Tag: "Michael Koolidge"

Monday, January 25, 2021

| January 25, 2021

INDUSTRY AND NATION MOURN: Talk Media Pioneer Larry King Dead at 87. According to a report on Facebook posted by the producers of his current syndicated television show, Ora Media, legendary star of talk radio and television, Larry King died this weekend at the age of 87. The statement says: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The statement continues, “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.” The cause of death was not indicated, however King had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. King was a major player in the talk media world who ushered in the modern era of syndication in radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the cable news/talk show format on television at CNN. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Larry King was not the greatest talk show host on radio or television in terms of skills, outrageous personality or direct and profound influence on public policy. He was, however, the most important pioneer who paved the way for today’s robust talk media presence on both radio and television. If there ever was a case of the right person at the right time, Larry King fit the bill and that’s all it took for him to be a mighty force. He was the modern era of talk radio’s first national celebrity born solely as a result of his work in the medium. And his contribution to today’s institutional cable news/talk TV format is undeniably fundamental to the medium’s current presence as America’s political and sociological meeting place. We have lost one of the greatest broadcasting presences of the first century of radio and television history as well as one of the quirkiest and most colorful individuals to ever sit behind a microphone.” Read TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Remembering Larry King” feature here.

Tributes to Larry King Pouring in from All Over the Industry.  TALKERS has received dozens of tributes, anecdotes, and comments from readers in all sectors of the broadcasting industry in reaction to the passing of Larry King on Saturday (1/23).  The following statements from people who knew him and worked with him reflect the basic sentiments expressed across the board. Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon rose to national prominence as Larry King’s fill-in host back in the early days of King’s career as the late-night “king of talk radio” on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Bohannon tells TALKERS, “Larry King was the first certified big shot for whom I’d ever worked, and I was all set for some screaming prima donna jerk. What I found was a funny, savvy, decent human being who was always very supportive of me. His best advice: Be yourself. My 11 years backing him up on the radio were always based on being a first-rate Jim rather than a second rate Larry.” This Friday (1/29) marks Bohannon’s 28th anniversary of hosting that very same show fulltime. Norm Pattiz, chairman of PodcastOne and founder of Westwood One, was instrumental in Larry King’s fabulous radio career. He tells TALKERS, “Larry King was a superstar on radio well before he became a talk show icon on television and his contribution in those media will never be duplicated. I first met Larry in 1985 when Westwood One Radio bought the Mutual Radio Network. Some said at the time that I bought the network just to get the ‘Larry King Show’ and I never corrected them. When CNN came calling, I was thrilled to share Larry with them and when his show became one of the most influential nightly talk shows in history it only confirmed what I had known all along. No one will ever match the style, compassion, and genuine love for a great interview that Larry had and the worlds of television, radio, and podcasting are worse today for his loss.” Tom Tradup, VP/news and talk programming, Salem Radio Network, tells TALKERS, “My favorite memory of Larry was when I was president/GM of WLS in Chicago and was meeting with Larry for lunch in the now-closed Cape Cod Room restaurant of Chicago’s Drake Hotel. Always upbeat and gregarious, Larry seemed just a little down. He revealed he was speaking to a business group that night and his hotel had lost his trademark suspenders. After lunch I ran over the Marshall Field’s on State Street and bought him a pair. Big smile from a broadcast legend whose talent endured for decades.” And media consultant, TALKERS columnist, and host of “The Big Picture” on RT America (which also carried Larry King’s syndicated TV show at the time of his death), Holland Cooke adds, “One year ago this week, Larry was my guest on the very first show produced at RT’s new Los Angeles studio. Larry’s gift was his curiosity; and his legacy to fellow talkers is the art of the short question. I remember him asking Bob Hope, ‘Who do YOU think is funny?’ And he asked David Duke, ‘Don’t you ever get tired of hating?’ Often, guests on book tours or who are otherwise timely are prepped with ‘safe’ answers, regardless of the questions asked. And they get away with it, because hosts ask verbose questions and don’t listen closely to responses. Larry’s short question would catch the guest off-guard – enough to yield an answer you wouldn’t hear elsewhere along the tour.

King and I: An Excerpt from Bernadette Duncan’s Landmark Book Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  I landed a part-time job with the Larry King Radio Show in 1986 because I was in the right place at the right time. My late shift at NBC Radio Networks where I produced the Neil Myers Show ended at 1:00 am and no other talk producer was on the premises. All that was required? Meet Mr. King in the lobby, escort him to the elevator, guide him down the hall to the nearest empty studio, check mics and audio, and then be prepared to do the same with the on-coming, big-name parade of guests scheduled for the night. Basically, I was a “handler” for an extra 75 bucks a shift. At the time, this pre-suspenders-wearing Larry King was one of the most successful radio talk show hosts in the industry who at the height of his show’s prominence had nearly 500 affiliate stations around the country. Just the year before, in 1985, he began hosting a nightly TV program on the new cable network called CNN (for Cable News Network) and “Larry King Live” was getting some buzz. In addition to television at 9:00 pm… then radio after midnight… he was in contract to write a book. Larry King’s career was hot. And it was this book deal with a New York-based publisher that brought him to the Big Apple four or five days a month to meet with his editor face-to-face. I became his New York producer/handler, working in coordination with his crew in Washington, DC. Little did I realize when I signed up with “the King of Talk,” I would dive into a world as quirky as what you’d find down Alice’s rabbit hole. To read the entire excerpt please click here.

