Tag: "Program Director"

Friday, February 21, 2020

| February 21, 2020

Pete Mundo Upped to Program Director for KCMO-AM.  Programming and on-air pro Pete Mundo is promoted from APD to program director for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City.  Mundo is also host of the station’s morning show.  Before joining Cumulus Kansas City, Mundo served as a host/anchor for FOX News Radio, CBS Sports Radio, Sports Illustrated’s daily platforms, and WFAN, New York.  Cumulus Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker says, “One of the most fulfilling rewards as a leader is seeing the impact that someone as talented as Pete can make in just two years.  Growth of nearly 75% in audience since his arrival is the result of Pete’s daily focus, drive, passion, and hard work. This well-deserved promotion to program director is an opportunity to continue to expand the brand of KCMO Talk Radio for years to come.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “Billions and Billions!” looks back at this past week of February 17-21, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Wayne Allyn Root, talk show host, USA Radio Network/Newsmax TV; Howard Monroe, talk show host/owner, WKKX/WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Grace Curley, producer/co-host, the Howie Carr Show; Daliah Wachs, M.D., talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00 pm-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Zaslow Re-Ups with ‘AM 790 The Ticket’ in Miami. Sports talk host Jonathan Zaslow and Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” agree to a new, multiyear contract extension for him to remain host of the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm show, “Zaslow and Amber,” alongside Amber Wilson.  Zaslow will also continue to serve as pregame and postgame host for Miami Heat gameday broadcasts, as part of the station’s flagship coverage.  Zaslow joined “AM 790 The Ticket” in 2004 and has served as an on-air personality for the station for the last 13 years. This year marks Zaslow’s 10th as a part of the station’s Heat gameday broadcasts.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “Jonathan Zaslow is a true Miami sports talent and an original employee of ‘790 The Ticket.’  We are thrilled to have him back for more passionate sports talk and lock him into our impressive weekday programming.”

Cumulus 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Down 7.7%; Same Station Net Revenue Dips 1.7%.  Financial data for the full year and the fourth quarter of 2019 is reported by Cumulus Media.  Net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $285.5 million, a decrease of 7.7% over the same period in 2018.  However, on a same station basis, net revenue was down just 1.7%.  For the full year of 2019, net revenue was $1.1 billion, down 2.4% from 2018.  On a same station basis, net revenue – excluding political – of $1,103.2 million was up 1.4% from 2018.  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “I am very proud of the company’s 2019 results. On a same station basis, our team has now delivered the second year in a row of revenue growth and, excluding the impact of political, the third year in a row of Adjusted EBITDA growth. This performance was driven in large part by the industry-leading growth of our digital businesses and active cost management across our platforms.  Additionally, we made strong progress against our financial goals during the year, paying down $220 million of debt with cash from operations and highly accretive divestitures, reducing net leverage to 4.7x.  This year’s results reflect the success of our consistent focus on key strategies to create value for our investors.  Despite a choppy environment and an expected political headwind, fourth quarter revenue finished in-line with the pacing we shared during our last earnings call, and, with some slight favorability on expenses, we delivered Adjusted EBITDA that was somewhat better than we had indicated. As we move into the new year, we are further expanding our delivery of compelling audio experiences and digital offerings that connect and support our advertisers and listeners.  And, we are optimistic about 2020 and our continuing ability to drive strong operating and financial performance while aggressively reducing net leverage to below 4.0x.”

Round Three of January PPM’s Released.  The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Some of the spoken-word stations that performed well in January (weekly, 6+ AQH share) coming off the challenging Holiday survey were: Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland, which racked up a half share increase to finish the January survey with a 5.1 share and the #5 market rank.  Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte adds 1.4 shares to post a 4.9 share and the #8 rank.  iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio adds four-tenths to finish the month at a 5.7 share and standing steady at the #3 rank.  In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s KFBK gains an amazing 2.7 shares to leap into a tie for the #1 rank in the market with an 8.6 share.  Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City adds a full share to end the survey with a 5.0 share and the #7 rank in the market.  You can see all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, check out TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Wednesday’s Democratic Debate and the Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of February 17-21. The Democratic candidates debate in Las Vegas and the presidential race tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s post-impeachment pardons and appointments.  Coming in at #3 was the Department of Justice turmoil and the related Roger Stone sentencing, followed by the covid-19 pandemic, U.S.-China relations, and the deadly flu season tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discusses on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

Diana Boyce Completes Disney Princess 5K. Pictured above left is Diana Boyce, wife of Salem Radio Network SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce, braving the chilly temps and drizzle in Orlando this morning (2/21) while finishing the annual Disney Princess 5K race.  The race is part of Disney Half Marathon Weekend that benefits some 17 charities. Pictured at right is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cheering Diana on.

AWM/F Announce 2020 Board. The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation (AWM/F) announce their 2020 National Board of Directors.  Joining the AWM Board are: Katina Arnold, vice president, corporate communications, ESPN; Abby Auerbach, executive vice president, chief communications officer, TVB; Michelle Ray, executive director, The Walter Kaitz Foundation; Sandra Rice, senior vice president, outreach and strategic partnerships, Center for Talent Innovation; and Esther Mireya Tejeda, senior vice president, head of corporate communications & PR, Entercom.  Officers of the board have been announced as Keisha Sutton-James, chair, vice president & CEO, Sutton Button Productions LLC, serving as chair; Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency, serving as incoming chair; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, serving as immediate past chair; Josie Thomas, CBS, serving as treasurer; and Annie Howell, co-founder and managing partner, The Punch Point Group, serving as incoming treasurer.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWM: Joyce Fitch, legal consultant; Abby Greensfelder, founder & CEO, Everywoman Studios; Brenda Hetrick, chief revenue officer, Matrix Solutions; Jinny Laderer, co-founder & CEO, vCreative; Meg LaVigne, president, LaVIGNE MEDIA; Kelly Perdomo, vice president, content, sports, entertainment, and partnership marketing, SiriusXM; and Katherine Wolfgang, head of public relations, CBC.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWMF: Deborah Parenti, publisher, RadioInk, RBR and TVBR; Rob Stoddard, SVP program network policy, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association; and Kristen Welch, chief financial officer, Illustrative Mathematics.  AWM executive director Becky Brooks says, “The role of the AWM and Foundation boards is to lead our organizations and industry as we recognize, connect and educate women in radio, television and interactive media.  We have a true working board.  This year’s new directors have voiced their dedication to donating time and resources to take these organizations to the next level. We are thrilled to have these talented, accomplished women joining our leadership for the next two years.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Columbia, South Carolina market, programming pro Chris Connors joins Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC-FM “Kiss 103.1” as program director.  Connors was most recently with Alpha Media’s Columbia cluster as operations manager.  He says, “We’ve already made ratings history in Columbia, and I’m very fortunate and extremely thankful to have the opportunity to do it again.  Big thanks to John Dimick, Kenny Smoov, and Tammy O’Dell for entrusting me to lead the Columbia team.  No need to pack or move; we’re ready on day one.”…..Nationally syndicated and WBLS-FM, New York afternoon drive host Deja Vu wraps up a month of celebration with the special, “The Deja Vu Show: Black History in Forward Motion,” being syndicated by ABC Audio.  The commercial free, two-hour special celebrates the importance of African American representation in a variety of fields, including Broadway, film, TV and law.  It features Deja Vu sitting down with iconic celebrities, artists, and influencers including: Will Packer, David Alan Grier, Celia Rose Gooding, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and Isaac Wright Jr…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One syndicated radio host Lon Helton was honored with the Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award at the Country Radio Seminar.  This award – named for Tom Rivers, former WQYK PD and host of Westwood One holiday specials in the 1990s – recognizes an individual in the country radio industry who has given back to the community.  Helton is one of the founders and advocates of the legendary country radiothon program, Country Cares For St. Jude Kids, that has raised almost $1 billion for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital…..iHeartMedia announces that country star Blake Shelton is joining the lineup for the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One on Saturday, May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.  The seventh annual event will also feature performances from Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi, and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones, and more.  The event will livestream exclusively on livexlive.com and broadcast live across iHeartMedia’s country radio stations in their local markets and at iHeartRadio.com.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

