Tag: "Maze Jackson"

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

| July 7, 2020

Nielsen to Cut 3,500 Jobs in ‘Broad-Based Optimization Plan.’ Media ratings and consumer data giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces the implementation of a “broad-based optimization plan to drive permanent cost savings and operational efficiencies, as well as to position the company for greater profitability and growth.” The company says it is “prioritizing resources to focus on key strategic initiatives, higher margin products and services, and greater efficiency” and as a result will include a global reduction in force of approximately 3,500 employees. Nielsen CEO David Kenny says, “Across Nielsen Global Media [ratings segment] and Nielsen Global Connect [consumer data segment], we are making progress on increasing our operational and financial discipline, including zero-basing our cost structure as we move toward the planned separation of Nielsen Global Connect. As discussed on our earnings call in April, we have increased our focus on platform consolidations, further automation, optimizing our global footprint, and ensuring that our resource allocation aligns with high-margin essential services. Today’s plan encompasses, accelerates, and expands on those initiatives. These restructuring actions will further expedite our transformation to a more efficient, agile, and scalable organization and are designed to drive sustained margin expansion and increased cash generation. As part of the optimization plan, we have made the difficult decision to exit selected businesses and markets and permanently reduce our workforce. While these are important actions to take, I recognize the impact they have on our people, and I am grateful for the important contributions made by these talented associates during their time at Nielsen.” The company says cash payments for the severance costs will continue into late 2021.

WVON, Chicago Morning Show Exits Over ‘Censorship’ Issue. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story about the sudden departure of urban news/talk outlet WVON, Chicago’s morning program. Maze Jackson, co-host Todd Stroger, and producer Sonia Escobar resigned from the station last week after station management ordered the program to cease criticism of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Jackson tells Feder he was instructed not to talk about the mayor or allow callers to do so and he consequently resigned because he “could not accept the censorship.” The trio are now brokering the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot on Gospel WBGX-AM. WVON is searching for a new morning show as Ernest B. Fenton handles the morning show on an interim basis.

Report: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, SiriusXM Satellite Radio is very close to a deal with E.W. Scripps to buy podcasting platform Stitcher for $300 million. Scripps paid $4.5 million for Stitcher in 2016. The piece notes that Stitcher owns podcast networks Earwolf and Stitcher Podcasts that comprise some 50 shows, including “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” and “Freakonomics Radio.” Stitcher also has deals with other podcast networks for distribution and sales via Scripps’ Midroll Media division that totals more than 250 programs.

TALKERS News Notes. Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM is producing a special version of its ongoing series “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast,” this one targeting children. The “COVID-19 Seattle: Kids Edition” was released on July 2. For this episode, Bonneville’s KIRO Radio asked young listeners to call in with questions about the coronavirus, in their own words. KIRO Radio hosts Dave Ross, Mike Lewis, Tom Tangney, John Curley, Rachel Belle, Dori Monson, Ursula Reutin, Gee Scott, Feliks Banel, and Colleen O’Brien answered these questions “with heart, humor, and the best information available.” Dr. Mollie Greves Grow from Seattle Children’s Hospital also contributed to this podcast as a local healthcare expert…..The BetR Network is partnering with Skyview Networks for network audio and affiliate sales and distribution and announces it has an affiliate agreement with Denver’s Mile High Sports. As a result, KDCO-AM/K284CI will bring sports betting programming to Denver, including select content from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network…..Public media’s KQED announces its long-running public affairs call-in radio program “Forum” is making the 10:00 am hour of the program available for public media stations across California starting July 13. The second hour of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily program will be hosted by Mina Kim, who shifts from her role as the Friday host of “Forum” and afternoon anchor for KQED news. Longtime host Michael Krasny continues to host the 9:00 am hour of the program. Kim says, “This is a moment of unprecedented change and people are hungry for meaningful dialogue about these issues. I couldn’t be more excited and honored to help bring ‘Forum’ to other communities across the state — and to bring in a wider range of voices to these conversations.”