Alpha Media Announces Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Reorganization. The company says in a statement on its website that it has entered into a “restructuring agreement with certain of its lenders to reduce its debt, as well as raise incremental capital” to allow it “to successfully navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities. The company expects no disruption to its broadcast operations, customers or employees. Management will remain in place and continue to maintain the company’s day-to-day operations.” Alpha Media says it has filed “a pre-arranged plan of re-organization, disclosure statement and voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Certain of the company’s existing lenders have agreed to provide new capital in the form of committed debtor-in-possession and exit financing. These lenders, together with management, are expected to collectively own 100% of the equity of the re-organized company, subject to regulatory approvals from the Federal Communications Commission. The restructuring of the company’s balance sheet will require receipt of bankruptcy court approval and certain regulatory, including FCC, approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions. The company expects to conclude the restructuring process in the first half of 2021.” Alpha chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We have made significant progress in aggressively deleveraging our business in recent years. As we proceed with our financial restructuring to improve our capital structure and manage through the ongoing downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreement we reached today will leave Alpha Media well positioned for a market recovery as a stronger and even more competitive company. Broadcast radio is the leading reach medium in the United States, with attractive ROIs for advertisers, and radio continues to be an indispensable communications platform nationwide. We believe the balance sheet restructuring will provide greater financial resources and flexibility to Alpha Media, enabling the Company to strengthen its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster in the United States, and invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities. Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges. We will continue to invest in our talented teams to foster the unique culture that has been key to Alpha Media’s success in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Monday Memo: Time Management 2021. “Short version? Time will not be managed.” But in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke explains how “tasks can,” and that’s gotten trickier in pandemic shutdown mode. He outlines solutions for recurring distractions. Read it here.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Rollout Troubles, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Trump Third Party Launch, Tacoma Protest/Deadly Indianapolis Shooting, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the strategic troubles affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump; the arrests being made during the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the rumors that Donald Trump intends to launch a third political party; the Tacoma protest in which a police officer drove into a crowd and the shooting in Indianapolis in which five adults and an unborn child were killed; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Value. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says, “Presenting the value proposition is a never-ending challenge, especially for the broadcast seller. I’ve seen too many sellers get hung up on product features that are station-centric – important to management, talent, and the seller. The truth is the advertiser doesn’t see it the same way.” The past year has taught us that the value perception of your station’s product has changed. For more on this, read Lapa’s column here.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Program Director John Hanson Exits. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis has let program director John Hanson go. Hanson had been serving as the station’s PD since the fall of 2018. Hanson is a native of the Twin Cities who worked on air as co-host of KSTP-TV’s “Twin Cities Live” afternoon talk show that launched in 2008. He joined Entercom in 2013 to program sports talk KCSP-AM, Kansas City. The reason for Hanson’s departure is not clear but the staff was alerted in a memo from market SVP Shannon Knoepke, who wrote on January 21, “Reaching out this afternoon to notify the staff that John Hanson is no longer with the company, effective today. More to come as we move forward and work to fill this position.”

WJBC, Bloomington-Normal Adds Michael Koolidge Show. The independently syndicated Michael Koolidge show is added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s WJBC-AM, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Koolidge says, “We couldn’t be more excited to join WJBC. I’ve been trying to break into the Bloomington-Normal market for years and I’m thrilled that Cumulus’ WJBC decided to pick up the show!” WJBC operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We are very excited to be adding ‘The Michael Koolidge Show’ to our lineup. Michael’s been very successful throughout Illinois and the Midwest and we can’t wait to have him on WJBC.”

Marc Bernier Show Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Pictured above is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Benier broadcasting live from DB Pickles restaurant in Ormond Beach, Florida celebrating his 30th year on air as a talk host. The celebration was also a benefit for Halifax Urban Ministries. January 21 was declared “Marc Bernier Show Day” with a flag flown over the state capitol and declarations declared honoring Bernier in the cities and county of Volusia. A number of local and state officials attended the broadcast.

