Tag: "Lincoln"

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

| August 21, 2019

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  The summer months can be a down time for all-news stations and that appears to have been the case during the July survey as 62% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share dip.  In fact, only Entercom’s KNX, Los Angeles was the only station to go up, albeit only by a tenth of a share.  The rest of the stations on our panel remained flat.  Comparing July of 2018 to this year, half the stations on our panel were up – led by Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+0.6) and WDCH, Baltimore “Bloomberg Radio 99.1” (+0.6) – and the other half were down, with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington down 1.4 shares.  In July there were no all-news stations that ranked #1 in their respective markets.  However, KCBS-AM, San Francisco and WTOP, Washington both ranked #2.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

WSB, Atlanta Rebrands Simultaneous with Transmitter Move. Atlanta news/talker WSB-AM/WSBB-FM announces the move of its 95.5 FM transmitter and antenna from Flowery Branch to East Atlanta and the change of its official name and positioning statement to “95.5 WSB Atlanta’s News & Talk.” Cox Media Group says, “The move brings a stronger signal and better sound quality to residents in counties on the south, west and northwest side of metro Atlanta, including Henry, Paulding, Cobb, Bartow, Coweta, Cherokee and Douglas.”  WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs says, “With the new tower location, at least one million more people in Atlanta will now be able to listen to 95.5 WSB without static, loud and clear, both at home and at work.  Office buildings in downtown and midtown Atlanta, Buckhead, Cumberland, and Perimeter will now be able to listen to 95.5 on an FM radio and hear our news and talk with a strong signal.”  The station will still be heard on the 750AM frequency as well.

Envision and GAB Partner to Distribute ‘Smart Talk Radio’ Format. The WCGO-AM, Chicago-based Smart Talk Radio format promises “no political talk.” Envision Networks and the GAB Radio Network are partnering to distribute the new 24/7 talk format to stations nationwide.  The “information and entertainment” format launched its weekend programming lineup last weekend (8/17-18) with a bevy of shows focusing on food, home improvement, pet, and travel shows.  It plans to announce its weekday lineup soon.  Envision Networks president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “Time to get back to programming that we all can enjoy listening to on the radio.  The debut of our weekend lineup really gets the network rolling and we’re excited to debut three new weekday daypart programs that will cover sports talk and betting, financial advice and planning, and lifestyle talk.”

Entercom’s News/Talk WYRD-FM and ‘ESPN Upstate’ Win SCBA Awards. The Entercom Greenville, South Carolina cluster took home a number of STAR Awards and Awards of Merit from the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” morning drive talk show host Tara Servatius won best Radio Morning Show Personality and Best News/Talk Show.  WYRD-FM’s Vince Coakley program won an Award of Merit for Radio Show of the Year. Sports talk WYRD-AM’s “Straight Up with Sturg” show was honored with an Award of Merit for Best Sports Show.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago sports media personality Mike North is now a media consultant and spokesperson for VegasScoresAndOdds.com. In this capacity, North will host a sports-betting show on the platform on Mondays and Wednesdays.  North says in a statement, “I’ve immersed myself into the sports handicapping business, like I did the radio talk show industry when I made the transition from hot dog stand owner to nationally recognized media figure.”  Aldo Gandia – who is North’s partner on the Bears Barroom Radio Network – will also co-host and produce the betting shows…..ESPN Audio announces that its “30 for 30 Podcasts,” with The Undefeated, debuts all five episodes from its new season of audio documentaries.  “The Sterling Affairs” examines the life of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  It chronicles his rags to riches rise, his ultimate downfall, and how it all impacted the NBA. The series is hosted by ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne…..Paragon Media Strategies brings audio imaging producer Zach Gilltrap aboard to provide his services to Paragon clients. The company says, “Gilltrap has provided sound design creative services to radio stations, networks, studios and including Paragon clients for 20-plus years.  He will provide audio imaging production to select Paragon clients while continuing full time as the in-house producer at Colorado Public Radio, operator of Denver’s news/talk KCFR-FM, classical KVOD-FM, music discovery indie 102.3 and a statewide network of owned-and-affiliated stations.”…..WFDF, Detroit “910AM Superstation” adds ESPN Radio’s “Stephen A. Smith Show” to its lineup in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, effective September 9.  Station CEO Kevin Adell says, “We continue to evolve and provide exciting opportunities to our listening audience in the market.”