Michael Kindhart Promoted at Premiere Networks. Affiliate sales pro Michael Kindhart is promoted from senior director of operations, affiliate sales at Premiere Networks to vice president of operations, affiliate sales. Nashville-based Kindhart will help develop strategic and operational initiatives to improve sales effectiveness and efficiency for nearly 200 of Premiere’s radio programs, services, and podcasts in this new position. Premiere EVP of affiliate sales Peter Tripi says, “Michael’s contributions to our affiliate sales division have been significant. He is constantly searching for ways to enhance our business through collaboration and by providing the best possible tools and resources to serve our affiliates and partners. This is a well-deserved promotion and I’m proud to have him on the team!”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Heightened Gun Violence, Presidential Race, John Bolton/Mary Trump Books, PPP Scrutiny, TikTok Ban, SCOTUS Electoral College Ruling, and Charlie Daniels Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). The spike in COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt states and projections for future cases; the spate of gun violence in some urban areas and the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta; the November presidential election; the book by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton and the soon-to-be released book by Mary Trump; the Trump administration releases the names of companies that benefitted from the Payroll Protection Plan; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the administration is considering banning the China-based TikTok app; the Supreme Court rules that states can bind presidential electors’ votes; and musician Charlie Daniels dies at 83 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. The daughter of Reach Media nationally syndicated morning radio personality Rickey Smiley is recovering in a Houston hospital after being shot in that city late Sunday night. AL.com reports that Aaryn Smiley was driving to a Whataburger restaurant in Houston close to midnight and was stopped at a red light when shooting between several men erupted and she was hit at least twice. She is recovering from her wounds. Meanwhile, authorities are searching for the shooter.

Friday, March 29 ,2019

| March 29, 2019

Programmer Peter Thiele Exits KARN-FM, Little Rock. Talk programming pro Peter Thiele tells TALKERS magazine he’s exited Cumulus Media’s news/talk KARN-FM, Little Rock after two years and is looking forward to his “next success story.”  He comments, “What an amazing experience.  I am profoundly grateful to the talented staff at KARN in Little Rock.  In two years, we experienced explosive, in-demo ratings growth.  I am excited for what is next.”  You can reach Thiele at: thepeterthiele@gmail.com.

WVON, Chicago Announces New PM Drive Show. Chicago media personality Cliff Kelley is putting the wraps on his afternoon drive show at Midway Broadcasting’s urban news/talk WVON today.  Chicago media reporter Robert Feder reports that the station is  bringing back former station morning personality Matt McGill to partner with attorney and community activist Kimberley Egonmwan for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program, beginning Monday (4/1).  As Feder notes, McGill quit the station in 2017 after Maze Jackson was brought in as co-host of the morning show. McGill had been hosting a show on Newsweb’s crosstown progressive talk station WCPT. Egonmwan has been serving as a contributor to WVON.

The Epoch Times Newspaper has Good Source Material for News/Talk Radio per Mueller Report Aftermath.  The aftermath of the Robert Mueller Report is currently the hottest topic on news/talk radio in America. For the past two years, The Epoch Times international newspaper – based out of New York – has been following the Donald Trump presidency from a unique and insightful perspective and working closely with radio and TV hosts in providing guests and resources of value and interest to illuminate the topic.  Now, the news organization is booking interviews for talk media with its knowledgeable editor-in-chief Jasper Fakkert to discuss the subject of Russian collusion.  According to Fakkert, “The Special Counsel investigation has concluded that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia.  Attorney General William Barr has also determined that there is no obstruction of justice case.  The news confirms reporting by The Epoch Times over the past two years that there was no evidence of collusion.”  Fakkert continues, “A lot of media outlets, for one reason or another, bought into this narrative that the president colluded with Russia to win the election… we never bought in that narrative.”  To arrange an interview with Jasper Fakkert, please call Lisa W. at 917-521-6028 or email her at lisaw@epochtimes.com.  For further material, check out the fascinating “Spygate” infographic published by The Epoch Times in October of 2018 by clicking here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that market news pro Bob Roberts is retiring from his position with Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM on April 16.  Roberts has been with the station since 2000.  He previously had worked at former, longtime news station WMAQ (now sports talk WSCR)…..Westwood One adds a new podcast to The Empow(h)er Network.  The “Mommies Tell All” podcast is hosted by The Bachelor’s Carly Waddell and Jade Roper and is billed as “an honest and hysterical take on women and motherhood.”  The show was formerly known as “Babes and Babies” and returns with new episodes and all new tell-all stories…..With the sale of WYAY-FM, Atlanta from Cumulus Media to EMF, Cumulus and the Atlanta Braves agree to move the FM play-by-play broadcasts to WNNX “Rock 100.5.”  The games are also heard on Dickey Broadcasting’s crosstown WCNN-AM “The Fan.”  Atlanta Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller says, “Rock 100.5 gives us a fantastic opportunity to bring the excitement of this young Braves baseball team to Atlanta’s favorite rock station.”…..Nevada Public Radio is being awarded a $500,000 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to be applied to its “Give Voice” Major Gift Initiative.  The grant awarded will be used to complete a critical technical upgrade to the Nevada Public Radio broadcast hub and statewide network.  President and CEO Florence Rogers says. “Nevada Public Radio delivers the Humanities ‘at scale’ without barrier to access.  This grant will help protect access and infrastructure for another generation.  On behalf of our campaign committee we are very humbled to be a recipient of NEH funding to further our mission.”