| February 18, 2020

Beasley Broadcast Group 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 4.6%; Full Year Net Revenue Up 1.6%.  In reporting 2019 fourth quarter financial results, Beasley Broadcast Group states that “the $3.5 million, or 4.6%, year-over-year decrease in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2019 reflects the cyclical impact of strong political advertising revenue recorded in the prior year period, partially offset by fourth quarter 2019 revenue increases in six of the company’s market clusters.”  The decrease in operating income in Q4 reflects “the year-over-year decrease in station operating income, in addition to higher corporate expenses related to digital growth investments and a $12.4 million non-cash impairment charge related to Beasley’s AM stations in Boca Raton and Atlanta and a $1.3 million impairment loss on an investment, partially offset by a $17.1 million gain from land and tower sales during the period.”  Net revenue for all of 2019 was $261.1 million, an increase of 1.6% over 2018.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Fiscal year 2019 was an active and productive period for Beasley as we continued to make significant progress rolling out our digital expansion and transformation initiatives across the company, while advancing our revenue diversification strategies and actively managing our local radio platform to drive long-term SOI growth and margin expansion. Beasley’s fourth quarter net revenue decline of $3.5 million primarily reflects a $2.8 million reduction in political advertising revenue compared to the prior year period. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment remained healthy with six of our markets generating year-over-year revenue increases.  By opportunistically divesting several non-core land and tower assets in 2019, Beasley generated a 31% increase in full year free cash flow over the prior year period, which enabled us to complete several strategic growth and diversification investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and esports platforms throughout the year.  Our fourth quarter results highlight the value we have begun extracting from our digital transformation strategy investments.  In the fourth quarter, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 44% on a year-over-year basis, with digital now accounting for 9.2% of total revenue, compared to 6.1% of total revenue in the prior year period.  With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of our digital initiatives and look forward to this growth trend continuing in 2020.”

Jim Louth Rises to APD at Boston’s ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ Eleven-year station programming staffer Jim Louth is promoted from midday show executive producer to assistant program director at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  During his career, Louth produced New England Patriots broadcasts for 16 seasons, spent six years as a producer at sports talk WSKO-AM, Providence “790 The Score,” and two years at ESPN in Bristol.  The APD position opened after Rick Radzik was promoted to program director following Mike Thomas’ departure for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik says, “Jim has been with the station since day one.  He’s done a great job, not only producing our midday programming, but also overseeing our New England Patriots game day broadcasts over the past decade.  His institutional knowledge of the Sports Hub’s operation and relationships with the staff make Jim the perfect choice for the APD position.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new report from marketing firm Claritas and sales force Market Enginuity concludes that “podcast advertising campaigns result in an average 10 times lift relative to print, digital, and TV.”  The white paper reports that “new marketing tools are allowing advertisers and marketers to gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of podcast channels.  In November 2018, Claritas acquired the omni-channel attribution platform Barometric and has since collected and reported on campaign results across more than 100 advertisers, which drove a deeper analysis in the channel’s effectiveness as compared to non-podcast channels.  This analysis, across industries such as consumer packaged goods, automotive, direct brands, finance and insurance, shows that while non-podcast channels historically result in a 2.6% lift in conversions – with common channels such as digital display at 1.1% lift, print at 2.4% and linear TV at 3.1% – podcast channels are driving 34% lift on average.”  See more here…..Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with The Dolan Twins – brothers Ethan and Grayson Dolan – for the launch of their first-ever podcast, “Deeper with The Dolan Twins.”  The Dolan Twins have a combined following of over fifty million followers across all platforms, have won five Teen Choice Awards in three years, and earned a spot on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens.  The weekly podcast debuts on Tuesday, February 25…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News has once again won the Golden Mike Award from the Southern California Radio Television News Association.  Pictured at right is Los Angeles-based correspondent Jim Roope, who traveled to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  This is the fifth consecutive year that Westwood One News and Roope have won the Golden Mike award.

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Pandemic/Locust Plague, DOJ Contoversy, Boy Scouts File for Bankruptcy, and U.S. vs Huawei Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and tomorrow night’s debate in Las Vegas; the coronavirus pandemic and the locust plague that affected East Africa moves to China; the controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s administration of the Justice Department and accusations it’s reducing Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation under pressure from President Trump; under financial pressure from sex abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy; and the U.S.’s battle against China’s Huawei over its 5G platform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Girls Night Out.  A great conversation between longtime radio pals took place along the waterway in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as Compass Media Networks senior director of news/talk affiliate sales Susan O’Connell visited TALKERS South during her travels through the Sunshine State.  Pictured (l-r): Former ABC Radio Networks executive Gloria Briggs, O’ Connell, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, and author/professor, Bernadette Duncan.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit’s “Mojo in the Morning” show is celebrating its 20th anniversary at iHeartMedia’s WKQI “Channel 955” with a special broadcast on Friday (2/21). The program, hosted by Mojo and Spike with co-host Shannon, will be broadcast live on WKQI as well as sister stations WSNX, Muskegon, Michigan and WVKS-FM, Toledo “92.5 KISS-FM.”  Also appearing on the special broadcast will be original cast members Sara Fouracre, Chad Mitchell, and Eric Harthen.  iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto says, “‘Mojo in the Morning’ is the Mount Rushmore of Detroit radio.  The talented cast and show are continually striving to do bigger and better things than before and have evolved over the years to connect even more with the Detroit community.  ‘Mojo in the Morning’ is one of the most accessible, cutting-edge, and successful shows in Detroit and we’re honored to have it on our program lineup.”

Thursday, February 13, 2020

| February 13, 2020

Cumulus Media Re-Vamps Mornings at KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. Station air personality Nikki Medoro is being promoted from her role on KGO’s Chip Franklin show in afternoons to host of her own “The Morning Show with Nikki Medoro” on KGO, effective March 2.  Medoro will be joined by station news pro Bret Burkhart.  The new show takes over for the KSTE, Sacramento-based, syndicated “Armstrong & Getty” program that is moving over to mornings at sister news/talker KSFO.  That daypart at KFSO opened up when Brian Sussman chose to retire from the station last month.  Cumulus San Francisco operations manager Lee Hammer says, “Nikki has done a tremendous job working with Chip Franklin in afternoon drive, and she’s earned this opportunity to host mornings on KGO.  Nikki and Bret will bring a fresh approach to the day’s news, both locally and nationally.  They’ll also invite the Bay Area’s listeners to join the conversation and share their opinions.  I’m also excited that Armstrong and Getty will be staying in our station family, just moving down the dial to KSFO.  Joe and Jack are fantastic entertainers, super knowledgeable and they’re not afraid to share their opinions.  They’ll be a great addition to the KSFO lineup.”

Bonnie Lucas to Retire from WHO-AM, Des Moines Morning Show. After serving at iHeartMedia’s heritage news/talk WHO-AM, Des Moines for the past 25 years, Bonnie Lucas – one half of the “Van and Bonnie in the Morning” show – will retire after the March 6 program.  Lucas told listeners to Wednesday’s program that she’s been thinking about retirement since last fall.  She said she’s looking forward to spending time with her spouse, doing some traveling, and not getting up at 2:30 am on weekdays.  Lucas joined co-host (and station PD) Van Harden in the early 1990s after Connie Murad left the morning show co-host role.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Roger Stone Sentencing, Antarctic Iceberg/Global Warming, and Trump Budget/Growing Deficit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The aftermath of the New Hampshire Democratic primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact; the controversy over the sentencing phase of Trump attorney Roger Stone’s trial; the report of a large iceberg breaking off Antarctica and the related ongoing climate change debate; and the Trump administration’s fiscal 2021 budget and the U.S.’s growing deficit were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Former Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer to Host Newsmax TV Show. The latest addition to the Newsmax TV program lineup is “Spicer & Co.” – hosted by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.  The program will debut on March 3 at 6:00 pm ET from broadcast studios near the White House.  Newsmax Media says Spicer “will lead an ensemble of Washington insiders, experts, journalists, and power brokers to analyze the day’s top headlines from the Beltway and the key news from the U.S. and the world.”  Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Sean has been on the inside of how decisions are made in a way so few have.  He was a success as White House press secretary because he connected to ordinary Americans.”  Ruddy notes that Spicer’s press conference ratings were “off the charts, a phenomenon that hasn’t happened before or since.”  Spicer comments, “We are going to offer viewers a unique perspective and insights into what’s really happening – who is up, who’s down – and most importantly how it’s going to affect their lives.  I’ve had a front row seat to how Washington works at the highest levels – in the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and K Street.  We are going to invite our viewers into a conversation that is totally unique.  We will ask the questions and cover the topics that everyone in America is thinking about, but no one is asking or talking about.”