Trump Greenland Flap, 2020 Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity/Economic Concerns, Epstein Suicide Aftermath, U.S.-China Trade War/Hong Kong Protests, Israel vs Tlaib/Omar, Iran Tanker Case, and Gun Legislation Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The controversy over President Trump’s question about buying Greenland; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the world’s financial markets activity and concerns about a U.S. recession; the aftermath of the suicide of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein; the trade war between the U.S. and China and the related protests in Hong Kong; Israel’s decision to ban U.S. Reps Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel; the status of an Iranian oil tanker the U.S. wants to prevent from reaching Syria; and the state of possible gun legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings 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.  KDGS-FM, Wichita “Power 93.5” program director and morning drive personality Greg “The Hitman” Williams is inducted into The Kansas African American Museum Hall of Fame.  He’ll be honored with the Broadcast Journalism Trailblazer Award by TKAAM at the organization’s annual Trailblazers Gala on October 5 in Wichita.  Entercom Wichita SVP and market manager Jackie Wise says, “We are thrilled to see Greg recognized for his significant contributions to radio and to the community.  We’re very proud to have him as part of the Entercom Wichita team.”…..iHeartMedia’s Dallas classic rock KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” announces that the lineup for its “Freakers’ Ball” live event on October 25 at Dos Equis Pavilion will include: Marilyn Manson, Bush, Bad Wolves, Filter, 10 Years, and Blacktop Mojo.  Station PD Don Davis says, “Who better to headline this huge annual event than Marilyn Manson.  Our ‘Eagle’ rockaholics have come to expect the best when it comes to our annual ‘Freakers’ Ball’ lineup and we always strive to deliver.”…..Entercom’s 4th annual “Riptide Music Festival powered by Ford” is taking place November 23 and 24 on Fort Lauderdale Beach at 1100 Seabreeze Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.  The two-day festival will feature more than 20 musical performers including: The Killers, The 1975, The Revivalists, Silversun Pickups, and Judah & The Lion, among others.  The event is being hosted by the company’s alternative WSFS-FM, Fort Lauderdale “104.3 The Shark.”…..iHeartMedia San Antonio announces that Victor “Tito” Caballero is named program director for KZEP-FM, San Antonio “104.5 Latino Hits.” Caballero has been the station’s creative director and afternoon drive host since December 2018.   He says, “I couldn’t be more excited to program a station in my hometown that plays a music format that I love.  To have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most talented programmers in the world is humbling to say the least.”

Thursday, August 1, 2019

| August 1, 2019

Urban One Posts Strong Q2 Numbers; Net Revenue Up 5.5%. It was “a very strong quarter from an advertising revenue standpoint,” says Urban One, Inc. CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III. The parent company of Radio One reports second quarter 2019 net revenue was approximately $121.6 million, an increase of 5.5% from the same period in 2018.  Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $46.3 million, an increase of 4.5% from the same period in 2018.  Urban One reports operating income of approximately $30.5 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019, compared to approximately $24.8 million for the same period in 2018.  Net income was approximately $6.6 million or $0.15 per share (basic) compared to net income of approximately $23.6 million or $0.51 per share (basic) for the same period in 2018.  Liggins says, “Radio advertising was up 6.8%, TV advertising was up 9.4%, and digital was up 16.8%.  Our radio division is also pacing up approximately 8% for the third quarter, with robust demand for national business in our larger markets… Reach Media benefited from another successful cruise event, with the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage posting 12% year-over-year revenue growth… Overall, I am happy with our progress this quarter, and believe we can carry this positive momentum into the second half of the year.”

Sanchez Joins KDWN, Las Vegas for Evening Program; ‘The Vegas Take’ Moves to Mornings. Talk radio host Steve Sanchez announces he’s signed a four-year deal with Beasley Media Group to host the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm weeknight show on news/talk KDWN-AM/K268CS, Las Vegas, effective August 12.    Sanchez will continue to host his nationally syndicated weekend talk program distributed by Genesis Communications Network.  Sanchez’s arrival on the KDWN program schedule comes as the station moves “The Vegas Take” with Brian Shapiro and JD Sharp from evenings to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  Ray Lucia, who announced recently that he’s retiring from his radio show, had been heard in late mornings on the station.

Former KSL-FM, Salt Lake City Host Jay Mcfarland Running for Congress. Talk radio personality Jay Mcfarland gave up his “JayMac News Show” on Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City in order to run for congress in the Utah 4th Congressional District.  In a story posted at KSL.com, Mcfarland says he wants to become a national voice for conservatism.  He hopes to win the Republican primary to challenge the state’s only Democrat – Ben McAdams – and believes that this seat that is so important to Republicans will be a high-profile race nationally.  He’s quoted saying, “I got into radio to be able to impact the public debate.  Just over the last couple of years, I felt like our political discourse has degraded to such a horrific level, it’s not enough for me to talk about it.” Mcfarland hosted his radio show on KSL for the past nine years.

