Tag: "Michael Castner"

Friday, February 28, 2020

| February 28, 2020

iHeartMedia Posts Flat 2019 Q4 Revenue Figure; Full Year Revenue Up 2%. The financial data for iHeartMedia is a bit complex as the result of the company exiting bankruptcy protection in May of 2019.  But revenue of $1.03 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, while flat compared to Q4 2018, was up 4.3% excluding political ad dollars.  For the full year of 2019, revenue was $3.7 billion, up 2.0% year-over-year and up 4.2%, excluding political revenue.  The company reports that digital revenue in the fourth quarter was $112.5 million – up 33.6% from the fourth quarter of 2018.  For the full year, digital revenue was $376 million, an increase of 32.2% over the full year of 2018.  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler states, “Our financial performance in 2019 was underpinned by the reach and resilience of our traditional business, profitable growth in our other platforms – including our digital businesses and proactive improvement of our capital structure.  Through our innovation and thought leadership in areas like podcasting and our SmartAudio suite of targeting, analysis and attribution services for advertisers, we are at the forefront of driving the audio revolution.  We will continue to work to build long-term shareholder value by maximizing our free cash flow and de-leveraging our balance sheet.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news.  Coming off the Holiday 2019 survey 88% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up.  Top performers here included Entercom’s KYW, Philadelphia (+1.4) and KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+0.7).  However, comparing January 2019 to January 2020, 70% of all-news stations were down, with Entercom’s WWJ, Detroit leading that group and absorbing a hit of -3.2 shares and dropping from the #1 rank in the market in January 2019 to #11 this year.  On the positive side, the company’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was up 1.4 shares to post an 8.4 share and regain the #1 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston was 0.7 shares better than the year before and rose to claim the #3 rank in January.  KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the only all-news station to rank #1 in January.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington ranked #2 in the January 2020 survey, despite falling three full shares from January 2019.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled “Brother, Can You Spare a Face Mask?” looks back at this past week of February 24-28, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Tom Sullivan; talk show host, KFBK, Sacramento/Talk Media NetworkKen Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; Lee Abrams, consultant, MediaVisionDeborah Norville, anchor, “Inside Edition;” Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, Scamicide.com; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. See the full story below.

‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ Now Available in Syndication via Talk Media Network.  TALKERS is pleased to announce it has entered a strategic partnership with independent broadcasting firm Talk Media Network for the syndication and distribution of its weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.”  The show, hosted by Michael Harrison, was launched in May 2019 on iHeartRadio’s WONK-FM in Washington, DC where it airs Fridays at 6:00 pm.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is a fast-paced roundup of the hottest news/talk media stories tracked by TALKERS and is described as “a weekly overview of the national conversation.”  Each installment features Harrison in conversation with several talk media hosts, pundits and experts from around the country representing a variety of popular ideologies. The show opens with a riveting countdown of the week’s most-discussed items with TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey.  Since its launch, several proactive radio stations around the country inquired about the show’s availability to which TALKERS complied – as best it could – on a market exclusive basis. According to Harrison, “We’re delighted that, in addition to our flagship WONK, excellent facilities such as WRKO, KSCO, WVOX, KFNX, KBDT, KQSP, KBKW, WIQO, WGMN, and the Virginia Talk Radio Network among others showed enough interest in the program during its developmental phase to request it for their rosters before it was even officially available for national distribution.”  Harrison continues, “However, we are not a syndication company, nor have any intention of becoming one, and it just became too unwieldy to service more stations efficiently, so we began looking for an appropriate network partner. Talk Media Network is a perfect fit.  TMN is moderately sized, independent, and run by one of the brightest young executives in the network business, Josh Leng.”  Leng states, “We’re honored TALKERS has entrusted the syndication and growth of ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ with Talk Media Network.  It is a pleasure to be working with a professional of Michael’s stature who has dedicated so much of his career to the betterment of the radio industry.”  Leng continues, “What program directors will notice immediately when they listen to ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap,’ is the amount of preparation that goes into each and every episode.  It is amazing how much compelling content is packed into one hour!  Combine that with the ‘best in the business’ talk radio hosts who contribute to Michael’s timely and topical news discussions, and you have an on-air product that features a great group of broadcasters who bring their ‘A’ game for the audience to enjoy.”  Stations interested in affiliating with “The Michael Harrison Wrap” should visit talkmedianetwork.com for more information, and can call Talk Media Network at (616) 884-8616.

TALKERS News Notes. On Super Tuesday (3/4), FOX News Radio is offering affiliates live national network coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET anchored by national correspondent Jared Halpern, with key insights from FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters around the country.  FNR is also offering hourly “Democracy 2020” updates on Amazon’s smart speaker.  FOX News Podcasts is presenting special editions of the daily morning podcast “FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Bret Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What” with Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt.  Additionally, FOXNews.com will carry multiple livestreams from candidate headquarters across the country…..iHeartMedia’s NBC News Radio brings talk and news radio pro Michael Castner aboard to serve as national news anchor.  Castner was most recently morning drive personality at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas…..iHeartMedia announces it is presenting a new companion podcast for the three-part Hulu series “Your Attention Please” that celebrates the achievements and creativity of Black visionaries.  The “Your Attention Please” podcast is using this medium to continue the conversation past Black History Month, diving deeper into the stories that were highlighted in the show.  The first guests in the series are Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, founders of MAI (Movement Art Is).

The Coronavirus, the Stock Market, and the Economy Top News/Talk Stories for the Week of February 24-28. The status of the coronavirus epidemic, its effect on the world’s financial markets and the global economy came together to make up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the presidential race and this week’s Democratic debate in Charleston, SC.  Coming in at #3 was healthcare reform, climate change, and race relations, followed by the deadly Milwaukee brewery shooting and gun control 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.

Happy Retirement to Pete Spriggs. Current and former Cox Media Group Atlanta staffers gathered last night (2/27) for a retirement bash for WSB-AM/WSBB-FM program director Pete Spriggs who is leaving the company after 27 years with Cox and 19 years at WSB.  Above right is a group shot that includes such guests as Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie, WSB VP/market manager Rob Babin, WSB legend Neal Boortz, syndicated star Clark Howard, and Cox DC bureau reporter Jamie Dupree.  Above left is (from l-r) Spriggs, consultant and former WSB PD Greg Moceri, and incoming program director Drew Anderssen.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A surprise move in national syndication as Ty Bentli leaves his eponymous, Westwood One morning country radio show for an unnamed gig outside of the radio biz.  For now, co-hosts Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ” Jenkins will handle hosting duties.  The Nashville-based show has undergone numerous changes over the past few years.  Blair Garner was the original host when it was called “America’s Morning Show.”  Then it was “Ty, Kelly, and Chuck” with Kelly Ford in the mix and, after her departure in late 2018 (she’s now hosting AMs on Entercom‘s WNSH, New York), was renamed the “Ty Bentli Show.”  TJ joined the program last spring…..A big shakeup at Entercom’s Los Angeles cluster as longtime alternative KROQ program director (and SVP of programming) Kevin Weatherly exits.  Taking over at KROQ is Mike Kaplan, who adds brand manager duties at the station in addition to his alternative format captain position and brand manager post at WNYL, New York “ALT 92.3.”  At the same time, Ralph Stewart is handed the brand manager keys for adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM.”  He’s been operations manager for the station in addition to his brand manager role at urban contemporary KTWV “94.7 The Wave.”  Finally, KRTH “K-Earth 101” brand manager Chris Ebbott and CHR KAMP-FM music director and afternoon host Yesi Ortiz will serve as interim programming leaders for “97.1 AMP Radio” while a national search is conducted.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Mike’s name is synonymous with alternative music and I’m delighted to welcome him back to Los Angeles.  Along with Ralph, Chris, and Yesi, this dynamic team will usher in the future of our brands in this important music market.  I’d like to thank Kevin for his years of dedicated contributions to our premier collection of brands and our company.  He has certainly made his mark here and we wish him the absolute best in his new role.”…..Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo has entered into a strategic alliance with Burlington, Ontario-based Byrnes Communications “to serve radio listeners in Buffalo and Southern Ontario.”  Shula says, “I am very excited to add ‘MORE 101.1FM’ (adult hits CFLZ, Fort Erie) and ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ (hot AC CJED, Niagara Falls) to our radio station portfolio. ‘MORE 101.1FM’ has a very large 50,000-watt regional signal that barrels though Buffalo and Southern Ontario.  The music on the station are the ‘biggest hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s’ which target listeners in the 35-64-year-old age group.  ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ plays ‘Todays Best Hits.’ aiming to please women 25-54 years old… With this cluster of radio stations, it increases our potential to reach listeners of every age group and attract more advertisers who can pick and choose which station is appropriate for their advertising needs.”…..Pictured below is the new “Nikki and Laura” morning show at NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5” on its first live remote at Le Peep restaurant.  From left to right are: Nikki Oswald, station program director Jay Michaels, and Laura Blenkush.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

| October 10, 2019

KXNT, Las Vegas Revamps Mornings; Glenn Beck and Alan Stock Join Daily Program Schedule. The morning drive programming at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas is now officially comprised of two hours of the Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck program – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am – followed by the local, one-hour “Vegas @ 8” show, hosted by longtime Sin City talk radio host Alan Stock.  Talk host Michael Castner exited the KXNT morning show back in June.  Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney says, “We are excited to bring Glenn to KXNT and add his entertaining and engaging voice to our all-star lineup of programs.  Our ongoing commitment to bringing Las Vegas and the Valley the best in talk programming will be strengthened by this partnership.”

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 September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  Fifty percent of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go down from the August survey to the September survey while just 31% were up (19% were flat).  Year-over-year, 56% of all-news stations were down, while just 38% improved from 2018 to 2019.  There were two all-news stations that ranked #1 in their respective markets in the September survey – Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

WGY, Albany Unveils Season Two of ‘Upstate Unsolved’ True Crime Podcast. Albany news/talk WGY-AM/FM “News Radio 810 AM & 103.1 FM” announces the season two debut of its iHeartRadio Original true crime podcast, “Upstate Unsolved,” hosted by WGY reporter Phoebe LaFave.  The iHeartMedia station says season two launches in partnership with the Cold Case Analysis Center at the College of St. Rose and investigates the unsolved murders of Catherine ‘Kate’ Blackburn in 1964 and Ruth Whitman in 1959.  With the support of the Albany Police Department and the Colonie Police Department, WGY’s “Upstate Unsolved” brings these cold cases into the spotlight in hopes of finding justice for these women.  LaFave adds, “It’s our goal to bring these cold cases out from the shadows because, although time is running out, it’s still possible that someone knows something that can solve one or both of these murders.  Everyone deserves to have their truths come to light and I hope season two of ‘Upstate Unsolved’ can help shine some light on the untimely deaths of these women.”  In March of 2019, the first season of “Upstate Unsolved” premiered focusing on Suzanne Lyall, a Ballston Spa native and University of Albany student who went missing on March 2, 1998.

