Tag: "Nebraska"

Monday, April 15, 2019

| April 15, 2019

Brown Parts Ways With iHeartMedia Denver. The approximately 12-year association between talk show host Michael Brown and iHeartMedia Denver has come to an end. While this turn-of-events isn’t something Brown wanted or anticipated, he emphasizes he has “fond memories” of his time in radio and is “looking forward to getting behind the microphone as quickly as possible.” He maintains radio is “a fantastic medium that will never disappear,” and he “readily embraces” the digital aspect of the business. Citing conversations he had with iHeartMedia regional senior vice president of Denver programming JoJo Turnbeaugh, Brown – who served as under-secretary of Homeland Security in both of George W. Bush’s administrations – reports his departure is owing to “format changes.” Brown’s Denver radio career began at news/talk KOA, where he did part-time work before becoming a full-timer. He then spent several years in afternoon drive on news/talk sibling KHOW, and recently returned to KOA. Regarding his highly-publicized experiences during Hurricane Katrina, Brown co-authored June 2011’s “Deadly Indifference, The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond.” In it, he criticizes the performance of several people and critiques his own performance by stating that he “failed to be ready for the press and was too timid in his response.” Politically, Brown describes himself as “very clearly center-right, conservative, with a strong libertarian bent.” He appears at #83 on The Talkers Magazine 2018 Heavy Hundred.

Thomas Inducted Into The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. In recognition for her career in radio and community service, Entercom Detroit WWJ “News Radio 950” reporter Vickie Thomas was honored yesterday (4/14) in a ceremony at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Entercom Detroit senior vice president/market manager Debbie Kenyon states, “For more than 25 years, Vickie Thomas has been informing our listeners on major stories that impact our community in and around Detroit. Vickie is an incredible journalist who isn’t afraid to pose tough questions to city leaders and other officials to report a fair and accurate story. She is well deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to have Vickie inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.” Thomas comments, “In thinking about my over 30-year career in radio, with most of that time spent at WWJ, I can’t help but acknowledge all the people who took the time to encourage me and guide me. I’m really a reflection of those outstanding individuals. This award is extremely special because it comes from my peers. I’m blessed to have my body of work in journalism acknowledged by the selection committee; I thank each member who poured over all the applications and deemed me worthy of this honor.” Thomas, who joined WWJ in 1991, has earned awards from the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan Associated Press, and the National Association of Black Journalists. She graduated cum laude and with honors in journalism from Wayne State University in 1989.

MONDAY MEMO: The Podcast Consumer 2019.  In our on-demand culture, consumers have taken control of their media.  We call the audio version “podcasting,” something everyone seems to be doing now.  But who is listening?  In this week’s Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the recently released Edison Research “Podcast Consumer 2019” report. Click here to read how he outlines ways radio broadcasters can exploit this trend.