Bob Pittman Reminisces About MTV Launch on Michael Berry Show. Today (8/1) is the 38th anniversary of the launch of MTV. Back on August 1, 1981, 27-year-old Bob Pittman and his colleagues at MTV debuted the network that would transform television and music in ways that few had foreseen. The iHeartMedia chairman and CEO spoke on the KTRH, Houston-based, nationally syndicated Michael Berry program today about MTV and its place in history.  Pittman told Berry and his listeners “creating an identity for the NETWORK” was the most important reason for its success, sayin the one word which best described MTV was “cool.”  He also said MTV gave artists an identity to their fans.  Prior to that, with album covers largely artistic drawings, fans did not know what their favorite band looked like.  The video component gave them an insight into those bands, and their fashion.  Hear the whole interview here.

Kim Guthrie to Lead New Cox Media Group.  When Apollo Global Management agreed to acquire a majority stake in Cox’s radio stations earlier this year, it was assumed that most of its executives would remain with the new Cox Media Group since Apollo said it wanted to maintain the successful operating structure of the radio, TV, CoxReps and Gamut businesses.  Now, Cox is confirming that current Cox Media Group president Kim Guthrie will lead the new company as chief executive officer.

West Virginia Radio Renews with Nielsen Audio. After a time without subscribing to Nielsen Audio’s radio ratings service, West Virginia Radio Corporation reached a new agreement for measurement in the Charleston, West Virginia market.  Company president and CEO Dale Miller says, “In a time when audience metrics are so important, Nielsen remains the only ratings currency that consistently reflects the value of our radio stations.  Having reliable research is more important now than at any other time, and we feel that Nielsen Audio is a partner in our business, allowing us to generate true ROI.  We tried plan B for a time, but you can budget cut yourself out of the business.”

iHeartMedia Proposes Private Offering of $500M of Senior Secured Notes. Today, iHeartMedia, Inc. is offering – via its wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., $500,000,000 aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes due 2027 in a private offering.  The Notes and related guarantees will be offered only to persons reasonably believed to be “qualified institutional buyers.”  They will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by iHeartCommunications’ direct parent, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, and the subsidiaries of iHeartCommunications that guarantee iHeartCommunications’ term loan facility.  iHeartCommunications intends to use the proceeds from the Notes, together with cash on hand, to prepay at par a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its term loan facility, to pay accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of prepayment, and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering of the Notes and the use of proceeds therefrom.

TALKERS News Notes. WEPN-FM, New York personality and New York Yankees radio voice Michael Kay is being told to stay silent for at least another 10 days after his recent vocal cord surgery.  The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand writes that Kay had hoped to return to the broadcast booth tomorrow (8/2) but his doctor says he needs more time to heal. ESPN New York general manager Tim McCarthy says they want to be careful with Kay’s return and is fine with Kay “taking the whole summer.”  For Yankees games, Ryan Ruocco will sit in next week with Bob Costas calling one of the two Yankees-Red Sox games on Saturday…..In what is becoming an informal series of appearances, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh will join fellow Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk media star Sean Hannity on FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” tonight (8/1) to talk about the Democratic debates and “the latest developments regarding former FBI director James Comey.”  Limbaugh – who appears to choose his television appearances carefully – has done several one-on-ones with Hannity during the past year.  Of course, Hannity rose to national fame filling in for Limbaugh back in the late 1990s…..CBS News Radio names Allison Keyes to the position of Washington, D.C.-based correspondent.  CBS News Radio VP and general manager Craig Swagler announces that Keyes will be integral to the network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election.  She will also focus on covering stories on diversity and equality issues.  Her reporting will be heard daily on CBS News Radio affiliates around the country.  She has served as a freelance reporter for CBS News Radio since 2014.  Prior to that, she was a reporter for NPR in Washington, where she was a guest host for the program, “Tell Me More with Michel Martin.”…..The nationally syndicated “Tony Katz Today” program is added to the air schedule at Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, effective August 5. Katz says, “With our Midwest focus, being with KFOR could not be more perfect.  Working with PD Rob Kelley, going into an election year and highlighting how big news stories affect us locally, this is gonna be amazing!”  In addition to his syndicated show, Katz is the morning drive personality at Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis…..Digital audio aggregator TuneIn appoints Juliette Morris CEO.  She’s been with the company as chief marketing officer since March of 2018…..NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha “1620 The ZONE” remains the flagship radio station for Creighton University’s men’s basketball for the next three season and gives “The Zone” exclusive rights to broadcast play-by-play for all home and away games as well as pre-game and post-game coverage.  Creighton’s home games will also continue to be broadcast live on NRG’s sister classic rock KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg” as part of the contract extension.  KOZN afternoon talk host John Bishop continues to handle play-by-play duties while a number of former Bluejays, including FOX Sports Radio talk show host and national college basketball television analyst Nick Bahe, will continue to provide color commentary.