Rush Limbaugh Show to Hold Sixth Annual Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway. In honor of Veteran’s Day, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh program is presenting the sixth annual Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway in which all active and veteran military service members are eligible to enter for a chance to win a Mahindra 1000 Gas Standard utility vehicle with roof and windshield.  Entries are being accepted for the utility vehicle giveaway through November 10.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on November 11, 2019. Mahindra Ag North America president and CEO Viren Popli says, “We appreciate the contribution of our military to their communities, the nation and this world.  Mahindra’s core values include making a difference in the communities where we work and live.  Our military men and women exemplify this value and we are pleased to partner with Rush Limbaugh and his listeners to show our support and gratitude for their service.”

Goldberg Named Director of News Programming for ABC Audio. There are management changes at ABC Audio as ABC News Radio midday anchor Scott Goldberg is promoted to director of news programming for ABC Audio, effective October 14.  In a memo to staff, ABC Audio VP/GM Stacia Deshishku says, “Scott is a brilliant journalist with a trusted editorial voice who’s been recognized across the industry for his innovative storytelling.  Just this year he won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting, his third individual Murrow since joining the Audio department.  He is intimately familiar with how we find and tell stories here at ABC News Radio and I’m excited for the new ideas that he will bring to our division – which he hasn’t been shy about sharing.”  ABC is seeking a new midday news anchor.  At the same time, Jon Newman is now ABC News Radio’s managing editor in which he’ll continue to lead the newsroom.  Tara Gimbel is named deputy managing editor.  These changes come more than three months after Andrew Kalb exited the executive director of programming and news coverage position.  He was also executive producer of ABC’s “Start Here” podcast.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talker Chris Carlin won’t be filling in on WEPN, New York on the Michael Kay show after all – at least until the New Year.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported that the former WFAN, New York host – who exited the early afternoon show last month – would be sitting in for Peter Rosenberg on WEPN with Kay while Rosenberg was out for the Jewish holidays.  But, according to Neil Best at Newsday, as Carlin went on the air with Kay on Wednesday (10/9), ESPN got a call from Entercom notifying them that if Carlin stayed on for two hours, he risked violating his contract and not getting paid through the end of the year.  He left after 30 minutes as a “guest.”…..ESPN senior writer and TV/radio commentator Mina Kimes is hosting the new “ESPN Daily” podcast set to debut on October 21.  ESPN says “ESPN Daily” will “take a deep dive into a specific story in sports, using ESPN’s unmatched journalistic resources and deep roster of reporters, producers and commentators.”  With ESPN since 2014, Kimes regularly appears on multiple television programs, including the TV simulcast of radio’s “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “Highly Questionable,” “Around the Horn,” “SportsCenter” and “Outside the Lines.”…..At SB Nation Radio, Basketball Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes returns to host the weekly “In the Post” show.  Hayes and co-host Alex Gold will present news and interviews from the college and pro basketball worlds.  The program debuts on Saturday, October 19 at 7:00 am ET…..Actor Tommy Lenk debuts a new podcast called, “Trashcast,” on the Ladygang Network on PodcastOne.  The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Rock of Ages” star says, “Celebs bring me their prized possessions and items that no longer ‘spark joy,’ and I try to figure out what’s trash and what’s treasure!  I’m like a totally unqualified Marie Kondo, with none of the discipline and a very shoddy work ethic.”…..Also from PodcastOne, Brian Deegan – the most decorated professional freestyle motocross rider in X Games history – hosts “The Deegans.”  PodcastOne says, “Each week, the Deegans give listeners an all-access pass to the world of racing, parenting, business, sponsorships and health.  In addition, they conduct interviews with the top talent from the world of moto-sports and share their personal goals and insights into how the family stays ahead of the pack.”…..Blumhouse and iHeartMedia announce a strategic partnership to produce a series of fictional podcasts for potential, future film and television development.  The two companies will collaborate to develop and produce scripted podcasts in the horror genre, ranging from suspenseful thrillers and murder mysteries to science fiction audio-plays.  The first podcast in the series is set to launch early next year and will be distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network.  iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “We think fiction is one of the next big genres in podcasting, tapping into the incredible imaginative power we all have – the theater of the mind – and so we couldn’t be more excited to bring this slate of shows into the world, starting with ‘The Mantawauk Caves.’”…..iHeartMedia San Francisco launches a new iHeartRadio Original podcast titled, “CEO Unplugged,” hosted by Carolyn McArdle from KISQ-FM “98.1 The Breeze” and Sandy Stec and Marcus from KIOI-FM “STAR 101.3.”  “CEO Unplugged” highlights Bay Area trailblazers, disruptors, forward-thinking leaders, and philanthropists who set the stage for success and growth and who exemplify the connection between community and business.  Featured podcast guests include Kara Goldin, CEO of Hint Inc.; Bentley Hall, CEO of Good Eggs; Amy Errett, CEO of Madison Reed; Randy Hetrick, CEO of TRX; Paul A. King, CEO of Stanford Children’s Center; Ajay Prakash, CEO of Rinse.com; Nancy McKenney, CEO of Marin Humane; and James Reinhart, CEO of ThredUp.com…..C13Originals is presenting a bonus episode of “Gangster Capitalism” to look at the college admissions scandal.  The episode offers a look at where we are today in “Operation Varsity Blues” with legal analysis of Felicity Huffman’s sentence, re-enactments of wiretapped calls and emails between William “Rick” Singer and parents (including Lori Loughlin), and a look at the con man traits of the scandal mastermind Singer.

Impeachment Inquiry-FOX News Poll, U.S. Syria Policy, 2020 Presidential Race, Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill Book, Ellen DeGeneres-George Bush Flap, U.S.-China Trade Talks, and NBA-China Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump, his refusal to cooperate, and the latest FOX News poll showing 51% of voters a for impeachment; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria and the fate of Kurdish U.S. allies; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and rumors Republican Senator Mitt Romney is considering challenging Trump in the primary; the controversy surrounding the new Ronan Farrow book Catch and Kill that reveals new rape allegations against Matt Lauer; the social media response to Ellen DeGeneres watching Dallas Cowboys game with President George Bush; the status of U.S.-China trade talks, and the NBA’s relationship with China after the Houston Rockets’ GM’s pro-Hong Kong protestors comments 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. Kansas City alternative KCJK-FM tweaks its format to debut a new, “rockternative” format as “105.1 The X.”  The Cumulus Media station is billed as “the natural rock blend of alternative and active rock formats” featuring artists such as: Tool, Shinedown, The Black Keys, Disturbed, The White Stripes, Motley Crue, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and “many other artists across generations.”  The weekday programming lineup features “The Woody Show” in mornings, Joel Weiss in middays, followed by new arrival Cassiday Proctor in afternoon drive.  Proctor was most recently afternoon personality at Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH, St. Louis “106.5 The Arch.”…..Country WRTB-FM, Rockford, Illinois “95.3 The Bull” APD Gordon Mays is promoted to brand manager for the station.  He takes over for Steve Summers, who is still the station’s morning show host but becomes the brand manager for sister adult hits WXRX-HD2…..iHeartMedia country WDRM-FM, Huntsville adds Brent “Dingo” Crank to the “Dan and Josie Morning Show,” with Dan McClain and Josie Lane.  Cranks was most recently morning host at SummitMedia’s WQNU-FM, Louisville.  iHeartMedia Huntsville SVP of programming Erich West says, “Dan and Josie have been dominating this market for years, but to add a new element like Dingo to the show puts us in a position to grow the WDRM morning show.  I know listeners will enjoy Dingo’s upbeat energy and chemistry that he has with Dan and Josie.”…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the third annual iHeartRadio “ALTer EGO Presented by Capital One” show at the Forum in Los Angeles on January 18.  The alternative rock show will feature: Billie Eilish, The Black Keys, blink-182, The Lumineers, Rex Orange County, and SHAED.  The show will livestream exclusively on LiveXLive.com and be broadcast on 70 alternative and rock iHeartRadio stations.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

| June 11, 2019

Cumulus Media Announces Offer of $300 Million in Senior Secured First-Lien Notes. This Issue of notes is a private offering made only to “persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.”  The new offering is $300 million in Cumulus Media New Holdings, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cumulus Media, in aggregate principal amount of senior secured first-lien notes due 2026.  Cumulus reports that it expects to use the net proceeds of the offering to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.

Keith Memloy Appointed PD for WDBO-FM and ‘ESPN 580.’ Rising from assistant program director at Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando to PD for that and sister sports talker WDBO-AM “ESPN 580” is Keith Memoly.  CMG Orlando director of programming operations Steve Stewart says, “Keith brings a diverse amount of experience and passion to his role.  I look forward to seeing him and the WDBO team help shape the future of Orlando’s iconic radio brand.”  Memoly started his career with CMG in 2010 as the marketing director for WPYO, WCFB, and WMMO in Orlando.  In 2017, he was promoted to assistant program director at WDBO.  He says, “I’m beyond thrilled for the opportunity to lead an amazing, award-winning team of talent that is the fabric of the ‘News 96.5’ and ‘ESPN 580’ brands.  WDBO is a legendary brand in the industry and I would like to thank Jason Meder, Steve Stewart and Tim Clarke for believing and entrusting in me and my leadership.”

Round One of May PPMs Released.  The first round of Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey results is being released, starting with 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations hereTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from this round of ratings beginning tomorrow (6/12).

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Talk Host David Bellavia to Receive Medal of Honor. Buffalo talk radio host and decorated Iraq War veteran David Bellavia is being presented with the Medal of Honor by President Trump in a ceremony to take place on June 25 at the White House.  Bellavia co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Tom Bauerle on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo.  He’s being presented with the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army.”  You can read the account of what happened in Fallujah, Iraq on November 10, 2004 and Bellavia’s actions at the White House site here. In a story on the WBEN website, Bellavia is quoted saying, “There’s so much love on the battlefield, and you really do care.  You care for your hometown, you care for your country, you care for your friends, but that’s something that separates us from all the other enemies we fight…we love what we do and we love who we are protecting.”

Michael Castner Out at Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas.  Talk and news radio pro Michael Castner has exited his role as morning drive host at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas.  Castner’s previous experience includes service at iHeartMedia’s WRNO-FM, New Orleans and KEX-AM, Portland, as well as a stint with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network.  Castner says he’s happy to re-locate and is also available for fill-in work.  He can be reached at michael@michaelcastner.com.