MIW Radio Group Releases Results of 20th Annual Gender Analysis Study. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group is releasing the results of its 20th annual MIW Gender Analysis Study that analyzes the number of women in radio broadcasting rising to management ranks.  The data specifically tracks the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director positions.  The study reveals that 19.5% of 2,189 stations in the study had women holding the general manager position in 2019, an increase of almost a half of percentage point from 2018.  This number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female general managers was only 14.9%.  MIW says the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management as 33.1% of 3,715 stations had a woman sales manager in 2019.  But, the study also concludes that the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be in the area of program director.  Women currently program only 11.62% of 1,304 stations in the study versus 10.6% last year.  However, on a positive note, this is the first time this number has grown in 14 years.  MIW national spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik says, “The MIW Gender Analysis Study is the impetus for the MIW’s mentoring programs that serve female professionals in all aspects of the radio industry.  When the numbers on our annual analysis rise, as they did slightly this year, we work even harder to encourage and mentor our female colleagues who are striving for, and/or have achieved, management positions in radio.”

Joe Pags Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the hardest-working, fastest-rising stars in syndicated talk radio, Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Syndicated by Compass Media Networks and seen on Newsmax TV,  “The Joe Pags Show,” broadcasts live weekdays 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and is carried on more than 125 radio stations across America.  Plus, his weekend show, “The Weekend with Joe Pags” is carried on more than 200 stations.  Pags is ranked 14th on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred.  In a free-wheeling conversation that sounds like a chat between two friends from Long Island, Pags – the grandson of immigrant Italian bricklayers – discusses his blue-collar roots and their impact on his view of today’s hot issues.  Harrison and Pags talk about politics, polarization, and the president as well as music, pop culture, and social media in the digital era.  In addition to being a world-class talker, Pags is also a professional saxophone player and musician – skills that are utilized in his broadcasts that include satirical song parodies and occasional appearances playing the national anthem at sporting events.  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 on every page of Talkers.com.

Stigall Billboards Adorn Philly Roadways. Commuters in the Philadelphia market are likely to see billboards like the one above for Chris Stigall’s new morning drive show on Salem Media Group’s WNTP-AM, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer.”  Stigall tells TALKERS magazine, “At a time radio companies are scaling back, I’m so excited to work for Salem Media who thinks enough of their people and their products to tell the community at large about them!  It’s a true investment – not just in me and my show – but in radio as a whole.  What a statement!  Salem believes in what they’re doing, and they put their money where their mouths are!  In this case, where my mouth is.”

Lunching with TALKERS Convention Videographer Art Vuolo. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (l) had lunch with “radio’s best friend,” legendary videographer Art Vuolo (r) yesterday (2/12) in Jupiter, Florida to discuss plans for the forthcoming 23rd annual TALKERS Convention set for New York on Friday June 5.  Vuolo will again be contracted to produce the video recordings of the event which is destined to be another historic industry milestone.  Harrison states, “We are honored to have a radio-savvy artist of Mr. Vuolo’s caliber in charge of preserving the priceless content of this conference for posterity.”  Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station is only open to members of the broadcasting industry, related fields and communications students.  It is again expected to be an advance sellout and non-refundable registrations can only be obtained via telephone with credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Chicagoland radio personality Mark Zander is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talker WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” as a part-time and weekend host.  Zander was most recently program director at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX-FM and sports talk WNTA-AM in Rockford…..On-air pro Rob Carson is auditioning for the late morning gig at WTZA-AM/W271CV, Atlanta all this week.  Station co-operators Will Regan and Jamie Chapman are leasing the signals from K&Z Broadcasting.  They have already launched the station with Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton in morning drive, Mike Brooks in early afternoon, and Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson in afternoon drive…..FOX Sports Radio says it set a “new benchmark in January, reaching more than 13 million podcast listens – an increase of +88% over the previous year.”  It adds that “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” podcast was the strongest performer, up +59% year-over-year.  The FSR stream also experienced its best month ever in January, increasing +25% year-over-year.  FSR is a division of Premiere Sports Network…..Entercom sports talk KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The Fan” and the MLS’ FC Dallas agree to a deal in which the station will assist in producing soccer shows for the 2020 season.  KRLD-FM will host the “The Luchi Gonzalez Show,” on Thursdays at 1:30 pm during the 2020 MLS regular season, offering exclusive insight from the FC Dallas head coach…..Motor Racing Network is “throwing the Green Flag” on its 50th season of NASCAR coverage with almost 30 hours of programming originating from the “World Center of Racing,” Daytona International Speedway from February 8-16.  Commonly known as Daytona Speedweeks, MRN announcers and production crew are producing six race broadcasts, three editions of the signature program “NASCAR LIVE,” five separate NASCAR Cup Series practices, and qualifying for the “Great American Race.”  MRN Daytona programming culminates with the 62nd running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 16 that will be carried live on more than 400 radio station partners across the country.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s hot AC KRSK-FM, Portland “105.1 The Buzz,”  Liz Luda and Mike Vezzola join as morning show co-hosts.  At the same time, Jamie Tanchyk comes aboard as assistant program director and afternoon drive host.  Prior to joining Entercom, Luda served as a morning show co-host and promotions director for Flinn Broadcasting in Memphis.  Vezzola was previously an on-air personality at WODS-FM, Boston; WTIC-FM, Hartford; and WZMX-FM, Hartford.  Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Kim Martinez says, “Building a strong on-air team is why Entercom Portland is the platinum standard for our listeners and advertisers.  Liz and Mike’s fun and energetic chemistry coupled with Jamie’s exuberant on-air style and programming prowess cements ‘105.1 The Buzz’ as the go-to for young, active listeners in Portland.”

Monday Memo: Pay Attention
(They Don’t)

| January 6, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — New Year’s Resolution: Presume minimal listener attention.

Broadcasters have never had more competition for it; and listeners have never been more distracted, by daily stress, Trump Tweets, new audio and interactive competition, and overstated media noise (to which talk radio is a conspicuous contributor).

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Friday, December 13, 2019

| December 13, 2019

Report: Liberty Media Seeks Control or Ownership of iHeartMedia.  According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Liberty Media is asking the Department of Justice for permission to up its stake in iHeartMedia.  Currently, Liberty owns 4.8% of iHM.  The WSJ’s sources say the deal that Liberty is seeking permission for would give it control or “outright ownership.”  One source says Liberty has not decided “what kind of transaction, if any, it would proceed with should it receive permission.”  Liberty Media currently owns 33% of Live Nation – the concert business that then-Clear Channel spun off in 2005 – and 71% of SiriusXM Holdings.  The WSJ piece notes that Justice Department officials are asking “interested parties” how they’d be affected by a major live events business and a leading radio company being co-owned.