TALKERS News Notes. All remaining regular season and postseason play of the New York City Football Club will air in Spanish on the ESPN app, along with the iHeart and Tune-in apps. In addition, select games of the American professional soccer team will air locally in New York City on WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes Radio 1050.” ESPN Radio Group senior vice president Tim McCarthy remarks, “WEPN-AM is proud to be associated with a tremendous brand like NYCFC. We believe giving our  listeners a choice on quality play-by-play has tremendous value; this agreement with NYCFC does just that.” NYCFC chief executive officer Brad Sims notes, “We are excited to have our 2019 matches broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes platforms. We want to give our fans many different ways to follow our club. This is a terrific alliance that will make our games even more accessible. New York’s Hispanic community is extremely passionate about soccer and is an integral part of our fanbase, so it continues to be a priority for us to provide Spanish-language presentations. ESPN is a leader in the sports media landscape and we’re looking forward to working together.” Roberto Abramowitz and Ariel Judas will give their commentary throughout the season ….. Changes to take effect in three weeks (5/6) at Emmis-owned WFNI “Indy’s Sports Center – The Fan” will find Jeff Rickard and “Big JoeStaysniak moving from mid-days (10:00 am – 12:00 noon) to morning drive (7:00 am – 10:00 am). “Jeff & Big Joe” will succeed ESPN Radio’s “(Mike) Golic & (Trey) Wingo,” while ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard with Stugotz” will inherit the vacated 10:00 am – 12:00 noon slot …. A nine-year program director of iHeartMedia-owned WGAR “Cleveland’s Country 99.5,” Charley Connolly is named operations manager of Cumulus Media’s eight Youngstown stations and will be the day-to-day PD of country WQXK “K-105” there. Cumulus Youngstown vice president/market manager Bill Kelly comments, “We are fortunate to have someone of Charley’s background available to us in Youngstown. This is going to be fun.” In addition to WGAR, Connolly programmed iHeartMedia Cleveland’s adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.” Prior to that, he performed similar responsibilities for Cumulus Media Nashville’s news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” and country WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon.” In addition to WPIC “News Talk 790,” WBBW “Sports Radio 1240 AM,” and WLLF “Sports Radio 96.7 FM,” Cumulus Media Youngstown consists of aforementioned WQXK; CHR WHOT “Hot 101”; classic rock WYFM “Y-103”; classic country WSOM “America’s Music”; and classic hits-oldies WWIZ “Z-104.” ….. Approximately 250 guests attended last Friday’s (4/12) eleventh annual “Hurley in the Morning” charity dinner and silent auction, which raised $40,000. Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes keynoted the festivities at Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino – Hotel. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the highest levels of government, business, and industry sectors,” declares Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG morning talent Harry Hurley. “Todd is a kind and generous friend. He is such a well-respected talent and a wonderful gentleman. Todd took the time to greet every guest, making each one feel like the most important person in the Ocean Ballroom.” Resorts Casino – Hotel president/chief executive officer Mark Giannantonio opines, “Harry could take his iconic event anywhere – it was truly spectacular. Todd Starnes was engaging and entertaining. Our audience enjoyed his humble, friendly, and unifying message. Resorts was happy and proud to once again host this charity dinner and we look forward to hosting Harry’s event again next year.” Starnes did his 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm Fox News Radio talk show onsite. Among dignitaries attending were congressman Jefferson Van Drew; New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney; New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella; and current and past New Jersey state legislature members. Ahead is Hurley’s twelfth annual charity golf open (6/21) in Egg Harbor Township (New Jersey) ….. Following his tenure as Reach Media’s integrated ad sales coordinator, Erick Vilson joins Sun Broadcast Group as national account manager and will be based in New York City. Sun Broadcast Group chief operating officer Julio Aponte, Jr. comments, “I was very impressed with Erick’s background, reputation, and his dedication to excellence. Bringing someone with his digital and event experience on-board will allow our team to offer greater business opportunities for our agencies and a deeper connection with our national audience for our advertisers.” Vilson notes, “Becoming part of the Sun Broadcast Group family is a fantastic opportunity. Their reputation in the industry, new approach to business, and clever ways to market their offerings was very attractive to me. I am very excited to bring my experience to the sales team.” Vilson has held sales and operation positions for iHeartMedia and Emmis.

Mueller Report Anticipation, College Admissions Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Assange Case Free Speech Implications Top Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio This Weekend.  According to the research of TALKERS, news/talk shows across the country this weekend (4/13-14) were largely focused on the topics of anticipation of the Robert Mueller Report’s planned delivery to Congress this Thursday, the next level of the College Admissions Scandal and charges filed against celebrity participants, the 2020 Presidential Race, and the Julian Assange Case’s implications on free speech and the free press going forward.