TEGNA Doubles Radio Holdings with Dispatch Broadcast Group Acquisition. The television-centric company TEGNA Inc. owns adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-AM in San Diego in addition to its 49 television stations.  TEGNA has just entered into a definitive agreement with the Dispatch Broadcast Group to acquire two television stations – WTHR-TV, Indianapolis and WBNS-TV, Columbus for $535 million in cash.  That deal also includes Dispatch’s two sports talk radio stations in Columbus – WBNS-FM and WBNS-AM – and that would give TEGNA four radio properties.  In a press release announcing the agreement, TEGNA says of the sports talk duo, “WBNS Radio is Ohio’s sports destination.  97.1 is the flagship home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets, and teams across the state and features popular shows and podcasts including ‘Bishop and Laurinaitis,’ ‘Carpenter & Rothman,’ ‘Common Man & T-Bone,’ and ‘The Buckeye Show.’  1460 AM is the flagship station of Ohio State (OSBI) athletics and the home of ESPN Radio in Columbus.”

ABC Radio Ups Stacia Philips Deshishku to VP/GM. The “interim” is removed from Stacia Philips Deshishku’s title as she becomes vice president and general manager of ABC Radio in which she’ll oversee the company’s audio businesses – from traditional terrestrial radio serving more than 1,650 stations nationwide to podcasts and digital audio.  She had been serving as deputy bureau chief for Washington prior to being asked to be interim leader two months ago.  ABC News president James Goldston says, “Stacia is a terrific mentor, providing wise and candid counsel to all, including me.  She helped successfully transform the Washington bureau and was instrumental in ensuring it maintained its competitive edge and high standards in this non-stop news cycle.”

Chris Moreau Named Market Manager for Cumulus Green Bay. Radio sales and management pro Chris Moreau is promoted from his director of sales post with Cumulus Media Appleton/Oshkosh to vice president and market manager for the company’s Green Bay station group that includes: sports talk WDUZ-AM/FM, country WPCK-FM, hot AC WQLH-FM, classic rock WKRU-FM, and classic hits WOGB-FM.  He’s previously served as business development/account manager for Journal Broadcast Group/E.W. Scripps, vice president/general manager for Bliss Communications in Racine, Wisconsin, and more.

TALKERS News Notes. The San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated “Joe Pags Show” adds new affiliate stations KSEV-AM, Houston and WLOB, Portland to its roster.  “The Joe Pags Show” is syndicated by Compass Media Networks…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP News in Washington, D.C. and PodcastOne have partnered to produce a new, true-crime podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” that details the horrific events that led to a D.C. power couple, their 10-year-old son and housekeeper being held hostage, tortured and brutally murdered inside their own home in May of 2015.  Daron Wint was found guilty of the crimes – known as the DC Mansion Murders – in 2018…..FOX Sports is presenting multiplatform coverage of the 119th U.S. Open Championship.  FOX Sports Radio has on-site coverage from Pebble Beach Golf Links on Thursday and Friday (6/13-14) via “The Doug Gottlieb Show” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm while FOX Sports Radio news anchor Dan Beyer reports live from the course…..CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent and “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan is serving as the keynote speaker of KYW Newsradio’s “Women’s Achievement Awards 2019,” being held at Loews Philadelphia Hotel on June 27.  This is the 10th annual edition of the awards from the Entercom all-news station that serve to celebrate women making a positive impact on the Philadelphia region.  This year’s event will honor the accomplishments of five exceptional women, all under the age of 40, who were nominated by KYW Newsradio listeners. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We are thrilled to have a journalist as insightful and respected as Margaret on KYW Newsradio every week and honored to have her share her experience and perspective at our event. She embodies what the ‘Women’s Achievement Awards’ stand for and I look forward to her sharing a special evening with our deserving honorees.”

Sterling Swoons Over Swag Bag.  Nationally syndicated Westwood One personality Walter M. Sterling was so impressed with the quality of items in the Talkers 2019 convention “goodie bag” that he devoted a segment of this past weekend’s “Sterling on Sunday” show to talking about it.  Check it out here.

2020 Presidential Race, Trump Impeachment Talk, Southern Border Issues/Mexico Tariffs Threat, U.S.-China Trade War, and Big Papi Shot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10).  The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Democrats’ talk of beginning impeachment proceedings against the president; the immigration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the threat of tariffs on Mexican exports; the U.S.-China trade war and the looming G20 summit in Japan; retired Red Sox star David Ortiz is shot in a bar in the Dominican Republic 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. Motor City urban contemporary WDMK-FM is being sold by Urban One to Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. for $13.5 million in a deal that Beasley expects “to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow without materially altering the Company’s leverage.  Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.”  Beasley currently operates three stations in the Detroit market: rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX, and rhythmic oldies WMGC. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “The accretive acquisition of WDMK-FM significantly enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit.  Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural centers, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists, employment and economic activity.  We entered the Detroit market in late 2016 and have consistently improved the operating results of the three stations we acquired, and we believe the proposed transaction is a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders.  The addition of WDMK-FM will mark further progress toward our goal of capturing 30% revenue share in each of our markets while delivering valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement.”…..Entercom names Kevin Callahan program director for country simulcast KFRG-FM/KXFG-FM, Riverside “K-FROG.”  He says, “I’m honored to be afforded the opportunity to expand my role with Entercom in the Riverside market.  I’ve been fortunate to oversee programming efforts for KSON and I look forward to taking ‘K-FROG’ to new heights in the next chapter of my career.”  Callahan now oversees programming efforts for all Entercom Southern California country stations.  He continues in his role as program operations manager for sister stations KSON, sports talk KWFN “97.3 The Fan,” alternative KBZT-FM “ALT 949,” adult contemporary KYXY-FM, and classic hits KXSN-FM “Sunny 98.1” in San Diego…..Westwood One announces that Nashville-based personality Elaina Smith is re-branding her original podcast, “Breaking Thru With Elaina.”  It was previously titled, “Women Want to Hear Women with Elaina Smith.”  The program returned with new stories from female artists breaking through the music industry on June 9 on The Empow(h)er Podcast Network on Westwood One. Smith won a 2019 Gracie Award for the first season of the show.  She says, “I’ve been itching to get season two going all year long.  I’m so thankful to everyone for being so patient as I worked on launching my new radio show, ‘With Elaina.’  Now that it is off the ground, it’s time to keep this conversation going, and with a new name!”

Friday, December 16, 2016

| December 16, 2016

susan-karisHubbard Radio Phoenix Names Karis VP/Sales. It marks a return to the day-to-day radio business for Susan Karis, who is appointed vice president of sales for Hubbard Radio Phoenix. She has spent the last nearly four years as group publisher of Cities West Publications and will begin her new duties in several weeks. Hubbard Radio Phoenix market manager Trip Reeb comments, “Having someone of Susan’s stature and background join our cluster and company is an incredible opportunity.” Karis remarks, “Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along that you just know is right – joining Hubbard Radio Phoenix is one of them. I am excited to come back to radio with Trip and his team, and to become part of Hubbard Radio.” For seven years, Karis was Phoenix-based executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia (Clear Channel); one year as senior vice president of operations; and six years as market manager/director of sales. Prior to that, the Arizona State University grad logged 13 years (1985 – 1998) as general sales manager for Nationwide Communications. Karis replaces Jeff England, who became market manager of Hubbard’s stations in Chicago. The Hubbard Radio Phoenix cluster consists of classic rock KLSX (6.0, #2, 6+, Nielsen Audio PPM, November 2016); KUPD “Arizona’s Real Rock” (5.1, #3, 6+); KDKB “93.3 Arizona’s Alternative” (2.4, #19, 6+); KAZG “Oldies 1440 & 92.7” (1.2, #26, 6+); and KDUS “AM 1060 NBC Sports Radio” (.1, #32, 6+). The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ (6.3, 6+).

karolyn-johnstonJohnston Joins Beasley Las Vegas As GSM. After five months as senior account executive at crosstown Cox Business, Karolyn Johnston is appointed general sales manager of Beasley Media Group’s five-station Las Vegas cluster.  Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Mark Sturcken states that years ago, he “had the pleasure working alongside Karolyn. Her energy, enthusiasm, relationships in the Las Vegas market, knowledge and passion for our business are second to none. With more than two decades of media experience, Karolyn brings tremendous value to our leadership team.” According to Johnston, she is “so happy to be on board. There are great things on deck for us [owing to] Beasley Media Group’s reputation in Las Vegas, along with the smart, seasoned roster of media professionals that make up this group. I simply could not be more delighted to be a part of this team as we move into the new year.” Johnston previously was integrated marketing specialist at iHeartMedia Las Vegas; account executive for Cumulus Media Atlanta; senior account manager for Atlanta’s WQXI-AM “The Zone”; and an account executive for Seattle’s KIRO-TV. From November 2002 to March 2009, she was an account executive at Cox Media Group Las Vegas. With their November 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM (6+) average quarter hour share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Las Vegas consists of classic hits-oldies KKLZ (7.2, #1); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.8, #4); country KCYE “The Coyote” (2.5, #15); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.3, #19); and talk KDWN (1.1, #24).

nick-figueredoFigueredo Named WOKV Director/B&P. Most recently assistant director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group Orlando talker WDBO-FM, Nick Figueredo transfers to similarly-programmed Jacksonville sibling WOKV as director of branding and programming. Cox Media Group Jacksonville director of radio operations Todd Shannon remarks, “After working closely with Nick over the past three months as we interviewed for the position, it became very apparent that he has the passion, vision, and leadership to take WOKV to even greater ratings success.” Figueredo – who has worked for the company’s Orlando cluster the past seven years – notes, “I am very excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity. From the day I was hired at WDBO-FM, I knew my future was with Cox Media Group. I am now taking the next step in my career.” Powered by a hefty October 2016 – November 2016 gain of +1.7 (7.2 – 8.9, 6+), WOKV finishes first in Nielsen Audio’s November 2016 Jacksonville PPM report.

