Tag: "Mitch BArns"

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

| November 20, 2018

Minihane Says ‘Difference of Opinion’ Led to Departure from WEEI, Boston.  Appearing on public television outlet WGBH-TV, Boston’s “Greater Boston” program with host Jim Braude on Monday (11/19), former WEEI, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane explained his exit from the “Kirk & Callahan” program, saying he and station owner Entercom had a “difference of opinion” on how the morning show should go forward. He said, “There was just a philosophical difference between the station — Entercom, the ownership — and me.  They wanted to go one way.  I didn’t want to go that way.”  Minihane said he was asked to sign a document that he wasn’t comfortable with.  “It basically said you can’t be interesting, you can’t be mean-spirited, you can’t take chances, you can’t rip the Red Sox, you can’t rip the Boston Globe.  And I said, ‘I’m not going to participate.’”  As reported last week, Minihane will launch a national program on Entercom’s RADIO.COM in 2019, he’ll host his own podcast and will write for the digital platform as well.  Mike Mutnansky now co-hosts the WEEI morning show with Gerry Callahan.  Read coverage of the WGBH-TV appearance here.

Nielsen Names IBM SVP David Kenny New CEO. Ratings and consumer behavior giant Nielsen Holdings LLC names former IBM senior vice president David Kenny its new chief executive officer, effective December 3.  Kenny takes over for the retiring Mitch Barns at a time when the company is reviewing its corporate strategy – led by board chairman James Attwood – and that could lead to a sale of either its Watch (ratings) or Buy (consumer behavior) segments or a sale of the entire company.  Kenny will earn $1.3 million in base salary, the opportunity to earn up to $1.9 million in the Annual Incentive Plan, and participation in the Long Term Incentive Plan.  Additionally, Nielsen agrees to compensate Kenny for his loss of unvested equity in IBM with 487,505 Nielsen RSUs (Make Whole RSUs) that will vest in three equal annual installments through 2021; Nielsen will pay him $2.5 million on February 15, 2019 for his loss of an IBM cash retention award; and will pay him $1.5 million upon starting his employment for his loss of the IBM 2018 annual incentive payout.

PodcastOne Launches Four New Podcasts. New programs launching on PodcastOne this month include: “Chad’s World,” starring “Bachelorette” villain Chad Johnson; “Zane’s World” in which world traveler Zane digs deeper into places he’s featured on his other travel shows and shares unheard, amazing stories and interviews celebrities about their experiences; “Selfie Made,” with author Meredith Rojas on building one’s online brand; and “Just Between Us,” with “Good Witch” star Bailee Madison and her sister Kaitlin Vilasuso.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “We’re really proud to have created a prime space for social and on-screen influencers to extend their digital brands in the rapidly growing podcast space.  We have seen great success in the last year with influencers like Kaitlyn BristoweSpencer and Heidi Pratt, Kim Zolciak, and more and we’re excited to welcome these four new programs to the party!”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio dynamo Simon Conway (left) – heard in afternoon drive on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines and sister WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids – is pulling a couple of days of double duty this week.  In addition to his own show, he’s also sitting in for WOAI-AM San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right)…..As Major League Baseball’s New York Mets change flagship stations from iHeartMedia’s WOR to Entercom’s WCBS-AM, Mets color analyst of the past six seasons Josh Lewin is leaving New York to return to San Diego to host pre- and post-game shows for San Diego Padres radio broadcasts.  Lewin also handles play-by-play for UCLA football.  He previously worked in San Diego doing radio broadcasts for the NFL’s Chargers…..This Thanksgiving weekend, ABC News is making available a three-hour special titled, “America Gives Thanks,” hosted by ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky that will “highlight tales of prosperity, hope, and kindness that Americans across the country have experienced.  It will feature stories of Americans in diverse situations including survivors of wildfires, students from Africa given a chance to succeed in the United States, and recipients of kidney transplants.”…..Voxnest announces that  podcast producer and host Jonathan Zenti joins the company as head of content.  Voxnest notes that Zenti is an award-winning podcast producer and host with more than a decade of distinguished experience across the industry who was most recently made a member of the advisory committee for PRX’s Google Podcast creator program.