WRHU Radio Hofstra University will Receive World Radio Day Award 2021.  In conjunction with World Radio Day coming up on February 13, the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America has selected WRHU Radio of Hofstra University to receive the 2021 World Radio Day Award. The honor commemorates World Radio Day, established by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and is celebrated annually on February 13. World Radio Day is intended to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio. WRHU is the first student-run station to receive this honor.  WRHU Radio 88.7 FM is the campus radio station of Hofstra University, a private university located on Long Island in Hempstead, NY. The station has been the recipient of numerous regional, state, and national awards, including three prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (2014, 2017, and 2019).  With studios housed in Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the station has been committed to training the next generation of radio professionals for more than 60 years in a wide variety of radio genres including news, sports, public affairs, community programming, and music. For the past decade, WRHU has exclusively produced and distributed radio broadcasts of New York Islanders hockey games, the first and only college radio station to have such an agreement with a professional major-league sports team.  “We are immensely honored to receive this award of recognition,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. “WRHU and its managers and staff deserve enormous credit for carrying on their work throughout the pandemic and providing vital information to the community.”  The annual World Radio Day Award honors a U.S. radio station that exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry. Recipients may be large or small stations, commercial or noncommercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The award jury looks for stations that demonstrate ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, and financial and ratings success.  For this year’s award, the jury has highlighted the work done during the coronavirus pandemic, in light of UNESCO’s theme for the World Radio Day 2021 celebration, which is “New World, New Radio” in the sense that radio is a medium for resilience of our society. The jury of Academy is composed by eight highly qualified professionals of the broadcast industry (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Harrison, founder/publisher, TALKERSPaul McLane, editor in chief, Radio WorldMike McVay, president, McVay Media ConsultingFrancisco Montero, partner, Fletcher, Heald & HildrethChris Oliviero, SVP/MM, Entercom New York; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink; and Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. WRHU was recognized for its efforts during the crisis, expanding its content as student and community staffers worked and broadcast from their homes during a New York state lockdown. Hofstra University has been cited on the Best College lists of U.S. News & World ReportThe Princeton ReviewFiskeWashington Monthly, Forbes, LinkedIn and Payscale.com. It is the only university chosen to host U.S. presidential debates in three consecutive election cycles (2008, 2012 and 2016). The World Radio Day Award was initially created by the Spanish Radio Academy to spread awareness of World Radio Day. The annual February 13 commemoration was endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and accompanied by the creation of the International Radio Committee, which collaborates with UNESCO to promote World Radio Day each year. Last year, the award went to all-news station, WTOP, Washington DC.  The 2021 World Radio Day Award will be presented to WRHU at Hofstra University in early February. For more information, click here.

Townsquare Media to Repurchase 10 Million Shares. In a press release, Townsquare Media, Inc announces it has entered into an agreement to repurchase a minimum of 10 million of the 12.5 million shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock and warrants held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., for $6.40 per security, which reflects a 19% discount from the closing price of the Class A common stock on Friday, January 22, 2021. The repurchase was approved by the board of directors following the recommendation of a committee of independent and disinterested directors. The aggregate purchase price is expected to be at least $64 million, subject to the company’s ability to elect to purchase additional securities at closing of the repurchase. At closing, the repurchased securities will be retired and, subject to the company’s election to repurchase additional securities, the company’s outstanding securities will be reduced from approximately 28 million to approximately 18 million. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this significant transaction with Oaktree and are excited about this repurchase, which secures the exit of a very long-term private equity majority shareholder that current and potential shareholders have described to me consistently as being an obstacle to investing more, or establishing a position, in Townsquare given the significant overhang Oaktree’s holding represented. This repurchase is immediately accretive to shareholders and we thank our board of directors for their vote of confidence in our medium and long-term business plan to grow revenue and profits.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago afternoon news anchor Kim Gordon has resigned from the Nexstar Media Group station after 15 years. It’s rumored that Gordon will be joining Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM to serve as the afternoon news anchor on the Big John Howell program. Back at WGN, Feder reports that Lauren Lapka will be the news anchor on the Steve Bertrand afternoon program…..iHeartMedia flips sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville “The Game” to Gospel as “Hallelujah AM930/93.3 HD2.”…..News and sports radio pro Mike Smith is leaving his gig with iHeartMedia’s WBEX-AM, Chillicothe, Ohio to pursue other career opportunities, The 43-year radio pro says, “Thanks to all the great listeners, which many, many of them became life-long friends, and I can say the same about my colleagues being life-long friends and that means more to me than any nice thing that anybody ever said about the job that I did.”

Thursday, October 24, 2019

| October 24, 2019

iHeartMedia and BuzzFeed Create ‘Impeachment’ Podcast. Just two days after former Donald Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon started his “War Room: Impeachment” podcast and radio show, iHeartMedia and BuzzFeed News roll out “Impeachment Today,” a daily podcast covering the Trump impeachment process hosted by BuzzFeed News senior reporter Hayes Brown.   The show is distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network beginning today (10/24). iHM and BuzzFeed News call it “a digestible, 10- to 15-minute news breakdown of the day’s impeachment process, debuting each morning and helping listeners make sense of the all-consuming political and legal saga that will captivate U.S. politics in the months to come.”  iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne states, “The current climate of fast changing news cycles often makes it difficult to keep up with complex topics like the Trump impeachment proceedings.  Podcasting is an ideal medium to dissect this news coverage and make it available to listeners in a way that is quick and easy to digest while on the go, and Buzzfeed is the perfect partner to breakdown this crucial information for listeners in an appealing daily podcast format.”

The Herd Podcast Network Launches Dallas Cowboys Podcast. A new football podcast dedicated to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys debuts on The Herd Podcast Network.  FOX Sports Radio and Premiere Networks announce the launch of “The ‘Boys and Girl Podcast,” hosted by Dallas-based NFL Network reporter Jane Slater and NFL Network field producer Bobby Belt.  New episodes of the podcast will be available on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout football season, with episodes continuing in the off-season.  Slater says, “As a Dallas native who reports on the Cowboys daily, I’ve found there is no offseason – the appetite for more content is as strong as Ezekiel Elliott’s desire to be fed on the field.  When Colin Cowherd approached me about this podcast, it was a no brainer.  My producer Bobby Belt and I talk this beat 24/7 and we’re excited to share those conversations with the fans.”

