Tag: "Nick Digilio"
Scott Herman Promoted to COO of CBS Radio. President Andre Fernandez announces EVP of operations Scott Herman has been promoted to chief operating officer for CBS RADIO. The company says that in this new role, Herman will continue to report to Fernandez and lead local operations across the division’s 117 major market stations. CBS RADIO’s market managers will now report to Herman. Fernandez states, “Scott has a tremendous reputation in the industry, and is a distinguished representative for radio. He understands CBS RADIO’s vision for the future and will provide strength to our senior leadership team as we move forward with a variety of key growth initiatives. Having someone with Scott’s experience collaborating directly with our station management will result in new value for CBS RADIO and our partners.” The company notes that, because of this experience, Herman “works particularly close with the division’s news and talk stations, and his expertise in this area has allowed CBS RADIO to retain its leadership position in the format.” Herman was promoted to EVP, Eastern Region for CBS in 2003. Prior to that, he was senior vice president, market manager for the division’s New York properties, including all-newsers WINS and WCBS plus sports talk WFAN. Herman was vice president and general manager of WINS from 1994-2003 and WNEW-FM on two different occasions during the 1990s.
TRN Loses Appeal of Back Pay Judgement in Savage Case. The appeal of the ruling by an arbitration panel that the Original Talk Radio Network Inc. owes talk host Michael Savage $800,000 in back pay is unsuccessful after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled Friday in Savage’s favor. A small victory for TRN, though, as the Court denied Savage’s request for sanctions against TRN for filing a “frivolous appeal.” This latest court action stems from Savage’s original suit against TRN to void his contract with the syndicator after the relationship between the two parties had soured and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One pursued Savage’s services.
Early Line on Cowherd’s Replacement at ESPN Radio: Le Batard. According to TALKERS sources, there are two scenarios for filling the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on ESPN Radio after Colin Cowherd does his final show for the network before departing for FOX Sports. The first is that Dan Le Batard moves to the slot and Jorge Sedano slides down from his 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show to assume Le Batard’s 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. The second possibility is that ESPN keeps Le Batard where he is and moves Sedano into the midday program. TALKERS sources also say ESPN is high on Bomani Jones, who hosts the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm show and potential talent shuffles could involve a better daypart for his show. As for Cowherd, reports indicate that he was making about $2.5 million with ESPN and that FOX Sports will pay him approximately $6 million per year. Just what FOX Sports’ plans are for Cowherd are not set in stone and the company hasn’t been specific, but it’s expected he’ll host a nationally syndicated radio show and host a TV show on Fox 1, possibly at 6:00 pm to compete with ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Adds Radio America’s Chad Benson Show for Evenings. Saying the show has a “Gen-X perspective,” WIBC-FM, Indianapolis program director David Wood announces the Radio America-syndicated Chad Benson show joins the station’s lineup for the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. Wood says, “I was looking for something unique and contemporary for evenings. I found it in Chad Benson. Chad’s show has a great energy and Gen-X perspective, but still with conservative sensibilities. Plus he’s got the best set of tattoos in talk radio.” Radio America says Benson’s sense of showmanship and entertainment was developed from years in music radio and has had a huge influence on him as a talk host.
WGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio Returns to the Air; Explains Stomach Ailment Exacerbated by Alcohol. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on the return to the WGN airwaves of overnight personality Nick Digilio, who was back hosting his show today (7/20) after an absence of a month. Digilio explained to his listeners that he landed in the hospital after complicating existing stomach troubles by consuming too much alcohol being unable to eat much food. He explained that he came down with a stomach ailment in May that made it difficult to eat. His overconsumption of alcohol caused him to spend five days in the hospital. Now, he says he’s done drinking. He admits it was a stupid thing to do and blames no one but himself. Read Feder’s piece here.
Walter Pasacrita to Host Local Show on Sports Talk KONO-AM, San Antonio. The station had been an oldies outlet before flipping to sports talk in January of 2014. Now, the Cox Media Group-owned station is adding a local show by market pro Walter Pasacrita, who previously co-hosted a sports talk show with Jeff Vexler on iHeartMedia’s crosstown KTKR. Pasacrita will host the afternoon drive show on KONO-AM. He tells the San Antonio Express’ Jeanne Jakle he is prepared to take on the competition on crosstown sports talkers KTKR and KZDC. “I have more experience on the radio in San Antonio than the rest of those people. I’m more passionate about sports than the rest of those people. I don’t sugarcoat anything. . .and don’t let relationships get in the way of what should be stated. I tell it like it is.”