Acosta Pass Restored/New WH Press Rules, Democrats’ Internal House Speaker Battle, Democrats’ Whitaker Challenge, Federal Asylum Claims Ruling, Gun Violence Incidents, California Wildfires, Sinking Dow, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). The White House restores CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass and institutes new rules for reporters covering the White House; the Democrats’ battle over Nancy Pelosi as next House Speaker; Senate Democrats challenge appointment of acting AG Matthew Whitaker; the federal ruling blocks President Trump’s asylum ban; Monday’s spate of gun violence; the devastation from California’s wildfires; the reeling Dow loses 400 points and the plummeting of tech stocks; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘Stuttering’ John Melendez Is Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Media personality John Melendez, who spent 15 years as an outrageous sidekick and field reporter on Howard Stern’s radio and TV shows, followed by a 10-year stint as announcer and writer on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Melendez, whose “Stuttering John” character rose to fame in the Howard Stern universe for asking unsuspecting celebrities extremely intimate and embarrassing questions, has just published a memoir, Easy for You to Say (Rare Bird Books, 2018).  It discusses his lifelong battle against stuttering going all the way back to his experiences being bullied in school as well as his colorful media career and the major stars with whom he interacted.  Melendez talks to Harrison quite candidly about his relationships with both Stern and Leno as well as his perspective on the industry and life.  According to Harrison, “This guy is extremely interesting.  He’s lived both a charmed life and career which he discusses in candid detail in our conversation.  What a great guest!”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Pittsburgh, Michael “Frogman” Ovadia exits Forever Media’s country WOGI, “Froggy 104.3” after four years there.  Erika “Aligator” Hink – co-host of the “Frogman & Gator” show – continues to host the program solo…..Madison, Wisconsin morning personality Pat O’Neill announces via social media that he’s exiting Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WMGN “MAGIC 98” for a yet-to-be-named gig he’ll start in January…..WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” morning drive icon Matt Siegel – host of the “Matty in the Morning” show – comes home with the Broadcaster of the Year award from the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association’s “Sound Bites” event. The honor is given annually to “a Massachusetts radio or TV broadcaster who has shown an unwavering dedication to the evolution of broadcasting, breathing life into his/her work by being creative, enthusiastic, and committed to the community.”  The iHeartMedia personality says, “I am thrilled to receive this honor.  I can’t believe I’ve gotten to wake up the city of Boston for the past 38 years while working alongside some of my closest friends.  I am very humbled and appreciative to be recognized with such high honors.”…..Also from the MBA Sound Bites Awards, Entercom rock WAAF, Boston grabs first place in the “Digital Media” category for “LB’s Big Decision,” featured on the station’s website…..Entercom unveils its “Channel Q” format on KKHH-HD2 in Houston.  Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Since its inception in October, ‘Channel Q’ (formerly known as ‘Out Now’) has provided a voice for the LGBTQ+ community and we are very excited to bring that voice to the Houston area.  We believe this is a perfect fit considering our long-term partnership with Pride Houston.”