mason-markMason to Mark KEX Homecoming. After leaving KEX, Portland three years ago, Mark Mason will return to the iHeartMedia talk facility for a daily three-hour air-shift beginning next month (1/23). Along with the late Dave Anderson, Mason co-hosted “The Mark & Dave Show” on KEX. He notes that Anderson’s passing and his own health issues involving a blood clot in his leg changed his perspective on life. “It has been such a tumultuous ride that when I found myself able to breathe again, I felt an overwhelming need to take control of my life again,” he writes. “My decision to come back home to KEX was part of it.” Most recently, the public-address announcer for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers was an on-air talent at crosstown Pamplin’s KPAM-AM. Just over three weeks ago (11/23), Michael Castner departed KEX to begin a podcast. Among persons 6+ in the November 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM, KEX finishes in a four-way tie at #17 (2.1), while Alpha Media talker KXL-FM is at #6 (4.9, 6+). KEX adult contemporary sibling KKCW “K-103” and public KOPB are tied for the lead (7.7, 6+).

crowleymonica-2Crowley Chosen As NSC Senior Director/Strategic Communications. Immediately rumored to be in line for a position in the Trump administration, former syndicated radio host Monica Crowley will be senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council. “I am deeply honored, humbled, and grateful to be asked by the president-elect to join the extraordinary national security team he is assembling,” the Fox News Channel commentator and Washington Times columnist comments. “With vision, courage, and moral clarity, he is committed fully to re-establishing America’s singular place in the world. He is also committed to selecting the best people for the jobs of keeping the American people safe and the country secure. It will be a great privilege to serve with them.” Prior to her combined 10 years of doing syndicated talk radio for Westwood One and Talk Radio Network, Crowley spent four years as an on-air host in New York City on Cumulus Media talker WABC.

nick-pintoPinto Promoted to BMG VP/Information Technology. Two-year Charlotte-based information technology director for Beasley Media Group – Nick Pinto – is bumped up to vice president of information technology. The company’s chief technology officer Mike Cooney comments, “Nick has proven himself over the past several years and he was invaluable during our recent Greater Media acquisition. Nick will be overseeing the capital budget for IT and supervising the IT managers in the local markets. His strong customer service skills made him the obvious choice for this new corporate position.” Pinto remarks, “I am honored to join our dedicated Beasley corporate team. I have always believed that working hard will you give you many rewards – this promotion is one of them. My thanks to Mike Cooney for his faith in my abilities and to market manager Bill Schoening for his constant support for more than a decade.” Pinto has been overseeing the IT infrastructure in Beasley Media Group’s Charlotte cluster since 2004.

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Public WUSF Adds Colombini as Producer. Former WCBS-AM, New York City reporter Stephanie Colombini is named producer of “Florida Matters,” the public affairs show of University of South Florida-owned WUSF, Tampa. In addition, Colombini will contribute to state and local news coverage as part of the “Health News Florida” team. WUSF Public Media general manager JoAnn Urofsky states, “Stephanie will be a wonderful addition to our news team. She has a wide variety of skills, and I know she will play a major role in enhancing ‘Florida Matters’ and many other WUSF programs; we are fortunate to have her here.” New York native/Fordham University graduate Colombini comments, “It is a real honor to join such an esteemed group of journalists. I am excited to start covering news in the Sunshine State.” WUSF ranks tenth (4.1) among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s November 2016 PPM report, while Cox Media Group adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” is the pacesetter with a 9.4 (6+).

knx logoOdds & Sods. Budget cutbacks at KNX result in the departure of three familiar voices. Exiting the CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news operation are mid-day anchor Linda Nunez, who had been with the station the past 26 years; sports director Steve Grad (23 years with KNX); and reporter Ed Mertz who transitioned to KNX in 2009 from former news cluster-mate KFWB where he had been since 2000 ….. Word out of the Windy City via reliable source RobertFeder.com is that after three years on Chicago’s WLS-AM, Westwood One’s Michael Savage will disappear from the Cumulus Media talker at the end of the year. WLS-AM had been delay-broadcasting Savage from 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight ….. Ordinarily, an item about a forthcoming movie wouldn’t warrant much of our attention. In this case,kfi logo however, it is he identity of the executive producer of “Let There Be Light,” a film about an atheist finding religion, that is noteworthy as it is none other than … Premiere Networks’ host and Fox News Channel talent Sean Hannity ….. In its sixth annual, 17-hour, December 1 “Pasta-thon,” iHeartMedia Los Angeles talker KFI raised over $320,000 and collected 90,000 pounds of food for “Caterina’s Club.” Throughout the KFI “Pasta-thon,” station personalities Bill Handel, Aron Bender, stevens-richJennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffman, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou and Tim Conway Jr. were on-site, encouraging listeners to donate packaged pasta, jars of pasta sauce, and money to help feed underprivileged children. Everything gathered helps provide a balanced meal every night to more than 1,800 low-income children in over 15 cities in Los Angeles and Orange County ….. Earlier this month (12/3), Alpha Media talker WFTL, West Palm Beach helped to raise more than $40,000 as part of the city’s “Walk to Cure Arthritis.” Station on-air talent Rich Stevens comments, “My mom has been affected by this awful disease and I see the pain it causeshurley, harry her. Now that I have been involved, I know it has nothing to do with age. It can affect anyone at any age, which is why I wanted to be part of this great cause to help find a cure.” Arthritis Foundation development manager Lisa Roeberg remarks, “It was truly inspiring to see so many of our arthritis champions taking another step toward victory.” ….. When Townsquare Media-owned WPGG “Talk Radio 104.1,” Atlantic City (New Jersey) morning man Harry Hurley learned that 100 children who attend Pleasantville’s Christian Ministry Impact of God Church were not going to have Christmas this year, he thought “that was unacceptable” so, the “Hurley in the Morning Charity” is writing a cash grant for the church today (Friday, 12/16). Hurley tells TALKERS, “I have partnered with Atlantic County Toys for Kids program and, we have obtained 100 new children’s toys for the church. I am also going to help raise $500 more in cash donations on-air this morning.”

beasley-christmas-2‘Tis The Season. Celebrating last night (Thursday, 12/15) at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas Christmas party are Las Vegas-based GNC Network syndicated personality Dr. Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP; market general manager Tom Humm; and KDWN program director-news director-morning anchor John Shaffer.

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Trump Transition/Cabinet Nominees Top News Talk Stories for Week of December 12-16.  The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for this week.  At #2 was the allegation the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC computers, tied with the CIA’s refusal to testify before congress on the matter.  Coming in at #3 was Donald Trump’s meeting with Silicon Valley executives, followed by the Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates and the record high Dow Jones industrial average 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.

Friday, August 12, 2016

| August 12, 2016

Nomiki Nomi KonstKonst Makes Progress. A member of the Democratic National Committee platform committee and a former Bernie Sanders surrogate – Nomiki “Nomi” Konst – is named to host “The Filter” on SiriusXM Progress channel 127. The nightly 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight talk show premieres next Monday (8/15). SiriusXM vice president and general manager of talk programming David Gorab declares, “Nomi is a fresh, fun, and deeply knowledgeable addition to the SiriusXM sirius xm progressteam. Her engagement in politics began at just 16 when she organized for Hillary Clinton’s New York senate campaign and extended straight to the convention floor in Philadelphia two weeks ago. That kind of passion and dedication to progressive causes makes her an ideal addition to the SiriusXM Progress team.” Konst comments, “At a time when political conversations are sound-bite driven, SiriusXM Progress has led the charge in being a progressive platform that engages in insightful commentary. It is an honor to join a channel that encourages discussion around truly progressive issues and values and empowers a new wave of progressives that have become a force in America.” A political contributor to CBS News and The Hill, Konst is the founder of investigative media start-up The Accountability Project. In 2012, a then-28-year-old Konst vied to be the youngest woman ever to serve in congress, seeking the Tucson seat vacated by Representative Gabby Giffords. Konst was a national co-chair for Barack Obama‘s Gen44 re-election effort and an at-large member of the DNC Council.

davi, robert smallTRN Replacing Jerry Doyle Show with Multimedia Talent Robert Davi.  Describing him as “a talent so unique that he brings together theatrics, culture, politics and music into a nexus of on-air brilliance,” Oregon-based syndicator TRN Enterprises has announced that well-known actor/singer/director/writer Robert Davi will take over the on-air position vacated by the recent untimely passing of JerryTRN Logo (1) Doyle.  Company CEO Mark Masters states, “I believe, with everything in my bones, that ‘The Robert Davi Show’ will be the most successful show I have ever launched, and, if you don’t believe me – you can stick it your pipe and smoke it: you’ve got one shot at this show – take it while you can.”   In addition to his performance work, Davi is also active in numerous public service organizations and charities for which he has  received multiple awards. From its inception in 1998, Davi has been the national spokesperson for I-Safe America, a leading Internet safety program. His awards include the FBI’s Man of the Year Award in Los Angeles, the “Military Order of the Purple Heart,” a Special Recognition Award for dedication and service honoring America’s service members and veterans, and, he was named KNX radio’s “Citizen of the Week” for saving a young girl from a fire at her home.  Masters tells TALKERS, “We continue to mourn the loss of Jerry Doyle, who truly can never be replaced.  We do, however, welcome the powerhouse unique presence, talent and perspectives that Robert Davi brings to this role.  I sincerely believe that this is a situation in which the passing of one legend is resulting in the launch of a new legend in the making.”

ryan, mickeyRyan Joins Titans Pre- And Post-Game Broadcast Team. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, 8/13), Mickey Ryan will begin contributing to pre-game and post-game radio coverage for games of the NFL‘s Tennessee Titans. He joins Mark Howard and former Titans players Blaine Bishop and Kevin Dyson on the WGFXflagship station for the Titans, Cumulus Media Nashville’s WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” Cumulus Media Nashville vice president and market manager Allison Warren comments, “Mickey is one of the most respected and insightful sports commentators in Nashville. He has covered sports at its highest level. His reputation, contacts, and relationships within the sports field are outstanding. We have the strongest ensemble of voices in football analysts and sports commentators – the addition of Mickey to our team makes us even stronger and deeper.” Ryan notes that he has “listened to Titans radio since the very first broadcast. I consider it an honor and the culmination of a lifelong dream to join the best team in NFL radio. I look forward to sharing an upcoming season of Titans football with Mark, Blaine, Kevin, and Titans fans all over our listening area.” Ryan will continue – with Bishop, and Brent Dougherty – co-hosting on “The Zone” in PM drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) each weekday.

kinison, samSiriusXM Special Brings Kinison Back to Life. The last recorded performance from Sam Kinison will be premiered exclusively on SiriusXM today (Friday, 8/12) at 3:00 pm (ET) on SiriusXM’s Comedy Greats channel 94. Audio of a Kinison performance was extensively enhanced from a poor-quality amateur recording Comedy-Greatsmade just days before his death. SiriusXM senior vice president of comedy programming Jack Vaughn comments, “Sam Kinison was one of the most influential and distinct voices in comedy; he was taken from us far too soon. This stand-up special and documentary will give fans new insight on the legendary comic. It is a great jumping-off point for those who were less familiar with his inimitable brand of humor.” Kinison was just 38 years old when he died in April 1992. Earlier this year, SiriusXM produced a documentary and released a never-before-heard extended performance from Bill Hicks.