Sean Adams and Chip Brown to Host Mornings on KVET, Austin. A new, local sports talk show replaces ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on iHeartMedia’s KVET, Austin. Sean Adams moves from his early afternoon “Adams Theory” show to the morning slot alongside Chip Brown for “The Bottom Line with Sean Adams and Chip Brown.” Brown was most recently with crosstown Total Austin Sports Radio-owned KTXX-FM. The two worked together from 2007-2010.
TalkersRadio’s “Vox Animali with Lori Lundin” Posts Second Installment. The second installment of the groundbreaking, experimental talk show, “Vox Animali” hosted by award-winning radio journalist Lori Lundin is posted today (7/20) after receiving widespread positive response to its pilot episode last month. The series – the latest offering of TalkersRadio’s “laboratory” workshop – is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of animals that are institutionally abused and tortured at the hands of humans and foster respect for the dignity of all earthly creatures. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I am so pleased that we are able to address a deeply important cause that hardly gets its due share of attention in the media – including talk radio – and when it does get attention, it is usually in the form of ridicule.” Harrison continues, “We are very happy to have a brilliant and talented radio journalist of Lori Lundin’s caliber spearheading this project.” Lori Lundin – who has received a number of prestigious industry honors including a Gracie this year – is an anchor with WTOP, Washington, DC and a reporter/podcaster with the Washington Examiner. Harrison adds, “Lori, who is a breast cancer survivor and an all-around inspirational human being, brings a level of intelligence, sensitivity and empathy to her work that takes it beyond today’s typical newsroom fare in connecting to the heart as well as the brain.” TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein adds, “This is a heck of a show. It has the potential to become a very influential vehicle for consciousness-raising for the animal rights movement, one of the fastest growing areas of public sentiment in America today. And that’s what TalkersRadio is all about – developing spoken-word programs that address issues and interests outside the rigid boundaries of everyday broadcast radio.” The new installment of “Vox Animali” features a look at the abuse and suffering of chimpanzees and presents an interview with Laura Bonar of Animal Protection of New Mexico. Another current show under development on the TalkersRadio platform is “Healed Planet” hosted by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel personality Alan Colmes that explores the human consciousness movement. A recent “graduate” of TalkersRadio is the weekly “American Family Farmer” hosted by Doug Stephan. Its mission is to champion the beleaguered small farmers of the nation being pushed out by the alliance of Big Agriculture and Big Government. It has now cleared about 30 stations and is adding new ones daily on the GCN and Radio America platforms. Bernstein says, “TalkersRadio is not set up to compete with broadcast radio or develop long-term hit shows for its own sake… but rather, as an experimental theater… a laboratory… to help new ideas develop to the point that they find a regular home on broadcast media.” To listen to TalkersRadio, please click here. For more information, contact David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new, two-year contract for some 400 NPR staffers represented by SAG-AFTRA. The union announces the new pact will provide 2 ½ % salary increases at the start of each of the next two years. Other provisions include NPR paying 70% of health care benefits and a contribution of 7% of workers’ pay into the retirement plan…..Hubbard Broadcasting donates $5 million to the Newseum in Washington, DC and gets naming rights to the concourse level of the building. Hubbard chairman and CEO Stanley Hubbard comments, “Our family has always been a strong advocate of a free press. Because it is the only institution solely devoted to educating the public about the fundamental value of First Amendment freedoms and free expression, the Newseum is a great gift to the nation and the world. It’s an honor for our family and our company to help support this noble cause.”
Dr. Daliah Wachs Welcome’s Scott Walker. Nationally syndicated talk host and practicing physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) welcomes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (left) to Las Vegas. Walker – a just-announced candidate for president in 2016 – visited the Silver State a day after announcing his candidacy.
Emmis Fiscal Q1: Radio Down 5.3%. Reporting financial data from the company’s fiscal first quarter, Emmis Communications’ net revenue from radio was $42.6 million compared to $45 million one year ago. However, publishing net revenue was up 5.8% during the quarter, driven by strong growth at Los Angeles magazine, Texas Monthly and Atlanta. President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “While this was a challenging quarter, we are encouraged by what we see looking forward. Our Q2 radio revenues are pacing up low single digits, we had a record-setting ‘Summer Jam’ concert in New York, and ratings are bouncing back in Los Angeles after some expected turbulence.” A press statement quotes Smulyan as very positive about the NextRadio project. “The Emmis-created, industry-led initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, NextRadio, has incredible momentum. The announcement last week that NextRadio is now available for download in the Amazon App Store is the first in what we hope will be a series of positive announcements. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way our industry has come together to support NextRadio.”