Thursday, July 26, 2018

| July 26, 2018

Former KFTK-FM, St. Louis Host Jamie Allman, Emmis and Entercom Argue Over Motion to Dismiss His Breach of Contract Suit.  If you’ve been following the legal case in which talk show host Jamie Allman is suing Emmis and Entercom for his firing from news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis, there’s an update to report.  Remember that Allman was let go after the blowback from his tweet in which he referenced Florida school shooting survivor and activist David Hogg saying, “I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow.”  Emmis/Entercom asked the court to dismiss the case and on Tuesday (7/24), each side filed arguments for and against the motion to dismiss.  Allman argues to convert the Motion to Dismiss to a motion for summary judgement due to Emmis/Entercom’s attachment of the contract’s Assignment and Assumption Agreement and news stories about his tweet to its argument and second, due to his claim that he’s a third-party beneficiary of the contract because of FCC ownership cap issues affecting the Emmis-Entercom stations sale.  Emmis/Entercom argue that their attachments comply with the rules for filing for the Motion and that Allman’s ownership cap argument is irrelevant because that matter is governed by the FCC.  Allman also argues that whether Emmis/Entercom legally fired him based on the language of his contract should be decided by a jury, not by a judge in the form of a dismissal.  It appears Jamie Allman is in this fight for the long haul.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Suspends Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco for ‘Turban Man’ Comment. After catching heat for comments made by midday personalities Dennis Malloy (right) and Judi Franco (left) about New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” has suspended the pair “until further notice.”  During a radio conversation about Gurbir’s decision to not prosecute low-level marijuana arrests for the next month, the duo referred to Gurbi – a practicing Sikh – as “turban man.”  The comments went viral on social media and the station posted its response on its website. It says, “We are aware of the offensive comments made by Dennis and Judi during today’s broadcast.  We have taken immediate action and have taken them off the air until further notice.  We are investigating the matter and will have further comment shortly.”

Mike Pintek Takes Leave from KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. After being off the air for a few weeks, KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk host Mike Pintek announces he’s on leave from the station to focus on his health.  In May of 2017, Pintek announced he’s been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and is under the care of Dr. Nathan Bahary at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.  He says in a statement posted on the KDKA website, “At this point, I need to take some time and really focus on my health.  I know a number of listeners have reached out to the station to get an update on my condition since I haven’t been on the air for a few weeks.  I want everyone to know how much I appreciate all your prayers, kind words, encouragement and support.”  Pintek recently suffered a stroke but his doctors believe his rehab from that will be successful and he’ll return to his course of chemotherapy.

SiriusXM CEO Says AM/FM Must Improve Its Product to Survive. Commenting on the competitive nature of today’s audio services industry during Wednesday’s Q2 investor conference call, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer says that his company has been addressing the threats of new and improved audio services since he’s been with the company.  In talking about that, he also gave his opinion about AM/FM radio’s future.  “I’ve been here almost 14 years, and during those 14 years I’ve seen a couple of moments where people have said, ‘Oh, competition and what’s it going to do?’  And yet, you look at the unbelievable things that have occurred over the last 10 years – the unbelievable surge in technology and yet you still look at the number of people that listen to AM/FM radio every day, okay?  And honestly, that’s the area I think that’s got a problem.  If they don’t vastly improve their product, that’s the area where I think listener hours are finally going to come or finally going to shift away to other things.  If you really want to know where I think it inevitably shakes out.”

SiriusXM Second Quarter Revenue Up 6%.  CEO Jim Meyer wasn’t taking a potshot at radio in the story above, but he makes his comments standing on pretty firm ground as far as SiriusXM’s business is concerned.  The company announces its 2018 second quarter revenue was $1.4 billion, up 6% over Q2 of 2017.  Net income for the quarter was $292 million, a gain of 42% over last year’s $202 million figure.  Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM’s strong start to 2018 accelerated in the second quarter.  We added 483,000 net new self-pay subscribers in the quarter with an impressive 1.6% self-pay churn rate, our best-ever performance.  Our 6% growth in revenue would have been 8% absent the change in generally accepted accounting principles that was effective January 1, and we are thrilled to increase our full-year guidance for self-pay net additions, revenue and adjusted EBITDA.”

Nielsen 2018 Q2 Revenue Flat. Ratings and research giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces 2018 second quarter financial results.  Nielsen was basically flat on revenue of $1.6 billion, up 0.2% compared the same period in 2017.  Nielsen Audio is part of the company’s Watch segment that was up 4.5%, but the audio revenue was basically flat for the quarter.  The Audience Measurement of Video and Text and Marketing Effectiveness revenues accounted for a large portion of the Watch segment’s growth.