Michael Koolidge Show Adds Third Hour. The WROK, Rockford, Illinois-based Michael Koolidge show adds a third hour and is now airing from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Koolidge says that affiliate WZUS, Decatur, Illinois “Talk 101 FM” requested the additional hour.  “Talk 101 FM” operations manager Storm Edwards says, “Mike’s show has been on ‘Talk 101FM’ from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm for over five years now and it’s extremely popular with our listeners.  When we asked Mike if he could create an additional third hour from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, he jumped at the chance and we all couldn’t be happier about it.  I’m sure other affiliates will take advantage of it as well!”  Koolidge’s show is heard on a number of regional affiliate stations including: WTAX-AM/FM, Springfield and WTAD, Quincy in Illinois as well as Hillsdale College’s WRFH-LP, Hillsdale, Michigan.

Tegna Chief Dave Lougee to Receive BFoA’s Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Tegna president and CEO Dave Lougee is the recipient of its 2020 Golden Mike Award.  The award will be presented during a black-tie gala on Wednesday, March 4 at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City.  The annual event is a major fundraiser in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America to provide aid to broadcasters in acute need.  Lougee says, “When devastation strikes one of our colleagues, it’s good to know the Foundation is there to help.  I’m so very proud of the generosity of the many broadcasters who support and donate to the Broadcasters Foundation and I am honored to receive their Golden Mike Award.”  BFoA chairman Dan Mason adds, “As a member of our board of directors, Dave has made a difference in the lives of the many broadcasters the Foundation helps.  Dave is an exemplary broadcaster who leads his team in serving their local markets with journalistic integrity.  We are proud to honor him.”  Previous recipients of the Golden Mike Award include: Perry Sook, Emily Barr, David Barrett, Michael Bloomberg, Bob Pittman, Gordon Smith, Jeff Smulyan, and more.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio executive and McVay Media principal Mike McVay and Sun Broadcast Group announce that McVay is serving as an advisor to SBG with his focus being on the company’s international platform.  McVay’s role will be to consult Sun CEO Jay Bailey and the company as they grow their international digital and international product line…..One of the carriers of the new “War Room: Impeachment” talk show hosted by former Breitbart exec and former Donald Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon is the John Fredericks Radio Network based at WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..RADIO.COM’s Pineapple Street Studios is producing “The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow” in partnership with Ronan Farrow. The podcast will serve as an audio companion to his bestselling book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators (2019, Little, Brown and Company).  Farrow says, “Catch and Kill is full of incredibly compelling men and women and this podcast will give you the opportunity to hear their voices directly, in intimate, candid conversations with me.  We’ll provide a deeper understanding of the plot that unravels in the book and feature brand new details and pieces of evidence directly from the investigation.”…..iHeartMedia and Fatherly launch a new iHeartRadio Original podcast, “Finding Fred.”  iHM says, “The show digs into the deep and simple language of Mister Rogers to uncover his very adult lessons about how to build a meaningful life.”  The 10-episode podcast is hosted by New York Times bestselling author, memoirist, and award-winning podcaster Carvell Wallace.  He says, “‘Mister Rogers’ has had a huge impact on an entire generation of children.  As this generation becomes parents, raising children of their own, it’s important to discuss how his words and ideas are still relevant today.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Republicans Protest Closed-Door Deposition, Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill, 2020 Presidential Race/Gabbard-Clinton Feud, Syria Pullout/Turkey Sanctions Lifted, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, Katie Hill Ethics Investigation, and 39 Deceased Found in British Truck Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the Republicans’ attempts to gain access to the closed-door deposition; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee about his cryptocurrency plans; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the Hillary ClintonTulsi Gabbard feud; the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Syria and Trump lifts the sanctions against Turkey; the California wildfires and power blackouts; the ethics investigation being initiated against U.S. Rep. Katie Hill; and the discovery of 39 bodies of Chinese nationals in a truck in Essex, England were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  On-air pro JJ Kincaid has joined Cumulus Media’s Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q 99.7.”  He made his first appearance on the station yesterday (10/23) in the midday daypart but it’s not clear yet if he’ll be the permanent midday jock or is destined for another daypart on the station.  Kincaid was most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s CHR KPTT, Denver “95.7 The Party.”…..The Skyview Networks-syndicated “Dana Cortez Show” adds three new Texas stations to its roster of affiliates.  Adding the program to their schedules are: Alpha Media’s KBTE-FM, Lubbock and KVWE-FM, Amarillo; and Four R Broadcasting’s KMDX-FM, San Angelo…..SiriusXM announces that jam band Phish will perform an exclusive concert for SiriusXM and Pandora listeners on Tuesday, December 3 at The Met in Philadelphia.  The live performance will mark the smallest venue the band has played in nearly 20 years and will be broadcast live on Tuesday, December 3 at 7:30 pm ET…..Condolences to the family and friends of former, longtime KNCI, Sacramento air personality Dan Cheatham, who died Tuesday (10/22) at age 50.  At this time, the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office is saying the cause of death is undetermined.