Tony Bruno Shocks Philly and Radio Biz with Surprise ‘Retirement.’ Working with co-host Josh Innes in the afternoon drive slot on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia only since February, sports talk pro Tony Bruno exits the station after topping crosstown rival WPEN-FM’s Mike Missanelli in the latest ratings. Bruno says via a message on his website that, contrary to the rumors, he has no problem with Josh Innes or management at WIP but that he’s retiring from radio and TV forever. “First off, I did not quit in haste because I ‘hated’ or couldn’t work with Josh Innes. That is totally untrue. Josh and I have never had any arguments or confrontations during or after any shows since day 1. The modern world of radio and social media has sucked the fun out of doing this due to ‘factions’ whose sole attempt is to provoke ‘wars’ or have listeners ‘take sides’ to anger or distract the process of doing radio every day.” Bruno will continue to produce his weekly podcast and you can read his message here. Meanwhile, WIP programmer Andy Bloom now is charged with keeping WIP on top of rival WPEN without Tony Bruno. Speculation on who will be teamed with Innes in the afternoon drive slot has begun with some suggesting late night host Jody McDonald likely to be considered.
Delmarva Broadcasting Chief Pete Booker to Retire from Company. In a Facebook post, Delmarva Broadcasting president and CEO Pete Booker announces he’s “retiring” from the company as of Monday, July 13. He writes, “I will miss the people and always remember the great times. By the way, this doesn’t mean I’m retiring from life. Look for me to do some great new things!” Booker served as an operations manager at Delmarva from 1980 to 1988. He joined the Mid-Atlantic Network in 1989 and stayed through 1993. He’s been back at Delmarva for the past 22 years.
WGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio to Return to Air Soon. The overnight personality on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago told the station’s morning host Steve Cochran that he hopes to return to his nightly program on July 20, according to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Whatever ailment has sidelined the 50-year-old host and caused him to drop 35 pounds, he’s not saying yet, but promises to talk about it when he returns to his regular show. Read Feder’s story here.
Westwood One Touts NFL Play-by-Play Audience Via Nielsen Research. In a blog post designed to promote the syndicator’s NFL play-by-play broadcasts, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard says that because radio audiences are only reported for average weekly estimates, “We never see how radio audiences build over time. For the first time ever, Westwood One, the official audio partner of the NFL, partnered with Nielsen to understand how audience reach grows through the season.” The research shows how cume builds from about 6.1 million in the first weeks of the NFL season to more than 21 million during the playoff run. The data also show that new persons join a broadcast as a game goes on and Bouvard says, “Season-long advertiser investment yield significant reach. Buying deep in the broadcast and long in the season results in massive reach.” See his blog here. The company also is reaching out directly to advertisers via a mail campaign using Boomer Esiason to lay out the reasons a season-long campaign will pay off. According to a piece in Ad Age, companies being targeted include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Gatorade, Hyundai, Pepsi, Visa and Xbox. Read the Ad Age piece here.
Kevin Jackson Show to Debut in 15-Plus Markets. The syndication of the Kevin Jackson show via USA Radio Networks is off to a good start, according to company officials, who state the show will debut in 15-plus markets, including six of the top 25 DMAs. USA chief content officer Tim Maranville says those markets include Atlanta, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Tampa, and Portland. “New markets are contacting us daily to affiliate with the show. Kevin Jackson is a conservative voice to be reckoned with.” The program airs live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of June 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of June 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The June 2015 survey period covered May 21 through June 17. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. NFL quarterback-turned-broadcaster Donovan McNabb is taking a leave of absence from his NBC Radio Network-syndicated program “Under Center with McNabb and Malone” (with co-host Mark Malone) after getting his second DUI arrest on June 28. ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio is reporting that McNabb faces a mandatory minimum 90 days in jail for this second offense…..A content-sharing arrangement between Townsquare Media and Nexstar Broadcasting Group in the Utica-Rome, New York market will include WFXV-TV “FOX 33” airing the news/talk WIBX’s “WIBX First News with Keeler” and, in return, WIBX will air audio from Nexstar’s WUTR-TV’s half-hour “Eyewitness News at 6” program…..NPR announces staffing changes on the “All Things Considered” programs. London correspondent Ari Shapiro and West Coast national desk correspondent Kelly McEvers are becoming part of the daily “All Things Considered” alongside co-hosts Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish. Melissa Block is exiting the show to serve NPR as special correspondent and Michel Martin takes over as host of the weekend edition of “All Things Considered” from Arun Rath.