Progressive Talk Radio Champ Thom Hartmann Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. What is the state of progressive news/talk radio on the commercial and non-commercial dial? What is the liberal talk radio view of the early competition in a crowded field of hopefuls vying for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination? And what is the general status of the “Left” in American politics in 2019? Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Thom Hartmann – consistently ranked the most important progressive talk radio host on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Hartmann (heard daily 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET) tackle these and other pertinent issues in an illuminating conversation that gets right to the heart of today’s talk media landscape. Harrison states, “Thom Hartmann has not only earned the respect of people on all sides of the political spectrum for his authentic, even-handed approach to today’s issues from the liberal perspective, but the unique and aggressive multi-platform distribution paradigm that he and his team have developed over the years stands as a model for independent radio syndication of all ideological stripes going forward into the digital era. The radio industry should pay attention to this innovative broadcaster.” 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 every page on Talkers.com.

Survey Says: Social Media Use Unchanged. Notwithstanding privacy controversies, “fake news,” and social media censorship, the share of adults in the United States who say they use certain online platforms or apps is statistically the same as it was this time last year. That is the conclusion of a Pew Research Center study conducted January 8 to February 7 (2019). The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter are each basically the same as in 2016. Instagram, however, shows an uptick during this same timeframe, growing from 35% of adults to 37%. Roughly seven of every ten adults in this country say they still use Facebook; nearly three of every ten visit Pinterest; and more than one of every five are Twitter users. Of all Facebook users, approximately three of every four visit the site every day – half check that platform several times a day. Those particular numbers identically mirror Pew’s 2018 survey results. At the same time, YouTube use remained at 73%, while LinkedIn users went from 25% to 27%. Slightly more than half of YouTube users (51%) visit the site daily – up from the 45% who said the same in 2018. According to the report, Instagram and Snapchat are especially popular with younger adults, with Instagram used by two of every three 18 – 29-year-olds and Snapchat used by slightly more than two of every five (62%) people in that demo.

Lilly Broadcasting Becomes A Radio Player. As a result of paying $900,000 for three Warren (Pennsylvania) stations it is acquiring from Frank Iorio’s Radio Partners LLC, San Luis Obispo, California-based Lilly Broadcasting enters the radio business. The three Warren-area outlets involved are WNAE “News Talk 96.7,” classic hits-oldies WRRN “92 Gold,” and WKNB “Kinzua Country 104.3.” Lilly owns television facilities in Honolulu, Erie (Pennsylvania), Elmira (New York), Marquette (Michigan), and the Caribbean. According to Lilly Broadcasting president Kevin Lilly, “The Warren radio properties create synergies with our current footprint in our Pennsylvania television DMA, comprised of Erie, Warren, and Crawford counties. They will allow us to better serve our viewers and now our radio listeners while in their homes, cars, and online. We look forward to providing the best content available for our listeners and will improve the news, weather, and sports information on all platforms.”

 

 

San Antonio’s New Vibe. KXTN “Tejano & Proud,” San Antonio transitions to KVBH “Vibe 107.5.” Of the rhythmic hot AC presentation that will mix “pop, hip-hop, and R&B artists from the 1980s and early-2000s,” Univision San Antonio vice president and general manager Chris Morris states, “We are excited to launch a brand-new format that reflects the distinct musical tastes of San Antonio – one of the most diverse communities in the nation. By reformatting and optimizing our audio portfolio, we are able to better serve our audience and give them more of the content they love.” In conjunction with the format flip, the “Tejano & Proud” format shifts to a simulcast on KVBH-HD2 and KCOR, while “Univision Deportes Radio” moves from KCOR to KROM-HD3. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 survey period, KXTN ranks #14 (3.1). Its February 2018 through February 2019 high was 4.0 (6+) in February 2018.