Rebecca Thomas Takes on More Duties at CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design as Media Affiliates Director. For the past 12 years, Rebecca Thomas has been doing voice work for projects and accounts at her husband’s well-known imaging firm.  Now, she adds the official role of media affiliates director to her responsibilities at her husband Sandy ThomasCore Voice Imaging and Sound Design as media affiliates director.  She tells TALKERS magazine that their audio branding company does imaging for all radio formats.  Rebecca can be reached at: CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com.

2020 Presidential Race/Detroit Debates, Reagan-Nixon ‘Monkeys’ Controversy, Immigration Policy/Border Conditions, Capital One Hack, and China-Hong Kong Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the debates in Detroit; the controversy over the recording of Ronald Reagan referring to blacks as monkeys in conversation with Richard Nixon; the Trump Administration’s immigration and asylum policies and conditions at border detention centers; the aftermath of the hack of Capital One; and the tensions between China and Hong Kong in the wake of the recent protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Premiere Networks and Hollywood Unlocked Launch New Show. A new, two-hour weekly show from Premiere Networks and Hollywood Unlocked is debuting on 50 iHeartMedia urban contemporary stations nationwide, in addition to iHeartRadio.   The show is “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee” and is co-hosted by Melyssa Ford and DJ Damage.  The program is targeted to hip hop fans by staying on top of hip hop culture and pop culture with “celebrity news, information and gossip, along with candid conversations with the stars who will bring truth to the latest stories and rumors.” Additionally, Lee’s podcast, “Hollywood Unlocked Uncensored,” which is also co-hosted by Ford and Damage and has more than 33 million views on its YouTube channel, is now available on iHeartRadio.

Monday, April 15, 2019

| April 15, 2019

Brown Parts Ways With iHeartMedia Denver. The approximately 12-year association between talk show host Michael Brown and iHeartMedia Denver has come to an end. While this turn-of-events isn’t something Brown wanted or anticipated, he emphasizes he has “fond memories” of his time in radio and is “looking forward to getting behind the microphone as quickly as possible.” He maintains radio is “a fantastic medium that will never disappear,” and he “readily embraces” the digital aspect of the business. Citing conversations he had with iHeartMedia regional senior vice president of Denver programming JoJo Turnbeaugh, Brown – who served as under-secretary of Homeland Security in both of George W. Bush’s administrations – reports his departure is owing to “format changes.” Brown’s Denver radio career began at news/talk KOA, where he did part-time work before becoming a full-timer. He then spent several years in afternoon drive on news/talk sibling KHOW, and recently returned to KOA. Regarding his highly-publicized experiences during Hurricane Katrina, Brown co-authored June 2011’s “Deadly Indifference, The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond.” In it, he criticizes the performance of several people and critiques his own performance by stating that he “failed to be ready for the press and was too timid in his response.” Politically, Brown describes himself as “very clearly center-right, conservative, with a strong libertarian bent.” He appears at #83 on The Talkers Magazine 2018 Heavy Hundred.

Thomas Inducted Into The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. In recognition for her career in radio and community service, Entercom Detroit WWJ “News Radio 950” reporter Vickie Thomas was honored yesterday (4/14) in a ceremony at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Entercom Detroit senior vice president/market manager Debbie Kenyon states, “For more than 25 years, Vickie Thomas has been informing our listeners on major stories that impact our community in and around Detroit. Vickie is an incredible journalist who isn’t afraid to pose tough questions to city leaders and other officials to report a fair and accurate story. She is well deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to have Vickie inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.” Thomas comments, “In thinking about my over 30-year career in radio, with most of that time spent at WWJ, I can’t help but acknowledge all the people who took the time to encourage me and guide me. I’m really a reflection of those outstanding individuals. This award is extremely special because it comes from my peers. I’m blessed to have my body of work in journalism acknowledged by the selection committee; I thank each member who poured over all the applications and deemed me worthy of this honor.” Thomas, who joined WWJ in 1991, has earned awards from the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan Associated Press, and the National Association of Black Journalists. She graduated cum laude and with honors in journalism from Wayne State University in 1989.

MONDAY MEMO: The Podcast Consumer 2019.  In our on-demand culture, consumers have taken control of their media.  We call the audio version “podcasting,” something everyone seems to be doing now.  But who is listening?  In this week’s Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the recently released Edison Research “Podcast Consumer 2019” report. Click here to read how he outlines ways radio broadcasters can exploit this trend.