China’s Market Plunge, Greece Debt Crisis, Global Markets Reactions, Illegal Immigration-Sanctuary Cities Controversies, 2015 Presidential Candidates, SC Confederate Flag Issue, Iran Nukes Negotiations, Bill Cosby Allegations, NFL Stars’ Fireworks Injuries, and Redskins Lose Trademark Right Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The continuing Chinese stock market sell-off; the Greek debt issue and the nation’s status in the EU; the global financial markets’ reactions to the Asian and European financial news; the illegal immigration policy in the U.S. and the sanctuary cities controversy; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the South Carolina legislature votes to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse; the deteriorating negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the status of Bill Cosby’s image after unsealing of testimony in which he admits to acquiring Quaaludes to give to women; the cases of NFLers Jason Pierre Paul and CJ Wilson, both of whom lost fingers to fireworks accidents over the Fourth of July weekend; and the Washington Redskins lose trademark rights for the Redskins image were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Awards Presentation’ Videos Posted Today. “The Talkers Awards Presentation,” one of the annual highlights of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference, is posted today on Talkers TV. The stellar event, masterfully emceed by Jim Bohannon of Westwood One and introduced by Steve Malzberg of Newsmax, took place at the recently held 18th edition of talk media’s longest-running and most important convention. It is broken down into four separate videos — one for each of the awards presented (6/12). These include the “Humanitarian of the Year” award presented to Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore by TALKERS VP/associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison; the “Woman of the Year” award presented to Robin Quivers, personality, SiriusXM Satellite Radio by Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; the “Lifetime Achievement” award presented to Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News by Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency; and the “Freedom of Speech” award presented to Howard B. Price, director of business continuity, ABC Television Network by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This awards presentation was one of the most riveting in the history of this publication and convention. The content and emotion expressed by the recipients and presenters alike created a memorable and deeply touching experience for the hundreds in attendance. We are delighted that it translates to video and will be a marvelous experience to be witnessed now by the millions of people around the world interested in this amazing business.” To view the Talkers Awards Presentation videos in their entirety, please click here.
WGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio Off the Air for Health Reasons. Longtime WGN, Chicago personality Nick Digilio is on personal leave from his 2:00 am to 5:00 am show on the station for undisclosed health reasons. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Digilio had been off the air most of last week, returned on Monday sounding rather weak, and has since been hospitalized while tests are being done to determine the cause of his illness. Digilio has been with WGN since 1985, mostly on a part-time basis, but has been the full-time overnight personality since 2013. Read Feder’s piece here.
WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley to Have Street Named in His Honor. The actual sign you see here is the one that will grace St. David’s Place and Atlantic Avenues in Atlantic City, New Jersey in honor of longtime WPGG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley. On Wednesday, July 1, the street will be dedicated and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, City Council President Frank Gilliam, Jr., Councilman at Large George Tibbitt and Councilman Marty Small Sr. will be among the local dignitaries attending the ceremony. Hurley tells TALKERS magazine he’s humbled by the honor. “I have become the first media/radio personality of any kind to have a street named after him in Atlantic City. The tradition dates back to 1874 and it’s only happened 74 times – and never for a broadcast personality.”
Odds & Sods. This will be the last season of “America’s Got Talent” for Howard Stern. He told his SiriusXM audience that he’s done with the NBC TV program after this summer’s competition, saying he’s too busy. He’s been with the show for four seasons. Now the question is, does Stern re-up with SiriusXM? His contract with the satcaster runs out in December…..New York radio personality Mark Simone is a guest on this Sunday’s edition of “Celebrity TasteMakers” on WPIX-TV, New York. Simone says he’ll take viewers on a tour of the legendary Friars Club…..SiriusXM personality Karen Hunter will host a special program called “White in America,” featuring an all-white panel with Tim Wise, Joan Walsh, Andrew Wilkow, John Fugelsang, Dean Obeidallah, and Boris Epshteyn to engage in an open conversation on the current state of race relations in the United States today. Hunter says, “I felt compelled to put together a panel to finally have a meaningful conversation about race with people who can actually move the needle on the topic – white men and women in media. Race is the one topic we are afraid to tackle in this country. With this panel, I am hoping to offer SiriusXM listeners nationwide the conversation that is not available anywhere else.”