More Than A Million Smiles. As part of its fourth annual “Laugh United: A Night of Cocktails and Comedy,” Westwood One’s “The Bob & Tom Show” raised a record $1,053,500 in Vienna, West Virginia for the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Pictured here is show cast member Josh Arnold who performed with fellow veteran touring comics Greg Hahn, Jack Freeman, and Henry Phillips. Parkersburg (West Virginia) rocker WHBR “103.1 The Bear” is the local “Bob & Tom Show” affiliate.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After nearly four years with iHeartMedia Denver CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party,” morning driver J.J. Kincaid (of “JJ & Nina”) departs. Immediately in advance of his Denver stint, Kincaid had a nine-year afternoon drive run in New York at co-owned/similarly-formatted WHTZ “Z-100” and spent three years in Dallas at another iHeartMedia CHR, KHKS “106.1 Kiss-FM” ….. On the heels of Beasley Media Group Boston flipping WBOS from “Alt 92.9” to “Rock 92.9” last Thursday (4/11), the station eliminates the music director position that was held by Joel Weiss, who exits. After having spent 13 years in a similar position at Cox Media Group Tampa’s WSUN, Weiss joined WBOS less than a year ago ….. Formerly the program director/afternoon drive talent at Martz Communications Group-owned WAMO “Pittsburgh’s #1 for Hip-Hop,” Jonathan Steele, will join Beasley Media Group Detroit’s WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” next Monday (4/22) as afternoon drive personality, using the air name “J. Steele.” According to WMGC vice president and market manager Mac Edwards, “When we heard J.’s demo, he jumped to the top of our list. Having the opportunity to meet him and discover his impressive skill set as both a person and personality, there was no denying J. Steele was the right talent at the right time to help us write the next chapter of success.” Program director John Candelaria comments, “We are very impressed with J.’s experience and his strong desire to entertain the listeners in Detroit. I am excited to hear his high energy interactive show and see him earn the community’s respect.” Steele adds, “This is the job I dreamed about as a little kid. I am beyond excited to light up the airwaves for this incredible radio station.” The revised weekday “Bounce” line-up includes: “The Gello Show with Joanna” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); J. Steele (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and DJ Dinero (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. With Emmis Indianapolis’ WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” ever since the country outlet launched in 2005, morning talent Dave O’Brien exits, as his contract isn’t renewed. O’Brien started his Indianapolis radio career in 1996 at WRZX, later going to WNOU for two years and to WENS in 2004 ….. Jazz KUVO, Denver program and content director Nikki Swarn is appointed PD for Rocky Mountain Public Media‘s new R&B/hip-hop streaming service, “The Drop.” Swarn comments, “It is such an honor to get to serve the Colorado community through this incredible opportunity. We anticipate engaging Coloradans with an exciting blend of their favorite artists, while providing a platform for new and Colorado-based musicians as well. The audience consuming R&B and hip-hop is vast and hungry for dynamic experiences in music; we want to fill that void.” Swarn previously was Entercom Denver’s director of promotions and marketing and spent six years as Max Media Denver’s director of marketing and promotions ….. In separate fundraisers for their respective communities, two Alpha Media country-formatted properties (WFLS and KZKX) recently combined to bring in nearly $200,000. Completing its eleventh year of working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, WFLS “93.3 – Today’s Country,” Fredericksburg (Virginia) accounted for $135,479 in a two-day event hosted by the station’s morning team – Steve & Jessica. That figure broke WFLS’ previous records. Alpha Media market manager Beth Vickers states, “It is a privilege to lead a team of individuals who are passionate about helping others. Steve & Jessica were amazing hosts, pulling long hours to make it all happen. Our community and our listeners were so generous with donations – results like this make a difference.” Meanwhile, co-owned/similarly-formatted KZKX “KX-96.9,” Lincoln (Nebraska) – along with the Starlite Event Center – raised over $60,000 for American Red Cross flood relief during a one-night (3/29) benefit concert. Entertainment was provided by local bands Dylan Bloom, Bucka Ruse, and Sack of Lions. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “That night was a humbling experience as the people of Saunders County and surrounding areas – many of them flood victims themselves – came together with auction items and monetary donations to go directly to their friends, family, and neighbors. We are so blessed to have listeners like this in the KZKX family.” Severe flooding began impacting Nebraska in mid-March. The “KX-96.9” donation check was presented to the American Red Cross last Thursday (4/11).