Radzik to Program ’98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. At Boston sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Rick Radzik is named the station’s new program director, effective immediately.  Beasley Media Group announces Radzik is assuming the role being vacated by Mike Thomas, who heads to Chicago to become market manager for the ESPN-owned and Good Karma-managed WMVP “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik has been the station’s assistant program director since the station signed on in August of 2009.  Prior to that, he’d served for 15 years as a producer at all-news WBZ-AM, overseeing Boston Bruins broadcasts.  He began his career at crosstown WEEI-AM (when it was a news station) producing the Bruins and Boston Celtics broadcasts, as well as various talk shows.  Beasley Media Group Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “Rick has been a key member of the ‘Sports Hub’ programming team since the station’s inception.  The knowledge he has amassed over the past decade, coupled with his relationships and passion for continuing our winning history, make him uniquely qualified to lead the ‘Sports Hub’ into the 2020s and beyond!”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/13).  The new episode titled “Meddling and Muddling!” reviews the week of December 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City;  Joan Michelson; Executive producer/host, GreenConnectionsRadio.com; Bob Lonsberry, talk show host, WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Scott James Matheson, Mayor-elect, Valdosta, Georgia. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It then airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

‘Cats Roundtable’ Show Joins ‘Florida Man Radio.’ The weekly “Cats Roundtable” show hosted by Red Apple Group president and CEO John Catsimatidis is being added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WYGC-FM, High Springs (Gainesville market) “Florida Man Radio.”  Catsimatidis’ company Red Apple Media recently entered into a deal to acquire venerable WABC-AM, New York from Cumulus Media for $12.5 million.  That deal has not closed yet.  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “‘The Cats Roundtable’ radio show is perfect for ‘Florida Man Radio.’  John’s unique take on the news and his A-list celebrity interviews are fascinating conversations that keep listeners coming back for more.  We have been very successful with his show on our Long Island station and know this is a great fit for our growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ network.”

The Trump Impeachment Proceedings Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 9-13. The articles of impeachment against President Trump were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Tied at #2 this week was Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections and the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance practices.  At #3 was Time magazine’s selection of Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year and the greater topic of climate change, followed by the deadly Jersey City shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. The WGBH, Boston and PRI-produced program “Innovation Hub” takes a look at the rise of conservative talk radio and its influence on the America political scene on its most recent episode.  Joining host Kara Miller is author and University of Pennsylvania scholar-in-residence Brian Rosenwald.  His book, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States (2019, Harvard University Press) examines the theory.  The teaser of the radio show says, “When Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk radio program began in Sacramento in the 1980s, no one could have guessed that he would not only reinvigorate AM radio but also create a new format that would help remold the American political landscape.”  Check out the program here…..The WFAN watch continues as Newsday’s Neil Best writes that the odds-on replacement for Mike Francesa in afternoon drive on the Entercom sports talk station is midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno.  He also says that Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis are “favorites” to serve as the midday personalities.  Francesa left his regular full-time role with the station a couple of weeks ago but will contribute to The Fan’s on-air content with a nightly, half-hour show at 6:00 pm.  WFAN has made no announcements about its plans for the station as of today (12/13)…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder writes today about longtime Chicago radio personality Turi Ryder’s new podcast that takes its name from her fictionalized memoir, She Said What?  Ryder co-hosts the show with Kathryn Lake and she tells Feder she’ll drop two podcasts each week, no longer than 15 minutes in length.  You can check it out here…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime radio journalist Pete Combs, who died in Atlanta after a three-month battle with lung cancer at age 61.  Combs had been working at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta since May of 2018.  He previously worked for WSB from 2006 through 2015 but left for KOMO-AM, Seattle before returning last year.  During his career, he worked at stations including: WGST-AM, Atlanta; KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network, Dallas; USA Radio News, Dallas; WINK-AM Fort Myers; and WBT-AM, Charlotte.  He also reported for TV station in Charlotte and Tulsa during the early 1990s.  See the rest of WSB’s tribute to Combs here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales pro Dawn Girocco is named director of sales for Cumulus Media’s country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf,” and CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3” in Dallas.  She was most recently vice president/market manager for Cumulus Los Angeles.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett comments, “Being able to get someone of Dawn Girocco’s experience and success back in our company to join our Dallas team as a key sales management leader is a great plus for Dallas and our company.  Dawn’s past success in Los Angeles speaks for itself and we can’t wait for her to get started here in Texas.”…..Alpha Media promotes Danny Dwyer to assistant program director for country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” and inks him to a new, multi-year deal.  Dwyer will continue to host the midday show and continue his role as music director.  Alpha Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker states, “The energy and dedication Danny brings on and off the air to our ‘Bull Nation’ listeners, musicans, artists, labels, advertisers’ and community partners are an incredible asset to our station.  His leadership with station events and promotions including our St. Jude Radiothon and Countryfest concert are irreplaceable.”…..Seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, who is planning a 31-date North American tour next year, performed a special acoustic set of the album Jagged Little Pill in its entirety on December 2 at New York’s legendary The Apollo.  That show will be broadcast exclusively on SiriusXM today (12/13) through December 22…..Air personality Brittany Rose joins Townsquare Media’s CHR WJBQ, Portland as co-host alongside Lori Voornas and Jeff Parsons on the “Q Morning Show,” effective January 2.   She was most recently with Townsquare Media’s WEBB-FM, Augusta “B98.5.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.9 The Fox” announces the nationally syndicated “The Dave and Mahoney Morning Show” takes over the morning slot, effective Monday (12/16).

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

| November 26, 2019

Round One of November PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of November 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The November 2019 rating period covered October 10 – November 6.  Some 6+ ratings gains of note for spoken-word stations during the November survey include: Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds another 0.5 share to its two previous increases for a 4.0 share and a #8 ranking in the market while Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM is flat at a 2.3 share; Cumulus’ WBAP, Dallas continues its upward trend, posting a 4.4 share good for #5 in the market; iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston posts its third consecutive ratings gain with a 4.1 share, keeping it at #11 in the market; Cox Media Group’s Atlanta juggernaut WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is up 3.0 full shares over the past five surveys with November’s 9.3 share keeping it locked at #1 for the fourth straight month; and Entercom’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia lands at #1 in the market for the third straight month after finishing with an 8.2 share.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Takeaways” from each market here.

Eric Johnson Exits WPEN-FM, Philadelphia.  Programmer Eric Johnson exits Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 FM The Fanatic” after two years with the station.  Numerous Philly news outlets have picked up on the story but there’s little to report beyond Johnson’s own post to his Facebook page that simply says he left the station yesterday (11/25).  Johnson joined “The Fanatic” in 2017 after serving for many years as program director for Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race, SCOTUS Trump Financial Records Ruling, McGahn Ruling, Trump’s Navy Seal Controversy, Hong Kong Election, and German Jewel Heist Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/25). The testimony in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Democrat Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race; the Supreme Court sides with Trump on a request to block a subpoena from House Democrats seeking data from the president’s accounting firm; a judge rules former White House counsel Don McGahn must obey a subpoena for his testimony; the controversy over Trump’s order to remove Navy Secretary Richard Spencer over the Eddie Gallagher case; the results of the Hong Kong elections in which pro-democracy candidates won; and the theft of priceless historical jewels from Dresden’s Royal Palace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. New York Post sports columnist Andrew Marchand reports that former WFAN, New York personality Chris Carlin appears headed to ESPN’s crosstown WEPN-FM to host the evening show.  Current evening host Alan Hahn is reportedly set to be promoted to middays alongside Bart Scott, who is currently co-hosting middays with Maggie Gray at WFAN.  See Marchand’s column here…..Sports talker Matt Jones – who left his gig hosting the WLAP, Lexington-based “Kentucky Sports Radio” while considering a run for Mitch McConnell’s U.S. Senate seat – announces he’s inked a new, five-year deal with iHeartMedia to return to the show on December 26.  Jones made national news in August when he was let go from his “Hey Kentucky!” TV show on WLEX-TV, Lexington after announcing his plans to publish a political book titled, Mitch, Please!  Earlier this month he was ousted from “Kentucky Sports Radio” after an election rules complaint from the Kentucky Republican Party.  See WLEX-TV’s report here…..iHeartMedia announces chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and president, COO, and CFO Rich Bressler will participate in a question and answer session during the Wells Fargo TMT Summit in Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 4.  Wells Fargo says “senior executives from more than 140 leading public and private technology, media, and telecom companies are already confirmed to attend the third annual” event.