Nielsen’s Mitch Barns to Retire at Year’s End. Also on Wednesday (7/25), Nielsen’s board of directors announced that CEO and board member Mitch Barns will retire from the company at the end of 2018.  James Attwood, current chairman of the board, is named executive chairman.  Barns will remain through the end of the year and Attwood, a managing director at The Carlyle Group will assume a more active role and will direct the search for the new CEO.  Attwood says, “Mitch has left an indelible mark on Nielsen – his commitment to integrity, openness, values and engagement will continue to be the heart of this company for years to come.  I, along with the rest of the board of directors, thank him for his service.”

Salem Selling KOTK-AM, Omaha to Hickory Radio. Omaha-market news/talk KOTK-AM “The Answer” and religious KCRO-AM (and their translators) are being sold by Salem Media Group to Hickory Radio, an affiliate of Walnut Radio.  The deal includes the stations continuing to operate in those formats and with their respective brands, as Salem is licensing “The Word” and “The Answer” to Hickory.  Salem president/broadcast Dave Santrella says, “We are thrilled to put these radio stations in the capable hands of Walnut Radio, a broadcaster with deep roots in the area and with a commitment to maintain the quality of broadcast our ministry partners, advertisers and listeners have come to expect.”  No price has been announced yet.

News/Talk KVOI, Tucson Sold to Bustos Media. The Doug and Mary Martin-owned company Good News Communications agrees to sell news/talk KVOI, Tucson to Amador Bustos’ Bustos Media Holdings.  No sale price has been announced yet but Bustos says in a statement, “As a long-time Spanish language broadcaster, we are excited to step into the arena of news/talk radio in Tucson, Arizona, a city we have worked in before and have loved for many years.”  KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

TALKERS News Notes. The new voice of the New Orleans Saints is former Saints player Zach Strief, who begins handling play-by-play duties on flagship Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Strief will work alongside former teammate Deuce McAllister.  Entercom New Orleans SVP and market manager Chris Wegman states, “When we set the criteria for the new ‘Voice of the Saints’ we were looking for someone who would make the professional play calls, as well as someone who has a deep connection to the team, the fans, and our community.  Zach possesses all of those qualities, knows the game firsthand and is a fixture in the New Orleans community. We’re very excited about adding him to the team.”…..Envision Networks announces that it has brought aboard new affiliate relations manager Josh Friedman.  He comments, “After being able to intern with Envision Networks, I was excited to join the team full time when the opportunity came.  I look forward to working with Danno, Laura, and the rest of the team and to continue to grow Envision’s affiliate base while upholding the superlative level of customer service established by Envision.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that iHeartMedia Chicago chief engineer Bob Fukuda has exited the station group. Feder notes that Fukuda was a 30-year veteran of iHeartMedia, as well as its predecessors Clear Channel and Evergreen Media…..WBUR, Boston names Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik co-hosts of the NPR-syndicated midday program “On Point.”  They will assume their new on-air duties on August 20. They take over for Tom Ashbrook, who exited back in February after allegations of workplace abuse.  Folkenflik is an NPR correspondent and Chakrabarti is host of WBUR’s “Radio Boston.”…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show, hosted by Chris Hill, adds new affiliate station WTAX, Springfield, Illinois.