TALKERS News Notes. All remaining regular season and postseason play of the New York City Football Club will air in Spanish on the ESPN app, along with the iHeart and Tune-in apps. In addition, select games of the American professional soccer team will air locally in New York City on WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes Radio 1050.” ESPN Radio Group senior vice president Tim McCarthy remarks, “WEPN-AM is proud to be associated with a tremendous brand like NYCFC. We believe giving our  listeners a choice on quality play-by-play has tremendous value; this agreement with NYCFC does just that.” NYCFC chief executive officer Brad Sims notes, “We are excited to have our 2019 matches broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes platforms. We want to give our fans many different ways to follow our club. This is a terrific alliance that will make our games even more accessible. New York’s Hispanic community is extremely passionate about soccer and is an integral part of our fanbase, so it continues to be a priority for us to provide Spanish-language presentations. ESPN is a leader in the sports media landscape and we’re looking forward to working together.” Roberto Abramowitz and Ariel Judas will give their commentary throughout the season ….. Changes to take effect in three weeks (5/6) at Emmis-owned WFNI “Indy’s Sports Center – The Fan” will find Jeff Rickard and “Big JoeStaysniak moving from mid-days (10:00 am – 12:00 noon) to morning drive (7:00 am – 10:00 am). “Jeff & Big Joe” will succeed ESPN Radio’s “(Mike) Golic & (Trey) Wingo,” while ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard with Stugotz” will inherit the vacated 10:00 am – 12:00 noon slot …. A nine-year program director of iHeartMedia-owned WGAR “Cleveland’s Country 99.5,” Charley Connolly is named operations manager of Cumulus Media’s eight Youngstown stations and will be the day-to-day PD of country WQXK “K-105” there. Cumulus Youngstown vice president/market manager Bill Kelly comments, “We are fortunate to have someone of Charley’s background available to us in Youngstown. This is going to be fun.” In addition to WGAR, Connolly programmed iHeartMedia Cleveland’s adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.” Prior to that, he performed similar responsibilities for Cumulus Media Nashville’s news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” and country WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon.” In addition to WPIC “News Talk 790,” WBBW “Sports Radio 1240 AM,” and WLLF “Sports Radio 96.7 FM,” Cumulus Media Youngstown consists of aforementioned WQXK; CHR WHOT “Hot 101”; classic rock WYFM “Y-103”; classic country WSOM “America’s Music”; and classic hits-oldies WWIZ “Z-104.” ….. Approximately 250 guests attended last Friday’s (4/12) eleventh annual “Hurley in the Morning” charity dinner and silent auction, which raised $40,000. Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes keynoted the festivities at Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino – Hotel. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the highest levels of government, business, and industry sectors,” declares Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG morning talent Harry Hurley. “Todd is a kind and generous friend. He is such a well-respected talent and a wonderful gentleman. Todd took the time to greet every guest, making each one feel like the most important person in the Ocean Ballroom.” Resorts Casino – Hotel president/chief executive officer Mark Giannantonio opines, “Harry could take his iconic event anywhere – it was truly spectacular. Todd Starnes was engaging and entertaining. Our audience enjoyed his humble, friendly, and unifying message. Resorts was happy and proud to once again host this charity dinner and we look forward to hosting Harry’s event again next year.” Starnes did his 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm Fox News Radio talk show onsite. Among dignitaries attending were congressman Jefferson Van Drew; New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney; New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella; and current and past New Jersey state legislature members. Ahead is Hurley’s twelfth annual charity golf open (6/21) in Egg Harbor Township (New Jersey) ….. Following his tenure as Reach Media’s integrated ad sales coordinator, Erick Vilson joins Sun Broadcast Group as national account manager and will be based in New York City. Sun Broadcast Group chief operating officer Julio Aponte, Jr. comments, “I was very impressed with Erick’s background, reputation, and his dedication to excellence. Bringing someone with his digital and event experience on-board will allow our team to offer greater business opportunities for our agencies and a deeper connection with our national audience for our advertisers.” Vilson notes, “Becoming part of the Sun Broadcast Group family is a fantastic opportunity. Their reputation in the industry, new approach to business, and clever ways to market their offerings was very attractive to me. I am very excited to bring my experience to the sales team.” Vilson has held sales and operation positions for iHeartMedia and Emmis.

Mueller Report Anticipation, College Admissions Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Assange Case Free Speech Implications Top Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio This Weekend.  According to the research of TALKERS, news/talk shows across the country this weekend (4/13-14) were largely focused on the topics of anticipation of the Robert Mueller Report’s planned delivery to Congress this Thursday, the next level of the College Admissions Scandal and charges filed against celebrity participants, the 2020 Presidential Race, and the Julian Assange Case’s implications on free speech and the free press going forward.