Monday, March 19, 2018

| March 19, 2018

Mark Wainwright Returns to WSYR, Syracuse Morning Show.  Morning show personality Mark Wainwright is back on the air at iHeartMedia’s Syracuse news/talk WSYR after a 10-month absence while he battled throat cancer.  Wainwright says, “This thing hit me out of nowhere.  It was discovered last April, almost by accident, and it’s been an ongoing medical odyssey ever since.  It was eventually diagnosed as an aggressive form of throat cancer.  It was nasty and had already begun spreading to lymph nodes in my neck.  The recuperation period was long and frustrating.  Even when I started to feel a little better physically, my voice was still a train wreck.  It wasn’t until the end of 2017 that I started to sound better, and my doctors eventually cleared me to try hosting a daily show again.”  Wainwright says his voice is still not 100% and he’ll host from 6:00 to 9:00 to start and hopefully return to doing the full 5:00 to 9:00 show. Meanwhile, he says he’s thankful for his colleagues who filled in while he was out.  “Dave Allen, Ian Wheatley, Jim Donovan, and Nick Russo were put in a very tough spot for months, especially after the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Kevin Schenck.  They had to scramble, rearrange their lives, and pull double and even triple duty to keep the morning show running and cover all the vacant slots.  Thank you, gentlemen. Fine work, and very much appreciated.”

Bloomberg: iHeartMedia Bankruptcy Allows Lenders to Entertain New Offers.  According to the Bloomberg piece by Emma Orr, Eliza Ronalds-Hannon, and Steven Church, certain lenders can discuss any offers presented to them during iHeartMedia’s bankruptcy process.  The story says that creditors “fought hard for language in the restructuring support agreement that lets them continue to explore ‘consistent alternative proposals.’”  It also reports that this language was “heavily contested” in the discussions that led up to the Chapter 11 filing.  That means any prospective buyers, such as Liberty Media, could attempt to strike a deal with senior creditors.  Read the Bloomberg piece here.

Yes, Alexa Is Laughing…But Not at You.  Consultant Holland Cooke says radio should smile about smart speakers.  Writing after the news about NuVoodoo’s recent research that reports one-third of its 3,000-plus, 14-54 survey respondents own a smart speaker, Cooke says, “we’re still early-on in the adoption curve, so this will only become more opportune for broadcasters.”  The data also indicates that almost half of likely PPM panelists own one.  Read Cooke’s entire piece here.

McCabe Fired from FBI, Threats to Robert Mueller Investigation, Putin ‘Re-Elected’/U.K.-Russia Diplomatic Tensions, Miami Bridge Collapse, Rihanna vs Snapchat, Facebook Data Misuse Allegations, First Weekend of March Madness, NFL Free Agency, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and President Trump’s weekend Tweets; Trump attorney John Dowd calls for end to Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign-Russian agents matter; Russian president Vladimir Putin wins “re-election” for new six-year term and Putin’s crumbling diplomatic relations with the U.K. and the West; the deadly collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Miami; Rihanna’s criticism of a Snapchat ad for an app that makes light of domestic violence; investigations into allegations of Facebook’s misuse of user data; the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament; the beginning of the NFL free agency period; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Broadcast Engineer Eric Small Dead at 71.  An accident at a Publix store in Delray Beach, Florida took the life of Eric Small last Thursday (3/15).  Small was exiting the grocery store when an 80-year-old woman lost control of her car and hit Small before driving into the front of the store.  It’s believed the woman had a heart attack while driving.  Small’s accomplishments in radio engineering are numerous.  He’s famous for having co-invented the Orban Optimod FM processor that became ubiquitous in the industry.  He began his career in 1964 at WNCN, New York.  In 1969, he became a member of the technical department at A&R Recording under Phil Ramone.  He later served as chief engineer at WXLO-FM, New York.  In 1981 he founded Modulation Sciences that developed and manufactured innovative products for radio and TV.

TALKERS News Notes. Former WBAL and WCBM, Baltimore weekend talk show host Jimmy Mathis was dealt a blow by a judge who says Mathis cannot run for the Maryland State Senate representing the 42nd district because he is not a resident of the district.  According to the Maryland Daily Record, Mathis is saying he’ll appeal the ruling…..WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Jeff Wagner announces that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and a number of other Wisconsin leaders will be speakers at the upcoming live “Jeff Wagner Insight 2018” on March 28 at Country Springs Hotel in nearby Pewaukee.  The annual conservative political event and live radio show will also include Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and a number of conservative candidates for statewide office…..The regionally syndicated Illinois talk program “The Michael Koolidge Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cromwell Radio Group’s WCRA, Effingham, Illinois in afternoon drive.  Koolidge’s program is now heard on 14 signals in the state.  WCRA program director Sheila Myers says, “We’re very excited to be adding the Michael Koolidge show to our lineup.  We heard he was doing great things in the afternoon on our sister station, WZUS “Talk 101FM” in Decatur, so we think he’ll be a great addition first thing in the early morning for our Greater Effingham audience on our three separate signals.”…..KIRO-FM, Seattle’s “Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle” podcast has been announced as a nominee for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards.  “Your Last Meal” is an original podcast hosted by Rachel Belle, host of KIRO Radio’s “Ring My Belle,” and is produced by Aaron Mason.   James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards winners will be announced on April 27, 2018…..Pictured below are Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (center) with directors Andy Erwin (left) and Jon Erwin (right).  The duo scored the third-most-viewed film this past weekend as the faith-based film I Can Only Imagine generated $17 million behind weekend leaders The Black Panther and Tomb Raider.  Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that this week SRN News is repeating a multi-part series it produced on the film that tells the back story behind MercyMe’s triple-platinum song, “I Can Only Imagine.”