Steve Mason-Kayla Rio

Mason Ponders Filing Worker’s Comp. On the heels of winning back-to-back gold medals in judo, Kayla Harrison demonstrates her arm bar technique on Westwood One‘s Steve Mason in the syndication company’s Rio production studio. Westwood One’s Olympics coverage of Rio 2016 continues through the closing ceremonies one week from Sunday (8/21).

Trump’s “Second Amendment People” and “Obama Founded ISIS” Controversies Top The News/Talk Radio Stories Over the Week of 8/8-12.  The controversial statements made by Donald Trump about “second amendment people” dealing with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama being the “founder” of ISIS were the two most talked about topics on news/talk radio in America this past week according to the research of TALKERS magazine.  Other hot topics included the Hillary email controversies, Trump second amendment Flap, US-Turkey relations and South China Sea dispute and a wide variety of general issues pertaining to the presidential election.  To see the full TALKERS Stories and People charts for the week, please click here.

KFAQOdds & Sods. Changes at Scripps Tulsa find talk KFAQ morning co-host Eddie Huff, morning anchor Richard Linihan, and production director Terry Cooper departing. Also within that cluster, after one year as program director of CHR KHTT “K-Hits 106.9,” John Roberts exits; mid-day talent Tabatha Grammer is upped to assistant PD; and nighttime personality Aly Presser is promoted to mornings. ….. Following Jack Tomczak‘s exit from KTLK-AM “Twin Cities News Talk 1130,” the iHeartMedia Minneapolis outlet names Jon Justice of KQTH, Tucson as KTLK-AM program director Andrew Lee‘s morning co-host. The two worked together when Lee programmed Scripps-owned KQTH. ….. A ten-year run that began with Michael Castner as host comes to an end as Bonneville Salt Lake City cancels evening “Nightside Project.” Current hosts Ethan Millard and Alex Kirry remain with the station though and will do a podcast. Castner is now with iHeartMedia Portland’s KEX.

YD Cover 1duncan, bernadetteSoon-to-be-Released Book About Talk Radio Discussed on Harrison Podcast. Veteran talk radio producer, Bernadette Duncan, appears as the guest on this week’s installment of the PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” talking about her forthcoming book, scheduled for publication in September, titled Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books 2016). The book chronicles Duncan’s 26-year career “behind the glass” as a New York City-based talk radio producer in the “golden era” between the eighties and first decade of the 21st century. Duncan (who is also married to Michael Harrison) served as a producer for some of the biggest names in talk radio during that period. They include Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Gil Gross, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Charles Osgood and more. The book explores the quirky egos of radio’s top performers and often-neurotic guests and is set against the dramatically changing backdrop of America’s pre- and post-9/11 realities. It is full of anecdotes and insights about the industry, its people and processes. Duncan explores the complex office politics in this offbeat arena of show business capturing what it takes to be a radio producer – a role she describes as “the most under-rated, under-paid and under-appreciated job in commercial media.” On the podcast, Harrison and Duncan specifically discuss her experiences working with Sally Jessy Raphael – one of the true pioneers of talk radio who paved the way for countless others and was Duncan’s earliest inspiration to enter the field. Duncan talks about the personal growth she achieved working across the glass from Larry King during his media heyday as well as the fiery drama that took place behind the scenes of The Lou Dobbs Show that she helped launch as executive producer. On completing the podcast Harrison says, “There are so many stories and people written about in this book that we hardly scratched the surface in this advance interview – but there will be plenty of time to get deeper into it all when Bernadette goes on tour promoting it next month. Meantime, it was enormously fun having her as a guest on the podcast and I think radio pros and media freaks alike will love it.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

Friday, March 4, 2016

| March 4, 2016

talkersten logoSuper Tuesday Aftermath/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM.  The results of this week’s Super Tuesday primary elections and events surrounding the presidential race were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was the Hillary Clinton email server investigation.  At #3 was U.S. immigration policy followed by European migrant problems 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.

castnermichaelCandidates’ Rhetoric Spurs KEX, Portland Host Michael Castner to Come Out.  Citing some of the rhetoric coming from the GOP candidates that he believes is rekindling Americans’ “hate and fear,” especially with regard to the candidates’ vows to overturn gay marriage, KEX, Portland talk host Michael Castner came out to his audience as gay.  Admitting that he’d kept his sexual orientation secret out of fear and “perhaps even cowardice,” Castner believes he has a responsibility to speak up both for himself and for others who don’t have a voice.  Castner observed that both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have vowed to make overturning the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage a priority and that Trump has indicated he’s also in favor of overturning.

wpht logoWPHT, Philadelphia Adds Dave Ramsey Show.  Nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey’s radio program is being added to the lineup at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, effective March 7.  CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring Dave Ramsey to WPHT.  He hasramseydave been creating powerful radio broadcasts with the passion and positivity that will fit perfectly into WPHT’s lineup.  Combining Dave Ramsey with the great local talent like Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano and Rich Zeoli has everyone at the station excited to bring this new roster to our listeners.”  Ramsey Media VP Brian Mayfield adds, “We are excited to join the team at WPHT and to work with another strong CBS Radio affiliate.  Philadelphia is already a great market for our brand, and we look forward to what the future holds with this new relationship.”

podcastone bPodcastOne and WTOP, Washington Partner for ‘Target USA’ Program.  A new podcast series is being launched on the PodcastOne platform from Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and WTOP.com titled, “Target USA.”  The program will focus on the threats facing America today and is reported and produced by WTOP national security correspondent JJ Green.  WTOP andwtop logo NEW 1-15 PodcastOne say Green will investigate the risks, from terrorists to anarchists, and cyber criminals to nation states, diving into the people behind them, the agencies fighting them and their impact on Americans.”  WTOP senior regional vice president Joel Oxley states, “As an all-news station with a tight format, our content is consumed in very short form.  This partnership with PodcastOne gives us an opportunity to showcase and distribute some of our longer form, in-depth material.  Norm Pattiz and his team are pros, and we look forward to this launch and many more opportunities to come.”  In the first installment, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper opens up in an exclusive interview about the dark threats and dangerous enemies the U.S. faces.

cookmerrillMerrill Cook to Host Mornings on KLO, Salt Lake City.  Former U.S. Representative Merrill Cook is joining KLO Broadcasting’s KLO-AM, Salt Lake City to host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program, beginning on March 14.  Station general manager Matt Webb says, “Our audience has been asking for more local, live radio and Merrill is a huge part of that.  Merrill Cook is part of the fabric of Utah and, in particular, Utah politics.  We’re very excited to have him as part of our radio family.”  Cook comments, “I’m thrilled to be part of such a prestigious radio lineup on a legacy station such as KLO.  To be on the same station with radio icons like Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager is a true honor.”

Odds & Sods.  WABC, New York political editor Rita Cosby (right) poses for a photo with writer and politicalcosbyritaCoulter16 commentator Ann Coulter (left) at last night’s “Dinner with Rita Cosby: A Night of Political Entertainment & Fun” at Delmonico’s Kitchen in Midtown Manhattan.  Cosby hosted the sold-out, intimate dinner event that featured political commentary and conversation, a phone-in interview with Dr. Ben Carson, live discussion with Coulter, and musical performances by Tom Bednarek and actor Dominic Chianese…..WGOW, Chattanooga mid-afternoon talk host Brian Joyce is pictured below with on Tuesday, March 1 taking part in “Reading Across America Week” with joyceReading16the second grade class and Dupont Elementary School.  Joyce tells TALKERS magazine that the class’ teacher is a big fan of Joyce’s radio program and invited him to take part in the event…..Tampa Bay radio and TV personality Nancy Alexander launches a podcast titled, “LOL! With Nancy Alexander” on the Radio Influence digital platform.  Alexander began her radio career at WRBQ “Q105” on the station’s “Q Morning Zoo” show in the 1980s.  She worked at WMTX during the 1990s and 2000s and was a features reporter for WTVT-TV “FOX 13.”…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh is presenting its third annual ‘eat.drink.PITTSBURGH’ on March 19 at the city’s Wyndham Grand Hotel.  The event’s media sponsor is WHIRL Magazine and the event is being presented by Fat Head’s Brewery and Lexus of North Hills.  The food fest allows attendees to sample food from dozens of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants and enjoy new products, wines, beers and more…..Nationally syndicated talk personality Laura Ingraham did her program from the studios of affiliateingrahamlaura WBEN, Buffalo today (3/4) prior to serving as keynote speaker at the New York State GOP Convention in the city…..CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York “Sports Radio 66AM and 101.9FM” and New York City FC announce updates to the soccer club’s radio broadcasting in advance of the 2016 MLS season.  Glenn Crooks and Tom Kolker will once again be the English-language announcers. Back for his second year, Roberto Abramowitz will be one of the Spanish-language analysts, alongside new team member John Rojas.

levinmarkMark Levin Named Recipient of TALKERS 2016 Freedom of Speech Award. Highly rated, nationally syndicated, Cumulus/Westwood One talk radio personality Mark Levin has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2016 recipient of the trade publication’s annual Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Levin is also the prolific author of numerous New York Times best-selling books about the United States Constitution, American history and conservative ideological principles. He is a respected legal scholar who serves as president of the Landmark Legal Foundation as well as being a highly sought-after public speaker, and host/principal of the newly launched LevinTV digital platform. Levin has a stellar background in both the private and public sectors having served, among many roles, as advisor to several members of President Ronald Reagan’s cabinet and chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese. In making the announcement of Levin’s selection, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mark Levin is more than a superbly talented and extremely successful talk show host. He is a dedicated legal scholar who consistently displays unbending courage in standing up for the core principles of the Founding Fathers – and that means an unswerving, ongoing defense of the First Amendment – on radio, television and in print. He has been a champion of these principles since morphing from a radio guest to a host back in 2002 and is being honored for a body of work that goes back for many years.” Mark Levin will be presented the award personally by Harrison at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging The Generations convention on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Friday, May 20.