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

| April 10, 2019

Salem Radio Network and Larry Elder Sign New Deal. Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Elder and Salem Radio Network announce they have agreed to extend their relationship through 2022.  Elder’s show airs live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and is heard on more than 350 affiliate stations.  As SRN notes in a press release, Elder “built a loyal local following in Los Angeles over 20 years with KABC.”  He says, “I can’t think of a better fit for ‘The Larry Elder Show’ than Salem Radio Network. Our national show has grown astronomically in the last three years, and I’m both thrilled and honored to continue broadcasting with the Salem Radio family.”  Salem SVP Phil Boyce states, “Larry has been a huge hit for the Salem Radio Network.  He is a leader in conservative thought and listeners all across the country have made an appointment with him every day to hear a voice of reason to cut through the noise of a world gone mad.  It has been an honor and privilege to work with a talk radio legend like Larry these last three years and we’re thrilled to continue our relationship.”

Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks Name Jennifer Newman Senior AE. Radio executive Jennifer Newman joins Sun & Fun Media and its affiliated radio syndication company Key Networks as senior account executive.  Newman was most recently market president for iHeartMedia’s Columbus and Albany, Georgia markets. Sun & Fun Media is a network radio company that offers radio stations a unique suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter. Key Networks recently announced it is syndicating Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Update” to the radio industry.   Sun & Fun and Key Networks CEO and co-founder Rob Koblasz says, “As we continue to grow, we are delighted to add a sales professional who understands our business like Jennifer.  Her experience and knowledge of the value of our service to stations is the recipe for success.”

2019 NAB Crystal Radio Awards Announced; KFOR-AM/FM Honored with Crystal Heritage Award. Yesterday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, the National Association of Broadcasters announced the 10 winners of the 32nd annual NAB Crystal Radio Awards.  The Crystal Awards recognize stations for outstanding year-round commitment to community service.  This year’s recipients were chosen from among 50 finalists.  This year’s winners include: KBHP-FM Bemidji, MN; KCVM-FM Cedar Falls, IA; KNDE-FM College Station, TX; KWBG-AM Boone, IA; WMBX-FM West Palm Beach; WMGK-FM Philadelphia; WRLT-FM Nashville; WTAM-AM Cleveland; WWPR-FM New York; and WYCT-FM Pensacola, FL.  Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Crystal Heritage Award, given to radio stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards for exceptional year-round community service efforts.  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade says, “KFOR-AM/FM has proudly served the Lincoln, Nebraska region for over 94 years and our commitment to the community has never wavered.  We are so proud of our team’s accomplishments both on and off the air and are honored that this dedication is being rewarded with a coveted NAB Crystal Heritage Award.” Pictured below at the NAB Show in Las Vegas are (from l-r): Gade, director of sales Joy Patten, and OM/content director Rob Kelley.

Cumulus Dallas RVP Dan Bennett Featured in D Magazine Piece. Radio programmer-turned-executive Dan Bennett is the focus of a profile piece in Dallas’ D Magazine.  Bennett is the regional vice president for Cumulus Media’s Dallas and Houston markets.  According to the piece, Dallas is the company’s “biggest, strongest market” and Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says of Bennett, “He brings his A-game every day.”  Bennett was the program director at KFLI-AM, Dallas when he flipped it to news/talk in 1987.  He also was put in charge of sports talk KTCK-AM “The Ticket” when Cumulus bought it in 1996 and was instrumental in turning it into a money maker for the company.  Read the piece here.

Alpha Media Promotes Walton to Director of Sales. General sales manager Cressy Walton is promoted to director of sales at the Alpha Media Portland cluster that includes news/talk KXL-FM, sports talk KXTG-AM, and several music-formatted stations. Walton replaces Amy Leimbach, who leaves for a similar position with iHeartMedia Phoenix (see next story).  Alpha Media Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “We have worked hard to create a strategic succession plan.  Elevating the talented Cressy Walton will make this transition seamless and poise us for continued success and revenue growth.  Cressy is creative, competitive, and has a drive to succeed – all qualities that correlate with Alpha’s core values.”