More Than 50 Industry Leaders Scheduled to Speak TALKERS magazine Conference in NYC in June; Great Hotel Deal Arranged for Attendees. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – announce the Friday, June 8 program will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers currently scheduled to appear here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – whichever comes first. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible. An early sellout is imminent! For the latest details about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! please read the story below. To make hotel reservations, please click here.

Cool Job Opportunities. Entercom Charlotte is seeking on-air personalities for its three stations. “If you live to connect with your audience on air, online and in person— you’ll love it here! We are looking for experienced on-air talent. Are you a passionate storyteller who’s authentic, entertaining and a team player? Do you have a strong hand in social media? The ideal candidate should possess strong work ethic, solid show prep and the ability to deliver creative and compelling content. Experience is preferred. Entercom Charlotte is an Equal Opportunity Employer. To be considered for these positions, please apply online at www.entercom.com and click on ‘Careers.’ No phone calls.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After parting ways with Scotty Lindy on Friday (3/16), Cumulus Media announces that it is bringing programmer Brian Thomas to Atlanta to serve as PD for WKHX “Kicks 101.5.”  Thomas has been program director for the company’s classic hits WLS-FM, Chicago as well as a member of the corporate programming team for the country format and is vice president, programming, classic hits.  Thomas says, “It was always my dream to program WLS-FM in Chicago, but I started in country and everyone knows I love it.  And although I am corporate program director for country at Cumulus, it’s not the same as having a country station down the hall.  I’m beyond thrilled that Sean Shannon, Mike McVay, and Charlie Cook have confidence in me to program ‘Kicks,’ one of America’s leading country stations.”…..Also from Cumulus Media, the company announces that Jim Kurdziel is being promoted to regional vice president, programming – rock, in which he is overseeing the rock and alternative formats for Cumulus’ stations in the Northeast.  Kurdziel continues to serve as program director and midday personality for alternative WEDG-FM, Buffalo “103.3 The Edge” and will now support stations in markets including: Buffalo; Syracuse; Harrisburg, PA; Wilkes Barre, PA; Saginaw, MI; New Orleans, LA; and Appleton, WI…..Pamal Broadcasting flips sports talk WINU, Albany “Win 104.9” to alternative as “ALT 104.9 Albany’s NEW Alternative.” Pamal’s Albany Broadcasting general manager A.J. Bodden states, “Broadcast radio remains the number one medium as it relates to new music discovery and Albany Broadcasting is thrilled to be in a position to now give that opportunity to alternative listeners in Albany.  My team and I, along with our local ownership, could not be more proud to be launching this new format and filling a void that has existed here for a long time.”…..iHeartMedia promotes Echo Robinson to director of marketing and promotions for its Chicago Region.  Robinson joined iHeartMedia Chicago in 1995 and rose from intern to senior promotions coordinator before her appointment to promotions director in 2001.  As director of marketing and promotions, Robinson is responsible for managing the planning and execution of marketing, promotion, sales partnerships and imaging campaigns for the region.  She reports to Tommy Austin, SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Chicago Region.

Monday, July 9, 2012

| July 9, 2012

Jim Horn to Retire from WSBA, York.  One of the most well-liked and admired broadcasters in news/talk radio, Jim Horn, is announcing he will be retiring from his dual position as program director and morning co-host at Cumulus Media‘s WSBA, York, Pennsylvania effective August 1, after serving nearly 34 years at the station.  For the past four years, he and co-host Gary Sutton have presided over mornings at the station and have earned a spot in the Talkers 250 during each of them.  Sutton will remain with the station as Cumulus searches for a new PD and morning co-host.  Horn tells TALKERS, “After being with WSBA for almost three and a half decades, I want to take a very long vacation – something I do not remember ever doing – and then take the time to explore new opportunities both inside and outside radio and see if something interesting comes along.  I am very excited about entering this new chapter of my life.”

Speculation About FM Sports Signal in New York Heats Up.  There’s almost always chatter in the Big Apple about when CBS Radio’s WFAN will finally get an FM signal, but a recent story at FishbowlNY is fueling even more.  Jerry Barmash’s piece cites a former CBS Radio employee who indicates the upcoming rights battle for New York Yankees baseball may be the catalyst for CBS Radio to drop “Fresh 102.7” and give The Fan an FM signal.  Another factor cited is the coming CBS Sports Radio Network.  The company will certainly want to have a New York outlet for its national programming and the source tells Barmash, “I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS uses 660 as a clearinghouse for the CBS Sports Network while 102.7 maintains a local angle.”  Getting back to the Yankees, it’s believed this will be the last year for Yankees baseball on WCBS and if CBS wants to try to keep both the Yankees and the Mets (currently on The Fan), it’ll need two sports signals.  FishbowlNY’s source says the Yankees are likely to want to buy the time from their next radio outlet and take production and sales in-house.