Talkers2016 logo xlgTALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Agenda Developing; Registration Underway. More than 60 leading industry speakers will fill a power-packed day and evening of panel discussions, special presentations, keynote addresses, exhibits, social networking functions, meals and live broadcasts at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event kicks off at 8:00 am with the traditional “Breakfast with Hannity” opening social. It will conclude 12 hours later with a gala, early-evening reception on the university’s magnificent television soundstage. Located just outside of New York City, Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s most respected and influential breeding grounds of great broadcasters. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “2016 marks a great leap forward in the rich and colorful history of this legendary conference. Tapping into the theme ‘Bridging the Generations’ TALKERS 2016 will intensely focus on talk radio’s successful and as seamless-as-possible transition into the digital era concentrating on attracting younger demos, broadening the format menu, modernizing political positioning, enhancing both journalistic and entertainment impact, incorporating all aspects of pop culture, understanding Millennials and the New Authenticity, creating a viable cross-platform presence, embracing the new technology, and of course, podcasting, podcasting and more podcasting.” Harrison adds, “This conference will be inter-generational. I cannot begin to express the level of excitement and pride we have in partnering this year with Hofstra University, its wonderfully dynamic Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and its famous radio station WRHU – clearly one of the greatest, heritage campus outlets in America. Their amazing, state-of-the-art resources will provide an exhilarating backdrop and platform for this gathering. As far as we are concerned, the future of talk media begins now!” The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, total attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413. Information about special local hotel discounts for attendees is detailed below. Agenda and speakers to be announced in the days and weeks ahead, leading up to the event. Register now!

Mariott revFantastic Group Rate Available at Long Island Marriott for TALKERS 2016. A limited number of rooms are still available for a limited amount of time for the nights of Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 at the fabulous Long Island Marriott hotel located near Hofstra University – the site of TALKERS 2016. To take advantage of the $169 per night rate, book as early as possible by clickinghere or calling reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and telling the agent you are with the TALKERS event group.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

| July 29, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted.  Up Today: Panel Discussion, “The State of Talk Radio Programming.” Today (7/29) marks the 11th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014.  The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms.   The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a panel discussion titled, “The State of Talk Radio Programming,” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey.  Panelists include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess,programming panel 14 PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York.  The panel focuses on a variety of topics pertinent to today’s talk radio programming strategies with an emphasis on dealing with the common criticism that the format is skewing too old.  Moderator Casey starts it off asking “Is talk radio a kingmaker that wins elections or is talk radio dead?”  He points out that to read the press this format receives, one would get the impression both of these statements are true.  The reasoned answers by all participants are illuminating – drawing upon facts and context as opposed to bias and emotion.  To view this entire presentation, please click here.  Coming tomorrow:  A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian titled, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.”  Featured speakers include:  Tom Becka, KOIL, Omaha; Ron Hartenbaum, WYD Media; Tom Marr, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Piscopo, WNYM, New York; and Martha Zoller, WGAU, Athens, GA/Georgia News Network.  The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.

castnermichaelMichael Castner Moves to AM Drive at KEX, Portland.  Changes in the programming schedule at Clear Channel’s Portland news/talker KEX include the shift of afternoon drive personality Michael Castner to host of the morning drive program alongside the current staff of co-anchor Lacey Evans, news director Brad Ford and traffic reporters Michael Convery and Lynne Masterson.  As a result Paul Linnman leaves the AM show for a commentator role with the station.  Taking over the afternoon drive slot is Houston-based talk personality Michael Berry whose show slides down from evenings to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Doesn’t Discount Run for Office.  It’s not exactly a statement of intent, but Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham tells RealClearPolitics that she’s “keeping an open mind about running for office in the future.”  The comment comes at the end of a piece about her influence on some of the primary races – specifically the assertion that she was instrumental in helping Dave Brat upset Eric Cantor in the Virginia U.S. House primary and her current stumping for Joe Carr as he takes on Lamar Alexander in the Tennessee U.S. Senate primary that takes place on August 7.  Ingraham was in Nashville recently at a campaign event for Carr – a Tea Party-backed candidate who is drawing a line in front of Alexander on the immigration issue.  Read the entire story here.

siriusxmSiriusXM Posts Q2 Revenue Hike of 10%; 380,000 New Self-Pay Subscribers.  After a somewhat down 2014 Q1 report, SiriusXM rebounds with what CEO Jim Meyer is calling an “outstanding” quarter.  SiriusXM’s revenue for the quarter was $1.035 billion – a 10% increase from the same period a year ago.  Net income was $120 million.  Last quarter, SiriusXM reported adding just 267,000 new subscribers but that figure is up dramatically with almost 475,000 new subscribers added – approximately 380,000 of those self-paying subscribers.  Meyer comments, “We set new records for trial conversions to self-pay, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted meyerjimEBITDA margin in the quarter, and we are raising our 2014 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow.  Our extraordinary operating performance supported the buyback of over 350 million shares in the quarter, or approximately 6% of our outstanding stock.  Perhaps more importantly, we improved our superior content by adding even more channels and shows created with major brands and personalities, such as Joel Osteen, NBC’s TODAY Show, and YouTube, and we expanded the range and depth of our commercial-free music programming with the introduction of three new channels in the categories of country, women’s pop, and dance.  As the leader in audio entertainment, we never rest in searching for new content that our subscribers will love.”

harrisonrobinsonMeeting of the Mentors.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) paid a visit Sunday (7/27) to his old friend, radio legend Dick Robinson (right), founder and chairman of the mega-successful Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB).  The two veteran radio “mentors” compared notes about the state of the industry and according to both men, it was an uplifting, stimulating discussion that left them “inspired and optimistic” about the future of the business.  CSB – the oldest and largest group of broadcasting schools in America — is a tremendous success story that celebrates its half-century anniversary this year.  The institute that launched thousands of careers was founded by then-renowned Hartford DJ Robinson in 1964 (pictured below at WDRC, Hartford at that time) to help aspiring young broadcasters learn the fundamentals of radio performing and production and has since grown to include 12 East Coast campuses from Boston to Miami.  According to Robinson, “Our success is based largely on the fact that we have grown, evolved and expanded the definition of what we cover as the years and decades went by…and we are still doing exactly that – evolving with the times.  Whereas we started primarily as a school for DJs, we have grown to encompass all aspects of the radio business as well as television including the burgeoning field of sports and all aspects of audio and videocsb logo production.”  Robinson says, “We are a remedy to the high cost and long-term commitment required to attend a standard college or university communications department curriculum – a process that leaves graduates in significant debt and doesn’t necessarily guarantee enhanced prospects of gaining employment in the field.”  Robinson also explains, “We are also a practical alternative to four-year schools for adults in their late 20s, 30s and even older who want to change careers or start a new one in the broadcast business.”  The obvious question arises:  Considering the economic challenges facing radio today with staff cutbacks and the future of AM/FM in question, are there still opportunities for people of any age in the fields of radio and broadcasting?  Robinson’s response:  robinsondick1964“Absolutely!  More than ever!  With radio stations and multi-dimension ‘media station’ operations that include audio, video, graphics, and text elements all on one platform popping up not only on newspaper websites – but the online arms of a wide variety of businesses, demand for people who have what we would consider basic radio and television skills is growing exponentially.  And that’s only half of it – never before in the history of our industry has there been so much opportunity for entrepreneurial broadcasters to make it on their own.  In the old model, a majority of the people aspiring toward a career in radio or television would have to seek employment and get past a gatekeeper to be able to work in the field.  Very few had the resources and connections to go out and buy a radio or TV station.  But today, it is just a matter of ‘knowing what to do’ to be in business for yourself as a media practitioner.  At CSB we are teaching our students how to be entrepreneurs as well as talent, technicians, and marketers.”  Reflecting upon the get-together, Michael Harrison states, “Dick Robinson is one of the most extraordinary men the radio industry has ever produced.  His school has taught countless broadcasters the art and craft of our wonderful business and he is still going strong as a station owner, format innovator and mentor of mentors.  There isn’t a lifetime achievement award big enough for what this guy has done and continues to do.”

adlargelogoAdLarge Media Appoints Green VP/Digital Sales. Former PodcastOne national account director Jay Green is tapped to become AdLarge Media‘s vice president of digital sales and content partnerships.  AdLarge Media co-founder and president Cathy Csukas comments, “We are delighted to bring Jay on board to steer our digital audio and mobile strategy.  Jay’s impressive background and knowledge of digital audio advertising trends, combined with his expertise in operations and management, make him the ideal candidate to help us meet our expansion goals.”  The company’s chief executive officer and co-founder Gary Schonfeld remarks that, “Jay’s keen understanding of the digital audio marketplace will advance our objectives and those of our digital and mobile partners.  He is skilled at developing the kind of customized programs and packages that national advertisers have come to expect from AdLarge Media.”  Green states that he is “passionate about digital audio advertising” and that he is “dedicated to creating first-to-market campaigns for our advertisers.  AdLarge’s reputation for innovation and excellence was a compelling reason for me to become an integral member of their team.  It’s an exciting time to join the company.”  Prior to working at PodCastOne, Green spent 10 years at Dial Global, where he ultimately became vice president of strategic operations. His background includes sales, campaign management, sales planning, research, audience analysis, and market research for various new product launches.

relm networkWashington, DC-Based RELM Network Adds Food Show.  The program – titled, “Foodie and the Beast,” has been airing on Hubbard Radio-owned WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” for the past six years and now joins the growing lineup of streaming and on-demand content at RELM Network.  The program is hosted by David and Nycci Nellis and is an offshoot of Nycci’s popular DC website “The List” (AreYouOnIt.com,) which has been dubbed by The Washington Post as “one of the premier resources for all things food and wine in DC and beyond.”  Nycci is a gourmet cook and a veteran food journalist in radio, TV and print.  The show is also seasoned with world-renowned guests, including celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Michel Richard and Mike Isabella – as well as famous cookbook authors, farmers, marine biologists, oystermen, winemakers, distillers and brewmasters.

nprNPR Debuts New Curated Streaming App.  An interesting new development from NPR is its curated streaming app dubbed NPR One.  A story in TechCrunch identifies the new app – separate from NPR’s existing mobile platform apps – as one that “combines the benefits of both streaming and traditional terrestrial radio” with the new app.  TechCrunch reports that it “uses a combination of streams of NPR’s public news broadcasts, combined with stories that are curated for your specific tastes.  You can get regionally relevant content by letting the device have access to your location settings, and you can also search for podcasts and other content to teach the app about what you want and get it instantly.”  Read the whole TechCrunch story here.