Leimbach to Lead Sales at iHeartMedia Phoenix.  Former Alpha Media Portland vice president of sales Amy Leimbach is assuming the SVP of sales position at iHeartMedia’s Phoenix cluster that includes news/talk KFYI, sports talk KGME and six music-formatted stations.  iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little states, “I am thrilled to have Amy lead our sales organization in Phoenix where she began her career.  After working with Amy here in the market, I know she will bring her incredible passion, energy, creativity and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and partnerships.”

Mueller Report Aftermath/William Barr Testimony, Waters-Mnuchin Exchange, 2020 Democratic Candidates, U.S.-Mexico Border Policy/DHS Shakeup, Trump Tax Returns Issue, Netanyahu Re-Election Bid, Brexit, Magic Johnson Leaves Lakers, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The aftermath of the Mueller Report and Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before a congressional subcommittee; the highly charged exchange between Rep. Maxine Waters and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the political battle over immigration and refugee policies at the U.S.-Mexico border and the related shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security; Democrats’ efforts to get Trump’s tax returns; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins re-election; the political chaos in England over Brexit; Magic Johnson leaves the Lakers; and NBA and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS Magazine Publishes 2019 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  The annual list from the editors of TALKERS magazine officially titled, “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America,” has been published.  The 2019 edition of the “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” is the seventh edition of this companion list to TALKERS’ long-running Heavy Hundred that ranks news/talk radio hosts.  Both lists are the work of TALKERS magazine editors and inclusion on the list is based on a number of objective and subjective factors, including ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent, potential, and uniqueness.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey says, “The Heavy Hundred of Sports talk – like its older sibling ranking news/talk radio hosts – is one of the most difficult tasks the TALKERS editors face each year.  The sheer number of qualified sports talk radio personalities in America, combined with the intense competition among them – especially in markets with two or more sports talk radio stations – makes this a challenging job for the editors.  We at TALKERS salute the hard-working sports talkers who made this year’s list.”  TALKERS magazine will publish the 2019 edition of the “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” in the coming weeks. See the 2019 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Danni Bruns will continue her run with Cumulus Media’s Memphis cluster after signing a new, multi-year agreement.  Bruns is the operations manager for the station group and PD and PM drive co-host (with Chris “The Jar” Jarman) for rock WXMX “98.1 The Max.”  She’s been with the cluster since 2007.  Cumulus Memphis VP and market manager Morgan Bohannon comments, “I’ll go to battle any day with Danni Bruns on my team.  Energetic, passionate, and talented are just a few of the words I would use in describing Danni.  She’s a fighter and has proven to be a great leader for our programming team.  I’m excited to know we have her committed for years to come.”…..Radio pro Tammy Ragusa returns to Premiere Networks to serve as a writer and producer for its country radio prep team. Ragusa will be based in Nashville and report to Ira Robbins, VP/editorial director for Premiere.  She’ll be responsible for creating and developing show news prep, music, and special event coverage, and holiday programming for 200 country radio affiliate stations across the U.S.  She held a similar position with Premiere from 2006-2012. Most recently, Ragusa was a senior correspondent and community manager for Rare Country…..SummitMedia Knoxville names Loyd Ford program director and afternoon drive personality for country WCYQ “Q100.3,” effective April 15.

Friday, February 26, 2016

| February 26, 2016

AlphaAlpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.

CBS Radio LogoWFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radioBrooklyn Nets Logo flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).

hyde, coreyHyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and Entercom_Communications_logohe brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”

baldwin, stephenBaldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.”  Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will mccullough, kevinimmediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”

WGN LogoFour More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio presidentNorthwestern Wildcats and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).

walter, maryLouisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on aWKRD regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).

Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than Cumulus Media Dallastwo weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.

BTC LogoBTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.

talkersten logoPresidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26.  Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.  At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View this week’s entire chart here.

fritts, eddieBFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognitionBroadcasters Foundation of America includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.