Programmer Lee Feldman Exiting Beasley’s WQAM, Miami.  A plum sports program director position is opening up as WQAM, Miami PD Lee Feldman is preparing to exit the station in two weeks.  Assistant PD and Dan Sileo show executive producer Andy King will be serving as the interim program director but the word is the station is seeking a permanent replacement for Feldman.

St. Louis’ Grand Slam Sports Changes Calls, Image of KSLG.  The station  formerly known as SportsRadio 1380 KSLG in St. Louis becomes KXFN, St. Louis with the handle “The Fan 2” – indicating its position as sister station to “The Fan,” KFNS at 590.  The change takes place today and general manager Katy Pavelonis states, “We will now have 590 The Fan and 1380 The Fan 2.  This will allow us to cross promote our programming as we continue to be ‘The Voice of the St. Louis Sports Fan.’  Sports fans have become accustomed to the coverage and entertainment we offer as the heritage sports station with 590 The Fan.  1380 The Fan 2 is simply an extension of our brand.”  Pavelonis says Grand Slam Sports conducted a study, led by a Saint Louis University MBA class, that revealed most sports fans associate “The Fan” with 1380 sister station KFNS.

Eliot Spitzer Joins NY1’s Political Roundtable Show.  Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who replaced Keith Olbermann on the Al Gore-founded cable channel Current TV, will become a regular panelist on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”  NY1 is Time Warner’s local cable news channel for people living in the Tri-State area.  Regular panelists on the program include former New York Mayor Ed Koch and former U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato.

 

Chris Vernon Takes Over Middays at WMFS-AM/FM, Memphis.  Sports talk host Chris Vernon moves from KQPN, Memphis to crosstown WMFS-AM/FM to host the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show on the Entercom sports talker beginning today.  Entercom vice president and market manager Dan Barron says, “92.9 FM ESPN is the number one sports and spoken-word station in the market.  Adding Chris Vernon enhances that already strong position.  Chris is a top talent who brings a high-energy approach and national experience.  He’s a perfect fit for Entercom/Memphis and our advertisers.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon will be the announcer for CBS Television’s “Face the Nation” on July 22…..Country singer Hank Williams, Jr. has a new album out with free song downloads for radio stations coming this week.  PR maven Janet Fallon says there are a couple of political songs on the disc and the country legend is none too pleased with President Obama…..Illinois talk host Michael Koolidge hosts his annual “Michael Koolidge Show Summer Party” at Perry Rock Restaurant in Rockford, Illinois on Thursday, July 26.  Koolidge, whose show is syndicated to numerous markets in Northern Illinois, is throwing the party that’s free and open to the public to thank his listeners for their support for the growing program…..Local Focus Radio president Kay Olin is named chair of the board of directors for the Alliance for Women in Media.  Olin will lead the AWM board in its mission to “harness the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.”…..Bloomquist Media receives a 2012 Finalist Award from the New York Radio Festival for the Christmas radio program “The Gift, A Holiday Tribute to Military Families.”  The program won in the Social Issues/Current Events category and helped raise awareness and funds for the Fisher House Foundation.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

| October 6, 2011

iHeartRadio to Invade American Living Rooms.  In an innovative development that significantly bolsters traditional radio programming’s digital distribution potential, Clear Channel’s expanded deal with Microsoft to include its iHeartRadio in the Xbox LIVE service could put CC stations into the homes of millions of Americans.  Clear Channel says this is an expansion of its multi-year deal with Microsoft that integrates iHeartRadio on Windows Phone 7 and brought the recent two-day iHeartRadio music festival into homes exclusively on the Xbox 360.  Beginning this winter it will work this way: The New iHeartRadio will be available for free to Xbox LIVE Gold members.  Through this new agreement, Gold members who have Kinect for Xbox 360 can use the product’s revolutionary sensor to experience an entertainment first: the ability to control digital radio in their living room using their voice and body.  Gold members who have Xbox 360, but do not have Kinect, can operate the New iHeartRadio using their controller.  Regardless of whether they have Kinect or not, all Xbox 360 Gold members will have access to the New iHeartRadio’s features, including more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus custom stations with more songs, better music intelligence and more user control.  The deal will also give users access to social features through CC’s deal with Facebook.  Clear Channel CEO John Hogan tells TALKERS, “Clear Channel is committed to innovation and deep social integration.  We want to continually deliver new experiences that consumers have never seen before – like the recent launch of the New iHeartRadio, which combines broadcast and digital-only stations and user-created stations in one service for the first time.  The New iHeartRadio’s integration with the Xbox 360 enables Kinect users to control digital radio in their living room using just their voice and body.  There is nothing else like it on the market and it’s another example of how we are committed to being wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect.”

