Tag: "Minnesota Twins"

Friday, January 12, 2018

| January 12, 2018

Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm.  Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism.  This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable.  The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words.  This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it.  In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly.  Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.”   Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t.  My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.”  We want our shows to be safe for the whole family.  No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.”  Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'”  ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards.  Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’   We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities.   We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making.  If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage.   If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance.  But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.”  Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go.  Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.”  Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air.  Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!”  Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning.  My advice:  Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'”  TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.”  For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.

Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.”  TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term.  To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.

Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City.  The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention.  Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City.  This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue.  The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future.  There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities.  Good things happen at this convention.  We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!”  Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks.  As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.

WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.

TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Showwith former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.

British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.”  It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy.  Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.”  According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10)  breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it.  He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker.  In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air.  “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.”  Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected.  To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadioTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”

iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.

 

 

Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”

Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”

Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).

Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.

Friday, November 17, 2017

| November 17, 2017

FCC Bids Adieu to Cross-Ownership Ban.  As expected, at yesterday’s meeting of the Federal Communications Commission, the 42-year-old regulation that prevented (in all but a few grandfathered cases) the cross-ownership of broadcast facilities and newspapers was eliminated on a party line vote of 3-2.  The majority under Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai say the change will “provide broadcasters and local newspapers with a greater opportunity to compete in the digital age.”  The Commission also struck the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the Television Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule.  In his statement, Chairman Pai says, “It’s a simple proposition: the media ownership regulations of 2017 should match the media marketplace of 2017.  That’s the proposition the FCC vindicates today — nothing more, nothing less.  And it’s about time.  For few of the FCC’s rules are staler than our broadcast ownership regulations.  Notwithstanding the congressional command that we review and update these rules every four years, they have remained stuck in the past.  After too many years of cold shoulders and hot air, this agency finally drags its broadcast ownership rules into the digital age.”  Lastly, in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission decides to establish, and seeks comment on how to implement and structure, a new incubator program in which established broadcasters would help facilitate entry by new voices into the marketplace by providing access to capital and/or technical expertise to new entrants and small businesses.  The program has broad support and will help promote ownership diversity in the broadcast industry.

The Entercom-CBS RADIO Merger Closes.  The deal that merges the venerable CBS RADIO stations with Philadelphia-based Entercom has closed.  The merger that’s been the subject of so much industry news – and a lot of speculation throughout the process – creates a new Entercom that operates 235 radio stations.  For some industry watchers, the fact that it also means the end of the CBS RADIO company as we’ve known it for all these years brings about some mixed emotions.  Though certainly the end of an era, the general consensus is that the CBS radio stations were languishing in a company whose stated main focus is video content.  In announcing the closing, Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are thrilled to officially close our transformational merger with CBS RADIO and welcome their talented employees and iconic brands to Entercom.  We look forward to capitalizing on our unique positions in sports, news, music, podcasting, live events, digital and more to provide outstanding experiences for our listeners and compelling integrated marketing opportunities for our advertisers.  We now have the scale and capabilities to drive meaningful growth and to compete more effectively with other media for a larger share of advertising dollars.  We also look forward to helping to elevate the radio industry, which remains massively undervalued by advertisers despite having emerged as America’s #1 reach medium, delivering outstanding ROI to customers.”

Entercom Grabs Twins Baseball for WCCO-AM.  After several years airing on alternative KQGO (owned by the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting), Minnesota Twins baseball play-by-play is returning to news/talk WCCO-AM, beginning with the 2018 season.  The Pohlad family also owns the team and apparently was ready to admit that their own alt rock station and Twins baseball weren’t a great match.  Entercom says that sister stations adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM” and country KMNB “BUZ’N @102.9” will also cover Twins’ players, coaches and broadcasters year-round.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee states, “We are thrilled to welcome the Twins back to their iconic home on WCCO.  As the unrivaled leader in local audio sports rights across the nation, Entercom is committed to growing our play-by-play roster where it makes smart, strategic sense.  Clearly the Twins are a blue-chip franchise on the rise.  As a newcomer to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul market, we are especially grateful to the Pohlad family and [Twins president and CEO] Dave St. Peter for their confidence in us.  With the addition of the Twins, we are proud to be the flagship home for 45 professional teams across the four major sports, including 14 in Major League Baseball.”