cumulusyoungstownCumulus Media Honors Youngstown Cluster with President’s Cup.  The corporate prize for best sales performance for the second quarter of 2014 at Cumulus Media goes to the company’s Youngstown, Ohio eight-station group as it receives the coveted President’s Cup.  Each quarter, one market is recognized for its overall performance among the company’s 90 radio markets.  The Youngstown staff (pictured here) that operates country WQXK “K105,” CHR WHOT “Hot 101,” news/talk WPIC, news/talk WSOM, classic rock WYFM “Y103,” rock WWIZ “Rock 104,” and sports talk simulcast WBBW-AM/WLLF-FM will share the $10,000 prize.  Vice president and market manager Rick Parrish says, “I am very proud of the success our Youngstown sales team, programming team and support staff have achieved with our eight radio stations that serve northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Our team set the goal to bring the Cumulus President’s Cup to Youngstown, and through hustle and hard work, we did it!”  Cumulus EVP and Co-COO John Pinch adds, “The team in Youngstown has performed at record levels this year and is well deserving of this award.  To win the President’s Cup requires contribution from every person at every level in the cluster.  Congratulations, Cumulus Youngstown!”

wbtwlnk duo logoCool Job Opportunity.  Greater Media Charlotte is seeking talented sales people to work in the Charlotte Market at news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link.”  Greater Media is seeking applicants with: quantifiable success in radio/media sales or another industry; the drive, hunger, and ability to see the sales process through from prospecting to the final close; courage to ask for and deliver remarkable programs; a love and passion for winning; integrity and pride in being a full-service rep; new business expertise and a creative mind; a desire to exceed expectations and move up quickly; independent and entrepreneurial performers; excellent verbal and written communication skills.  At Greater Media Charlotte, you will be surrounded by people who love to have fun and work extremely hard.  We offer great benefits and lots of incentives for self-starters, while enjoying the stability of a privately owned media company with two of Charlotte’s best radio stations.  If you think you are ready for the next step in your career and think you have the talent to make it happen, we want you on our team!  Send your resume and a cover letter to: Sandra Szoke, director of sales, Greater Media Charlotte, Inc., WBT/WLNK Radio, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208; sszoke@gmclt.com.  No phone calls please.  Greater Media Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Gaza Violence/New Anti-Semitism, Flight 17 Probe/Russian Influence in Ukraine, Immigration Policy Debate/Child Illegals Influx, Pentagon Afghanistan Waste Report, Ebola Fears, and Ray Rice Suspension Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/28).  The continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and increased incidences of anti-Semitism in Europe; Russia’s influence in the Ukraine and the effort to fully investigate the downing of Flight 17; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S. and the influx of illegal minors entering the country; the recent Pentagon report detailing billions in spending waste in Afghanistan; renewed fears of an Ebola virus outbreak; and outrage over the two-game suspension NFL star Ray Rice received after knocking his wife unconscious in a domestic dispute were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, December 13, 2013

| December 13, 2013

westwoodone logoCumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition.  Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal.  Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act,cumulus logo the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations.  Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues.  Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO.  Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.

cookehollandNews/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference.  Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets.  The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3.  It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share.  Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share.  There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

whitmanbrianBrian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles.  Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss.  Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York.krlalogo  Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future.  I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air.  But his skills go much beyond comedy voices.  He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.”  Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991.  I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand.  I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down.  Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3.  Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program.  Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3.  “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well.  For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day.  I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”

ericksonerickErickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays.  Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26.  Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited.  It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college.  I listened to him every day.  I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”

deptrojohnRhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee.  The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.  Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone.  Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time.  DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities.  DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014.  The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help preparedelcollianojerry modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era.  Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation — as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue.  Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event.  Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee.  Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.”  For information about the conference please click here.

btrnlogoMacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales.  Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber.  “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.”  MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television.  Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates.  It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”

boomercartoncomedyWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show.  WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29.  Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties.  The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.

castnermichaelOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program.  Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins.  Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.  Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”

wphtphantasycampWPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios.  The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week.  The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal.  At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

| July 25, 2013

khow logoTalk Host Mandy Connell Grabs KHOW, Denver Morning Gig.  Moving to Denver from Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville is talk show host Mandy Connell who takes over the morning drive show on the company’s KHOW, Denver effective August 19.  The program host position opened after longtime KHOW connellmandymorning man Peter Boyles exited the company.  Connell states, “Moving to Denver has been my goal for many years.  The city is vibrant, beautiful and full of great people.  When you throw the mountains into the mix, there simply isn’t a better place to be.  When you listen to my show, you’ll hear the things you and your friends talk about.  Pop culture, politics and those questions about life you ponder are all fair game – only funnier.”  Connell moved from WINK, Fort Myers to WHAS in 2010 to host the mid-morning show.  Clear Channel Denver VP of programming Greg Foster states, “We’re fortunate to have a host of Mandy’s caliber at the helm of TalkRadio 630 KHOW’s morning show.  Mandy’s entertaining style, humor and passion are sure to connect with TalkRadio 630 KHOW’s listeners and advertisers.”  A number of years ago while she was still hosting at WINK, Mandy Connell was selected by the TALKERS editorial board to have the honor of presenting the award for “Woman of the Year” to that year’s recipient, Laura Ingraham.  At the time, while still a relative newcomer, Mandy told the crowd that someday she hoped to have developed a strong enough career in the radio business to be the recipient of that award herself.  Looks like she may well be on her way to fulfilling that prophecy!

wapi logoCumulus Media to Flip FM Side of News/Talk WAPI, Birmingham to Sports in Deal with ESPN for Paul Finebaum.  That’s the report from AL.com although confirmation from Cumulus Media and ESPN has not been received.  Formerly Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum recently announced a deal wapi-fm logowith ESPN that would give him a syndicated sports talk show plus other opportunities with the sports media finebaumpaulgiant.  He exited Cumulus Media’s sports talk WJOX, Birmingham in January of 2013 after working out his contract and to explore other options.  Now, he’ll return to WJOX via ESPN but the deal appears to include Cumulus adding another sports talk station to the market to carry ESPN’s national programming and the report is that news/talk WAPI-AM/FM will sacrifice its FM signal to the new station.  ESPN had an affiliate in the market in SummitMedia’s WZNN – the former ‘ESPN 97.3 The Zone’ – but the company is flipping that station to a still-to-be-determined music format saying it couldn’t make money as the second sports talk station in the market.  Finebaum’s new radio show is expected to debut on August 12.  AL.com published the ESPN logo you see here reporting it’s been seen circulating in Birmingham on posters.

castnermichaelMark & Dave Exit News/Talk KEX, Portland; Michael Castner Takes Over PM Drive.  Mark Mason and Dave Anderson leave Clear Channel’s Portland news/talk station KEX and Michael Castner, who’d been with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network for the past several years hosting the discontinued “The Daily Wrap” program, is now hosting the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show.  Prior to joining WSJRN, Castner worked at Clear Channel’s WRNO, New Orleans.

kftk logoKFTK-FM, St. Louis’ Dave Glover Talk Star Search Contest Names Winner.  Afternoon drive talk show host Dave Glover announces the winner of the talk host search contest executed by the Emmis news/talk gloverdaveoutlet.  St. Louis native Brian Moncey won the search based on votes cast online.  Moncey picked up 52% of the final week’s votes with a record-breaking 263,000 total contest votes cast and he’ll get the chance to host the 5:00 pm hour of Glover’s program (the date for the show has not been set).  Moncey comments, “When I was coming up with a name for the show I asked my friends if they had any suggestions.  They immediately replied “So, monceybrianHere’s the Thing” because that’s what I say ALL THE TIME.”  Moncey says he will talk about “the insanity that’s going on in the world and the mundane of every day.”  He was among 10 talk show hopefuls selected by the Dave Glover show to compete after submitting a two-minute audio entry.  The contestants then faced off in a head-to-head battle with the participants receiving the most online votes advancing to the next round.  The final round consisted of Tom Wall, a St. Louis surgical instrument technician (16%); Randy Johnston, founder of Lighthouse Architects, Inc. in St. Louis (32%); and Moncey, a creative project manager specializing in videos (52%).   “NewsTalk 97.1” program director Jeff Allen states, “We’ve done this contest in the past and wanted to bring it back this year.  Our listeners loved it and responded with huge online voting numbers and, who knows, we may find a new talk star.”  His submission can be heard at www.971talk.com/star.

mackallkevinConsultant Kevin Mackall Joins Clear Channel as SVP of Visual Branding.  Longtime MTV executive Kevin Mackall has been working for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment on a consulting basis on visual packages for the company’s marquee events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival and projects like the national country and top 40 television spots.  Now, he assumes the title senior vice president of visual branding.  The company says that in this capacity he’ll “manage the company’s visual branding production including station logos, television commercials, outdoor campaigns and brand packages for Clear Channel events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Album Release Parties and the iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party.”  He’ll report to president of national programming platforms Tom Poleman, who says, “By having him on the team full time, I’m excited that we’ll now be able to spread his creative expertise more deeply through Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, including station branding, iHeartRadio Theater productions and logo projects.”

opieanthonySiriusXM’s Opie & Athony Show Broadcasts Live from Montreal’s ‘Just for Laughs’ Festival.  The Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM is broadcasting live from Montreal’s ‘Just for Laughs’ comedy festival today and tomorrow (7/25-26).  The satcaster states that, “along with comedian Jim Norton, O&A are bringing their uncensored, unpredictable SiriusXM show to Montreal…offering fans a rare opportunity to see ‘The Opie & Anthony Show’ live and in person.”  Also, the duo will host a special “Midnight Surprise” performance at Theatre Sainte-Catherine on Friday, July 26 beginning at 11:59 pm ET, featuring a special lineup of comedians personally curated by them that will be revealed on that morning’s live radio show.  The O&A cast and crew will be on hand for the Montreal festivities.

kdkapaiFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Visits KDKA, Pittsburgh.  FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spent Thursday at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh where he spoke about his work concerning the future of the AM band including the related issues of signal quality, HD radio, the future of digital AM, expansion of translator availability for AM broadcasters and regulations in general.  Appearing on the Mike Pintek program, Pai stated, “The FCC needs to consider the best of these suggestions because time, frankly, is not on the side of AM, especially among younger listeners because they are going to be fickle as they can be and if we don’t provide an AM radio outlet for them, they’ll go elsewhere.”  Pai also addressed the bandwidth issue and explained to KDKA listeners how the digital explosion is eating up available bandwidth.  “If you’re watching video on an iPad, you’re consuming 128 times more bandwidth than you would be making a phone call on a cell phone.  That bandwidth is a scarce resource, it has to come from somewhere…so, one of the things we at the FCC are trying to do is make more spectrum available…it’s been a big challenge, we don’t have a lot of spectrum just sitting there.”  Commissoner Pai (center) is pictured here with staff from CBS Radio Pittsburgh.

walshjoe‘AM 560 The Answer’ Chicago Host Joe Walsh to ‘March for Peace.’  Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh – currently hosting the afternoon drive show at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” – will join New Beginnings Church Pastor Corey Brooks for the “Let us Live” Peace March in downtown Chicago on Saturday, July 27.  Brooks was a recent guest on Walsh’s radio show in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict.  Brooks state, “We have an epidemic and although this is a problem on the South Side in the black community, it’s an issue that we cannot resolve on our own.  We need help to figure out a way for young black males to stop killing young black males.  We’re asking everyone to join us to raise the level of awareness and let people know this is not a black issue, it’s a humanitarian issue.”  Walsh adds, “While so many leaders have been grandstanding, Pastor Brooks is doing a lot to help fix the hurt and reduce the violence in Chicago.  I’m honored to join him for this peace march.  This is all about unity.  No matter what color you are, this problem belongs to us all.”

skoogarneIndustry Mourns Death of CBS Seattle Engineer Arne Skoog.  As reported in Radio World, longtime CBS Seattle engineer and RF facilities manager Arne Skoog passed away on Monday, July 22 after a battle with colon cancer.  Radio World technical advisor and director of engineering & MIS at CBS Radio Seattle Tom McGinley is quoted saying, “Our beloved Arne Skoog lost his battle with colon cancer on July 22, 2013.  A number of us were able to see him in recent days and spent some cherished moments reminiscing about many of the memories and the wonderful contributions he has made to our enterprise over the past 20-some years he has served us.”