Financial Expert Charles Payne to Launch National Radio Show Via Sun Broadcast Group.  Charles Payne is well known to viewers of Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel as well as to KFI, Los Angeles where he’s hosted a Saturday afternoon program.  Now, Payne partners with Sun Broadcast Group to begin a nationally syndicated two-hour financial talk show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily starting October 17.  “Payne Nation with Charles Payne” will emanate from Fox studios in New York.  Chad Wilkinson is named executive producer, Gabe Hobbs and Jim Robinson are aboard in a consulting capacity and the show will feature the voice talents of Edd Hall.  Sun CEO and founder Jay Bailey states, “We’re very excited to welcome Charles to the Sun Broadcast lineup.  We believe the industry is ready for an uplifting, positive financial show that will provide real answers for real people in this turbulent time in our nation.”  Payne says, “Everyone asks me how I am going to be different from other hosts out there, and I tell them that I am simply going to be real.  No scare tactics.  I’m not going to sugarcoat anything in fact I go right at the issues by digging beneath the surface, seeking facts, relying on history and connecting all the dots for real assessments and real solutions.”

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Scores Exclusive Perspective of Airline Passenger Arrest.  WJIM, Lansing-based talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels happened to be returning from Amsterdam to Detroit when a man on the Delta plane began ranting about a hijacking.  The man was quickly restrained by air marshals.  Shiels tells TALKERS, “While observing from up close, I discreetly used the e-mail function of Delta’s in-flight entertainment system to send e-mails and texts to my producer and other media outlets.  The result was an exclusive story for my radio network and a press gaggle waiting for me when I emerged from the aircraft, resulting in national publicity on the major TV networks.”  Shiels says the man appeared to be American and in his 30s.  He says many passengers became agitated since it was an Amsterdam to Detroit flight that the infamous “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up on Christmas Day 2009.

Paul Finebaum Gets Favorable Ruling in Legal Tussle with Cumulus.  Regionally syndicated and WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum was successful in getting his civil suit against Citadel – now Cumulus – returned to state court in Alabama.  Federal judge L. Scott Coogler ruled Cumulus was not able to prove the dispute went above the $75,000 threshold to make it a federal civil suit.  Legal experts say Finebaum stands a better chance in state court due to the legal standards.  Finebaum has two suits filed against Cumulus: one in which Citadel agreed to bankruptcy reorganization without his consent and the other that he was coerced into amending his contract and that Citadel violated its deal with him by manipulating revenue for his program away from him.

KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Comes Out with Parkinson’s Diagnosis.  In a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, KNBR sports talk host Ralph Barbieri – co-host of “The Razor and Mr. T” alongside Tom Tolbert – confesses to having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2002 and telling no one except Tolbert until now.  Barbieri tells the paper he decided to reveal his diagnosis now since he is coming to the end of his contract and wanted to be honest as he and Cumulus negotiate a new deal.  He tells the paper, “If I am to continue at KNBR, I’d like to start with all our cards on the table, face-up.  I’ve gotten to know Lew Dickey a little bit, and my gut feeling was that he could deal with my situation at an honorable level, so I gave him a call and told him everything.  He let me know that KNBR wants me back.  He didn’t say on what terms, but the fact that he didn’t view the Parkinson’s as a red flag, that was a huge relief to me.”

Premiere Networks Scores Large Market Add for Glenn Beck: Phoenix.  Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix agrees to add the Glenn Beck show to its daily program schedule in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot bumping Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage from the slot.  Clear Channel Phoenix director of programming and operations Smokey Rivers states, “Glenn has a sizeable and loyal local following.   His unique and stimulating perspectives will be a welcome addition to the station.”

WROK, Rockford-Based Michael Koolidge Show Names New Producer.  Michael Koolidge’s regionally and independently syndicated talk show is based out of Cumulus-owned WROK, Rockford, Illinois and syndicated to WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois.  Koolidge announces he brings on Natalie Zee Fenwick as his program’s first full-time producer.  “Thanks specifically to our outstanding advertiser support over the last year, we can afford to officially create our first bona fide job.  Even though it’s just a single job, we’re proud to join the ranks of ‘job creators’ of America.  I’ve had a rotation of great part-time producers and interns over the years, but we’re finally in a position where we’re ready to hire a regular producer.  And we’re thrilled that we found Natalie.”  Koolidge’s business model – serving as an independent contractor to regional radio stations – is one the industry is likely to see more of as companies and stations seek quality local or regional talent without taking on the expenses of traditional employees.  Koolidge’s highly rated program is one industry watchers are keeping an eye on.

Talk Host Jim Walsh and KFYR, Bismarck Part Company.  It’s only been two weeks since talk personality Jim Walsh returned to Clear Channel’s KFYR, Bismarck – a station he worked at in 2003 and 2004 – to host the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program formerly held by Scott Bachmeier.  Not sure what happened there but Walsh cryptically tells TALKERS, “I have stepped down from the afternoon talk show at KFYR, Bismarck by mutual consent.  I’m still there part-time, at least for the time being.  I’m currently exploring my options and can be reached at 701-226-8449.”  Bachmeier had exited the full-time shift to concentrate on non-radio work but the station lists him as host of the time slot – at least for now.

Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs Passes, 2012 GOP Candidates and Obama Jobs Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5).  The growing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the death of Apple innovator Steve Jobs, the Republican candidates for president in 2012 and President Obama’s job creation plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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