Envision Networks Offers Free Radio Sales School. Through a deal with influence FM, Envision Networks announces it is able to share Radio Sales School with stations. Via a partnership with radio sales trainer Chris Rolando, influence FM is able to offer the 15-day course to radio stations absolutely free. Envision says it’s a great tool for training new sales hires and providing a refresher for more experienced radio sales reps. Rolando brings more than 40 years of broadcasting industry experience to the course. He comments, “No matter where I teach, I find that managers and radio station owners spend a significant amount of their time trying to find and train sales reps instead of managing the actual sales.” The online course features educational videos, quizzes and interactive discussions. In addition to this course, influence FM is offering access to free scripts, pre-produced spots and more to help stations recruit the best candidates possible. influence FM produces radio management software available on a cash or barter basis. This product suite gives users complete control over every step of the sales process including asset management, spot creation and commercial production.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Envision Networks-syndicated “John and Leah Show” – hosted by John Ziegler and Leah Brandon – becomes part of the program schedule at Evans Broadcasting Company’s KKFT-FM, Reno airing live at 7:00 pm on Sundays…..Radio America-syndicated “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch adds a number of new stations to its affiliate roster, including: WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne; WNFZ-FM, Knoxville; KKFT-FM, Reno; KVOI, Tucson; WYAB-FM, Jackson, Mississippi; KIVA, Albuquerque; KQTY-AM, Borger, Texas; KBJT-AM, Fordyce, Arkansas; and WBCF, Florence, Alabama…..The syndicated Paul Finebaum show begins airing on Cumulus Media’s KQSM-FM, Fayetteville, Arkansas “92.1 The Ticket.”
Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling Tops Talkers TenTM This Week. The United States Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the legality of federal subsidies for health care for states that don’t have their own exchanges was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of June 22-26. At #2 this week was the Charleston church slayings and the related issue of the flying of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the rest of the South. Coming in at #3 was the fast-track approval of President Obama’s TPP deal followed by the 2016 presidential prospects and the entrance of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Townsquare Announces Stations Acquisition; Deal Worth Approximately $281 Million. Townsquare Media, LLC announces that it has executed definitive documentation related to three transactions with Cumulus Media Holdings, Inc. and Peak II Holding LLC which, upon consummation, will result in Townsquare acquiring assets including 71 radio stations in 15 markets. After the deal is consummated, Townsquare will own 312 radio stations in 66 markets and have operations in 25 states, making it the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States and the largest, “best-capitalized owner and operator of radio stations solely focused on small and mid-sized markets.” In a press release this morning, Townsquare reports it is acquiring assets including 53 radio stations (three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust) in 12 markets (Battle Creek; Cedar Rapids; Danbury, Connecticut; Faribault-Owatonna, Minnesota; Kalamazoo; Lansing; Portland, Maine; Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, New Hampshire; Quad Cities; Rochester, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; and Waterloo, Iowa) from Cumulus for cash. Townsquare is also acquiring Peak, which owns assets including 11 radio stations in two markets (Boise and Fresno) for cash and equity units of Townsquare. Finally, Townsquare will exchange certain assets including five radio stations, in Fresno it is acquiring from Peak, for Cumulus assets including 15 radio stations in two markets (Dubuque and Poughkeepsie) and a de minimis cash settle-up payment in favor of Townsquare. In total, Townsquare will be acquiring 68 stations from Cumulus, three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust, and eleven Peak stations, five of which will be exchanged to Cumulus, resulting in a net increase of 71 stations. Townsquare expects to finance the transactions with a mix of secured and unsecured debt financing, Townsquare equity units and cash on hand. Townsquare has received debt financing commitments from its various financing partners in connection with the transactions and will complete its financing in compliance with the covenant package of Townsquare Radio, LLC’s existing Senior Unsecured Notes indenture. “These transactions represent the continued evolution of Townsquare Media into one of the nation’s largest local media companies and allow us to reach a scale which opens the door to new strategic opportunities,” comments Townsquare Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “The assets we are adding to our portfolio are market leading brands with strong competitive positions in their respective small and mid-sized markets. We are excited by the opportunity to deploy our differentiated local-media strategy across a broader footprint in order to better serve our communities and our advertising clients.”