Progressive Talk Radio Champ Thom Hartmann Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. What is the state of progressive news/talk radio on the commercial and non-commercial dial? What is the liberal talk radio view of the early competition in a crowded field of hopefuls vying for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination? And what is the general status of the “Left” in American politics in 2019? Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Thom Hartmann – consistently ranked the most important progressive talk radio host on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Hartmann (heard daily 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET) tackle these and other pertinent issues in an illuminating conversation that gets right to the heart of today’s talk media landscape. Harrison states, “Thom Hartmann has not only earned the respect of people on all sides of the political spectrum for his authentic, even-handed approach to today’s issues from the liberal perspective, but the unique and aggressive multi-platform distribution paradigm that he and his team have developed over the years stands as a model for independent radio syndication of all ideological stripes going forward into the digital era. The radio industry should pay attention to this innovative broadcaster.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

Survey Says: Social Media Use Unchanged. Notwithstanding privacy controversies, “fake news,” and social media censorship, the share of adults in the United States who say they use certain online platforms or apps is statistically the same as it was this time last year. That is the conclusion of a Pew Research Center study conducted January 8 to February 7 (2019). The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter are each basically the same as in 2016. Instagram, however, shows an uptick during this same timeframe, growing from 35% of adults to 37%. Roughly seven of every ten adults in this country say they still use Facebook; nearly three of every ten visit Pinterest; and more than one of every five are Twitter users. Of all Facebook users, approximately three of every four visit the site every day – half check that platform several times a day. Those particular numbers identically mirror Pew’s 2018 survey results. At the same time, YouTube use remained at 73%, while LinkedIn users went from 25% to 27%. Slightly more than half of YouTube users (51%) visit the site daily – up from the 45% who said the same in 2018. According to the report, Instagram and Snapchat are especially popular with younger adults, with Instagram used by two of every three 18 – 29-year-olds and Snapchat used by slightly more than two of every five (62%) people in that demo.

Lilly Broadcasting Becomes A Radio Player. As a result of paying $900,000 for three Warren (Pennsylvania) stations it is acquiring from Frank Iorio’s Radio Partners LLC, San Luis Obispo, California-based Lilly Broadcasting enters the radio business. The three Warren-area outlets involved are WNAE “News Talk 96.7,” classic hits-oldies WRRN “92 Gold,” and WKNB “Kinzua Country 104.3.” Lilly owns television facilities in Honolulu, Erie (Pennsylvania), Elmira (New York), Marquette (Michigan), and the Caribbean. According to Lilly Broadcasting president Kevin Lilly, “The Warren radio properties create synergies with our current footprint in our Pennsylvania television DMA, comprised of Erie, Warren, and Crawford counties. They will allow us to better serve our viewers and now our radio listeners while in their homes, cars, and online. We look forward to providing the best content available for our listeners and will improve the news, weather, and sports information on all platforms.”

 

 

San Antonio’s New Vibe. KXTN “Tejano & Proud,” San Antonio transitions to KVBH “Vibe 107.5.” Of the rhythmic hot AC presentation that will mix “pop, hip-hop, and R&B artists from the 1980s and early-2000s,” Univision San Antonio vice president and general manager Chris Morris states, “We are excited to launch a brand-new format that reflects the distinct musical tastes of San Antonio – one of the most diverse communities in the nation. By reformatting and optimizing our audio portfolio, we are able to better serve our audience and give them more of the content they love.” In conjunction with the format flip, the “Tejano & Proud” format shifts to a simulcast on KVBH-HD2 and KCOR, while “Univision Deportes Radio” moves from KCOR to KROM-HD3. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 survey period, KXTN ranks #14 (3.1). Its February 2018 through February 2019 high was 4.0 (6+) in February 2018.