Study Indicates AM/FM Campaigns Can Drive Web Traffic for Retailers.  Data from a study by marketing attribution platform LeadsRx for Westwood One measured the website visitor traffic increases after consumers were exposed to an AM/FM radio campaign by a major jewelry retailer.  WWO says the results offer retailers a way to understand how their advertising performs on a granular level so that plans can be optimized in the future.  Some of the findings include: As a result of the AM/FM radio campaign, the jewelry retailer saw an +11% increase in their site traffic.  The boost was +38% greater than the average for the jewelry category as measured by Analytic Owl’s analysis of 92 AM/FM radio campaigns reported by the Radio Advertising Bureau; throughout the course of the AM/FM radio campaign, the highest rate of conversion occurred in early December.  The greatest share of attributed web sessions (27%) occurred from December 3rd through the 9th, followed by 20% of attributed web sessions taking place the following week; and the jewelry retailer saw spikes in web sessions in the middle of the week and on Sundays.  On Thursdays, ad occurrences comprised 16% of the total impressions of the jewelry retailer’s campaign, while accounting for 19% of the attributed web sessions. On Sundays, 12% of total campaign impressions ran, driving 14% share of the attributed web sessions to the jewelry retailer site.  See more here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Entercom’s hot AC KZPT “99.7 The Point” announces that Shaylee Henning is promoted to midday personality.  Henning takes over for Leigh McNabb, who exited recently to take on the program director role at Saga Communications’ classic hits KIOA, Des Moines.  Henning continues in her role as production assistant for the station group…..At Cox Media Group’s CHR WFLC, Miami “Hits 97.3,” DJ Laz exits the morning drive show.  Cluster director of operations Jill Strada is expected to announce the plans for the station’s morning show in the near future…..Saga Communications classic rock outlet WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts “Rock 102” is underway with the 25th Annual Mayflower Marathon to collect nonperishable food donations to benefit the region’s Open Pantry Community Services organization.  Morning show team Mike Baxendale and John O’Brien – “Bax & O’Brien” – along with producer Steve Nagle, will be on the radio for 52 hours broadcasting live from the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.  The goal is to fill three 48-foot Mayflower moving van trailers by 10:00 am Wednesday.

Monday, December 17, 2018

| December 17, 2018

WLS-AM, Chicago Moves Big John Howell to PM Drive. Friday’s announcement by Cumulus Media solidifies the afternoon program schedule, but the question still remains who will end up hosting mornings on news/talk WLS-AM in the New Year.  Current morning drive personality Big John Howell is moving to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot – he’s following Westwood One syndicated talk host Ben Shapiro who’s on from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Howell’s co-host Ramblin’ Ray Stevens appears headed out the door.  Rumors in the Windy City are that Erich Mancow Muller is negotiating to be the station’s next morning show host. Cumulus Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “As part of the new lineup at WLS-AM 890, keeping an experienced Chicago talent like John Howell solidifies the lineup and will give our audience a reason to stay tuned throughout the entire day.  John has been entertaining Chicagoland for over 30 years and his program will be the perfect way to wrap up the day on your way home.”  Before joining WLS-AM four years ago, Howell served with Salem Media Group on news/talk WIND-AM.  Prior to that he spent 17 years as a jock on country WUSN-FM. He says, “I’m very excited about hosting the new afternoon show at WLS-AM 890.  I intend to present Chicago with a quick-paced, informative, honest, and intelligent summary of the day’s biggest stories – an afternoon wrap of the day’s biggest events featuring prominent newsmakers, reporters, experts, and stars.  Of course, our town’s most colorful characters will also be welcome.  In addition, I’m looking forward to (finally) golfing when the sun’s in the east.”

Media Action Center Targets Alex Jones Saying Radio Show Violates FCC’s Hoax Rules. The Media Action Center was founded by journalist and activist Sue Wilson.  She was instrumental in forcing Entercom to give up the license for KDND-FM, Sacramento in the wake of the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest.  Now, Wilson’s MAC is encouraging people who live in markets that carry the Alex Jones radio show to file a complaint with the local station and the FCC that accuses Jones of violating the FCC’s hoax rules by insisting that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.  You can see the form letter here that outlines the FCC’s language: “Section 73.1217 of the Federal Communications Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 73.1217, prohibits broadcast licensees or permittees from broadcasting false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe if: (1) the licensee knows this information is false; (2) it is foreseeable that broadcast of the information will cause substantial public harm; and (3) broadcast of the information does in fact directly cause substantial public harm.”  Wilson cites the parents of some of the victims whose pain has been worsened by harassment they’ve suffered from Jones’ listeners, thus the public harm.  MAC notes the FCC rules would permit Jones’ comments if the stations airing the program aired a disclaimer before the program clearly characterizing it as fiction. See the MAC site here.

WQAM, Miami Names New Midday Show. Replacing Orlando “The Big O” Alzugaray (who exited early last month) in the midday slot at Entercom’s WQAM, Miami is the duo of Alex Donno (left) and Josh Friedman (right).  The “Donno & Friedo” show airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Friedman moves over to WQAM from sister sports talker WAXY-AM where he was evening host.  Alex Donno has been hosting the evening program on WQAM.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley states, “Alex and Josh both bring unique experiences that will lead to great content for this new show, which will touch on sports and beyond.  Their vast knowledge of Miami sports and high energy will undoubtedly resonate with South Florida listeners.”

Spector Upped to Program Director at Sports Talk KCSP, Kansas City. Rising from assistant program director and afternoon show producer to program director at Entercom’s KCSP-AM “610 Sports Radio” is Steven Spector.  Entercom Kansas City regional president and market manager Dave Alpert says, “I am very pleased to announce Steven Spector as the next program director of ‘610 Sports Radio.’  This is a well-deserved and well-earned promotion and I’m confident that Steven will continue to elevate ‘610 Sports Radio’ in the Kansas City market.”  Spector joined Entercom Kansas City in 2013 as a producer for 610 Sports Radio’s “Fescoe in the Morning.”  He began his radio career with WTEM, Washington in 2008.

Chuck Peterson Rises to Area President for iHeartMedia. Executive Chuck Peterson is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia’s Winchester, Harrisonburg, and Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia markets, effective immediately. The markets contain 16 news/talk, sports and music-formatted stations.  Peterson is promoted to area president after serving as market president for the Winchester and Harrisonburg markets.  He began his career at WFTR, Front Royal, Virginia and is a graduate of American University and William & Mary Law School.  He says, “iHeartMedia is the leader in the audio and mulit-platform space and I am thrilled to step into my new role in the Virginia/Carolina region. I am proud of our company’s commitment to growing our advertiser’s businesses and serving our communities.”