Mueller Report Aftermath Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 25-29. The aftermath of the Mueller investigation report was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s battle to take the Affordable Care Act off the books. Coming in at #3 was the unusual turn of events in the Jussie Smollett case, followed by the status of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and migrant caravans 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.

Digital Entertainment Leader Reza Izad Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most influential leaders in the digital entertainment movement, Reza Izad, is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne award-winning series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Izad is co-founder and global CEO of Studio71, a multi-platform media company that produces and distributes original entertainment programming and is the most engaged digital network on YouTube with 1,300 channels driving 11 billion views a month. Under his leadership, Studio71 has expanded globally by joining the ProSiebenSat.1 Group and taking investments from France’s leading commercial network, TF1, and Italian broadcaster Mediaset. Prior to Studio71, Izad was a partner at The Collective Management Group, the world’s largest management firm, where he led the music department and worked with artists such as Linkin Park, Kanye West, Enrique Iglesias, Slash, Counting Crows, Alanis Morissette and Michael Bolton. Previously, Izad was an agent at United Talent Agency (UTA), where he launched the firm’s music and branded entertainment divisions, working with Eminem, T-Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Prince, and more. At UTA, Izad also helped create award-winning brand integration campaigns for Fortune 500 companies such as Ammirati Puris Lintas, Kenneth Cole, Bausch & Lomb, and Loews Theatres. With Studio71 representing some of the top talent in digital, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tyler Oakley, Lilly Singh, Grace Helbig, Rhett & Link, and Roman Atwood and producing premium scripted and unscripted digital content, Izad is a proven industry leader in the growing big-time internet entertainment space. He and Michael Harrison discuss the emerging 21st century content creation, marketing, and distribution paradigm. Don’t miss this! 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 on every page of Talkers.com.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  More classic rock stations on our panel saw their weekly 6+ AQH shares go up (54%) than saw them drop or remain without change from January’s survey to February’s.  About the same percentage (55%) of classic rockers went up from February 2017 to February 2018, led by Shamrock Communications’ WZBA, Baltimore (+2.4).  In February, three classic rock stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets: Beasley Media’s WCSX, Detroit; Entercom’s KSEG, Sacramento; and Cumulus Media’s KCFX, Kansas City.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dave Hill is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Indianapolis cluster, effective Monday (4/1).  He’ll also hold the PD title for both classic rock WFBQ “Q95” and alternative WOLT “ALT 103.3.”  Hill was most recently program director for iHM’s classic rock WBGG, Miami “Big 105.9.” He says, “I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some amazing brands throughout my career and I can’t wait to get things rolling with these legendary call letters.  I look forward to working very closely with ‘The Bob & Tom Show’ and our tremendously talented team to ensure continued growth and success in Indianapolis!”…..Alpha Media Louisville names Phillip “PK” Kukawinski content director and afternoon personality on alternative WGHL “ALT 105.1.”  Cluster operations manager Ben Davis says, “Louisville is experiencing the return of an alternative station for the first time in many years and I believe Phil will have no problem cultivating and attracting new listeners.  Phil is a creative, out-of-the-box thinker who lives and breathes the lifestyle.  I’m excited to welcome him to Louisville and watch him put his unique stamp on ‘ALT 105.1.’”…..Olivia Newton-John told the Kallaway on the Rise Show on Midwest Communications‘ CHR WIFC, Wausau, Wisconsin that she’s going to auction off the leather pants and jacket that she wore for the triumphal “You’re The One That I Want” scene in the iconic film, Grease!  She broke the news in the interview that were set up through Envision Networks’ Guest Services.  She said, “I have the leather jacket and I have the leather pants and I’m going to auction them off for my cancer research center in Australia this year.  So, if there’s any millionaire out there who wants to buy his daughter the pants and jacket, I’m going to be auctioning them off.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