Trump-Cohen Tapes/Russia Investigation, U.S.-E.U. Meeting, Trump Pushes Back Putin Meeting, Rosenstein Impeachment, YouTube Bans Alex Jones Videos, Trump-Iran Rhetoric, U.S.-China Trade War, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25).  The release of some of the recordings made of Michael Cohen’s conversations with President Trump and the investigation into possible Russian connections with the Trump campaign; President Trump’s meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over trade issues; the next Trump-Putin meeting is pushed off into 2019; GOP House members introduce articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; YouTube bans three Alex Jones videos from its platform; the war rhetoric between President Trump and Iran; the effects of the U.S.-China trade war; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new, nationally syndicated weekend program featuring Ellen K is being launched by iHeartMedia.  Dubbed “The Ellen K Weekend Show,” it will be a four-hour adult contemporary weekend program emanating from Los Angeles where Ellen K also hosts morning on the company’s KOST.  The company calls it “custom-tailored content for an audience that wants to feel informed on lifestyle trends, inspired by ‘feel good’ moments and enhanced by shareable factoids.  Listeners will also enjoy the latest showbiz news and interviews with the biggest names in music like John Legend, Lady Gaga, Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson and more.”…..Beasley Media Group names Joel Weiss music director for alternative WBOS “ALT 92.9,” effective August 6.  Weiss spent the past 13 years as music director and air personality at Cox Media Group’s alternative WSUN, Tampa “97X.” WBOS program director Ken West says, “I’m excited to welcome Joel to ‘ALT 92.9.’ He loves music, loves radio, and loves Boston.  His passion and energy for the alternative format will help push ‘ALT 92.9’ to new heights!”

Thursday, February 9, 2017

| February 9, 2017

Bubba the Love Sponge Lands at WWBA, Tampa-St. Pete.  The Genesis Communications-owned station WWBA-AM, Tampa-St. Petersburg “NewsTalk Florida” announces the Bubba the Love Sponge morning show will debut there on Monday (2/13).  Bubba’s show most recently aired in the market on Beasley Media Group’s former rock station WBRN (now AC “B98.7”).  The station says it will be the new flagship for the regionally syndicated program.  WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda says, “We are extremely excited to enter into a partnership with the Bubba the Love Sponge show.  The show has an incredibly engaged audience across West Central Florida and we felt we could serve that audience exceptionally well with our distribution platform.  We have assurances that Bubba will do his best to be a good boy while providing his unique brand of content.”  Bubba Clem is currently in a legal battle with Nielsen Audio.  The ratings giant is suing him claiming it suffered damages as the result of Clem’s attempts at manipulating the market’s PPM survey.  Clem has filed countersuits.

Nielsen Reports 2016 Revenue Up 2.2%; Net Income Down 12.5%.  Ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. is releasing its financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2016, and for the year as a whole.  Nielsen reports 2016 Q4 revenue of $1.6 billion – an increase of 2% over the same period in 2015 – and revenue for all of 2016 topped $6.3 billion, up 2.2% over the year 2015.  Net income for Q4 of 2016 was $160 million, down 45% from the same period in 2015.  For all of 2016, net income was $507 million, down 12.5% compared to 2015.  Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns states, “While 2016 was a challenging year, our results reflect the resiliency of our business.  We remain focused on our key strategic initiatives and we continue to drive productivity and efficiency in our operations.  In our Watch segment, our Total Audience Measurement initiative continued to excel, and we saw significant growth in adoption of its many components by both media buyers and sellers.  With the approach of the 2017 Upfronts, our Total Audience system is ready to play a key role for our clients.  In our Buy segment, emerging markets continued to deliver solid growth.  In developed markets, especially the U.S., trends in the fast-moving consumer goods industry put pressure on our business.  In response, we’ve accelerated investment in our Connected System initiative, designed to drive speed and efficiency for our clients.  We expect this to lead to a stronger, higher-margin business for Nielsen over time.”