PPM Analysis: November’s Top-Ranked Stations. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian offers a tip of the hat to the stations that finished first and second (6+) in their respective markets in Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 survey.  In this report, you’ll find charts detailing the performances of the top two stations in each market, as well as a look at the top performers arranged by format.  Spoiler alert – adult contemporary stations comprised 22% of the #1 stations in the PPM markets while classic hits accounted for 22.9% of the #2-ranked stations. See the full report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally-syndicated midday program “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KLIF-AM, Dallas, beginning in the New Year.  KLIF-AM and WBAP program director Kevin Graham says, “We’re thrilled to bring Dana to 570 KLIF.  Dallas-Fort Worth listeners are really going to connect with her honest opinions and authenticity.  And the fact she lives here in the Metroplex will also allow our listeners to easily relate to her.”  “The Dana Show” is syndicated nationally via Radio America…..Premiere Networkssyndicated Buck Sexton show begins airing on WCBM, Baltimore in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart, effective January 1.  The show will be followed by the Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin program in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot.  The station currently airs Michael Savage in evenings and he departs the station after 16 years as his three-hour show is re-configured into a one-hour live show and a one-hour podcast. WCBM program director Sean Casey adds, “This is the next chapter in our endless pursuit to bring the most powerful names in talk to Baltimore.  We’re really pumped to add Buck, an up-and-coming star and to have Levin, a Hall of Famer anchor our evenings!  I’d like to thank Michael Savage for a great run and continued success in his new venture.”…..The unique town of Tangier Island, Virginia – population 460 and shrinking – is the subject of a five-part podcast series from Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington titled, “Going Under: The Story of Tangier Island.”  The series, hosted by WTOP’s Michelle Basch, takes an in-depth look at the “quirky, isolated place located smack dab in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay” that is gradually vanishing and could be uninhabitable in 25 years…..First Media Services closes on its purchase of two AMs and four FMs in the Bluefield, West Virginia market from Alpha Media for $1.8 million.  The stations are: news/talk WHIS-AM, hip hop WKEZ-AM, hot AC WHAJ-FM, country WHQX-FM, country WHKX-FM, and classic rock WKOY-FM.  First Media managing partner Bob Spencer says, “We feel extremely blessed and honored to have the torch passed to us from well-respected former owners, including Mike Shott and the Shott Family, and David Benjamin of Triad Broadcasting Company.  In my opinion, these stations have one of the best and most talented staffs in the region.  Many, of whom, have worked there for over two and even three decades.  It’s an amazing opportunity to continue great radio and first-class customer service throughout our corner of the Virginias.” Kalil & Co., Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction…..WNIC, Detroit morning personality Jay Towers and Capedwonder.com founder Jim Bowers are co-hosting a podcast series dedicated to all things Superman in “The Caped Wonder Superman Podcast.”  In the third podcast of the series, the hosts released never-before-heard audio of iconic Superman actor Christopher Reeve.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall-Government Shutdown, the Trumps vs the Media, ObamaCare Ruling, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Concerns, Aquaman Film, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; President Trump’s threat to allow the federal government to shut down if congress doesn’t fund the Mexico border wall; President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s complaints about the media’s treatment of them; a federal judge rules the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional; Friday’s Dow drops 400 points and talk about a recession in 2019; the new Aquaman film; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Jay Cruze joins the morning show at Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOSI, Denver alongside current morning host Jenny D.  Program director Jim Lawson says, “Jay’s experience, energy, and authentic personality is exactly what we were looking for to create compelling content in the morning.  Jay has been on our part-time staff and has been a tremendous asset.  He’s a natural fit.”…..An apparent abundance of programmers in the Entercom Philadelphia cluster has forced the company’s hand and longtime hot AC WBEB “B101” PD Chuck Knight exits the station.  Entercom acquired the station from Jerry Lee Radio back in September…..KDGS-FM, Wichita APD, music director, and afternoon host “Rolls” Royce Stevenson re-ups with Entercom to continue his work at the rhythmic CHR outlet.

Friday, April 13, 2018

| April 13, 2018

SiriusXM Satellite Radio Host Karen Hunter Named Recipient of the TALKERS 2018 Freedom of Speech Award. The TALKERS editorial board announced this morning (4/13) that SiriusXM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter has been named the 2018 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Freedom of Speech Award.  Hunter hosts the “Karen Hunter Show” daily between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm on the Urban View channel in which she discusses politics, public policy, and contemporary culture taking listener calls and interviewing guests.  The Urban Channel is billed as “African American talk… focusing on politics, race and social justice.”  Named one of the “Heavy Hundred” (The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) by TALKERS magazine for a number of years, Hunter has blazed a unique trail inspiring her listeners to engage in entrepreneurial endeavors bringing action as well as talk to the medium.  She regularly challenges her listeners to participate in the success they want to be.  A former sports and news reporter with the New York Daily News for 16 years, Hunter served four of those years on the paper’s editorial board, where she was a member of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize- and Polk Award-winning teams.  She was also the paper’s first African American female news columnist.  As the head of Karen Hunter Books, an imprint with Simon & Schuster, she has published several number one New York Times bestsellers including True You by pop icon Janet Jackson, and My Country ‘Tis Of Thee by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress.  Hunter also published the critically acclaimed autobiographical novel, An Angry-Ass Black Woman, by Karen Quinones Miller, among others.  A New Jersey native and Drew University graduate, Hunter taught at New York University and is currently a full-time professor and distinguished lecturer at Hunter College.  In June of 2015, Hunter authored a petition calling for the removal of the confederate flag from the statehouse of South Carolina in the wake of the massacre of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Within three days, more than 500,000 people signed that petition. Within a week, Gov. Nikki Haley vowed to take down the flag.  Within two weeks, the flag was removed.  Past recipients of the Freedom of Speech Award, which goes back 30 years, include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Howard SternThom Hartmann, Joe Madison, Alan Colmes, G. Gordon Liddy, Brian Lamb, Al Franken, Bob Grant and other top figures in broadcasting.  The award (officially titled “The Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech”) will be presented to Hunter in New York City on Friday, June 8 at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, this year’s installment of the annual talk media convention. The Freedom of Speech Award is the longest-running and most prestigious honor annually bestowed by the publication upon a member of the greater broadcasting community, although not always the most popular.  According to TALKERS publisher, Michael Harrison, “The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor presented to a person in the industry who sets a meaningful example of the First Amendment in action, either by having taken a high-profile, risky stand on a controversial issue or working on an exceptional level to make that opportunity available to others.  It does not necessarily indicate this publication’s endorsement of the recipient’s position, only his or her right to express it publicly and our salute to them for having the courage to face the consequences.  The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is the bedrock of all of this nation’s freedoms and values. Without it, this would not be the country we believe it to be in our minds and hearts.  It is clearly the most important element that makes American talk media vibrant, alive, and indispensable.”  Harrison continues, “Karen Hunter is a clear-cut champion of this concept and a high-profile example of it in action in the talk media industry today.”

New Affiliate Stations in the Southeast for ‘Stacy on the Right.’ The nationally syndicated “Stacy On The Right” program starring the Project 21 co-chairman Stacy Washington, expands into three Southeast markets.  WDDQ-FM, Adel, Georgia; WLBB-AM, Carrollton, Georgia; and WJHC-FM, Jasper, Florida add the daily, two-hour show to their program lineups. The “Stacy On The Right” program is syndicated via Urban Family Radio Network, American Family Radio, America’s Voice TV and now on Talk America Radio, whose owner Ron Phillips says, “We’ve been huge fans of ‘Stacy On The Right’ for a long time.  We’re honored to include her show on Talk America Radio.  She’s the perfect addition to an already stellar schedule of talk shows. She’s professional and powerful, and she’ll fit right in.”  Washington has been a co-chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network since 2016.  In addition to her own radio show, she has been a guest host for shows such as “The Wilkow Majority” on SiriusXM; the Chris Plante and Larry O’Connor shows on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; “Cam and Company” on NRATV; and “The Dana Show” on Radio America.  She is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force whose commentaries have appeared in FOX News Opinion, RealClearPolitics, The Federalist, and the Washington Times.

Suze Orman’s ‘Women & Money’ Launches on PodcastOne.  This new PodcastOne show stars personal finance expert Suze Orman.  The program, “Suze Orman, Women & Money” is targeted directly to women (and the men who want to understand them) with Orman’s trademark energy and compassion.  The series allows listeners to #AskSuze anything.  In yesterday’s debut show, the tables were turned as Refinery29 work & money director Lindsey Stanberry interviewed Orman about her own journey.  The show is available now on PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app and Apple Podcasts, with new episodes every Thursday.