| August 22, 2018

Report: New Allegations of Behavior Issues at CBS RADIO.  In today’s New York Post, a story by Kevin Dugan details allegations of inappropriate language on the part of WCBS-FM jock Dan Taylor in which he is accused of using racial and sexually demeaning terms in front of former producer Craig Lenti.  The allegations by Lenti are from a diary he kept of his experiences working at the station. This comes a month after sister station WFAN, New York (along with WCBS-FM now owned by Entercom) suspended midday personality Joe Benigno while it investigates allegations of sexual harassment against him made by former sales staffer Lauren Lockwood. The Post piece also notes that six former CBS RADIO staffers have contacted the paper in the last month supporting Lockwood’s claims.  The story includes a statement on behalf of Entercom by Sard Verbinnen spokeswoman Liz Zale, who says, “We are deeply offended by this mischaracterization of our culture and work environment.  This handful of allegations from former employees of CBS Radio does not reflect Entercom’s culture or work environment.”  Read the Post piece here.

Salem Host Joe Walsh Teams with WVON’s Maze Jackson for Live Event Series Titled, ‘Black and White, Uncomfortable Conversations.’ This series of live events featuring former U.S. Representative and current Salem Radio Network and Newsmax TV personality Joe Walsh and WVON, Chicago morning personality Maze Jackson is taking place at four locations around Chicagoland. It’s called “Black and White, Uncomfortable Conversations” and will “feature authentic, uncensored dialogue with respectful, no-holds barred conversation about the issues affecting black and white men and women of all ages throughout Chicago.”  Topics such as taxes, gun violence, reparations, religion, family structure, education, “and other political topics that have been hijacked by an agenda-driven media.”  Walsh adds, “The ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’ events will help us find common ground, which too many Americans have forgotten how to do.”  Jackson comments, “I’m looking forward to having some really uncomfortable conversations on race, politics, and culture with a very unlikely partner, former Congressman Joe Walsh.  I’m as pro-Black as you can be and Joe is as conservative one can be, so when we get together, fireworks will erupt.  But after we get through the bombastic words we’ll get to the core of finding solutions to benefit us all.”  The series takes place on consecutive Saturdays in September in Bolingbrook, Wauconda, Chicago’s south side, and Lake Forest, Illinois.

KSPN, Los Angeles Moves Sedano to Afternoons; Adds Travis Rodgers to Mornings. This new lineup takes effect on September 4.  Jorge Sedano, currently part of the morning show with Keyshawn Johnson and LZ Granderson, moves to the open afternoon drive slot hosting his own program from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  “ESPNLA 710” is adding Travis Rodgers to the morning show for the newly renamed “The Morning Show with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis.”  The midday schedule remains the same with Stephen A. Smith from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and the “Mason and Ireland” show from 12:00 noon to 3:30 pm.  Sedano says, “There’s not a more exciting time to be in Los Angeles covering sports.  It’s an honor to take on the task of providing the best content possible for the city’s fans.  I’m pumped to be working with a great group both behind the scenes and on the air.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s edition of Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage, popular social media personalities Diamond and Silk, a.k.a. Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, will appear as special guests.  The African American comedy duo, whose pro-Trump social media activity on their YouTube channel “The Viewers View” has more than 180,000 subscribers.  They will also interview Savage for their upcoming documentary…..Walter M. Sterling’s “Sterling on Sunday” program – nationally syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating its one-year anniversary in national syndication. The show – billed as a mix of lifestyle, entertainment, and social conversations – airs live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET and is now heard on more than 60 affiliate stations a year after its August 19, 2017 debut…..As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, former WGN-AM, Chicago sports anchor and reporter Sam Panayotovich is coming back to the Windy City airwaves on Entercom’s sports talk WSCR “The Score” with weekly appearances on the Mike Mulligan and David Haugh morning show.  Panayotovich is a host for Las Vegas-based VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network).  He says, “Following the betting markets really changes the way you watch sports. I can’t wait to go back home for 12 minutes every Friday.”…..NPR is launching a midterm election-focused radio show called, “The Politics Show from NPR,” featuring Scott Detrow, Tamara Keith, and Asma Khalid.  It debuts September 14 and runs through November 9.  NPR VP for programming and audience development Anya Grundmann says, “We are thrilled to be expanding our platform, particularly at a time when reliable news is vitally important.  The 2018 elections will be as consequential as any in recent memory.  This show will provide comprehensive fact-based coverage that will help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box.”…..The New York State Broadcasters Association is naming ABC’s “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir its 2018 Broadcaster of the Year.  The multiple Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist has been with ABC News since 2003 and served as the anchor for the overnight program “World News Now” and as a network correspondent.  On September 2, 2014 he became the sole anchor and managing editor of ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir.”  Muir will be honored at the New York State Leadership and Hall of Fame Luncheon on October 18 at the Javits Center in New York City at a luncheon held in conjunction with the NAB Show NY….Entercom’s news/talk KNSS, Wichita is a big winner at the Kansas Association of Broadcasters annual television and radio awards.  KNSS won first place for Complete Sportscast and for Station Website.  It grabbed second place honors for Complete Newscast.