Cumulus 2Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.

cbsradio-logoCool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles.  TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070:  news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.

union edgeOdds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”

Remembering the Legendary Gary Owens

Remembering the Legendary Gary Owens

| February 16, 2015

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

 

kinosianlgLOS ANGELES — Blessed with an enduring ability to captivate a broad base demographic with droll, clever, sometimes-corny witticisms/puns that much sooner rather than later made you laugh, Gary Owens is being fondly remembered by those whose lives he touched by his character and one-of-a-kind classiness.

Not character voices that helped to shape, mold, and define this often-honored broadcaster who passedowensgary away in Los Angeles Friday (2/13) at the age of 80, but much more important personal qualities.

Even at the zenith of his popularity, Owens had an unrivaled flair to make anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact feel as though he or she were a genuinely important friend of his.

Dignity with which Owens carried himself make those having the privilege to work behind a microphone exude intense pride in saying they are in the same profession.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

| November 1, 2012

Jeff Kuhner Officially Named New WRKO, Boston AM Drive Host.  As TALKERS reported yesterday, Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee are out as morning drive duo at the Entercom news/talk outletand now WRKO confirms the moves of late morning talk host and Washington Times columnist Jeff Kuhner to the AM drive slot.  Kuhner has been a weekly guest and fill-in host on the station since January of 2012.  He began doing a daily 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WRKO in August.  Entercom VP and market manager Jeff Brown states, “This caps off a season of positive change for WRKO.  It’s the right move for our two most important customers – our listeners and our advertisers – and needless to say, I’m excited about our future.”  In addition to his work at the Washington Times, Kuhner is the president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank.  He did his doctoral work at Ohio University and taught U.S. history at McGill University in Montreal from 1998-2000 before deciding to make a career change to journalism.  He has made numerous national radio appearances and served as a frequent guest host on “The Savage Nation.”  Vice president of programming for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe states, “Jeff has made an immediate impact in a very short period of time and has demonstrated that he’s ready for a bigger platform.  The positive reaction to his 11:00 am hour has been simply overwhelming and his fearless, honest brand of talk makes him appointment listening.”  Kuhner will continue to host the 11:00 am hour as well.  As for Todd Feinburg, he had been with WRKO since 2003 hosting in different dayparts, the last several years in AM drive with Tom Finneran and most recently with McPhee.  He is considered one of the most capable and versatile talk show hosts in the business.  He can be emailed at todd@toddtalk.com.

America’s Radio News Network Adds Election Night Coverage.  Special election night programming is being added to America’s Radio News Network on Tuesday, November 6 as the team of John McCaslin, Lori Lundin and Chris Salcedo will broadcast “Election Night 2012” to affiliates from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am ET.  McCaslin states, “Before the winners are even announced, we will have for listeners the final state-by-state exit polling – including crucial battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia – as quickly as the polls close in each state.  Once the voting stops, we will be able to closely examine various exit-polling data and get a clear signal of the ultimate results.  Take the all-important race for the White House: if President Obama or Mitt Romney were to win certain key battleground states – with the right combination, this could be as few as two of the states – we would be able to suggest which candidate will be taking the oath of office on January 21, 2013.”

New Jersey Radio Stations Move into Day Three of Hurricane Sandy Mode.  Meteorologists are saying that Hurricane Sandy could have been much worse and indeed some of the early models called for prolonged rain and wind well north and west into the mainland U.S.  The broadcasting community is well aware that New Jersey and New York took the brunt of Sandy and today many Garden State radio stations are still working on generator power as the clean-up gets underway.  New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella tells TALKERS that he’s proud of the people who are still working hard in the often-overlooked aftermath of a storm like this.  “Our broadcasters responded magnificently almost without exception.  What was so poignant about this tragic weather event is that although our beloved New Jersey Shore got ravaged it’s really interesting to see how many broadcasters were at their posts manning their stations while their own homes were being destroyed.  It’s nothing less than awe-inspiring, the dedication of the broadcasters here in New Jersey.”