WTOP, Washington Honored with Two Headliner Awards. Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM wins two National Headliner Awards from the Atlantic City Press Club.  The Hubbard Radio station picked up first place honors for Best Newscast for coverage the day of the Congressional Baseball Shooting in June of 2017.  WTOP national security correspondent J.J. Green won third place in the radio stations news series category for his investigative work in reporting “Anatomy of a Russian Attack,” an in-depth look at what the U.S. Intelligence community has concluded was an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.  WTOP director of news and programming Mike McMearty says, “We feel so honored to be recognized for our efforts to bring breaking news coverage to the nation’s capital at the moments when it matters the most.”  Since 1935, the National Headliner Awards are given to outstanding writers, photographers, daily newspapers, magazines, graphic artists, radio and television stations and networks, and news syndicates from across the nation.

TALKERS News Notes. Bay Area Media blogger Rich Lieberman 415 Media – wrote recently wondering if Westwood One nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage is in contentious contract renegotiations with the company.  Citing recent statements by Savage on his radio show that “in case I’m not here” listeners can hear him on his website and via Twitter, Lieberman says Savage could become the “latest cost-cutting victim” by parent company Cumulus Media (a la Don Imus and Ronn Owens) as it works through Chapter 11 reorganization.  Lieberman says Savage offered him “no comment” when they spoke and notes Savage has “fairly strong” ratings in San Francisco and does very well in PM drive in New York.  He also says Savage’s contract is up this year and suggests both sides may be posturing during contract renegotiations…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that starting in May, it will offer national ad and affiliate sales support for “Remote News Service.”  It has also expanded its partnership with Envision Networks and will offer ad sales support for the new feature, “140 Characters.”  Remote News Service offers high quality, local, real-time news reports across 14+ major markets with a full team of anchors.  Envision Networks’ “140 Characters” is a new service featuring celebrity impersonators, voice and character actors as well as pre-written scripts to use for topic starters, phone scams, parodies and more…..A new memoir titled, Lucky from Virgin: An Unlikely Story (2018, CreateSpace), has been published by 40-year veteran network TV correspondent Lucky Severson.  The book tells “the inside stories of some of the world’s more interesting people, told by a kid who grew up in the tiny Mormon town of Virgin, unaware of the world outside.”  In the book, Severson interviews serial killer Ted Bundy in a jail cell in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, just weeks before his escape and murderous rampage in Florida, for which he was ultimately caught and executed.  It was the only TV interview ever done with Bundy before his death-bed execution.  Severson also traveled with the campaigns of Vice President George H.W. Bush and Jesse Jackson.  He spent time with the Dalai Lama in the shadow of the Himalayas.

Cool Job Opportunity.  Legendary Quad Cities news/talk outlet WOC-AM, Davenport is seeking a new program director.  The iHeartMedia-owned station says that its program director of 20-plus years is retiring, and WOC-AM is searching for the right individual to take the reins of this heritage station.  If you’re interested, email Jim O’Hara and he’ll send you an overview of the job: jimohara@iheartmedia.com.

Trump-Russia Probe and Related Cohen Raid Tied for Top News/Talk Stories for Week of April 9-13.  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related raid of the offices of President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement he won’t run for re-election this year.  Coming in at #3 was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress about users’ privacy concerns, followed by the allegations that the National Enquirer paid $30,000 to a Trump Tower doorman to suppress a story about Trump fathering a child with a Trump Tower staffer in the late 1980s at #4. The Talkers TenTMis a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Radio Hall of Fame Chairman and Mega-Talent Manager Kraig Kitchin Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. He says, “One of my greatest professional passions is identifying outstanding radio talent and giving them recognition.” Among the radio industry’s most influential, behind-the-scenes players, Kraig Kitchin, head of Los Angeles-based media firm Sound Mind, LLC, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In addition to being the chairman of the Radio Hall of Fame and consultant to such media production companies as Real World Productions (jingles and imaging), the Mix Group (outsourced station production) and Source Audio (music libraries), Kitchin is one of, if not the, leading managers of radio talent in the business today. His client list includes such names as Rush Limbaugh, Jim Rome, Delilah, George Noory, Bill Handel and more…information he is reluctant to publicly share. He states, “I believe that a manager should always put the talent first and foremost while personally staying in the background.” According to Harrison, “Kraig Kitchin is one of the most level-headed, intelligent, and credible business people in radio that we’ve seen during the industry’s modern era and has quietly and responsibly been one of the most influential.” Regardless, Harrison drags him into the spotlight for a rare interview that takes a conversational deep dive into radio’s history (Kitchin was one of the founders of Premiere Networks and at one time was sales manager for Katz Media) and a look to its future, covering the state of consolidation, the podcasting phenomenon, the tenets of being a great talent, and the challenge of programming commercials in the era of short-term attention span. Do not miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Monday (4/16), Joey Vlazny is taking over the morning show on Bonneville’s San Jose classic rock outlet KUFX “98.5 KFOX.” Joey – who was most recently morning host at rhythmic CHR KRBQ, San Francisco “Q102” – bumps Chris Jackson to the afternoon drive daypart.  Jackson fills the afternoon slot left vacant when PD/host Tim Jeffreys exited last month. New PD Brian Figula says, “Joey’s smart work ethic, strong creativity, and passion for our business elevates our brand awareness.  I look forward to adding him to the team with Chris Jackson to dominate the San Jose radio market.”…..Saga Communications adds Courtney Ross (center) to the morning drive show at country WPOR-FM, Portland alongside incumbent morning personalities Jon Shannon (left) and Joe Lerman (right).  Ross fills the role of recently departed morning personality Adam Rondeau…..KHTS-FM, San Diego morning personality Geena The Latina – co-host of “Kramer and Geena Mornings” – is being honored by the City of San Diego on Tuesday (4/17) as the city proclaims it “Geena The Latina Day.”  San Diego City Council president Myrtle Cole will honor Geena for her work with girls and young women in the local community.  Geena is an active volunteer with local organizations and founded the Fearless Empowerment Conference in 2017.  The annual event assembles successful women from the community to share their journey and inspire hundreds of teenage girls to be fearless and confident leaders.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