WCBS-AM, New York Unveils New Logo and News ‘Anthem.’ The still shot above shows a scene from the recording of the new news “anthem” for Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York.  The station is introducing the new music as well as the new logo seen at bottom left of the photo.  WCBS director of news and programming Tim Scheld says the new look and feel are part of the radio station’s strategy to build a brand for the next 50 years.  He states, “2017 was all about celebrating the brand that is WCBS Newsradio 880 and 2018 was all about rethinking the brand.”  Assistant program director Alex Silverman says of the new music, “We didn’t want the traditional, in-your-face, self-important news music.  We wanted a sound that was going to communicate that we are a trusted friend.” The station says that what it got was “an anthem filled with energy, percussion, and the passion with which the news is delivered on New York’s iconic news radio station.”  Check out the story and the video of the recording of the new music here.

Paul Manafort Guilty on Eight Counts, Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty, Trump-Russian Investigation, Microsoft Finds Russian Hacking of Conservatives, Rep. Hunter Indicted on Campaign Funds Misuse, Mollie Tibbetts Case Arrest, Argento/McGowan #MeToo Issue, Western Wildfires/Air Quality, NFL Pre-season and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21). Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is convicted on eight counts in fraud trial; former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to breaking campaign finance laws; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Microsoft reports discovering Russian hacking of conservative think tanks; U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted on campaign fund misuse; Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts’ alleged killer is undocumented alien; the flap over Rose McGowan’s comments about Harvey Weintstein accuser Asia Argento’s reported payoff for having sex with a minor; the wildfires in the U.S. West and the region’s poor air quality; NFL pre-season action and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on adult hits.  Some 67% of adult hits-formatted stations experienced 6+ AQH share growth from the June 2018 survey to the July survey.  Comparing ratings from July of last year to this year, about half the stations in the panel were up and the other half were down.  Five adult hits stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets with iHeartMedia’s KYOT, Phoenix; Emmis Communications’ KBPA, Austin; Midwest Communications’ WCJK, Nashville; and Entercom’s WSMW, Greensboro ranking #2 in the July 2018 PPM survey.  See the entire report here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

| July 31, 2018

Lawyers to Appear in Court Tomorrow in Alex Jones Defamation Case.  Attorney Mark Bankston – representing three of the Newtown, Connecticut families who lost children in the Sandy Hook assault in 2012 – will be in court tomorrow (8/1) along with Alex Jones attorney Mark Enoch as the two argue Enoch’s motion to dismiss the defamation case against Jones.  According to a story in the Austin American-Statesman, Enoch intends to use the Texas Citizens Participation Act (signed into law in 2011 and designed to protect citizens’ First Amendment rights) to have the case tossed.  Enoch’s argument is that the suit is an attempt to silence people with views that differ from reports in the “mainstream media.”  Bankston argues that Jones’ InfoWars platform publishes stories and videos with a reckless disregard for the truth in an attempt to get “hits” and thereby make money.  Read the American-Statesman piece here.

Charles Thomas Exits WVON, Chicago. Chicago journalist Charles Thomas 
(right) exits urban news/talk WVON where he was co-host of “The WVON Morning Show with Maze Jackson” (left).  A press release from the station notes that Thomas joined the morning show 13 months ago “with the intent of only staying a few weeks after retiring from ABC-7 following a 45-year career in journalism.”  Midway Broadcasting Corporation chair Melody Spann Cooper states, “I thanked Charles for his tremendous commitment and contribution to the station and the community.  We were honored to have him for such a short stay and look forward to assisting him in his future endeavors of building his brand in the Black media landscape.  We know there are big things on the horizon for him.”  Chicago media pro Robert Feder writes that Thomas’ exit comes on the heels of a Politico Illinois Playbook report connecting co-host Jackson to a political consultant working for the Governor Bruce Rauner re-election campaign.  But Thomas tells Feder his exit was about “getting my life back.”  Thomas says after retiring from ABC-7, he didn’t “envision getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning every day.”  The station says that Thomas’ departure is the first of several major personality changes that will be taking place before the end of the year.