Nebraska Secretary of State Denounces KFAB, Omaha Satire.  Responding to a satirical radio interview in which late morning host Scott Voorhees spoke with a phony U.N. elections observer named Steve Apple about the United Nations’ monitoring of voting in the Ohama area, Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale called the content of the bit “completely false” and stated, “I want to make it clear that the U.N. has no right to send election observers to the United States, much less any whom are ‘armed and in uniform.’  It is also untrue that Omaha was targeted due to serious concerns about civil rights violations.”  During the bit, Voorhees’ conspirator states the U.N. observers may asked for I.D. and pat down voters if they feel they may have illegal campaign literature.  During one point, a caller asks why Omaha is being observed and the fake U.N. observer states that the fact that the Midwest has no blue states indicates the likelihood of voter fraud.  While Gale called the stunt reckless, saying, “This is a serious time in America, right before a presidential election.  Spoofing the process demeans our democracy.  People don’t need further distractions as they prepare to cast their votes.  They need straightforward and honest information on which they can rely.”  Voorhees tells the Omaha World-Herald that he did it to call attention to questions about international election observers.

Salem Communications Officially Takes Over Columbus FM; Flips to Conservative Talk.  Last week TALKERS reported that Salem Communications was planning to flip soon-to-be-acquired WJKR, Columbus to a conservative news/talk format using Salem Radio Network programming and that’s what happened at midnight last night.  Salem is buying the station from Radio One but took over today under an LMA and is positioning the station as “98.8 FM The Answer.”  Salem’s vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “This will be the fifth ‘Answer’ station we have launched at Salem, along with New York, Los Angeles, Riverside and Dallas.  Salem continues to be a leader in the news/talk format, and this new station will be the first FM news/talk station in the company fold.  ‘The Answer’ imaging voiced by legendary Lonnie Perkins will sound great coming out of an FM speaker.”  The station will air the SRN programs — Bill Bennett‘s “Morning In America”; Mike Gallagher; Dennis Prager; Michael Medved; and Hugh Hewitt; plus Dial Global‘s Dennis Miller from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and Compass Media‘s Lars Larson from 12:000 midnight to 3:00 am.

WERQ, Baltimore’s LaDawn Black Returns as Relationship Expert on Bill Cunningham TV Show.  “The Love Zone” host LaDawn Black is back for a second season as a relationship expert on WLW, Cincinnati talk host Bill Cunningham’s eponymous nationally syndicated television talk show.  Black hosts the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show on Radio One’s hip hop WERQ, Baltimore “92QJams.”  She is a best-selling author of such books as Stripped Bare: The 12 Truths That Will Help You Land the Very Best Black Man (One World/Ballantine) and Let’s Get It On: 15 Hot Tips and Tricks to Spice Up Your Sex Life (One World/Ballantine) and contributed to episodes last season and will contribute to more shows during Cunningham’s second season.

Main Street Radio Network Inks Distribution Deal with Salem.  Independent syndicator Main Street Radio Network informs TALKERS that its programming operations will now be distributed by the Salem Radio Network (SRN).  This includes its flagship daily show, “Battle Line with Alan Nathan,” and its popular weekend program, “The Dr. Evelyn Higgins Show.”  Jane Silk, president of Main Street Radio Network says, “We’re exceptionally pleased to have our programming now distributed by the Salem Radio Network.  SRN’s longevity and steady prominence in the radio industry are renowned and we look forward to all the mutually promising horizons attainable through this new relationship.”  SRN VP of operations Charles Mefford adds, “SRN is thrilled to assist in the production and distribution of ‘Battle Line with Alan Nathan’ and ‘The Dr. Evelyn Higgins Show.’  It’s always exciting to add quality shows to the growing list of program producers who daily rely on the Salem Radio Network for outstanding production and distribution services.

Presidential Race Polls, Sandy Aftermath, Climate Change Controversy, and Benghazi Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/31).  The resumption of presidential race polling; the effects of Hurricane Sandy on its victims and on the political races; climate change as a cause of Hurricane Sandy; and the quest for answers in the Benghazi attack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.