| January 17, 2017

Bubba the Love Sponge Countersues Nielsen and Files Third Party Complaints Against Cox Media and WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta.  The battle between Florida-based, syndicated morning talk host Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a. Bubba Clem, and Nielsen Audio just got more complicated after Bubba’s attorneys filed a countersuit against Nielsen Audio and fresh complaints against Cox Media Group and WHPT, Tampa morning personality Mike Calta.  As industry watchers are aware, Nielsen is suing Bubba claiming that his attempts tobubba manipulate the PPM ratings in the Tampa market have caused damages to its business.  During the discovery phase of this case, Bubba’s lawyers have requested documentation and Nielsen responded by ultimately providing some 71,000 pages, but not in a manner deemed timely by Bubba’s team.  In fact, they state that their work in the discovery phase has been “seriously delayed as a result of Plaintiff’s untimely nielsen logoproduction of discovery materials and broad-brush approach to making confidentiality designations.  Moreover, Defendants’ use of the discovery materials has been severely limited by the terms of the Protective Order.  As a result, on November 18, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Amend Case Management and Scheduling Order to extend the discovery cut-off from December 9 to January 9, 2016.  The Court entered an Order granting Defendants’ motion on November 29, 2016.”  If Nielsen’s tactics were intended to cause Bubba to settle the matter, it didn’t work.  He’s doubling down with the aforementioned countersuit and new complaints against Nielsen, Cox and Calta for: Defamation (Counts I and II), Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships (Counts III and IV), Violation of thecoxmediagroup Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count V), and Civil Conspiracy (Count VI).  Bubba’s lawyers say their counterclaims and third-party claims “are based on various documents that were produced by Plaintiff in response to Defendants’ discovery requests.”  Here’s the breakdown according to the court filing: “In early 2015, Plaintiff entered into a conspiracy with Cox (one of Nielsen’s largest subscribers) to, among other things: (i) utilize Nielsen’s monopoly power over the audience measurement and ratings for the Tampa Market to prevent Defendants from broadcasting their morning radio show on WBRN in competition with WHPT; (ii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ caltamikecontractual relationships with Beasley Media Group and their other affiliates; (iii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ current and prospective business relationships with WBRN’s advertisers and US-based syndication partners; (iv) improperly manipulate Nielsen’s ratings for the Tampa Market to simultaneously increase WHPT’s market share to the benefit of Cox, while decreasing the share of WBRN to the detriment of Beasley, Clem and BRN; (v) publish knowingly false, defamatory allegations of ratings distortion activities against Defendants in an effort to conceal the fraudulent conduct of Nielsen’s employees with respect to the data included in Nielsen’s monthly ratings reports; (vi) unfairly apply Nielsen’s rules and impose unprecedented sanctions pressure on Beasley to bring about the termination of its contract with BRN and Clem; and (vii) engage in unfair methods of competition, anticompetitive behavior, and various unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair acts or practices in violation of Chapter 501, Florida Statutes, in order to further the interests of a large Nielsen subscriber over those of a smaller subscriber.  As a result of Nielsen, Cox, and Calta’s conduct, and the conduct of those conspiring with them, Defendants have incurred several million dollars in damages.”  As noted, much of Bubba’s evidence for the complaints comes from Nielsen documents but it is heavily redacted to protect Nielsen’s proprietary PPM information.  Regarding the complaint against Mike Calta, Clem’s lawyers allege Calta defamed him during an on-air phone conversation in which he made the following false statements: that Clem was cheating Nielsen’s ratings system; that Clem had control over PPMs; that Clem had PPMs on watch winders in a shed and/or a shipping container; that Clem had purchased a PPM from his dentist’s nurse; and that after Clem left WHPT, he stopped using the PPMs he allegedly had control over to benefit WHPT, causing its ratings to fall.  Bubba also alleges that Cox conspired with Nielsen for the latter to de-list heavy listeners to Bubba’s WBRN show and that Cox and Nielsen concocted a “sting operation” to entrap Bubba into engaging into ratings manipulation.  The complaint also states that “Nielsen admits that none of the PPM data obtained from any PPM panelist alleged to have engaged in ratings tampering activities with Clem was ever included in any of its monthly ratings reports and, therefore, it was unnecessary for Nielsen to reprocess or reissue any of its monthly ratings reports as a result of the ratings tampering activities allegedly engaged in by Clem.  Nevertheless, at the urging of Cox, Nielsen imposed its most severe response to the alleged ratings distortion activity by delisting Beasley’s WBRN for the month of September 2015.”  Neither Nielsen, Cox or Calta have commented publicly on the suit.

WEEI, Boston Promotes Alex Reimer to ‘Brand Personality.’  Sports media personality Alex Reimer has been part of the “third-chair rotation” for the “Kirk and Callahan Morning Show” on Entercom’s sports talkreimeralex WEEI, Boston since the fall.  Now, the company announces that he’s coming aboard full time as a brand personality.  Calling it a “move designed to augment both the on-air and online components of its media ecosystem,” Reimer will join the WEEI.com staff “creating columns, blogs, and podcasts” while continuing his rotating co-host position on the morning show.  The Boston University grad has previously served with Forbes, The Boston Herald and SB Nation.  WEEI program director Joe Zarbano comments, “Since joining the Kirk and Callahan third-chair rotation last fall, Alex has done a terrific job delivering opinionated and entertaining sports talk.  I’m excited that WEEI.com will now be an outlet for Alex’s insightful writing to our massive online audience.”

WVLK, Lexington Names ‘Kruser’ Program Director.  Eighteen-year WVLK-AM, Lexington air personality Dave “Kruser” Krusenklaus is appointed program director at the Cumulus Media news/talk station.  As part krusenklausdaveof the change, Krusenklaus will move from his midday talk show slot to the afternoon drive daypart.  Current station PD Scott Johnson transitions to the news director role for WVLK and the Cumulus Lexington cluster.  Prior to his work as a talk host at WVLK, “Kruser” worked as a programmer and air talent in both the rock and classic hits formats.  Cumulus Media Lexington vice president and market manager Scott Frazier states, “I look forward to ‘Kruser’ delivering the same powerful analysis and spirited attitude he has brought as an on-air personality to programming central Kentucky’s heritage news/talker, 590 WVLK!”

Trump Inauguration Protests, Trump NATO and EU Comments, Russian Hacking Allegations, World Economic Forum, GOP ObamaCare Plan, Istanbul Terror Suspect Caught, Wife of Orlando Terrorist Arrested, Eight Billionaires Statistic, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16).  The planned protests for Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the boycott by numerous Democratic Members of Congress, and security plans; controversy over Trump’s comments about NATO being obsolete and his prediction about the end of the European Union; the allegations that Russia hacked the DNC emails in an attempt to influence the U.S. election; the World Economic Forum taking place at Davos, Switzerland; the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; the capture and confession of the man responsible for the deadly terror attack in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve; authorities arrest Noor Salman, wife of Orlando club shooter Omar Mateen; the report that eight of the world’s richest people hold more wealth than half of the rest of the world; and the weekend’s NFL playoff games were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

cookehollandCooke: Recalibrating Talk for the Trump Era.  Consultant Holland Cooke writes today with thoughts about what talk radio can do to take advantage of the Trump era.  Cooke says that as social media flourishes, talk hosts should take that to mean that listeners expect to be heard and he adds that “the smartest thing talkers can do now is listen.”  Read more here.

Odds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” show from Westwood One is being simulcast by C-SPAN during the Wednesday (1/18) broadcast from 1:00 am to 6:00 am ET.  The full live show plus break banter with hosts Eric Harley and Greg McNamara will be simulcast by the cable news network…..“Thecarollaadam Forbes Interview” podcast debuts today on the “Forbes on PodcastOne” network.  The show is the first podcast to be developed jointly between Forbes and PodcastOne and delves into the minds of the most significant leaders of today – the people who have been, or easily could be, on the coveted cover of Forbes magazine.  The first interview by Forbes senior editor Steve Bertoni is with podcast superstar Adam Carolla.

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RadioInfo Web banner‘KISS FM’ Chicago’s Angi Taylor Joins ‘The Rendezvous.’  Chicago radio personality Angi Taylor is signed up for double duty as Premiere Networks announces she’ll partner up with Simon Marcel as the new co-host of the syndicator’s evening show “Thetaylorangi Rendezvous.”  Taylor will continue her role at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKSC “KISS FM” where she’s one half of the “Fred + Angi” morning show.  “The Rendezvous” is described as “the nightly radio program featuring insightful love and relationship advice, coupled with radio station music playlists.”  Taylor says, “I couldn’t be more excited to host ‘The Rendezvous’ along with the French captain of romance, Simon Marcel!  I’m so thankful for everyone at Premiere Networks for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.  Hosting a syndicated show is a dream come true, and I can’t wait to share the love, romance, and FUN with a national audience!”

erickathy17Hubbard Re-Ups Eric & Kathy at WTMX, Chicago.  Chicago morning show stars Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart sign a multi-year contract extension with Hubbard Radio to continue hosting The Eric & Kathy Morning Show on WTMX “101.9fm THE MIX.”  The station says that over the past 20 years the show “has been a consistent market leader, ranking number one among advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old Adults, for most of their tenure at the station.”  Hubbard Radio president and chief operating officer Drew Horowitz comments, “I’m thrilled to have the most successful morning show team in Chicago radio history continuing their run on ‘THE MIX’ and remaining an integral part of Hubbard Radio.”

iHeartMedia Announces Lineup for Fourth iHeartCountry Festival.  The iHeartCountry Festival is comingiheartcountry17 back to Austin this spring.  iHeartMedia announces the big country show will again take place at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday, May 6.  The lineup will feature acts including: Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Rascal Flatts, Old Dominion, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini and The Raging Idiots, plus more to be announced.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes comments, “The iHeartCountry Festival has become an annual family reunion for the biggest stars in country music.  These artists grew up together and you can truly feel their deep friendships when they join each other on stage.”