More Than A Million Smiles. As part of its fourth annual “Laugh United: A Night of Cocktails and Comedy,” Westwood One’s “The Bob & Tom Show” raised a record $1,053,500 in Vienna, West Virginia for the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Pictured here is show cast member Josh Arnold who performed with fellow veteran touring comics Greg Hahn, Jack Freeman, and Henry Phillips. Parkersburg (West Virginia) rocker WHBR “103.1 The Bear” is the local “Bob & Tom Show” affiliate.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After nearly four years with iHeartMedia Denver CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party,” morning driver J.J. Kincaid (of “JJ & Nina”) departs. Immediately in advance of his Denver stint, Kincaid had a nine-year afternoon drive run in New York at co-owned/similarly-formatted WHTZ “Z-100” and spent three years in Dallas at another iHeartMedia CHR, KHKS “106.1 Kiss-FM” ….. On the heels of Beasley Media Group Boston flipping WBOS from “Alt 92.9” to “Rock 92.9” last Thursday (4/11), the station eliminates the music director position that was held by Joel Weiss, who exits. After having spent 13 years in a similar position at Cox Media Group Tampa’s WSUN, Weiss joined WBOS less than a year ago ….. Formerly the program director/afternoon drive talent at Martz Communications Group-owned WAMO “Pittsburgh’s #1 for Hip-Hop,” Jonathan Steele, will join Beasley Media Group Detroit’s WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” next Monday (4/22) as afternoon drive personality, using the air name “J. Steele.” According to WMGC vice president and market manager Mac Edwards, “When we heard J.’s demo, he jumped to the top of our list. Having the opportunity to meet him and discover his impressive skill set as both a person and personality, there was no denying J. Steele was the right talent at the right time to help us write the next chapter of success.” Program director John Candelaria comments, “We are very impressed with J.’s experience and his strong desire to entertain the listeners in Detroit. I am excited to hear his high energy interactive show and see him earn the community’s respect.” Steele adds, “This is the job I dreamed about as a little kid. I am beyond excited to light up the airwaves for this incredible radio station.” The revised weekday “Bounce” line-up includes: “The Gello Show with Joanna” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); J. Steele (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and DJ Dinero (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. With Emmis Indianapolis’ WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” ever since the country outlet launched in 2005, morning talent Dave O’Brien exits, as his contract isn’t renewed. O’Brien started his Indianapolis radio career in 1996 at WRZX, later going to WNOU for two years and to WENS in 2004 ….. Jazz KUVO, Denver program and content director Nikki Swarn is appointed PD for Rocky Mountain Public Media‘s new R&B/hip-hop streaming service, “The Drop.” Swarn comments, “It is such an honor to get to serve the Colorado community through this incredible opportunity. We anticipate engaging Coloradans with an exciting blend of their favorite artists, while providing a platform for new and Colorado-based musicians as well. The audience consuming R&B and hip-hop is vast and hungry for dynamic experiences in music; we want to fill that void.” Swarn previously was Entercom Denver’s director of promotions and marketing and spent six years as Max Media Denver’s director of marketing and promotions ….. In separate fundraisers for their respective communities, two Alpha Media country-formatted properties (WFLS and KZKX) recently combined to bring in nearly $200,000. Completing its eleventh year of working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, WFLS “93.3 – Today’s Country,” Fredericksburg (Virginia) accounted for $135,479 in a two-day event hosted by the station’s morning team – Steve & Jessica. That figure broke WFLS’ previous records. Alpha Media market manager Beth Vickers states, “It is a privilege to lead a team of individuals who are passionate about helping others. Steve & Jessica were amazing hosts, pulling long hours to make it all happen. Our community and our listeners were so generous with donations – results like this make a difference.” Meanwhile, co-owned/similarly-formatted KZKX “KX-96.9,” Lincoln (Nebraska) – along with the Starlite Event Center – raised over $60,000 for American Red Cross flood relief during a one-night (3/29) benefit concert. Entertainment was provided by local bands Dylan Bloom, Bucka Ruse, and Sack of Lions. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “That night was a humbling experience as the people of Saunders County and surrounding areas – many of them flood victims themselves – came together with auction items and monetary donations to go directly to their friends, family, and neighbors. We are so blessed to have listeners like this in the KZKX family.” Severe flooding began impacting Nebraska in mid-March. The “KX-96.9” donation check was presented to the American Red Cross last Thursday (4/11).

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.

Friday, January 18, 2019

| January 18, 2019

News/Talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska Honored with NAB Crystal Heritage Award.  The Lincoln, Nebraska news/talk station will be honored at this spring’s 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas at the “We Are Broadcasters Celebration” on Tuesday, April 9.  The NAB Crystal Heritage Award recognizes stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards for exceptional year-round community service efforts.  Seven other stations have received this honor in the 32-year history of the NAB Crystal Radio Awards.  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.”

FSR’s Clay Travis Hits 300-Affiliate Mark with ‘Outkick the Coverage’ Program. The Premiere Networks and FOX Sports Radio-syndicated “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” program hits the 300-affiliate mark with the recent additions of stations including: KKSE-AM/FM, Denver; WGFX-FM, Nashville; WEEX-AM/WTKZ-AM, Allentown; and WBCN-AM/W234BY, Charlotte.  Travis is entering his third year with the network. He also recently joined FS1’s first-ever, daily gambling TV show “Lock It In” as a co-host alongside Rachel Bonnetta, “Cousin Sal” Iacono, and Todd Fuhrman.  In a joint statement, Premiere SVP sports programming Don Martin and VP sports programming Scott Shapiro say, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the growth of ‘Outkick the Coverage.’  Clay and his team have consistently set new listening records, which promises for continued momentum and a lot more success in the future.  We are excited to share many more achievements with our affiliate partners around the country.”

Inaugural iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Take Place Tonight. The first-ever iHeartRadio Podcast Awards show will take place tonight in Los Angeles and the evening’s ceremonies will be streamed live via Twitter.  Hosts for the 90-minute event will include Premiere Networks syndicated personalities Bobby Bones, Charlamagne Tha God, and Mario Lopez, as well as podcaster Holly Frey.  There are 22 categories with 17 having been voted on by listeners while the remaining five will be decided by a panel of judges.