Entercom Unveils New Business Practices.  Among the numerous press releases regarding format flips on the first day of the new Entercom (see those below in the music radio section), the company says it is implementing three new business policies which “better reflect radio’s strong value proposition as America’s #1 reach medium and Entercom’s position as the leading provider of live, original, local audio content.  These policies will enable the company to provide greater value for advertisers while improving the listener experience.”  The changes are: 1) Reduce commercial advertising inventory by 5% in order to improve the listener experience and increase the entertainment to ad ratio for Entercom’s advertising partners; 2) Prohibit cash infusion advertising deals which the company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals; and 3) Eliminate future sales of advertising with spot resellers which like cash infusion deals, the company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals.  Entercom COO Weezie Kramer adds, “With our enhanced platform and scale, Entercom is committed to evolving our business practices for the benefit of Entercom’s listeners and advertising partners.”

Matt Shepard Returns to WDFN, Detroit.  As reported by the Detroit News, Motor City sports media personality Matt Shepard is returning to the airwaves at iHeartMedia’s sports talker WDFN, some seven months after he exited the station.  His “Shep, Shower ‘N’ Shave” program will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am daily.  Shepard had been on the station since 2001, but was ousted in a round of budget cuts back in April.  iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto states, “We’re excited to have Matt back on WDFN.  Nobody in Detroit sports radio has more access to what’s really happening in the locker rooms than Matt.”

ESPN Wraps 18 Years of ‘Mike & Mike.  Industry eyes are all over the EntercomCBS RADIO closing and some of the immediate changes the new Entercom is making, but another end-of-an-era event took place today as Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic did their last morning radio show together, signing off the ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show.  In addition to talking sports, the duo also aired messages of well-wishes from fans, including Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan, Adam Schefter, Dick Vitale, Dan Patrick, President Bill Clinton and more.  ESPN president John Skipper appeared on the program to announce that ESPN and The Walt Disney Company will build a children’s playground in honor of Mike & Mike at a location to be determined, in collaboration with the non-profit organization KaBOOM.  On November 27, the new “Golic & Wingo” show will debut featuring Mike Golic, Trey Wingo and Mike Golic Jr. (who joins for the 6:00 am hour).  Mike Greenberg is staying with ESPN for television duties.

Emmis Names New Indy Execs. In its home-base market, Emmis Communications announces Bob Richards is the new vice president and market manager for Indianapolis.  The city is home to heritage news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI “1070 The Fan,” country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM,” and adult contemporary WYXB “B105.7.”  At the same time, Taja Graham rises from director of sales for music to vice president and director of sales for the entire cluster.  Emmis president Patrick Walsh comments, “Bob’s leadership has been instrumental in building our dominant position in the Indianapolis market.  His reputation for building great teams and winning content strategies is legendary.  We look forward to Bob applying his ample skills to fortify our culture and performance in the coming years.”  Richards takes over for Chuck Williams who had joined Emmis Indianapolis as VP/market manager in August of 2016.

Courtemanche Appointed DOS at Alpha Media West Palm Beach.  At the West Palm Beach cluster of Alpha Media stations, Jason Courtemanche is named to the director of sales position, effective December 4.  The station group includes news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN “640 The Hurricane.”  During his career, Courtemanche has been a VP of sales for Cumulus Media in Los Angeles and iHeartMedia in Chicago.   He also held the sales manager title at WBBM in Chicago.  Alpha Media West Palm Beach market manager Elizabeth Hamma says, “Jason is a natural leader who brings a depth of knowledge in marketing, digital and events that will help us further drive results for our listeners and clients.  His vision, leadership, enthusiasm and innate ability to coach will take our cluster to the next level.”

Kilmeade at WPHT Speaker Series.  Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli (left) chatting with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (right) before a live audience as part of the 1210 WPHT Speaker Series.  In addition to talking about issues, Kilmeade promoted his new book, Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny (Sentinel, 2017).  Kilmeade signed every attendee’s copy of the book.

Roy Moore Sexual Conduct Allegations Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 13-17.  Accusations of sexually predatory behavior by Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, ranking #1 on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week is the various celebrities and Al Franken sexual assault allegations.  Number three on the chart is the Republican tax reform plan, followed by the GOP proposal to eliminate the ObamaCare individual mandate 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.

 

 

New New Entercom Flips Two CHRs – WBMP, New York and KVIL, Dallas – to Alternative.  Two of its first major moves post-closing for Entercom is to drop the CHR format on WBMP “AMP 92.3” and KVIL “AMP 103.7” and replace them with alternative rock.  Regarding the NYC flip, the company announces, “Alternative rock returns to radio for the first time since 2011 in the largest media market in the country with the launch of ‘ALT 92.3 FM, New York’s New Alternative.’”  Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton states, “In a city where alternative music is a way of life, we are thrilled to finally fill the void in radio in New York City.  With the launch of ‘ALT 92.3,’ we will cater to the passionate audience who have helped define the genre for decades – and we couldn’t be more excited to turn up the volume.”  KVIL is being branded “ALT 103.7” and both stations are playing 10,000 commercial free songs in a row.