Gallagher Mingles with Fans at Film Premiere.  Pictured above being photographed with a listener is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher.  He was at the Camelot Cinema in Greenville, South Carolina for the standing-room-only screening of the new Dinesh D’Souza film Death of a Nation.

TALKERS News Notes. A new deal between United Stations Radio Networks and celebrity and entertainment news website TheBlast.com results in the availability of exclusive content for affiliated radio stations.  USRN says that to kick off this new relationship, the majority of the content will be delivered as customized live reports from top producers at The Blast.   “Eventually, USRN and The Blast will expand their collaborative coverage of celebrity and entertainment news to include pre-recorded reports and feeds that allow stations to maximize the share-ability of this exclusive content.”…..Univision Deportes and SiriusXM announce the launch of the Univision Deportes Radio channel on the SiriusXM satellite service.  Spanish-language content is also available via the SiriusXM app and on the streaming web player at SiriusXM.com…..Podcast and talk show producer Joel Meyer joins pubcaster KUER, Salt Lake City – the statewide NPR affiliate – as its director of programming and promotion.  Meyer was most recently an executive producer at WNYC Studios.  Prior to that, he was an executive producer of talk programming at WBEZ Chicago, a managing producer of podcasts at Slate.com and the executive producer of Soundcheck at WNYC.

L.A. Newsman Dave Zorn Passes at 73. Longtime KNX, Los Angeles news anchor Dave Zorn died recently at a hospice in Michigan at age 73 after a battle with liver cancer.  Zorn served with the station for 25 years and for many of those years was afternoon drive anchor.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Giuliani’s CNN Interview, Manafort Trial, Religious Liberty Task Force, Child Immigrant Order, ICE vs Portland Mayor, ‘Quiet Skies’ Monitoring Program, North Korean Rocket Program, the California Wildfire, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents tied with the related Rudy Giuliani interview on CNN regarding the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian delegation; the trial of former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort; Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces creation of new “religious liberty task force”; a California judge rules on policy for authorities’ handling of immigrant children; Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents criticize Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for ordering Portland police not to assist ICE agents; the revelation of the government’s “Quiet Skies” programming monitoring airline passengers who are not on watch lists or suspected of anything; new information indicating North Korea is continuing its ICBM program; the deadly California wildfire; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and imaging pro Chris “Fish” Shatek moves from Entercom’s WKIS, Miami “Kiss Country 99.9” to the company’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “BUZ’N @ 102.9” as midday personality and imaging director, effective August 1. Shatek says, “I am so grateful to not only be back in the Twin Cities, but also back on ‘BUZ’N @ 102.9,’ a station I helped to get started. I get to work in my hometown, at a station I love, and with an incredible group of people. I couldn’t be more excited.”…..In Charlotte, morning drive co-host Meg Butterfly is exiting her full-time position at iHeartMedia’s country WKKT “96.9 The Kat” for a gig outside the radio business.  She’ll continue to pull a weekend shift and host her blog on the station’s website.  She has worked for the past nine years on the station alongside morning personality Paul Schadt…..Philly rock personality Debbi Calton is celebrating 25 years as host of the midday program on Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK.  On Friday, August 17, the station will mark the occasion with a live broadcast with Andre Gardner celebrating Debbi’s big day from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Tap 24 in Calton’s hometown of Media, Pennsylvania. Calton says her favorite aspect of her gig at WMGK are the listeners.  “I’ve formed 25-year relationships with so many of them.  We talk on the request line or see each other at concerts. Yes, we’re still going to plenty of rock concerts.”…..Programming pro Scott “Lugnut” Dwyer joins Max Broadcasting Group’s rhythmic CHR KFCO “FLO 107.1” and rhythmic AC KJHM “JAMMIN’ 101.5” in Denver as program director.  Dwyer comes to the Mile-High City after serving most recently at Ohana Media in Anchorage.