Blass to Leave Pirates Broadcast Booth After 2019 Season. At the end this year’s baseball season, former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher and longtime play-by-play crew personality Steve Blass will retire from his role with the team.  Blass has been working with the team’s radio and television crews since 1983.  The 76-year-old Blass has been calling only home games on radio and TV since 2005.

WTOP, Washington Traffic Reporter Dave Dildine Saves Woman from Drowning.  Washington, DC traffic reporter Dave Dildine was out in last Sunday’s snowstorm taking photos in Rock Creek Park when he heard a woman struggling in the creek under one of the park’s bridges. He called out to her and told her to swim to shore.  But as he prepared to call for help on his cell phone, he saw her go under and made the decision to walk out onto the ice to try to pull her in.  The ice broke and he fell into the creek but was able to drag 27-year-old Sarah Kirkpatrick out of the water and stay with her until emergency crews arrived.  Read the whole story at WTOP’s website here.

The Battle Over the Border Wall Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18. The battle between President Trump and House Democrats over funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the related federal government shutdown.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia investigation tied with the allegations of campaign finance violations against the Trump campaign, followed by the House Democrats’ legislative agenda and the potential 2020 presidential candidates tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

SPOTLIGHT CHINA: Award-Winning Investigative Reporter Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Is the world’s most populous country, with a rich cultural history dating back thousands of years, a friend or foe to the United States?  Joshua Philipp is one of America’s most knowledgeable journalists on the subject of China and the existential threats it poses to US interests in the arenas of politics, economics, cybersecurity, and defense.  He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare and subversion.  Philipp is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  His on-the-ground investigations in 2008 onward into connections between Chinese consulates, spy networks, and organized crime circles in New York City – and more than a decade of research and investigations on this and related topics – give him unique insight into the global threat presented by today’s repressive Communist Chinese government.  Harrison and Philipp take a deep dive into the subversive ways in which China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operate both domestically and behind the scenes on the world stage giving clear insight into such lightly covered news topics as the nefarious activities of its telecommunications giant Huawei and its recently arrested CFO, Meng Wanzou, in Canada.  Harrison states, “The Epoch Times is an amazing worldwide news organization founded by Chinese-Americans as an objective counterpoint to Communist propaganda that should be on the radar of every American news/talk media host interested in the facts about the serious threat presented to US interests by our so-called ‘frenemy’ – China – and other worldwide events.”  To listen to this extremely important podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS daily newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Longtime Lansing, Michigan jock Deb Hart is retiring from the radio business and her morning drive gig with Townsquare Media’s classic rock WMMQ to pursue a career as a full-time yoga teacher.  Hart has worked in the market for decades.  She’s currently co-host of the WMMQ morning show with Joey Pants – who will continue with the station hosting mornings – and previously served with Midwest Communications’ crosstown rock WJXQ.  Her last show will be January 24…..iHeartMedia Atlanta is working with the Super Bowl Host Committee to open its iHeartRadio BoomBox Stage to activities from January 26 through February 2 during the 2019 Super Bowl LIVE week taking place at Centennial Olympic Park. The week-long stage of events will feature sets from iHeartRadio DJ’s and on-air personalities from the Atlanta cluster…..SiriusXM and legendary rock band KISS are presenting an invitation-only show for SiriusXM subscribers and VIPs on Monday, February 11 at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.  The exclusive performance will air on KISS’ exclusive SiriusXM channel, KISS Army Radio.  KISS’ performance at Whisky a Go Go will launch SiriusXM’s “The Party Continues,” a new, live series that will feature music’s top artists performing in an intimate venue for SiriusXM subscribers following music’s biggest night at the Grammy Awards…..Pictured below is Columbia Nashville star Maren Morris (center) appearing on the syndicated Ty Bentli morning show in which she discussed her newest song “GIRL” and the coming GIRL: The World Tour.  With her is Ty Bentli (left) and Chuck Wicks (right).

Friday, February 26, 2016

| February 26, 2016

AlphaAlpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.

CBS Radio LogoWFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radioBrooklyn Nets Logo flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).

hyde, coreyHyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and Entercom_Communications_logohe brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”

baldwin, stephenBaldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.”  Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will mccullough, kevinimmediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”

WGN LogoFour More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio presidentNorthwestern Wildcats and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).

walter, maryLouisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on aWKRD regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).

Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than Cumulus Media Dallastwo weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.

BTC LogoBTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.

talkersten logoPresidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26.  Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.  At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View this week’s entire chart here.

fritts, eddieBFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognitionBroadcasters Foundation of America includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.

Cumulus 2Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.

cbsradio-logoCool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles.  TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070:  news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.

union edgeOdds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”