Chicago’s WJMK Drops Classic Hits for Classic Hip Hop.  Another format flip by post-merger Entercom comes in Chicago where WJMK becomes classic hip hop and R&B as “The New 104.3 JAMS, Chicago’s #1 for Throwbacks.”  The station aims to “capture the essence of Chicago from when the Bulls won six NBA championships, to when locals like Oprah and Barack Obama became homegrown heroes.”  Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton says, “The time has come to usher in a brand new chapter in Chicago radio — a station that is designed by Chicagoans exclusively FOR Chicago.”

 

 

John DeBella Celebrates 35 Years on Air.  Philadelphia radio legend John DeBella – pictured above with the staff of Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK-FM – celebrates 35 years on the air in the City of Brotherly Love.  The staff, led by program director Bill Weston and Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president/market manager Joe Bell burst into the studio and surprised DeBella while he was on the air.  Weston says, “It’s a testament to John’s talent and passion that he continues to connect with his audience in such a powerful way and is still going strong 35 years into the game.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At Des Moines CHR KKDM “107.5 KISS FM,” iHeartMedia names Eric White afternoon personality, music director and imaging director, effective November 27, 2017.  iHM Des Moines SVP of programming Greg Chance says, “Eric has skills in a lot of different lanes of our business.  We look forward to working with him, driving his passion for radio and to build his career. I trust this will be another great chapter and member of ‘107.5 KISS FM.’”  White has been serving the company at its Philadelphia cluster…..Bonneville International – operating CHR KMVQ, San Francisco “99.7 NOW” under an LMA from the Entercom Divestiture Trust – names “Jazzy” Jim Archer program director.   He’s been serving as APD and music director of the station since 2011…..The results of the #Change4Change Radiothon produced by the Premiere Networks-syndicated urban morning show “The Breakfast Club” are in and more than $700,000 was raised to benefit the The Gathering for Justice social justice advocacy organization. The radiothon featured on-air personalities DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God encouraging listeners to donate in support of the organization that sponsors movements including The Women’s March, Justice League NYC and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp…..SiriusXM announces the coming launch of a classic hip hop channel programmed by LL Cool J.  The channel, expected to launch in early 2018, will feature a wide range of classic hip hop content, music, interviews and in-depth retrospectives curated and presented by LL Cool J, as well as other innovators of hip hop music.….ABC Radio is offering a three-hour, country music special, “My Kind of Christmas Countdown,” hosted by Grammy Award-winning country superstar Reba McEntire.  In the program, McEntire will count down to Christmas by looking at seasonal favorites, including traditions, decorations, presents, and some of this year’s best holiday music.  In addition, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood share their own holiday favorites and memories.

Duane Doobie Jr’s Occasional Picks: Don’t Miss This Exciting New Christmas Album from Australian Sensations, The TEN Tenors – and the Proceeds Benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  When Australia’s world famous musical export, The TEN Tenors, decided to make a Christmas album, they weren’t content with just putting out an album of their wildly popular blend of traditional and seasonal favorites – they decided to make it a fundraising tool to help children.  Partnering with Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, the album shot to #1 and has gone on to raise over $1 million.  Now, the group brought the project to America, partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital contributing to their joint mission as well as charting top 10 on the Billboard classical and crossover charts.  St. Jude Children’s Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Support from musical groups like The TEN Tenors helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.  The Ten Tenors are returning to the United States this December for an 18-date tour of the East Coast and Midwest. The Australian vocal group, whose voices generate “pure electricity and undeniable drama” according to the Los Angeles Times, will be performing repertoire from their album Our Christmas Wish.  Selections from this great and timely album include traditional standards such as “Joy to the World” and “O Holy Night,” as well as John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano, “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, and “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” the Mariah Carey hit that’s become a holiday evergreen.  Watch TTT perform a medley of songs from Our Christmas Wish by clicking here.  Now enjoying their 20th year together, The Ten Tenors playfully blend rock, pop and opera, and are “truly incandescent when performing at the full strength of 10,” according to VarietyThe New York Times says their “unique mix of the traditional and unconventional offers a fresh and highly-original take on the staid traditions of opera.”  To download songs from Our Christmas Wish for airplay on your station, please click here.