Friday, March 17, 2017

| March 17, 2017

Cumulus Media Reports 2016 Q4 and Full-Year Financials.  The company had not been hiding the fact that the news of its revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 or the whole year would not be positive, and the results were not surprising.  Cumulus Media reports its Q4 net revenue was $299.5 million – down 3% from the same period in 2015, and the full-year net revenue was $1.14 billion – a dip of 2.3% compared to all of 2015.  Separating the company’s two reportable segments – the radio station group and Westwood One – for the fourth quarter of 2016 the radio station group was up 1.3% on net revenue of $209.7 million.  However, Westwood One was down 12.3% on net revenue of $89.1 million.  For the whole of 2016, the radio station group’s net revenue was $802.3 million, an increase of 0.8%.  Westwood One’s net revenue was $336.6 million, a decrease of 8.8% from 2015.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “We entered 2016 with a singular objective: to fix the core business problems – poor culture, poor ratings and poor operational execution – which was essential to establishing a foundation on which to build improved financial results.  Throughout the year we made significant progress addressing each of these areas, most visibly in ratings growth where we’ve outperformed the industry for 15 straight months.  In fact, with two back-to-back quarters of revenue share increases on the station side, a trend which continued through January, we have early evidence that, despite a tough industry environment, our foundational work is beginning to translate into improved financial performance.”

Legendary WSB-AM, Atlanta Celebrates 95 Years On Air.  It was on the Ides of March in 1922 that WSB-AM began broadcasting to the citizens of North Georgia.  On Wednesday, Cox Media Group celebrated the anniversary.  WSB manager of program operations and community affairs Condace Pressley states, “In 1922, WSB was licensed to deliver weather reports.  Today, delivery of accurate and dependable news, weather and traffic remains our calling card, but this station and its people are so much more.  Service to the Atlanta community is in WSB’s DNA.”  Station director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs adds, “The WSB brand of local news, weather and traffic has grown from being on AM only to now serving north Georgia on FM, mobile, and digital.  It all boils down to our slogan – Depend On It!”  See a cool presentation of WSB’s 95-year history here.

WVON, Chicago Adds Maze Jackson to the Matt McGill Morning Show.  Local political commentator and strategist Maze Jackson is joining Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s morning program, the “Matt McGill Morning Show,” on WVON, Chicago, effective April 3.  The station says this move is being made to secure WVON’s position as a contributing voice in the upcoming gubernatorial and mayoral elections, in addition to increasing the station’s overall rankings.  McGill has been solo host of the morning show on WVON for the past six years – a role in which he’ll continue.  Jackson joins the show after contributing for the past two years as a weekly commentator and guest host.  WVON says, “Jackson has a diverse array of experience in the worlds of business, politics, and community engagement.  Jackson spent over 20 years lobbying for high profile clients, creating community-based solutions and driving the discussions that shape impactful policies as former executive director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.”

TALKERS Magazine Publisher Michael Harrison Joins WPHT, Philly’s Rich Zeoli for His New Podcast.  At CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is launching a new podcast that features content not heard on the WPHT airwaves.  TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison joined Zeoli for his inaugural show.  In addition to addressing such topics as the Trump Administration’s impact on news/talk radio and the influence of politics on talk radio, the two delved into “inside” radio subjects including the evolution of the talk radio format, changing media technology, and the public’s evolving media habits.  Listen to it here.

Desert Broadcasters Brings Palm Springs AMs Back to Life; KGX Branded ‘Real Talk.’  The two Palm Springs signals – KPSI-AM 920 and KWXY-AM 1340 – went dark last August after longtime owners Rozene and Ric Supple decided to exit the radio business.  Enter Garry Wing and Desert Broadcasters who acquired the stations and just put KPSI – now KGX “Real Talk” – and KWXY back on the air.  KWXY is a soft AC.  The Desert Sun reports that Wing wants to create a talk station with less political vitriol (and less “fake outrage”).  Radio America personality Chad Benson’s show is featured on the station.  Wing says the station will air a combination of local and national talk shows.  Both stations occupy the early 1960s-era broadcast facility pictured in the photo here, taken from the Desert Sun’s video report.