Edward Snowden Enters Russia, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, Anthony Weiner Pressured to Drop Out of NYC Mayoral Race, Detroit Bankruptcy Filing and Caroline Kennedy Nominated as Ambassador to Japan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24).  Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is granted temporary asylum in Russia; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the exploding controversy over Anthony Weiner’s run for NYC mayor; the Detroit bankruptcy filing; and President Obama’s nomination of Caroline Kennedy for Ambassador to Japan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 14, 2013

| January 14, 2013

wolfsoncarlCarl Wolfson Back in the Talk Media Business.  The former KPOJ, Portland morning drive host returns to the talk media game on Inauguration Day via the internet after raising $52,000 and counting via KickstarterCarl Wolfson was the morning host on Clear Channel’s former progressive talk outlet KPOJ, Portland before it flipped to sports talk in the New Year.  Wolfson decided to use Kickstarter to fund a new avenue to get his brand of talk to the public and the “Elect ‘Carl in the Morning’ to a Second Term” campaign raised more than $52,000.  So, beginning on January 21, Wolfson will stream live from 7:00 am to 8:30 am and make his show available via podcast.  Wolfson says the money will go to buy office space, utilities, equipment, server costs and more.  KPOJ was one of the country’s longest-running and more successful progressive talk stations and the news of its flip to sports talk that broke in November was disappointing to progressive talk fans in the market.  As morning drive anchor and the local host, Wolfson attracted a loyal following on KPOJ.  Now, he’ll get the chance to make a go of it in the digital realm.

hartfordjakeWLS-AM, Chicago’s Jake Hartford Dead at 63.  Chicago talk radio personality Jake Hartford (Jim Edwards) passed away after suffering a heart attack.  Hartford was a longtime weekender and fill-in host on WLS, beginning his career there in 1989.  Most recently he had been co-hosting the late morning show with John Kass from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  His family, via the WLS-AM website, gives the following statement: “We’re currently mourning the loss of Jake Hartford, a husband, father, and friend.  This is devastating news for everyone in our family, and we greatly appreciate all of the kind words that have been offered to us during our struggle.  It’s truly incredible how many people he has affected positively through pursuing the work that he loved so dearly.  Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts as we do our best to ‘spring forward.’”

schnitttoddThe Todd Schnitt-Bubba the Love Sponge Case Goes to Trial Today.  Actually the jury selection process begins today in Hillsborough County, Florida.  The real interesting part will follow and is expected to last about three weeks.  Todd Schnitt – who then battled Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive in Tampa – filed suit against Todd Clem (BTLS) in 2008 claiming “false, highly offensive and defamatory statements” made by Clem about Schnitt and his wife MichellebubbaSpecifically, Schnitt’s suit claims that Clem’s attacks on him and his wife – an assistant state attorney – went beyond name calling between public figures.  He alleges Clem accused him of illegal activities including rigging the Arbitron ratings and taking “plugola.”  Schnitt also claims Clem encouraged his listeners to physically attack him and his wife and that led to four encounters with Bubba listeners including being forced off the road by another car, being harassed at dinner and having their house egged.  Schnitt’s claims are going to be hard to prove.  First, he’ll have to show actual malice on the part of Clem plus he’ll have to prove some real harm came to himself and his wife.  But the cast of witnesses should prove interesting in and of itself.  The Tampa Bay Times reports Randy Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Cowhead, and other local media personalities are listed as possible witnesses.

cookehollandPlatform Plays Huge Influence on Public’s Perception of Content.  According to noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, the stage upon which a production is delivered plays a significant role in shaping the potential audience’s expectation of its content and value.  Keeping this important piece of media theory in mind, FM and AM radio still have a tremendous advantage over podcasting and internet radio in giving its content instant gravitas simply because it is “on the radio.”  Of course, as time goes by, this psychological advantage will dissipate unless radio continues to deliver product worthy of high expectations.  Cooke illustrates this point by citing the fascinating story of the world-class concert violinist, Joshua Bell who performed as a non-descript street musician playing a $3.5 million Stradivarius in the Washington, DC subway system.  If you don’t know the story, you should — especially if you are a podcaster.  To read Holland Cooke’s piece, click here.

millerchrisTruth is More Effective than Hype in the Online Space.  According to noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should be mindful that the kind of hyperbole that marks the tone of on-air promotion doesn’t translate well on the internet.  Radio broadcasters should tone down the sizzle and hype when translating on- air messages to their websites. In an exclusive article for TALKERS, Miller writes, “For anyone old enough to tell truth from fiction when the internet first really got hot, there is still a stigma about online information.  It’s automatically suspect.  What you say online (especially on your site) needs not only be true; you also need to present it in a way that convinces your fans that you are telling the truth.  On the air, we like to add sizzle and excitement to what we promote, so we write promos and liners in call-to-action language and we gloss over important detail points.  That’s fine on the air.  When I was a PD, I would not have accepted a promo that was just a laundry list of rules for a particular promotion.  When you go online with that info, your tone needs to change.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece click here.

castnermichaelThe Wall Street Journal Radio Network to End “The Daily Wrap” Program.  Launched in the spring of 2011, the early evening program hosted by Michael Castner will end in 90 days as The Wall Street Journal Radio Network has decided to pull the plug on “The Daily Wrap.”  WSJRN brought Castner to the show from Clear Channel’s WRNO, New Orleans where he’d been hosting the morning drive program.  “The Daily Wrap” is a newsy look at the top stories of the day airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  Whether the end of the program is the result of intense competition in the syndicated talk radio marketplace or the inability to have it make financial sense at a time when ad sales in the news and talk radio realm are extremely challenging, either way the show’s departure from the landscape will leave one less well-produced, newsy product on the air.

langeartie

The DirecTV-Produced “Nick & Artie Show” Becomes “The Artie Lange Show.”  Affiliates of the “Nick & Artie Show” – featuring comedians Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange – will hear just Artie Lange when the DirecTV-produced late night talk show returns this evening.  On the show’s Facebook page, it simply states that Nick DiPaolo is pursuing “some great opportunities” and the show becomes the Artie Lange show immediately.  The program airs on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel and is distributed to radio affiliates via Premiere Networks.  The program has a handful of radio affiliates including Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone,” Beasley’s hot talk WRXK, Ft. Myers and Americom’s sports talk KBZZ, Reno “The Buzz.”

Americom Flips KBZZ, Reno to Sports.  The former hot talk outlet adopts the sports talk format using CBS Sports Radio Network.  It will continue to air the Don Geronimo morning program (imported from CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento) and the local Panama show in middays.

dubayjeffHubbard Broadcasting Brings Jeff Dubay Back on KSTP, Minneapolis.  Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay returns to the radio after an absence of more than four years due to a high profile drug bust and his rehabilitation.  Dubay worked at Clear Channel’s crosstown “KFAN” for 14 years before his dismissal in 2008.  Now, Dubay joins Judd Zulgad for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning today.  Dubay had been very open about his arrest and subsequent rehab for substance abuse.  He appeared on numerous Twin Cities media outlets over the past year or so to talk about his rise and fall.  KSTP makes other lineup changes set to take effect in February: Patrick Reusse and Phil Mackey move to 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Joe Soucheray’s “Garage Logic” slides to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.  Soucheray and Reusse continue to host the 3:00 pm hour together.

giordanodomWPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Featured in Philly Magazine Piece.  Late morning WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano is the subject of a full-length feature piece by Sandy Hingston in Philly Magazine this month.  The piece is written with the November election as its backdrop and with a hint of admiration for Giordano by the writer who is clearly far to the left of Giordano on the political spectrum, but who finds his success and his story fascinating.  Read the piece here.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago and Northwestern Agree to Three-Year Sports Extension.  Wildcats football and Men’s basketball will continue to air on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the 2015-16 season the two sides announce.  The Big Ten school’s football and Men’s basketball play-by-play have been heard on WGN since 1996.  The school’s vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips states, “The Northwestern athletics brand has experienced substantial growth over the past several years due in part to the massive reach and presence of WGN radio.  We’ve been extremely proud to call the station home for 17 years, and to have a wonderful partner in telling the stories of our world-class student-athletes.”

rossdaveDave Ross to Host One Hour with Luke Burbank on KIRO-FM, Seattle.  In TALKERS magazine’s report about Seattle radio personality Dave Ross moving to the news-intensive morning drive daypart (1/11/13), we stated that Ross is giving up his talk show with midday host Luke Burbank on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  That’s not exactly true.  Ross and Burbank will work on the air together for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour before Burbank goes solo from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.

zwerlingharrisonOn a Blustery Seaside California Day.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison paid a visit last week to the Monterey Bay area of California and the good folks at Zwerling Broadcasting’s AM talk siblings KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz as part of a fact finding tour on the effectiveness, importance and future of local radio in America.  According to Harrison, “KSCO and KOMY are exceptional examples of the magic and special place that the good old-fashioned local radio station maintains in our culture.  I came away from my visit there invigorated and optimistic about the future of this industry.”  Pictured seated on what is affectionately referred to as the “corporate bench” overlooking Monterey Bay and the blue Pacific are (l-r) Michael Zwerling, owner and CEO, Zwerling Broadcasting; Harrison; and Rosemary Chalmers, PD of KSCO/KOMY and morning host of KSCO.