasis on news in morning and afternoon drive and reports the ratings indicate the audience is responding.  The daily lineup is: “San Diego Morning News with Ted Garcia & LaDona Harvey,” Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, “DeMaio Report,” and “KOGO Evening News with Ernie Brown.”

thompsonmikeESPN Layoffs Claim KSPN, Los Angeles PD Mike Thompson.  The layoffs at sports entertainment giant ESPN – confirmed yesterday by the company – have hit the radio ranks with ‘ESPNkspnlogo LA’ program director Mike Thompson learning that his position is being eliminated.  He stated in an email to the Los Angeles Metro Bugle, “It’s been a wonderful 12 years with the Walt Disney Company.  I am honored to have worked alongside talented broadcasters to build a record ratings winner among contemporary males never seen before in the format and AM radio in the No. 2 market.”  The company is laying off some 300 staffers across all company departments.  Although on-air talent is not expected to be affected, it’s unclear how many more behind-the-scenes radio people will be affected.

siriusxmSiriusXM Reports Q3 Earnings; Net Revenue Up 11%.  Satcaster SiriusXM reports its third quarter 2015 financial numbers announcing that revenue was up 11% year-over-year and net revenue was $167 million, compared to $136 million during the same period a year ago.  In a statement, Jim Meyer says, “With subscribers at an all-time high of nearly 29 million and record adjusted EBITDA and adjustedsternhoward EBITDA margin, our third quarter was one of the strongest performances in our company’s history.  We are confident of our continued success in the fourth quarter, and we are increasing our guidance for self-pay and total net subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.”  The burning question before SiriusXM is will Howard Stern renew or leave the platform he’s been on for the past 10 years?  Meyer would only say in an investors’ conference, “I hope so.”  He went on to say, “You should assume we speak quite often and stay tuned for updates.  And of course, the best way to hear any news regarding its renewal is to tune into Howard’s show every morning, heck, that’s what I do.”

cookehollandFAQ: Is There a PD?  Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the changing/disappearing role of program director.  As he notes in his column published today (10/22) that radio stations are not programmed anymore, they are managed.  There are two primary reasons: “Debt service compromises Quality Control. VERY few managers are responsible for a single station.  At many talk stations, this manager also does an air shift, before or after Rush.  Stations think they can get-away-with-it because… most programming is now non-local.  Who’s left to direct?   Most talk programming comes off the bird.  Music stations are voicetracked or downlinked from the mother ship.  Directing is a lost art.”  For those managers seeking a real, live PD, read Holland Cooke’s take on what qualities he/she must possess here.

Odds & Sods.  The decision is not set in stone yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that CBSwscr logo RADIO will likely move Chicago Cubs play-by-play from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR “The Score.”  WSCR is losing Chicago White Sox play-by-play as Cumulus-owned crosstown news/talk WLS-AM will begin serving as that team’s flagship beginning next season…..John W. Pirkle-owned WNFZ-FM, Knoxville drops news/talk and goes alternative rock as “94Z.”  However, the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and Terry West remains on wilsonnickthe program schedule.  The station also aired a local afternoon show called “The Drive” with Russell Smith.  It’s not clear what his and producer Richard Daughtry’s fates are…..CBS RADIO gives Nick Wilson an evening sports talk show on WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan.”  Wilson has been a producer, part-time host and sports anchor at the station.  His rise to host of “The Nick Wilson Experiment” comeswspd logo after Ken Carman moved from that slot to co-host morning drive with Kevin Kiley…..Cumulus Media gives Toledo news/talker WSPD an FM presence in the market as the station is now simulcasting on new translator W221BG at 92.1 FM.  The translator is licensed to Rudolph, Ohio, about 25 miles south of downtown Toledo.

rekerbillKMOX, St. Louis’ Bill Reker Retires.  According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX, St. Louis news anchor Bill Reker is retiring from the station after a 20-year career there.  KMOX program director Steve Moore tells the paper, “He is a pro’s pro.  Whether it was severe weather or something going on in Ferguson, you knew you had a professional in the newsroom.  I’ll miss the level of calm he brought.”

Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, Joe Biden’s ‘Won’t Run’ Announcement, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Relationship, Paul Ryan House Speaker Bid, Chris Rock to Host Oscars, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB League Championships Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). Today’s Benghazi testimony by former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will not run for president; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016, notably Dr. Ben Carson’s poll-leading numbers in Iowa; the military relationship between Putin’s Russia and al-Assad’s Syria; Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s bid for the Speaker of the House post; comic Chris Rock set to host the next Academy Awards show; ongoing migrant problems in the European Union; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 19, 2015

| October 19, 2015

weismanstevenNielsen vs Bubba: Round One.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman analyzes the civil suit being brought against morning radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen Audio after the former was accused of and admitted to attempting to manipulate Nielsen’s PPM survey in the Tampa market.  In a piece published today, Weisman synopsizes the case and presents his view of Nielsen’s claim that its ratings business has been “damaged irreparably” and it is owned at least $1 million.  Read the whole piece here.

lanedrewDetroit Personality Drew Lane Exits ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’  Longtime rock WRIF, Detroit morning drive personality Drew Lane has held the afternoon drive position on Greater Media’swmgc sportslogo sports talk WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1” since the format launched in August of 2013.  But today the company releases a statement expressing regret that it and Lane could not come to terms on a renewal to keep him with the station.  “Drew is a phenomenal talent and has been a valued member of the Greater Media family for over 21 years.  Both sides regret an agreement could not be reached on the direction of the show moving forward.  We are truly sorry to see him go and wish him all the best.”  In the interim, midday personality Matt Dery serves as afternoon host.

ramseyPhoenix15bDave Ramsey Packs Phoenix’s Comerica Theatre.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey is seen here on stage in Phoenix on Saturday (10/17) speaking to a packed house at the 5,000-seat Comerica Theatre where he presented his Ramsey Solution’s Smart Conference.  The day-long conference included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, Rachel Cruze, Christy Wright, Chris Brown, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with “essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.”  Ramsey worked with local affiliate KTAR-FM to promote the event.  Bonneville owns KTAR-FM and the company’s Phoenix market manager, Scott Sutherland,ramseyKTAR15 says, “When Dave Ramsey comes to Phoenix, it’s always a huge deal for our listeners, clients and staff.  Dave’s message resonates incredibly well with residents of the valley of the sun, and, not surprisingly, his popularity continues to grow and grow.  We only wish that we could get him out to Phoenix more often.”  The lead-in show to Ramsey’s program on KTAR-FM is co-hosted by Bruce St. James (right) and Pamela Hughes (left) who are pictured at right posing for a photo with Ramsey (center).  Prior to Saturday’s Phoenix event, Ramsey brought his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event to Los Angeles on Thursday (10/15), partnering with iHeartMedia’s KEIB “The Patriot AM 1150.”

medvedconf15Medved Moderates Panel on State of the Middle East.  With the recent violence in Israel set as the backdrop, Salem Radio Network personality Michael Medved spent Thursday evening (10/15) in Cleveland at that city’s Jewish Policy Center moderating a panel titled, “What Now? The New Realities of the Middle East.”   Pictured here on stage is Medved at the podium and the seated panelists (from l-r) John Podhoretz, Commander Jennifer Dyer (Ret.) and Cliff May.  Medved’s SRN program is heard in the market on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WHK “AM 1420 The Answer.”

Odds & Sods.  Reno rock station KRZQ held a Bubba’s Bike for Badges ride on October 10 in conjunction withkrzq logo syndicated morning host Bubba the Love Sponge.  The event raised money for the family of fallen police deputy Carl Howell.  More than 175 motorcycles and 200-plus people participated, raising $8,000 for the cause…..Today, CBS RADIO Houston partners with the Points of Light Foundation and the Barbara Bush Literacy Initiative to help break the Guinness World Record for the most children reading with an adult in 24 hours.  The cluster has been enlisting listeners to donate their time and each of the five CBS RADIO Houston stations will visit a local elementary school to read to students…..SiriusXM announces E! News co-anchor, producer, actress, and two time New York Times best-selling author Maria Menounos will host a new show titled, “Conversations with Maria Menounos,” on its Stars channel.  It will be a daily, one-hour show in which Menounos will go “one-on-one with celebrities, leaders in entertainment and the news, and influencer guests who will share their inspirations, personal stories, life journeys and expertise.”…..Former NPR “All Things considered Weekend” host Arun Rath becomes a shared correspondent for NPR and Boston pubcaster WGBH.  He’ll be based in the WGBH newsroom and will produce national stories for NPR and local stories for WGBH News.