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘SmartAudio’ Advertising Product at ‘SoundFront.’  At Wednesday’s client-focused “SoundFront” up front event, iHeartMedia introduced its SmartAudio digital data advertising product, now a part of the programmatic solution SoundPoint.  iHeartMedia says SmartAudio goes farther in leveraging the power of SoundPoint to help advertisers evaluate, plan and buy broadcast radio, enabling them to build innovative campaigns that target key audience segments.  iHeartMedia president of national sales, marketing and partnerships Tim Castelli says, “We’ve been testing SmartAudio with some of the top brands and we’re already seeing additional impact for those using it.  They’re able to leverage the product’s flexibility to decide which specific ad to run based on something as simple as whether the local sports team won or lost last night’s game…Industry response to our SoundPoint platform has been so well received that we’re now unveiling SmartAudio which allows audience segmenting and dynamic creative capabilities all in one planning and buying tool.”

TALKERS News Notes. Public radio outlet WBEZ, Chicago is debuting a new podcast series called, “Written Inside: Stories About Prison Cells.”  The series consists of essays by inmates at Illinois’ Stateville Correctional Center about their prison cells – shedding light on the everyday experience of incarceration.  The series was the idea of award-winning, Chicago-based author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz.  He began working with the inmates through Northwestern University colleague Jennifer Lackey, who invited him to speak to a class she taught at the correctional center.  Kotlowitz asked the 15 male inmates facing long sentences to complete a writing exercise describing their cells.  He recognized the potential each story possessed to reveal the realities of life in prison…..“Motley Fool Money” host Chris Hill (left) is pictured here with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin (right) recording a segment for Hill’s program at SXSW in Austin, Texas earlier this week.  Hill says, “We talked about the scene in Austin, what the major entertainment companies are doing to lure audience, Apple’s foray into original programming, VR in movies and a lot more.”

Trump Travel Ban Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 13-17.  The second travel ban order by President Donald Trump and its block issued by a Hawaii judge was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump Administration budget cuts.  Coming in at #3 was the interest rate hike by the Fed, followed by the GOP health care plan at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2017.  The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces its class of inductees for 2017.  They include: Johnny Dowd/Jaybeau Jones from “JB 105,” Providence; French-language broadcaster and current WNRI partner Roger Laliberte; WHJJ and WPRO personality Myrna Lamb; current WPRO-AM program director Tony Mascaro; former RAB SVP and Rhode Island radio manager Dick Rakovan; and former WICE personality Frank Kingston Smith.  Also the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State by John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores, and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – will go to Mowry Lowe –a pioneering New England newscaster, gifted announcer and premier radio executive.  The Station of the Year Award will be presented to iHeartMedia Providence to commemorate a successful multi-station food drive to feed the hungry in Rhode Island.  The Legacy Station of the Year award recognizes top 40 WICE-AM.  A reunion with some of the station’s legendary Hall of Fame DJs, staff and listeners is planned.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Appears on WJR, Detroit’s Paul W. Smith Show.  This morning’s WJR, Detroit live broadcast of the Paul W. Smith St. Patrick’s Day show was not the first appearance on the station by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  He’s been a guest on the show before.  Pai (left) is pictured here with Smith (right) on stage at The Cube Theatre inside the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

PodcastOne Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz Guests on Harrison Podcast. The executive chairman of PodcastOne and noted industry pioneer, Norm Pattiz joins TALKERS founder Michael Harrison for an in-depth conversation about the general state of radio, podcasting and audio media on this week’s installment of the award-winning series, “Up Close and Far Out.” The compelling dialogue was recorded this past Friday, inspired by the Thursday release (3/9) of the annual Edison Research/Triton Digital 2017 Infinite Dial Study. Pattiz sums up his impression of the study as follows, “I was very encouraged relative to the audio medium as a whole by the information that came from the study. There’s good news in it for almost everybody that’s in the audio space.” Pattiz and Harrison cover a lot of ground touching upon advertising trends, the evolution of audience measurement metrics, in-car listening habits and much more in this conversation that is a must-listen for radio and audio media professionals. 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.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Imaging, voiceover and production firm Benztown announces it has brought Katrina Woolverton, J.D., LL.M, aboard to serve in the newly created position of general counsel…..On Monday (3/20), WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” is hosting Warner Bros. Records recording artist Bebe Rexha as its guest to host a cooking demonstration at the brand new CBS RADIO Chicago Culinary Kitchen.  Rexha will show off her culinary skills while being interviewed by “B96” morning show hosts J Niice, Showbiz Shelly and Producer Gabe.  The segment will take place in front of a live studio audience made up of about 20 station contest winners who also get tickets to Rexha’s concert that evening at the Metro theater.

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