Cumulus Announces Expected Dial Global Acquisition. Cumulus Media Inc. issues a press release this morning announcing “a series of strategic transactions that solidifies the company’s position as a leading producer of high-quality content and continues to reshape its footprint focused on the top 100 markets.” The transactions announced today include:
• Acquisition of Dial Global, Inc. for $260 million in cash (consisting of approximately $45 million attributable to equity and the retirement of $215 million of debt)
• Sale of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets to Townsquare Media for $238 million in cash (inclusive of the acquisition of net working capital)
• Swap with Townsquare Media of 15 radio stations in two small & mid-sized markets in exchange for the receipt of five stations in Fresno, CA (market #68)
“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus. “Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”
The acquisition of Dial Global will add sports, news, talk, music and programming services content – enabling Cumulus to provide a wider variety of options to approximately 10,000 U.S. radio stations, other media platforms and international platforms. New content acquired through the Dial Global acquisition will include NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, Olympics, AP Radio News, NBC News and other popular programming. Cumulus expects the transaction to be deleveraging based upon identified cost synergies of approximately $40 million, with additional upside from revenue growth potential through the creation of new content vehicles for broadcast radio advertisers. Additionally, Cumulus believes the opportunity exists to distribute premium, curated audio content across emerging new media platforms. Further, Cumulus intends to service broadcasters’ demands for premium content and enterprise solutions in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
WGN, Chicago Announces New Lineup. Yesterday (8/29), TALKERS reported the reuniting of Chicago radio personalities Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Now, the station issues a release detailing the programming changes – some of which were reported a few weeks ago – that take place on Tuesday, September 3. As reported earlier, Steve Cochran assumes morning drive duties; he’s followed by Wendy & Bill from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; husband and wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano (pictured at left) air from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Garry Meier continues to host the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. David Kaplan maintains his 7:00 pm show start but wraps at 11:00 pm when Pete McMurray, who expands his role with the station, starts hosting the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am program. As reported earlier this week, Nick Digilio becomes a full-time host with the station on the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot. Weekends are spotlighted by the return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (pictured lower right) to the station in the Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot beginning September 14. Other changes include: “The Design Dude with Frank Fontana” airing from 6:00 am to 7:00 am, followed by “Mr. Fix-it with Lou Manfredini” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. When not affected by sports preemptions, Bill Moller will follow Kathy and Judy from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Sports Central” will remain in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape. Chicago Tribune writer Rick Pearson will host “Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson” on Sundays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. “The Dean Richards Sunday Special” will follow at 9:00 am, extending an additional two hours until 1:00 pm. In addition to his Saturday show, Bill Moller will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Brian Noonan remains in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot, followed by the return of Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Comedian and media personality, Patti Vasquez, will air from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. Playing a feature role in the future of WGN’s new lineup will be “720 Snackables.” These spotlight segments will live online and on-air as interviews, video shorts, and podcasts. They’ll feature the WGN family of experts including Dean Richards’ “A-List Interviews,” “Legally Speaking with Karen Conti,” “Bertrand on Books” with Steve Bertrand, “Flavor HD” with Hannah Stanley & Dane Neal, “Steve Dale’s Pet World,” Paul Green’s “Paul & The Politicians,” “Good Cents with Ilyce Glink,” and more.
Chris Carl New RTDNA Chair. WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware director of news and programming Chris Carl is the new chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association. Pictured here is outgoing chair Vince Duffy of Michigan Radio (l) passing the gavel to Carl (r). Carl notes that for the first time in the organization’s history, the RTNDF chairman, RTDNA chairman and RTDNA chair-elect are all radio people as Duffy moves to the Foundation chair for the next year, and the membership elects Amy Tardif of WGCU-FM, Fort Myers as the chair-elect.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to make regular appearances on CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.” Every Tuesday he’ll join the “Vinnie & Cook” show at 11:00 am…..Guaranty Broadcasting’s KYPY, Baton Rouge flips from classic country to a simulcast of sister sports talk WNXX “104.5 ESPN”…..New Jersey Devils hockey will continue to be heard on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM and beyond. The club signs a new, multi-year deal with the station to keep games on for the ninth straight season beginning in October…..Clear Channel moves Portland Trailblazers basketball from news/talk KEX to sister sports talk KPOJ for the coming season to avoid preemptions…..Bob Smith retires from his post as host of “1370 Connection” at pubcaster WXXI, Rochester, New York after a 25-plus-year career with the station. Smith suffered a stroke in April and is still undergoing rehabilitative care.