Chris Matthews to Emcee RTDNF First Amendment Awards.  When the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s 2017 First Amendment Awards Dinner gets underway at the Grand Hyatt in Washington on March 14, MSNBC host Chris Matthews will be serving as emcee for the program.  RTDNF chair Kathy Walker says, “When it comes to American politics, Chris Matthews has seen it all and he’s done a remarkable job of explaining it all to a generation of viewers.  We’re delighted to have him as our master of ceremonies as we honor champions of the First Amendment and support the work of our Foundation.”  This year’s honorees include: Bill Whitaker, CBS News – Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award; Steve Jones, ABC News Radio – First Amendment Service Award; Stanley S. Hubbard, Hubbard Broadcasting – First Amendment Leadership Award; Mark Halperin/John Heilemann – First Amendment Award; and Nina Totenberg, NPR – RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jeff Sessions AG Confirmation/Sen. Warren Silenced, Trump Travel Ban Battle, Gorsuch on Trump Judge Comments, Yemen Raid Criticism, U.S.-Iran Tensions, Trump Nordstrom Criticism, and Christie Brinkley SI Cover Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). The confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions and the related rebuking of Senator Elizabeth Warren for violating senate rules against impugning a fellow senator; the court and public opinion battle over President Donald Trump’s order restricting travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations; Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch’s comments about Trump’s attack on Judge James Robart; the political and military fallout from the recent U.S. raid on Islamic State targets in Yemen; Iran’s latest missile test, the U.S.’ putting Iran “on notice,” and the possibility of designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization; Trump’s public criticism of Nordstrom for severing its ties with Ivanka Trump’s lines; and chatter about 63-year-old Christy Brinkley’s posing with her daughters in the new SI swimsuit edition, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick In Remission and Winning His Fight Against Cancer.  “News Radio 740” KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick continues to show his determination to beat cancer, with 2017 off to a strong start.  Patrick recently shared with his “Houston’s Morning News” audience and his syndicated afternoon program audience (KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas/Ft. Worth) that the latest test results have shown that he is now in remission with no detectable cancer.  In September 2015, Patrick announced that he was receiving treatment for metastatic melanoma at the world-renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  The 37-year radio pro underwent brain surgery in late 2015, followed by multiple rounds of chemo, immunotherapy, and radiation in 2016.  Patrick has continued to work while undergoing additional treatments, including making his regular television appearances on Houston’s “FOX 26 News,” covering the 2016 GOP National Convention from Cleveland for iHeartMedia, and making public appearances delivering his “Overcoming Obstacles in Life” presentation.

TALKERS News Notes.  The nationally syndicated “Radio Night Live” show with host Kevin McCullough – a radio-television “supercast” – picks up new radio affiliates KKFT, Reno and legendary Atlantic City signal WWPG-AM (plus its FM simulcast on 104.9).  New TV affiliates include: WLLC-TV, Nashville; Adjuntas (Puerto Rico), KMRF, Reno; KPVT-TV, and Las Vegas…..SiriusXM is bringing actress, model, and best-selling author Brooke Shields aboard to host a new, weekly one-hour talk show on its Stars channel for a limited-run series.  The “Brooke Shields Now” show will feature “inspiring, passionate conversations between Brooke, experts and celebrity guests as they discuss topics and issues ranging from parenting and relationships to fashion, the arts and more.”  Guests already booked include: InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown and “TODAY” show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

The Dana Show Invades the Skype Studio in Portland.  The Radio America-syndicated program “The Dana Show” is pictured above during last Friday’s broadcast from Alpha Media’s Skype Live Studio in Portland.  Dana Loesch’s show is heard on the company’s news/talk stations KXL-FM and KUFO and her appearance at the Portland affiliates included a meet-and-greet with listeners.  Pictured above with Loesch (right) is Todd Hoffman (left), star of Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush.”