lawrencecashAWMSports15AWM Hosts ‘Women in Sports’ Breakfast.  Members of the all-female sports talk show “We Need to Talk” were part of a panel discussion about women in sports media at this morning’s “Women in Sports” breakfast program presented by the Alliance for Women in Media at 10 on the Park at Time Warner Center in New York City.  CBS Sports Radio’s Amy Lawrence (right) is pictured here with multi-sport athlete Swin Cash (left), who is also a cast member on “We Need to Talk,” CBS’ first-ever, nationally televised all-female sports show. Lawrence moderated the panel consisting of talent and executives from CBS Sports Network at the breakfast.

Boston Herald Wins Honor for Boston Herald Radio.  The “Innovator of the Year” award comes from a joint conference of the Associated Press Media Editors and American Society of News Editors atbostonheraldradio logo Stanford University and was presented to the Boston Herald for “its innovative platform called Boston Herald Radio that is fully integrated with its print, online and video divisions.”  The Boston Herald competed against the Los Angeles News Group and The Oklahoman for the honor.  Herald publisher and president Patrick J. Purcell states, “This distinguished national award is a tribute to the finest multimedia newsroom in the city led by our cutting-edge Boston Herald Radio platform.  I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible work our staff does every day.  It is absolutely innovative — and it is incredibly rewarding to see that recognized by our peers in journalism.”

hennerwaybill15Pop Culture Figures Meet on the Radio.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (left) poses for a photo with musician Fee Waybill (right) after the latter’s appearance on Henner’s program.  Henner – herself a pop culture icon as part of the star-studded cast of the classic television sitcom “Taxi” – chatted with Waybill about his work with the 1970s avant-garde rock outfit The Tubes.  Waybill’s band, which infused sharp social commentary into its music and combined that with outlandish stage shows during its heyday, is prepping for a 40th anniversary tour.

Jimmy Fallon Guests on Shaq’s PodcastOne Show.  “Tonight Show” starshaqPodcastOnestudio Jimmy Fallon appears on this week’s PodcastOne show, “The BIG Podcast with Shaq.”  Shaquille O’Neal was recently on “The Tonight Show” and took part in a few games, including “Shaqsticles,” a Fallon podcast creation.  This week, Fallon is on Shaq’s podcast and, among other things, gets Fallon to play one of his games.  Shaq, known for his terrible impressions, does a series of impersonations that Fallon must guess, including Miss Piggy, Bill Cosby, Mike Tyson and more. Check it out here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

| May 28, 2013

burnsgenePioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72.  Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes.  In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.”  Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show.  The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network.  Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything.  Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.”  Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade.  Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.”  A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.

millerchrisAdult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook.  According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on.  As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format.  At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post.  The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it.  When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.”  In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis.  To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.

sterlingkentKent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI.  News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.”  He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis.  Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.

nba logoNBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play.  Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners.  While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play.  According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games).  And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54.  However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season:  the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM.  Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.

pendlchrisFlagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP.  According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.”  Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season.  Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming.  In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.”  In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.”  To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.

kyzz logoBuckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters.  Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters.  The price is yet to be announced.  KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD.  Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ.  Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.

weismanstevenWTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.”  Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008).  In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks.  Read Weisman’s entire piece here.

Odds & Sods.  Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington.  Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive.  He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn.  Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic.  He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’  It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes.  We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”

koilmulberryKOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos.  Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos.  The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.”  The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.”  It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies.  Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California.  Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999.  Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.

millerbeckKevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze.  KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program.  Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

| October 4, 2012

September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.

  • In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
  • In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
  • In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
  • In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5).  The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well).  Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.

For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.

KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program.  Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.”  This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm.  Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October.  The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint.  The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives.  The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy.  Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”

WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’  Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week.  The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media NetworksRon Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory.  Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott BrownElizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race.  Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”

WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards.  Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish.  The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team.  Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers.  He gets it.”  The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York.  The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials.  For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.

Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group.  Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive.  Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas.  Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”

Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station.  KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith.  Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business.  Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.

Kuhner in Boston.  Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO.  Kuhner visited the station earlier this week.  WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming.  He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”

Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3).  Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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