More Than $3.3 Million Raised in Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Entercom sports radio WEEI and regional cable sports channel NESN have teamed up for 12 years to air a two-day radio-telethon to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This week’s event helped raise more than $3.3 million – about the same amount raised the year prior. This puts the 12-year total at more than $34 million. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “The outstanding generosity of our listeners across New England year after year not only supports a great cause but betters the lives of those who need it most. These past two days have been the most emotionally rewarding for the entire WEEI and Entercom Boston family this year. We remain both humbled and thrilled to have played a role in helping the selfless team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in their fight against cancer.” A check was presented at last night’s Red Sox game. Pictured (from l-r) are: Red Sox owner John Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, Entercom Boston VP/market manager Jeff Brown, Jimmy Fund director Suzanne Fountain, WEEI executive producer Joe Zarbano, WEEI director of marketing Adam Ralston, NESN president Sean McGrail, and Wally the Green Monster.
Wilmington, NC Sports Talk Show Adds Saturday Edition. The weekly “Sports Connection” show hosted by Port City Daily sports writer Joe Catenacci adds a Saturday edition that begins a run on Sea-Comm-owned rock WBNE, Wilmington “103.7 The Bone.” Joe Cat’s show began as a co-operative effort between the Port City Daily and Sea-Comm news/talk WNTB and WLTT airing Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Beginning tomorrow (8/31) Catenacci and co-host Cori Stukes will broadcast live every Saturday from Hell’s Kitchen on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. He says in the Port City Daily, “Over the last eight months, we have connected the local community with some of the top names in sports from across the country. Even with a focus on local, we continue to get some of the household names when it comes to industry. Locally, every high school football, basketball and baseball coach has made an appearance on the show at least once, as well as UNCW coaches and players.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by a number of new affiliate stations, including: WCKG-AM, Chicago; WBAT-AM, Marion, Indiana; KENT-AM, Parowan, Utah; WRSB, Canandaigua, New York; WASB, Bridgeport, New York; W286AE-FM, Fairport, New York; and WNZS, Bangor, Maine…..“Late Night Health Radio” with host Mark Alyn joins the programming lineup at KABC, Los Angeles…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to WFPA, Fort Payne, Alabama…..The “Unlock Your Wealth” feature by Heather Wagenhals is added to affiliate stations WPGR, Pittsburgh; KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California; and WEZO, Augusta, Georgia.
U.S. Syria Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30. The question of whether the United States should take action against Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the March on Washington anniversary tied with American race relations. Following at #3 was Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
KTRS, St. Louis at Center of Skirmish Over Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Industry Recruitment Blitz. CH Holdings-owned news/talk stations KTRS, St. Louis is making national news after station manager Mark Dorsey canceled an ad campaign bought by the state of Texas that sought to convince Missouri businesses they’d be better off moving to the more industry-friendly Texas where “businesses flourish and jobs are created.” Dorsey posted a statement on the KTRS website saying, in part: “When the order was placed, KTRS was under the assumption these commercials were going to promote tourism to Texas. Once we, the management of KTRS realized these commercials were instead focused on stealing locally owned companies away from St Louis, we suspended airing these commercials immediately. We understand people have different viewpoints on public policy and we welcome that debate everyday on our airways. But as one of the few remaining locally owned radio stations in the country, we feel the need to stand strong with other small locally owned businesses and defend our region. Governor Rick Perry, Don’t mess with Missouri, and don’t mess with St Louis.” In the ad, Perry criticizes policies of the Missouri governor and state legislature, accusing them of being less friendly to business. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the ads are running on radio and TV stations in St. Louis and other Missouri markets as Perry prepares to visit the region this week.
Report: ESPN at Center of Nielsen-Arbitron Deal. The New York Post reports today that Disney-owned ESPN could be the media company that has the biggest say in whether the Federal Trade Commission approves Nielsen’s $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron. At issue here is the multi-media use of Arbitron’s PPM in which – via Project Blueprint – ESPN is licensing the technology to measure audience consumption of its product over television, radio, smartphones, tablets and computers. The Post reports that sources tell it, “The license expires soon, and the ability of ESPN to squeeze a promise from Nielsen that it will be able to continue to license the software is likely integral to the merger getting federal approval.” The FTC’s concern is that if the new Nielsen-Arbitron owns both the old set-top box methodology for rating television and the PPM technology for on-the-go measurement, there will be little ability for competitors to emerge. The FTC is expected to decide this week whether to challenge Nielsen’s purchase of Arbitron.