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At New York country outlet WNSH “NASH FM 94.7,” Cumulus Media promotes Katie Neal to middays.  She’s been with the station for the past four years serving as a weekend/swing talent (she also was an AE for sister hot AC WPLJ).  She first joined Cumulus in Bloomington, Illinois as evening host at CHR WBNQ.  WNSH program director John Foxx comments, “Katie’s skill set, love for country music, passion for this city and understanding of the ‘NASH FM 94.7’ brand create the perfect alignment.  There’s a lot of creativity in Katie’s execution.  The investment that Katie has made in this product and in the relationships she has built on the dial, digital and social spaces have been explosive!”…..With the recent exit of afternoon personality and APD Todd Michaels, Beasley Media Group country outlet KCYE, Las Vegas “102.7 The Coyote” makes some changes.  First, morning personality Kris Daniels again takes up the program director duties – a position she asked to relinquish back in July of last year in order to focus on her morning show.  She will remain co-host of the “Kris & Mad Dog” morning show.  Daniels says, “Now that I have a seasoned, experienced support team around me, I am excited and rejuvenated about the opportunity to lead the ‘Coyote!’”  The station welcomes 13-year market pro Emmanuel “Ransom” Garcia as afternoon personality and music director.  Daniels says, “Ransom Garcia’s music scheduling and social media skills are incredible and he will be enormously helpful!”  Also joining the “Coyote” is Paul Knight, who returns to the station to host the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart.  Knight recently took an 18-month break from radio.  He says, “‘The Coyote’ is in my blood!  I miss the energy, listener interaction, events, and concerts. Let’s face it, I wanted to come home and be a part of my ‘102.7 Coyote’ family.”…..Cumulus Media Nashville announces that Sunday “Gospel Diva” program host Connie Denell is leaving urban contemporary WQQK “92Q” at the end of this year after three decades on the air.  Denell has been with WQQK since 1983 and has been hosting her “Gospel Diva” program since 1987.  She has won numerous awards for her community efforts including a Stella Award and an NAACP Award…..At the Sunrise Broadcasting station group in Wilmington, North Carolina, Max Miller moves from nights at CHR WAZO “Z107.5” to sister alternative WRMR “Modern Rock 98.7” to host the “Max in the Morning Show.”  Miller fills the daypart vacated by Vaughn, a.k.a. Zach McHugh, who exited last September to join Entercom’s WSFS, Miami “104.3 The Shark.”…..Westwood One says it will be a “red, white, and blue celebration” when the syndicator’s “Red Eye Radio” lobby booth once again becomes the premier celebrity rendezvous spot at the March 23-25 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.  WW1 says “This year’s star-studded event features live appearances and musical performances from country artists Lee ‘God Bless the USA’ Greenwood, Shane Owens, Jayne Denham, Tony Justice and a celebrity appearance by Edgar Hansen from “Deadliest Catch.”  “Red Eye Radio” host Eric Harley will be on site at the convention that draws some 70,000 attendees to introduce the lineup of country music artists.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

| October 21, 2015

cumulus logoCumulus Creates New Vice President, Programming Partnerships Position; Names Aaron Roberts to Post.  One week into Mary Berner’s Cumulus Media CEO tenure, a new multi-media programming position is created and the company’s Aaron Roberts is elevated to the new post.  The official title is vice president, programming partnerships forrobertsaaron Cumulus Media, Westwood One and NASH.  Roberts has been Atlanta-based national director, special projects for the company for the past three years.  He will continue to work in Atlanta.  SVP of content and programming Mike McVay states, “Aaron has performed beautifully in the difficult position of serving two masters.  What he does impacts both art and commerce.  He will work closely with both SVP, brand partnerships Tommy Page and me.”  Roberts adds, “It’s an exciting time at Cumulus Media as we continue to develop first-in-class original on-air, digital and event content.  I look forward to working closely with our tremendous partners and the entire partnerships team in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.”

espnESPN to Cut Approximately 300 Staffers.  Sports media giant ESPN is releasing statements confirming the reports that it will cut some 300 positions within the company over the next few days.  ESPN chief John Skipper says in a memo to employees that the company carefully considered each job cut and that staffers will receive at least “60-days’ notice, a severance package reflective of their years of service, and outplacement benefits to help them find future employment.”  Earlier, BloombergBusiness reported the rumored cuts and wrote that escalating programming costs and a drop in television viewers as two reasons for the 4% reduction in the workforce.  It’s not clear how the cuts would affect the ESPN Audio division since changes to the slate of programs heard on ESPN Radio were finalized last month after the departure of Colin Cowherd for competitor FOX Sports.  The Bloomberg piece notes that SNL Kagan reported that ESPN’s cable TV division has lost some 4 million subscribers over the past four years.