Nick Digilio New Overnight Host on WGN, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN, Chicago part-time personality Nick Digilio will assume the overnight talk host position beginning September 4. Digilio takes over for Bill Leff who moves to the daylight hours co-hosting the new 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Digilio will also host the 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Saturday show. As Feder reports, Digilio first appeared on WGN in 1985 on Roy Leonard’s midday show to talk about movies. It developed into a regular segment and then into part-time work. As a way of paying back his mentor, Digilio will have the now-retired Leonard on his Saturday program in a regular segment to talk about movies. About his new position with Tribune’s WGN, Digilio tells Feder, “I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I really want to thank everyone who has supported me through the years.”
Rush Limbaugh Announces New Deal with Cumulus; Will Move to WOR, New York in January. Confirming what many in the industry have been expecting all along, Rush Limbaugh announced on his radio program Friday that Premiere Networks, EIB and Cumulus Media agreed to terms earlier this week to renew his program for three more years beginning in January of 2014 and running through the end of 2016. He told listeners that the one change would be his move from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR, New York beginning in January. Limbaugh’s program is currently heard on 35 Cumulus Media-owned stations.
WHO, Des Moines Newsman Dick Layman Dies Suddenly at 59. Morning drive news anchor Dick Layman served with Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines for the past 16 years. He died Friday, August 23 suddenly and at this time it is not known publicly what the cause of death was. WHO news director Jim Boyd posted the news of Layman’s death on the WHO website and wrote about Layman, in part: “Dick was also from the old school of broadcast journalism. The school that said ‘confirm and reconfirm the facts’ before they would be put into a story for you to hear. He cared about content and quality. But he also was someone who could take the most complicated of stories and boil them down to the bare fact so you could understand it…and to do so at times in 20 seconds or less…There is a hole right now in the WHO Radio Family…a hole that won’t close easily and there is a chair in our newsroom that will be very, very difficult to fill. That’s what happens when you have a man the caliber of Dick Layman on your team. Our prayers go out to his wife, Janet, and daughter Meredith.”
Tyler Media to Debut Sports Talk ‘107.7 The Franchise’ Today. According to Oklahoma City online publication The Lost Ogle, Tyler Media’s plans to bring a new sports talk outlet to the city will become reality today around 2:00 pm when KRXO flips from classic rock to sports talk. The lineup will be largely local and is reportedly as follows: “The Show” with Steely, Lump and (John) Rohde; “The Mid-day Mayes” with Sam Mayes; “The Gee Men” with Kelly Gregg and Erik Gee; and “Casillas & Company” with Tony Casillas and David Garrett in PM drive. The station will be an NBC Sports Radio Network affiliate. Oklahoma City has about seven other sports talk outlets in and around the market including Cumulus Media’s WWLS-FM “The Sports Animal.”
WHO, Des Moines PM Drive Host Simon Conway Producer Changes. Afternoon drive host Simon Conway (r) reports that his long-serving producer Andrew Downs (l) is moving to the cluster’s sister sports talk station KXNO where he’ll serve as assistant program director. Taking over for Downs is Des Moines native Jenna Wizenburg who moves back to the market from Florida. Conway states, “I always said I had the best producer in the building. Andrew has rightly been recognized and although I will miss him, he richly deserves this opportunity. I have worked with Jenna before at WFLA, Orlando and I’m excited as we begin this adventure together.”
Mike Gallagher to Shave His Head for Fallen Officers Fund. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is preparing for his role in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre Production of “Annie” (he’s pictured here in the Greenville Journal with lead actress Georgia Kay Wise). Gallagher decided that instead of going with a skull cap for the role as the chrome-domed Daddy Warbucks, he would shave his head on Wednesday at Frank’s Gentleman’s Salon on Coffee Street in Greenville if listeners put up $5,000 or more via his Gallagher’s Army Fallen Officers Fund which provides grants to families of police officers killed in the line of duty. The goal was reached and Gallagher will play the role with an authentic pate when the show opens on September 6. Photo courtesy of the Greenville Journal.
Odds & Sods. Retired NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will make regular in-studio appearances on KJR, Seattle’s Mitch Levy program this season. Holmgren, who left his general manager position with the Cleveland Browns after the team changed owners, still resides in Seattle after coaching the Seahawks for 10 seasons…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne adds the “Casey Hendrickson Weekend” program to its lineup in place of “Fox News Sunday.” Hendrickson hosts the PM drive show on Federated’s WTRC-AM, Elkhart, Indiana and WTRC-FM, Niles, Michigan.