nielsen logoNielsen Reports Q3 Revenue Up 5% on Constant Currency Basis.  The third quarter of 2015 saw revenue of just over $1.5 billion for the global ratings giant.  Nielsen reports revenue was down 2.6% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 5% on a constant currency basis, compared to the third quarter of 2014.  Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says in a press release, “Nielsen’s third quarter results exemplify our strong value-generating business model with revenue growth of 5%, consistentbarnsmitch margin expansion across both our Watch and Buy businesses on a constant currency basis, and record quarterly free cash flow generation, up 19% over last year.  Our growth was driven by many important competitive wins all over the world.  Our Buy business, which grew 4.1%, had its fifth consecutive quarter of margin expansion, both on a constant currency basis.  Our Watch segment grew 6.1% on a constant currency basis due to strength in Audience Measurement, as our clients embed our digital measurement and analytics into their day-to-day decision-making.”  Barns also reports that it is closing in on completion of its goal of rating total audiences.  “The initial release of Digital Content Ratings has gone smoothly and we’re pleased with the feedback we’ve received as it is the final piece of our Total Audience Measurement framework.  We know how important the execution of our product roadmap and the subsequent industry adoption of our solutions are to our ability to drive value for our clients and we feel very confident about our progress here.  As our products continue to gain traction, we’re having meaningful conversations with clients and major industry voices in order to move toward a new definition of the currency ratings.”

mcfeelymikeMike McFeely Returns to WDAY, Fargo.  Fargo talk show host and columnist Mike McFeely is returning to Forum Communications-owned news/talk WDAY after a six-year stint with crosstown competitor KFGO.  The Forum reports McFeely’s return to the station and to Forum’s print division.wday logo  He’ll host the 8:30 am to 11:00 am program and write a column for The Forum and inforum.com.  McFeely says, “When I left The Forum in 2009, one of the quotes I gave a reporter was ‘I will always be an ink-stained wretch.’  I never lost that belief.  I have had more people than you’d believe in the last six years tell me they miss my columns in the newspaper.  I am excited to write for The Forum and its website again.”  McFeely joined KFGO in 2009 to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm daypart.

2016 Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton to Testify on Benghazi, Russia’s Military Policy in Syria, Release of the Film Truth, Israel Violence, GOP House Speaker Post, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Thursday’s scheduled testimony from former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attacks; the Russian military role in Syria’s civil war; the release of the film Truth, portraying CBS’ Dan Rather and Mary Mapes reporting on George W. Bush’s Texas National Guard service; the ongoing violence between Jews and Palestinians in Israel; the opening House Speaker position and the GOP’s process of filling the post; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallA Walk Down Progressive Rock Radio Memory Lane.  In the third part of their loosely recurring series of conversations about their early careers working together in New York progressive rock radio posted today (10/20), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison andharrisonneer72 WFAN, New York personality/best-selling author Richard Neer, continue their stream-of-consciousness reminiscences about the very early days of their careers working with the legends of progressive rock radio at the iconic WNEW-FM in the Big Apple.  In the newest installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” the lifelong friends talk about their first two years at the historic Metromedia station, circa 1971-1972, where they worked with Scott Muni, Alison Steele, Jonathan Schwartz, John Zacherle and Pete Fornatale among others after being catapulted to the “big time” after the successful launch of progressive rocker WLIR-FM on Long Island.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page at Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.  Harrison (left) and Neer (right) are pictured at right in the WNEW-FM studios in 1971.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

| April 22, 2015

nielsen logoNielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%.  In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014.  CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis.  These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth.  In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”

rudymaxasworldSSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland.  Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland.  Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show.  Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.

Odds & Sods.  WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service.  McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Nortonmcconnelldave by being entered into the Congressional Record.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor.  McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station.  McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23).  The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country.  Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.”  The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.

cumulus logoNo Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year.  The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC.  The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity.  In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level.  As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.”  The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either.  “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.”  So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014?  Here are a few of the numbers:  president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.

wachsKennedyRaising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.

Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21).  The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.